Introducing Dr. James Knapp, Edward Surtz, S.J. Professor of English, the new director of graduate programs in English. Dr. Knapp replaces Dr. Pamela Caughie, who recently stepped down after nine years as Graduate Program Director. Dr. Knapp teaches graduate courses in Shakespeare, textual studies, and literary theory.
Notes and photos from the 24th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, held at Loyola from June 4-8, 2014.
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The Department of English offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs in literature and culture across three broad historical areas, with a special emphasis in textual studies.
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Loyola’s graduate programs in English offer many advantages:
A faculty of scholar-teachers. At many universities, a large and overcommitted faculty has little time or incentive to concentrate on teaching and mentoring its students. Smaller departments where teaching is emphasized, on the other hand, may lack the research-active faculty found at the more prestigious institutions. At Loyola, you will find the best of both worlds in a faculty of nationally respected, active scholars who also take pride in their teaching, and who give graduate education and graduate students the care and attention they deserve.
Chicago. Graduate study at any institution is a long-term commitment, for many students lasting at least five or six years. And Chicago is a wonderful place in which to spend a significant time of one's life—a thriving, culturally vibrant, yet very "livable" town which most new residents, it seems, come to love. The Loyola campus, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, provides an attractive refuge while also giving easy access to the resources of the city around it.
Success in the job market. Despite the notoriously challenging market for Ph.D.s in the humanities, the English department at Loyola has a strong, long-standing record of success in placing our students in jobs—particularly at liberal arts colleges where teaching is valued, but also at research universities.
A humane Graduate Assistantship program. The service requirements that come with a Loyola assistantship are fair and manageable. Our graduate assistants (GA's) teach three courses of their own during the four years of their assistantships. At other times, they have the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors both as a research assistant and as a teaching assistant. There is never a point at which a GA's work requirements impede his or her ability to move ahead toward the Ph.D.
A balanced education in literature, theory, and cultural studies. You do not have to choose between studying "literature" and studying "theory" at Loyola. With distribution requirements spread over three areas—literary studies, theory and cultural studies, and composition and rhetoric—our Ph.D. program offers up-to-date training in the discipline's major areas of expertise. Program requirements are supported by a wide range of courses in the various historical periods of English and American literature, literary and critical theory, post-colonial and global literatures, cultural studies, rhetorical theory, and the teaching of writing. Thus, while our students master the traditional discipline of literary study, they also encounter literature in English that has not traditionally received attention within English departments, and they become well acquainted with contemporary critical approaches.
Manageable degree requirements. Eight courses (24 credit-hours) are required for the master's degree and the program is designed so that full-time students can complete all the requirements within a single year. Interested in doing the M.A. on a part-time basis while working at a full-time job? We make it possible by offering the majority of our graduate seminars in the evenings and late afternoons. Coursework in the Ph.D. program can be completed within three years (two years for students entering with the M.A. degree), with the qualifying exams and dissertation taking two to three more years of study.
Real training in teaching skills. Our department considers the training of our graduate assistants in classroom teaching to be an important part of what we do. We do not throw new graduate students into the composition classroom with orders to teach! During their first year with us, we instruct our GA's in the art of teaching, mentor them in our own writing classes, and give them hands-on tutoring experience. Our students feel well prepared when they teach their own first courses. And ongoing instruction in pedagogy, composition theory, rhetoric, etc., as well as ample opportunities to teach both writing and literature, provides our graduates with an excellent skill set that is very attractive to prospective employers.