English Department at UNLV


Graduate Programs


The Department of English offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts, the Master of Fine Arts, the Doctor of Philosophy, and the Doctor of Philosophy with a Creative Dissertation (available only to Black Mountain Institute Fellows). Application deadlines are November 1 (Spring) and January 15 (Fall). The M.F.A. and Ph.D. with Creative Dissertation programs do not admit students in the spring.

The Las Vegas Valley is becoming a unique and dazzling post-modern urban center that itself affords insight into contemporary society as well as a complement to rigorous graduate study. Graduate students in English at UNLV receive careful mentoring and individual attention and are offered a variety of professional activities that prepare them for the job market and academic careers. In addition to teaching, graduate assistants are involved in research assistance, journal editing, writing program administration, the hosting of an annual student conference, and non-academic internships. The department’s commitment to working closely with students includes guiding their research toward publication and making funds available for travel to conferences or research facilities.

The M.A. program involves course work at the graduate level in English and American literature or in language studies. A thesis is optional, but recommended, for both the literature emphasis and the language studies emphasis. Work toward this degree is designed to supplement and complete the student’s undergraduate study in the field of English and to familiarize the student with professional standards, methods of research, and modes of thought in the discipline. Possession of this degree normally leads to advancement in the teaching profession for the secondary school or community college teacher, to careers in writing, publishing, and editing, or to further study in English at the doctoral level.

The M.F.A. program is designed to be a three-year, intensive studio arts terminal degree with a strong international emphasis and requires the writing of a book-length creative thesis in either fiction or poetry. The objectives of the M.F.A. degree are to enable the student to master the craft of writing in the chosen genre to a publishable level; to train the student in both traditional literary topics and in writing pedagogy to the end of a teaching career at the university, college, or community college level; and to provide an international perspective on both the creation and publication of fiction or poetry and on the teaching and appreciation of literature.

The Ph.D. program is a highly specialized program designed to train students for careers in teaching at the college or university level and to develop in them a capacity for research, original thought, and writing that ordinarily accompanies such careers. The doctoral program is focused on literary study although a concentration of six credits may be earned in composition studies. At the time of admission the student chooses three areas in which to specialize: (1) a chronological period, (2) a literary genre, and (3) either an additional chronological period, a major author chosen from outside the selected chronological period and approved by the student’s advisory committee, or a special topic approved by the student’s advisory committee. All subsequent course work is devoted to developing a high degree of professional competence and knowledge in the three chosen areas of specialization. Such knowledge is tested in a qualifying examination and is also the basis upon which the student writes a doctoral dissertation.

The department, in conjunction with the Black Mountain Institute, also offers a program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a Creative Dissertation. This program centers on the study of English and American literature and is designed to train students for careers in the teaching of English at the college or university level, as well as for careers in writing, editing, and publishing. The program of study includes course work in English and Creative Writing, a Qualifying Examination, and a Creative Dissertation.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Fellowships: See the Graduate College website for a list of available scholarships and fellowships and the details and requirements for each one. All scholarship/fellowship applications will be handled through the ApplyYourself (AY) portal.