Literature and Criticism, PhD

Nick Katsiadas INSIGHT INTO PUBLISHING :  Working as a graduate assistant for Professor David Downing on the journal Works and Days has given Nick Katsiadas, PhD in Literature and Criticism Class of 2020, insight into publishing. An article proposal he worked on with some professors has been accepted by Studies in Comics.

The Literature and Criticism program at IUP enables scholarly engagement and research in British, US, and world literatures; film studies; and emerging fields such as popular literature, video game studies, and digital literature and culture.

Led by an accomplished community of teacher-scholars, our mission is the integration of research and pedagogy, and our classes are informed by the theory and practice of effective teaching. We not only train college and university faculty, but also prepare you for a broad range of professional possibilities and career paths beyond the academy to pursue innovative work in your field of specialization.

You are welcome to apply to either a full-time doctoral program or our summers-only program accommodating the working professionals and educators.

Five Reasons to Join Our Community

  1. A curriculum that mixes tradition and innovation
  2. Faculty who are dedicated, innovative teacher-scholars
  3. A curriculum designed to fit you, whatever you want to be
  4. A diverse community of graduate students from across the United States and around the world
  5. A good place to be and a good place to explore

Academic Year Program

  • Take courses in the fall and spring semesters, from the end of August through mid-May, for two years

  • Take three courses each semester as full-time student

  • Residency requirement fulfilled after two years

  • Can take courses in the summer sessions to complete requirements

  • Eligible for highly competitive graduate assistantship.

  • Live on campus or off campus. It's your choice!

Snapshot of Your Academic Year Sessions

First Year

Fall semester

ENGL 955

Two additional 800-level courses

Spring semester

ENGL 956

Two additional 800-level courses

Complete Candidacy Portfolio

Summer Session

One 800- or 900-level course

Second Year

Fall semester

Two 800-level courses

One 900-level course

Spring semester

One 800-level course

One 900-level course

Three dissertation credits

Summer Session

Foreign language exam

Begin preparation for Comp Exams Dissertation credits

Summers-Only Program

  • Take courses from late May through early August over two to three summers

  • Take two courses in at least two summer sessions each year as full-time student

  • Residency requirement fulfilled after completing two summers as full-time student

  • Can take two Independent Seminars during course of study while not in residence

  • Graduate assistantships not available. Many employers will provide tuition assistance or reimbursement.

  • Live on campus or off campus. It's your choice! Flexible leases are available during the summer to meet your needs.

Snapshot of Your Summer-Only Sessions

First Summer

Summer Session 1

ENGL 955

One 800-level course

Summer Session 2

ENGL 956

One 800-level course

Fall, After Your First Summer of Classes

Portfolio Proseminar course

Spring After Your First Summer of Classes

Submit Portfolio for Candidacy Review

Second Summer


One Research Skills course

Summer Session 1

One 800-level course

One 900-level course

Summer Session 2

One 800-level course

One 900-level course

Take candidacy exam in May or August

Third Summer

One 800- or 900-level course

Foreign language exam

Begin preparation for Comp Exam

Intellectual Community

Student Organizations

You will have many opportunities to contribute to the intellectual community and to engage in preprofessional experiences to prepare for life after graduate school. Many of those opportunities are made available through the English Graduate Organization.

The Literature and Criticism Newsletter

Catch up on the news in the literature and criticism graduate programs at IUP. Read our most recent issue.

Scholarly Journals

Members of our program are active in scholarly publishing in the areas of interdisciplinary humanistic studies, applied critical theory, and special literatures, the chief emphases in our program. Our faculty members also serve as editors for journals in their fields. Literature and Criticism graduate assistants may have the opportunity to work on these journals.

  • Studies in the Humanities, edited by Michael T. Williamson
  • Scriblerian, edited by Melanie Holm

Centers and Institutes

A number of research centers and institutes at IUP are led by faculty members. Graduate students in Literature may become involved in work on these journals as graduate assistants.

Contact Us

Debbie Bacco 
Graduate Program Secretary

News Highlights

English Graduate Organization to Host Panel

The English Graduate Organization invites participants to join the Inclusivity Beyond Diversity Conference on April 1–2. Both in-person and virtual attendance is welcome! Register for the conference on the Organization's website

Graphic that has the words "Inclusivity Beyond Diversity" written across it.

L&C Alum, Laurie Cannady Carter, Named Dean of the Arts and Humanities at Susquehanna University 

Read more about Carter's distinguished career

English Doctoral Students Cronin and Canton Awarded HASTAC Fellowships

IUP Literature and Criticism doctoral students Joseph Canton and Meghan Cronin have been recognized as 2022 HASTAC scholars. 

Sell, Schiera, and Siddique Incorporate Digital health Storygame Design Into Health-care Technology Education 

The Digital Storygame Project, the Lopez Foundation Inc., and LCA Vantage Healthcare are launching an innovative health-care technology course focusing on K-12 education and the integration of STEM and the Arts and Humanities. 

Into the Archives: Comics

This virtual event topic is something for all ages—Comics. Presentations will be made by doctoral students Marquel Sherry and Jamie Polnau, and Professor Gian Pagnucci from the IUP English Department.

Sherry will discuss the power of LGBTQIA imagery found in comics and the illustrated nature of graphic literature. We will also discuss literature used in comic book origin stories that can be found in the Rare Book Collection of the IUP Special Collections and University Archives.

Veronica Watson and the Short Stories of Frank Yerby

On February 23, 2021, IUP Libraries and Indiana Free Library hosted a virtual conversation. Watson discussed the groundbreaking author and her book The Short Stories of Frank Yerby.

Alumni Host Career Conversations Program

The Literature and Criticism program welcomed back graduates from the program, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Strait on February 15, 2021. The two alumni joined virtually for a conversation on careers in academic administration.