About Our Program

The Literature and Culture concentration trains a select group of MA students to understand, discuss, and produce contemporary scholarship related to the fields of English, American, and World Anglophone Literatures.  Our program’s advanced courses and seminars cover a diversity of subjects ranging from traditional studies of literary periods (Medieval, Early Modern, Romantic, Victorian, etc.) to interdisciplinary courses on visual and material culture, minoritarian aesthetics, the digital humanities, literature and religion, and posthumanist discourses.  The MA faculty of School of Writing, Literature, and Film publish articles and scholarly monographs in top venues for literary, cultural, visual, and ethnic studies, and thus provide immediate access to 21st century debates within their fields.  The program also offers opportunities for rigorous scholarly debate beyond the classroom through thesis mentoring, the Critical Questions Lecture Series, the Center for the Humanities, funded conference travel, and the annual MA Symposium.  Finally, we encourage our students to interact with other graduate programs within and beyond the School of Writing, Literature, and Film, including Rhetoric and Writing, Creative Writing, Environmental Arts and Humanities, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Ethnic Studies, and the Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement. As these relationships suggest, we consider diversity in all its forms to be an essential component of our competitive program.

Career Opportunities

Our program devotes significant resources to job placement and aims to produce future leaders in a number of the fields related to literary study.  For students interested in pursuing a PhD in Literary Studies, we offer a series of workshops devoted to aspects of academic professionalization related exclusively to standing out in an ultra-competitive field.  For students interested in community college or high school teaching, we offer valuable teaching opportunities in the form of paid Graduate Teaching Assistantships.  For students interested in alternative work, we offer an internship program tasked with matching career interests with local and state businesses, NGOs, and governmental agencies.

Groundbreaking Research

MA students complete a thesis during their second year of study. Many of these projects result in excellent, thoughtful research that becomes integrated into classroom practice, results in published articles, or evolves into dissertation projects. These are just a few recent thesis projects:

Crawford, Cole. "Respect the gap: from big to boutique data through Laboring-Class Poets Online" (OSU Best Thesis Award and WAGS/ProQuest Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award)

Wiley, Marie. “Genres at Play : History, Tragedy, and Comedy in Shakespeare's Richard II (OSU Best Thesis Award)

Schauer, Austin A.. “Primal Matter : Deep Objects in Historical Accounts of the Glanton Gang”

Barkley, Charles K.. “’Her Hypnotic Eyes’ : Reading the Optical in Aaron Douglas’s Aspects of Negro Life and Nella Larsen's Passing

Kennedy, Amy. “Running Athwart the Human : Queer (Un)Intelligibility and Animal Connections in Justin Torres' We the Animals and Mario Bellatin's Beauty Salon

Dodson, Matthew J.. “The objects within : an applied OOO literary criticism“ (OSU Best Thesis Award)

Burkett, Kristen A.. “‘Justify[ing] the ways of God to man’ : John Milton's Use of Satan to Promote a Christian Message in Paradise Lost

Schneider, Rebecca.  “Possessed : embodiment, circulation, & subjectivity in Robinson Crusoe, Roderick Random, & Rob Roy

Adamson, Christopher. “‘Sorrow's springs are the same’ : synoeciosis in the poetry of Alfred Tennyson and Gerard Manley Hopkins”

A Record of Success

Numerous students in the Literature and Culture MA have been accepted in prestigious PhD programs, worked in private industry, and teach at numerous schools:

  • Marisa Williams (MA, 2023) was accepted to the PhD Program in Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst
  • Hannah DuBose (MA, 2022) is an Instructor in SWLF
  • Ikhzaan Saleem (MA, 2021) works as a community organizer at the Land Sea Maldives NGO
  • Tallon Kennedy (MA, 2020) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at Ohio State University
  • Alex Diaz-Hui (MA, 2020) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at Princeton
  • Emalydia Flenory (MA, 2020) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at the University of Oregon
  • Nathan Phelps (MA, 2020) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at Notre Dame
  • Kalli Damschen (MA, 2019) is a Middle School English Teacher at the Shipley School in Philadelphia
  • Austin Webster (MA, 2019, BA, 2017) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at UCLA
  • Ryan Lackey (MA, 2018) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at the University of California Berkeley
  • Jessie Heine (MA, 2018) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at the University of Oregon
  • Jess Silbaugh-Cowdin (MA, 2018) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at the University of California San Diego
  • Emily Beckwith (MA, 2017) was accepted to the PhD Program in English Literature at the University of Georgia
  • Shanna Killeen (MA, 2017) was accepted to the PhD Program in Comparative Literature at UC Santa Barbara
  • Paisley Green (MA, 2017) is an 11th-grade on-level/AP teacher with the Gresham Barlow School District
  • Cole Crawford (MA, 2017) is a Humanities Research Computing Specialist at Harvard University
  • Emily McLemore (MA, 2017) was accepted into Notre Dame's PhD in English program
  • Charles Barkley (MA, 2016) is Assistant Director of Enrollment Management at the University of Chicago
  • Kristen Burkett (MA, 2015) is the Director of Campus Life at the University of the Arts
  • Amy Kennedy (MA, 2015) is a Librarian at the Corvallis Public Library
  • Matthew Dodson (MA, 2014) is a Client Engagement Supervisor at Zillow
  • Christopher Adamson (MA, 2014) was accepted to Emory University for his PhD in Literature
  • Rebecca Schneider (MA, 2013) was accepted to the University of Colorado for her PhD in Literature
  • Dan Randlemon (MA, 2012) is a Project Operations Manager at Twilio

Our program application deadline is in early January. Watch for applications to open each year in mid-September.