Program Description

Lehigh's M.A. and Ph.D. programs in English are designed to train students as both scholars and teachers. The program focuses on Literature and Social Justice, an area of increasing interest to many potential employers, both within academia and in the broader world. Faculty and students explore questions of power and inequities that are both historical and contemporary, with an interest in how works of literature can engender a more socially just world.

As a student, you will gain:

  • A broad knowledge of British and American literature in historical context, including recent expansions of the canons;
  • An understanding of one or more recent theoretical approaches and the ability to use those methodologies to investigate literary, cultural, or pedagogical issues;
  • A concentration of work in a major field, which is also the principal area of research;
  • Robust experience in designing and teaching composition and literature to undergraduates each semester;
  • Sufficient background in composition and rhetoric to have a theoretical basis for teaching courses in writing.

M.A. candidates typically complete the program in 2 years with 33 credit hours of coursework (11 courses)--thesis optional. 

Ph.D. candidates typically complete the program in 7 - 10 years with additional credit hours (depending on entry level) as well as a dissertation. 

Recent Ph.D. graduates have found tenure track employment at Kutztown University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. We have also placed Ph.D. graduates in non-tenure track full time positions as well as in administrative positions at Tufts University, SUNY-Purchase, Albright College, Cabrini University, and Finger Lakes Community College. 

Our M.A. graduates follow a variety of paths, with some students continuing their graduate work in Lehigh’s English department. Other recent M.A. students have gone on to join Ph.D. programs in English at institutions like Princeton University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Texas-Austin. Many of our M.A. graduates also go directly into teaching, often at independent schools.


We believe that student research is a central part of the process of graduate education, at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Students work closely with faculty on research projects, with a number of active research grants in the English department also offering funding for graduate research assistantships. 

A number of our students have had active publication records in recent years, in both peer-reviewed academic journals and mainstream venues. We encourage Ph.D. students to aim for at least one peer-reviewed publication during their careers with us. In recent years, a number of our former students have also published scholarly books. 

Application Requirements

  • M.A., English
    • Completed online application
    • Official transcripts
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Writing sample 
    • If applicable, English language proficiency test scores - Review full policy here
    • Non-Degree, English
      • A bachelor’s degree from an approved institution with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 may be admitted with the approval of the department in which they wish to take courses.
    • Ph.D., English
      • Completed online application
      • Official transcripts
      • 3 letters of recommendation 
      • Writing sample 
      • If applicable, English language proficiency test scores - Review full policy here

      Financial Aid

      • Teaching Assistantships – Includes Stipend and Tuition
      • Fellowships (Department/College/University) - Includes Stipend and Tuition
      • Dissertation Fellowships - Includes Stipend and Tuition
      • Scholarships - Tuition Only

      Department Contact

      Contact Information
      Amardeep Singh, Graduate Director

      Department website