Graduate School in English

Being a college English professor sounds like a great job:  you get to teach, do research, and have lots of time off, right?  The reality, however, is not so rosy.  Though there are plenty of academic positions available for scientists and professionals, there are very few jobs for those with Ph.Ds in the humanities, although the situation is slightly better for those with Ph.Ds in Composition and Rhetoric. The academic job market is very competitive and jobs are very demanding.  "Time off" is an illusion in a profession where you are expected to spend your "vacations" writing books and articles.  Graduate school is arduous and expensive. Currently, the average time to Ph.D. in the United States across all disciplines is 6.9 years.

Perhaps you're considering getting a Master's degree in English.  This can be a wonderful educational experience.  Your employment potential, however, will most likely be limited to part-time teaching.  While teachers with master's degrees in English are eligible to teach lower-level college courses, they rarely receive full-time work and are notoriously underpaid for their labor and years of experience.

If you love literature and English, and you're a brave and hardy soul, you may still wish to investigate this career choice. Your advisor can help you think over your decision. Continue on for more information about making your decision and how to begin the process.



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Last updated Wednesday, October 22, 2008. Web design and maintenance by Prof. Lisa Jadwin.