About Our Graduate Program
Literature, Creative Writing, English Education
Our department offers both master’s and doctoral degrees with an emphasis in literature or creative writing. Students in the MA program can also select the English education emphasis. The interaction in and out of the classroom among students from a variety of backgrounds and academic interests makes for a lively and dynamic intellectual environment. At the doctoral level, our department values the unique possibilities for scholarly and creative growth that emerge because of the dual tracks in literature and creative writing. Offering classes and public forums on craft and criticism, we are proud to highlight the advantages of literary scholars and creative writers studying alongside one another. With approximately eighty active students, our graduate program maintains a lively and robust culture of intellectual and creative activity.
The Department of English and the English Graduate Organization provide, on a competitive basis, support for travel to conferences, and we offer a variety of support for our students’ professional and career development, from panels and seminars to a vigorous job placement program. The Center for Writers maintains a long-running Visiting Writers Series which brings nationally-recognized writers like Peter Orner and Allan Peterson to Hattiesburg. The Mississippi Review, the Robert Frost Review, and Product are three journals housed in our department on which students have an opportunity to work. Our graduate students also enjoy access to the internationally recognized de Grummond Collection of Children’s Literature, and can take classes in allied areas such as the Departments of History, Philosophy and Anthropology, as well as Women’s Studies. Our department also offers service-learning opportunities to graduate students that expose them to the greater Hattiesburg community. Graduate courses taught by USM faculty are regularly offered abroad, enabling students to immerse themselves in culturally different environments to complement their study.
The English Graduate Organization (EGO) works in a number of ways to foster community among department graduate students. EGO hosts a monthly Faculty-Graduate Research Colloquium, an annual silent auction to raise funds for student travel, professionalization and pedagogy workshops, as well as a variety of social events. C4W, the graduate creative writing student organization, organizes a monthly reading, providing poets and fiction writers in the program with the opportunity to share their work. C4W also puts on writing workshops during holidays and panels for publishing creative work.
Student Body and Placement
In recent years, students have come to us from such schools like the University of Chicago, Princeton, NYU, Vassar, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Syracuse University. Our program recognizes the importance of contributing to a culture of scholarship and creative writing. As such, the majority of our students have published academic essays, novels, short stories, and poems that grew out of their coursework at the University of Southern Mississippi. Our department provides a highly structured and supportive job placement series, which has helped many of our alumni to find placement in a variety of academic and creative positions after graduation. Department graduates have earned tenure-track positions at institutions such as York University, University of Memphis, University of Texas A&M-Commerce, and Norfolk State University. Alumni have found positions teaching creative writing, English, service-learning and composition. Others have positions as lecturers at Auburn University, University of West Florida, University of Alabama, and University of Tennessee. Our students have also had great success working in related, non-academic positions such as directing the University of Wisconsin-Stout McNair Scholars Program or serving as editors for a variety of literary magazines and publishers.
English Graduate Faculty
Composed of many award-winning teachers, our diverse faculty prides itself on maintaining an active and impressive record of scholarly achievement—experience that they pass on to our students. Professors in our department hail from such places as UC Berkeley, Brown, the CUNY Graduate Center, Johns Hopkins, Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Texas at Austin, Rutgers and University of Chicago. All of our faculty actively engage in scholarship or creative activity through their continual publications, presentations, or readings.