The graduate program of the UCSB Department of English provides the opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge of literary texts, modes, genres, movements, and periods and thereby to explore their potential as interpreters, scholars, and teachers. We have historically emphasized scholarship, criticism, and theory equally, and in recent years have begun to incorporate practice as well.

We are especially strong in media studies and digital humanities; literary theory; cultural and interdisciplinary studies; race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality studies; Medieval, Renaissance, Eighteenth-century studies; Modernism, and American literature. The program is large enough to field a full range of graduate seminars, but small enough to provide a sense of community and a high level of faculty-student engagement.

Collaborative Research Centers

The graduate student experience at UCSB is shaped significantly by our various Research Centers, including:

These centers serve as hubs of intellectual community around which a significant portion of scholarly life in the department organizes itself, and they frequently support ad hoc reading groups, bring speakers to campus, and facilitate academic programming with other centers and departments on campus.

Strong Job Placements

Even now, the success of a graduate program is traditionally measured by placement of graduate students in academic jobs and by this metric we remain exceptionally strong. Graduates from UCSB’s PhD program are teaching across the US and around the world in a variety of institutions, including liberal arts colleges, community colleges, private secondary schools, state universities, and R1 schools. Many graduates of our program—benefiting from our interdisciplinarity and innovative programming—have also found work in the public and private sectors, working in a variety of academic-staff positions for higher education and arts organizations, as well as positions in editing, publishing, and corporate communications. Further information on the careers of our graduates can be found on our Job Placement page.

A Culture of Inclusivity

The English Department has a strong commitment to extending participation in academia to people from all walks of life. We are home to a diverse community of scholars with a deep intellectual commitment to studying the power of language to make worlds. We value the variety of critical approaches to this question of literary world-making that often involve engaging matters of difference and inequality – for example, sexual difference, class and economic difference, matters of race, neurodiversity, social and environmental justice. We recognize that not only what we study, but also the theories and theorists we choose to cite, often reflect particular intellectual commitments and values that are in no small part informed by our unique life experiences. We value the diversity of our graduate student body to collectively learn together and experience the joyful moments of finding surprising and unexpected areas of commonality between each other’s specific areas of research.

In collaboration with departments across the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, we are actively pursuing a variety of initiatives that welcome students from groups historically under-represented in graduate education. Our diversity vision statement and our plans to realize its goals will be published here soon.

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