Ph.D. Preparation

Weber State University’s Master of Arts in English Program offers you the knowledge, skills and experience you need to pursue your doctorate.

We have prepared students for doctoral degrees at University of California-Irvine, Oklahoma State University, University of Utah, University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, University of South Florida, Utah State University, Texas Tech University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Indiana-Purdue, North Dakota State University, Georgia State University, University of Louisiana at Layfayette, University of Leicester and De Montfort University. Our students have also been accepted to University of Iowa's Writing Program and Oklahoma Law School.

For your convenience, here are some specific pages that you might be interested in:

We suggest you:

  1. Research the profession. Look at graduate program web pages; visit campuses if you can.
  2. Watch your GPA.
  3. Try to get good coverage across British, American and world literatures as well as literary theory and special topics that resonate with one another.
  4. Create an intellectual focus for yourself. Keep track of your projects—try to narrate your intellectual life as you go. Give yourself a whole summer to write your personal statement, and assume it will go through multiple drafts. This is going to take work!
  5. Apply for conferences and awards to go on your curriculum vitae (an academic resumé).
  6. If you can, get some experience teaching, peer tutoring or working as a research assistant. While these things are not vital to admission, they give you a good sense of what the profession is like, and this sense can help produce a good personal statement.
  7. No later than 1 year before you intend to apply, begin the process. Get faculty advice on schools with strengths that match yours, faculty you might want to work with at particular places, fellowships available to applicants, etc.
  8. You want to be able to send a 20-page, very high-quality writing sample. Assume you'll need to revise.
  9. Find your future recommenders: 3 professors from whom you have ideally taken 2 classes and earned A's. Keep your graded work from classes in which you perform well. When you ask for a letter of recommendation, provide the professor with a folder containing copies of your work. This will help him or her write a more detailed and useful recommendation. If you are going to take time off after graduation, get recommendations on file before you leave campus, while you are still fresh in your professors' minds.
  10. Either informally or in a preparation course, study hard for the GRE Verbal, Analytic Writing and Subject Tests during the summer before you apply. Research the admission requirements for the programs to which you are applying.

Adapted from

Our students also suggest:

Work to create lines on your vitae.  Book reviews, conference panels, teaching/research/editing assistant and talk to other students who are also thinking about continuing.