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The English Department at the George Washington University offers Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in English and American Literature and Culture.

Graduate seminars are offered on a variety of subjects and time periods. The PhD program offers several areas of strength, in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, American Literature and Culture, and British and Postcolonial Studies. Students and faculty work closely together in the classroom as well as outside, especially through the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, the 19th century studies seminar, the Wang Visiting Scholars series, and special events.

The program offers a comprehensive training in critical theory as well as literary and cultural studies, exposing students to a diversity of texts within a global and transnational context. A large faculty serves a small student body to allow for close interaction and mentoring at every stage of graduate study. Our graduate students have access to extraordinary research archives, such as the Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, National Archives and libraries connected to the many museums in Washington, D.C.

A Message from the Director

Welcome to the graduate program in English at George Washington University. We offer both a Masters of Arts degree as well as the PhD (we also have a great accelerated study program where one can earn a Bachelors and Masters degree in English in 5 years).  The program benefits from professors with a wide range of expertise but our primary areas of strength include: Medieval and Early Modern Literature; British Post-Colonial Studies; American Literature especially ethnic/minority studies; and, most recently, a Cultural Studies based component, Crip/Queer Studies.  Students interested in any of these fields of inquiry will find support and encouragement to cultivate a rich depth of expertise, an abiding respect for literary and critical production, as well as an appreciation of the diversity of expression that the study of literature entails.  Our faculty are internationally recognized, active shapers of their respective professional fields, and seriously committed to the pursuit and elaboration of questions of social justice.  Our program is all about conversation about pressing global concerns.  Conversations between members of our intellectual community stretch across the borders of nations, cultures, and historical periods. Graduates of our program have been placed in an array of influential positions including: tenured and non-tenured faculty posts at colleges and universities, public/private school teachers, administrators, policy-makers, researchers, public officials, and as social advocates.  The website provides information for faculty and current students, but also for prospective applicants to the program. Our application deadlines are October 1 for M.A. applicants seeking Spring Semester admission, April 1 for M.A. Applicants seeking Fall Semester admission, and January 10 for PhD applicants.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the graduate program in general, or the PhD program in particular. Questions about the masters program should be directed to the MA Director, Professor Christopher Sten.

David Mitchell
Professor of English

George Washington University

Bringing Texts to Life

Bringing Texts to Life

Scholars have observed that the 17th-century Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael was so accurate that botanists can identify the flora in his paintings. Graduate student Mike Smith found similar precision and relevance in medieval literary botanical references. In his dissertation, funded by GW's Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, he examines topics such as poisonous plants and grafting, shedding light on what he calls “human-plant encounters.”


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