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MA and PhD degree programs offer options for literature or creative writing

Binghamton University's Department of English, General Literature, and Rhetoric has been delivering graduate programs ( for more than 40 years. Students explore literature, language, and writing in programs leading to master's or doctoral degrees. Students wishing to obtain literature degrees may choose between the Master of Arts in English/American literature degree and the PhD in English degree program with a research dissertation. Those interested in creative writing may select the Master of Arts in English degree program with a concentration in creative writing or the PhD in English degree program with a creative dissertation. There is a foreign language requirement for all students pursuing the PhD in English degree program.

The university's English department has approximately 30 faculty members and 100 graduate students. Most graduate students (75%) are working toward a doctoral degree, while the remaining students are pursuing a master's degree. This low faculty-member-to-student ratio means students have the opportunity to collaborate closely with professors.Binghamton's English program provides opportunities for study in all major areas of British and American literatures, with particular strengths in American studies; British modernities; critical theory; gender and sexualities; Medieval studies; early modern and Renaissance studies; postcolonial studies; race, empire, and global diasporas; rhetorical discourse; ethnic studies; cultural/science studies; and creative writing.

Programs for students interested in exploring literature

Binghamton's Master of Arts in English/American literature degree program stresses breadth of knowledge in literature and theory. It requires 36-credit hours of study; a thesis is optional.

The PhD degree program in English with research dissertation encourages students to pursue focused interests in literary periods or movements, theoretical models and schools, or global literature. PhD degree program candidates take field exams and write dissertations on specific areas of literary, critical, or theoretical interest. The doctoral degree program requires completion of a minimum of eight courses and three field exams.

Programs for students interested in writing

Creative writing students study with faculty members who have written novels and poetry. The MA and PhD degree programs also offer a range of workshops, readings, and presentations by visiting writers.

During the 36-credit-hour MA degree program with concentration in creative writing, students take courses in literature and writing and produce a creative thesis. PhD degree program students take courses in literature and writing; complete field exams; and produce novels, books of poems, or books of short stories for their dissertations. The doctoral program requires completion of a minimum of eight courses and three field exams.

Programs available for students who want to teach English

Binghamton also offers certification programs for those wishing to teach English up to the high school level, offering the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) degree program in English adolescence education and the MSEd (Master of Science in Education) degree in English adolescence education. Interested students should go to for information about the 46-credit-hour MAT degree program or to learn about the 36-credit-hour MSEd degree program.

Work with professors who are leaders in the field

Faculty members in the English department at Binghamton are accomplished scholars and researchers whose work both in and out of the classroom has garnered national attention. Among them are Alexi Zentner, Marilynn Desmond, Thomas Glave, and Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

Alexi Zentner is a Canadian-American novelist and assistant professor of English at Binghamton. His first novel, "Touch," received numerous accolades in Canada and was published in 10 languages. The novel was shortlisted for the First Novel Award, the 2011 Governor General's Literary Award, the Center for Fiction's 2011 Flahery-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. It was also longlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2013 Dublin IMPAC Award. Zentner's second novel, "The Lobster Kings," was published in 2014.

Binghamton University literary scholar Marilynn Desmond brings a feminist focus to the literature and history of the High Middle Ages. The distinguished professor of English and comparative literature is currently in Italy studying a medieval manuscript at the Vatican library. Desmond serves as director of the university's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She is also the author of several books on the reception of classical Latin texts in medieval France and England.

Throughout 2014, professor Thomas Glave has been serving as a visiting professor at the University of Warwick's Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, located in Coventry, England. Glave's writing, teaching, and research focus on topics such as Caribbean and Latin American creative writing, gay and lesbian studies, and black British studies. He will return to Binghamton in 2015.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a poetry professor and director of Binghamton's Creative Writing Program and its Center for Writers. She has won several prestigious awards, including the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award and the 2008 American Book Award for her book, "All That Lies Between Us." She has published 18 books and co-edited 4 anthologies. Her areas of interest include poetry, multicultural literature, contemporary women poets, working class literature, narrative poetry, and modern American literature.

Students find success following graduation

Since many employers are looking for people who can analyze, organize, and clearly express their ideas in writing, there are numerous options for graduates with a degree in English. Some Binghamton graduates have become novelists, screenwriters and poets, while others pursued professorships at universities such as Colgate, Duke, Howard, Michigan State, Notre Dame, University of Athens, University of Trento, and Sun Yat Sen University.

Among the notable alumni who graduated from Binghamton with a degree in English are Marc Lawrence, screenwriter and director of films such as "Miss Congeniality," "Two Weeks Notice," and "Music and Lyrics"; Tony Kornheiser, host of ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" and former "Monday Night Football" analyst and Washington Post columnist; Stephanie Courtney, the actress who portrays Flo in the Progressive Insurance commercials; Deborah Tannen, academic and writer on linguistics, discourse analysis, and interpersonal communication; and Camille Paglia, academic, social critic, and author.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Arts (MA) English/American literature
Master of Arts (MA) Creative writing
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) English

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 12
Doctoral Degrees 10

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
1 Foreign Language
Thesis Required
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline February 15th February 15th Yes
Spring deadline November 15th November 15th Yes

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE General Test
Master's Degree Requirements Writing sample
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements Writing sample

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 550
TOEFL IBT score: 80

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Teaching Assistantships
Health Care Benefits
Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 3.61%
Black or African American 3.61%
White or Caucasian 56%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1.2%
Asian 4.82%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races 1.2%
Unknown 3.61%


Male (38%)
Female (61%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 33
Part-time - 0
Male (13)
Female (20)

Location & Contact

Address 4400 Vestal Parkway East
Binghamton, NY  13902-6000
United States
Contact Praseeda Gopinath
Graduate Director
Phone: 607-777-2033
Fax: 607-777-2408

Binghamton University, State University of New York