Graduate Brochure


Florida State University

The Florida State University is a senior member of the ten state universities that comprise the State University System of Florida. It has a total enrollment of about 41,000 students and of these, 18% are graduate students. In 1994, Florida State was accorded the status of Research University I by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an elite distinction that recognizes the university's strengths in doctoral programs.


Tallahassee, Florida's capital, is an expanding metropolitan center with a population of about 200, 000, yet it still holds many of the charms of a smaller university town. With its weekly poetry and fiction readings in local venues and its many cinemas, small theatres, museums, and musical events, it offers a particularly rich environment for those who care about literature and the arts.

The Graduate Program in English

The Graduate Program in English offers a comprehensive and intellectually stimulating program for those who wish to be literary scholars, creative writers or scholars/teachers of rhetoric and composition. Its diverse and accomplished faculty are actively involved in every phase of the graduate student's life, including mentoring and assisting students during the job placement process. There are presently 33 M.A./M.F.A students and 143 Ph.D. students enrolled in the program. Graduate classes, however, are small, with averages of about 15 students.

Areas of Study

The Graduate Program offers the Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Students in the M.A. program focus on one of two majors: (1) Literature, Folklore and Cultural Studies; (2) Rhetoric and Composition. M.F.A. students emphasize Creative Writing. Students in literature, folklore and cultural studies will deliver and defend a capstone essay; students in rhetoric and composition may write a thesis or take a portfolio examination. Creative writing students present a body of creative work for the thesis.

All Ph.D. students satisfy core requirements in literature, language study, and literary theory. Students then take comprehensive examinations and present dissertations in fields such as:

  1. Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1660)
  2. British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900
  3. Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish)
  4. American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900
  5. African-American Literary and Cultural Studies
  6. History of Text Technologies
  7. Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  8. Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies
  9. A Literary Genre
  10. Rhetoric and Composition


Certificate Programs and Other Interdisciplinary Programs

The English Department offers a Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing. This 12-hour certificate involves both theoretical and practical course work. It is designed for students in our graduate-degree programs interested in exploring a career path other than teaching and also for students not in our degree programs who are interested in developing skills in editing and publishing.

Teaching College English: Graduate Teacher Training Program

As well as offering a comprehensive range of academic courses, the Graduate Program in English also provides an excellent teaching apprenticeship program for those who want to teach writing and literature at the college level. Teaching assistants without previous teaching experience participate in a six-week training program during the summer term preceding their appointment, and this program prepares them to teach in the rhetoric and composition classroom, the literature classroom, and the Department's Reading-Writing Center. Graduate students also have the opportunity to be trained in computer-assisted writing instruction. The department also offers pedagogical training for advanced graduate students teaching literature, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition.


Departmental Publications and Activities

The department also publishes two literary magazines, The Kudzu Review and The Southeast Review, and faculty members edit such scholarly journals as Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America and Arthurian Literature. Many students also gain journalistic experience by writing for the independent campus newspaper. The writing program sponsors weekly literary readings and an annual Spring Writer's Festival.

Each fall, the English Colloquium Series gives graduate students the opportunity to interact with visiting scholars who are at the cutting edge of literary and cultural studies. The Writing Program sponsors readings one evening a week in the community, and every year it hosts writers, agents, and editors from all over the country.



The Graduate Program maintains a solid placement record for its Ph.D. graduates, despite the difficult job market. The Graduate Placement committee assists graduates in preparing for the job search by offering practice interviews, job talk rehearsals, and by reviewing application letters and vitae.


Application Information

Procedures for applying to the M.A., M.F.A., or the Ph.D. Degree Program

The online application opens on August 1, 2019 for admission to the Summer semester 2020, and it closes on December 13, 2019. The following items are required to complete an application:

  1. Submit an electronic application at
  2. The following items should be uploaded in the supporting documents portion of the application
    1. Statement of Purpose (250-500 words describing the applicant's academic and professional experience and goals)
    2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
    3. Writing Sample (applicants to the literature or rhetoric program should submit a critical essay; applicants to the creative writing program should submit 10 poems, a story, or a chapter from a novel)
    4. GRE Scores GRE Scores (Please note: GRE General Test scores are required for all degree applications: the GRE Subject Test is not required for any degree application)
    5. Unofficial Transcripts
  3. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation through the electronic application. Note: Our online application system does not support submission of recommendation letters via Interfolio.
  4. Submit the application fee upon completion of the electronic application.
  5. Submit official transcripts (from every university attended) and GRE scores to:
    • Office of Admissions
    • Florida State University
    • 282 Champions Way
    • PO Box 3062400
    • Tallahassee, FL 32306-2400

Important: students applying for the MFA or the PhD in Creative Writing should specify intended genre (poetry, fiction, non-fiction) in the appropriate space in the application.

For more information about the application procedure please see the Graduate Studies homepage at:

Deadlines: All new students, which include the PhD, MA, and MFA, will be admitted in the summer semester each year. To be considered for admission and a teaching assistantship in Summer, 2020, the online application must be submitted by December 13, 2019. For University Fellowships deadlines - See the Graduate School website

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