The Graduate Program: The PhD and MA in English

The Department of English and Language Arts offers two graduate degree programs with a number of concentrations, making it suitable for a variety of scholars looking to expand their knowledge and develop their careers in research, teaching and writing. We offer programs leading to an MA or a PhD in English, and each year we admit scholars with a variety of skills and experiences to join us as they pursue these degrees.

The PhD in English

Committed to exploring new methods of inquiry, cultivating creative scholarship, and producing usable knowledge, Morgan State University provides a vibrant home for students and scholars interested in better understanding how people learn, what they learn, and what that learning ultimately means for themselves and their communities. Our small, selective doctoral program In English offers training in all traditional fields of literary study, as well as in creative writing, film, screenwriting, visual and digital storytelling, rhetoric and composition, technical writing, multicultural and gender studies, and other theoretical and interdisciplinary approaches that cross national and chronological boundaries.

Our faculty members have strengths in a variety of areas including American and British literature and literary theory, African American literature, Black diasporic and Caribbean literature, post-colonial and multicultural literatures, feminist literature and poetics, gender and sexuality studies, popular culture, rhetoric and composition, technical writing, linguistics, creative writing, screenwriting and visual/digital storytelling, and American cinema and film theory. The majority of our courses weave in our program’s emphasis on the Black Diaspora.

As one of only two doctoral programs in English at an HBCU, we are deeply grounded in recognizing how the rich, distinguished, and exciting culture of the Black experience continues to influence our present realities. Indeed, the Black presence is so ubiquitous that studying this presence in its forms and consequences is an ethically-responsible educational necessity to counter long-time hegemonic narratives that have decentered the Black experience. The English doctoral program at Morgan State thus emphasizes an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and comparative curriculum of the histories, literatures, visual cultures, and politics of people of African descent around the world, especially the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. A key component of our mission is to interrogate the meanings and dimensions of slavery and colonialism, and their continuing political, social, and cultural implications and to emphasize Black diasporic literature and culture.


To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy program in English, an applicant must:

  • Have earned a Master’s degree in English or in a closely related discipline from a regionally accredited college or university (Advanced Track) or a Bachelor’s degree in English or a closely related field from a regionally accredited college or university (Standard Track).
  • Have earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better in their Master’s program. Applicants with only a Bachelor’s degree who are applying for the Standard Track must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in their undergraduate coursework. Post-bachelor’s undergraduate credits cannot be used to enhance GPA for admission to graduate study.
  • Submit an application for admission (online) to the School of Graduate Studies.
  • Submit a typed exposition – a Statement of Purpose – regarding the applicant’s academic and professional plans and the reasons for selecting Morgan State University.
  • Submit a recent resumé or curriculum vita.
  • Submit copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate coursework. Official copies of these documents must be submitted directly to the School of Graduate Studies by the previous university or college before an applicant can be officially admitted.
  • Provide test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Test scores must be within five years of the date of application. Official copies of these scores must be delivered by ETS to the MSU School of Graduate Studies.
  • Use the online application system to arrange for three letters of recommendation to be placed with the application. These letters should be from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s ability for graduate study.
  • Submit an academic writing sample of 15-20 pages that showcases the applicant’s analytical and writing abilities and readiness to begin doctoral level work.
  • Submit, if applying for the Creative Writing concentration, a creative sample of 10-15 pages.
  • Submit, if applying for the Film and Visual Storytelling concentration, an overview of the applicant’s experience and accomplishments in the field.

All required documents must be submitted as directed by the School of Graduate Studies prior to program review and admission decision. Students should upload all application documents electronically, even in cases where hard copies are also submitted to the School of Graduate Studies.

The Department of English only grants admission into the doctoral program for Fall semesters.

Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements and submitting all the required documents does not guarantee that an offer of admission will be made to the applicant. The decision of the Department Admissions Committee involves a review and analysis of all the elements of the application as well as the availability of positions in the program. The committee then recommends to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies that an offer of admission should be made based on that review.

The MA Program

Our Master of Arts program in English offers the following areas of concentration:

  • Literature and Language
  • Creative Writing
  • Screenwriting and Visual Storytelling

This program is designed for students who contemplate pursuing graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree, for those who are preparing for a career in secondary school teaching or in creative writing and screenwriting, and for those seeking a foundation for later PhD degree work.

For additional information about applying, funding or the scope of our graduate programs, please contact the English Department directly at (443) 885-3165, or the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Dr. Julie Cary Conger at

Explore English