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Profile: Cornell University

Posted on December 13, 2010

In our third profile of graduate programs, we are discussing Cornell University. The graduate program in English Language and Literature enrolls twenty students per year in its Ph.D., M.F.A. and joint M.F.A./Ph.D. programs.

Courses for undergraduates range from Chaucer, Shakespeare, and James Joyce to critical theory, creative writing, cultural studies, and ethnic American literatures. The Honors Program challenges English majors to produce a major critical project as the culmination of their degree. The Ph.D. and M.F.A. programs enable advanced students to pursue intensive study with a distinguished faculty committed to creative and intellectual community. Courses and related programs link students at all levels with interdisciplinary opportunities on campus, while a lively series of speakers, colloquia, and conferences provide a context for sustained learning and debate within the humanities.

The Ph.D. program enrolls about twelve students per year. Students design their own courses of study. In the fourth semester, students must pass the Advancement to Candidacy Examination in order to proceed toward the Ph.D., prior to their dissertation.

The M.F.A. program enrolls eight students per year, four each in poetry and fiction. The two-year program culminates in the completion of a book length manuscript.

A small number of students enroll in the joint M.F.A./Ph.D. program, which takes five years and includes writing workshop courses and Ph.D. seminars for credit. At the end of the fourth semester, candidates submit the M.F.A. thesis and receive the M.F.A. degree, then go on to complete the Ph.D. and dissertation.

Students in the Ph.D. and joint M.F.A./Ph.D. programs are offered five years of funding, including a first-year non-teaching fellowship with a full tuition fellowship; two years of Teaching Assistantships with full tuition fellowships; a fourth-year non-teaching fellowship for the dissertation writing year, with a full tuition fellowship; a fifth-year Teaching Assistantship with full tuition fellowship; summer support for four years; a stipend; and health insurance.

Students in the M.F.A. program receive two years of funding, including a first-year Graduate Assistantship working at Epoch, a periodical of contemporary literature published by the Creative Writing staff of the Department of English; a first-summer teaching assistantship, which is linked to a teachers training program for which residency is required; a second-year Teaching Assistantship with a full tuition fellowship; a second summer fellowship; a stipend; and health insurance.

The deadline for all programs is December 15.

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