Literary and Cultural Studies


The graduate program in Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS) offers students fully-funded opportunities for individualized paths of study in a wide variety of literary traditions, cultural theories, and research methodologies. MA students are eligible for two years of a full-tuition fellowship plus a teaching assistantship. PhD students are eligible for four years of a full-tuition fellowship plus a teaching assistantship. In recent years, the English Department has been able to provide students with enhanced student lectureships that supply a fifth year of funding, and there are additional research funding and grant opportunities through the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center and the University Research Council.

Unlike many graduate programs where teaching assistants support faculty teaching large lecture classes, graduate teaching assistants at UC are instructors of record in their own courses and they receive extensive pedagogical training, including a required graduate seminar on teaching composition. Similarly, while graduate teaching assistants in comparably-sized programs often teach 3 or 4 classes per year, MA and PhD students at UC teach only one section of composition per semester. Furthermore, our PhD students also have opportunities to teach literature courses, including both historical surveys and topics courses, where they can design creative classes on subjects that reflect their research interests and growing areas of expertise (e.g. “Queer Comics,” “Badass Women on Film,” and “Revenge”).

At UC, MA and PhD students benefit from a 1:1 student to faculty ratio that affords intimate graduate seminars and opportunities for intensive, personalized mentorship. Our research faculty in LCS are linked by a variety of interests that tend to overlap periods and fields, and we are particularly strong in the following areas: American Literature and Culture, Transatlantic Nineteenth-Century Literature, Material Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Drama & Performance, Race & Ethnicity, and Poetry & Poetics. Furthermore, our PhD students in LCS benefit professionally from working alongside graduate students and taking courses in our Creative Writing and Rhetoric & Composition tracks, and many of our students take advantage of opportunities to pursue certificates in affiliated programs like Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS), Film & Media Studies, and Professional Writing.

Facilities and Activities Available to Graduate Students

The Charles Phelps Taft Research Center for the Humanities provides graduate students in literature unique opportunities for interdisciplinary study, exchange and collaboration with both students and faculty through its Urban Studies, Visual Culture, and Human Rights Working Groups. The Taft Research Fund also provides our graduate students with opportunities for both conference travel funds and summer research support. The George Elliston Poetry Fund supports one of the nation’s finest collections of twentieth-century poetry.

The Elliston Poetry Room, in Langsam Library, represents a rich research opportunity for scholars of poetry, and its digital archive of lectures by acclaimed visiting poets will be of interest to anyone engaged in digital humanities scholarship. Literary and Cultural Studies students with research interests in contemporary fiction and poetry also benefit from the Creative Writing program’s dynamic series of lectures and readings, including the Emerging Writers series, since these events allow students access to visiting writers. The rare books collections at the Blegen Library include Petrarch and Shakespeare collections, first editions of Charles Dickens, correspondence by D.H. Lawrence, and the letters of Ambrose Bierce. The Helen Weinberger Endowment, devoted to drama and performance studies, supports interdisciplinary initiatives in dramatic theater.

Faculty and graduate students collaborate on The Cincinnati Review, which is in its ninth year of publication and ranked in the top twenty of literary journals nationally. The department is home as well to a new academic journal, The John Updike Review, now entering its third year of publication. Graduate students take the lead in organizing and running an Annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference. Recent themes for the graduate conference include “Being Undisciplined,” “Works in Progress,” and “Composing Spaces.” Lecture series, foundations, and private endowments have brought a wealth of outstanding scholars-speakers to our program, including, among many others, Stephen Greenblatt, Lawrence Buehl, N. Katherine Hales, David Halperin, Jack Halberstam, Alan Liu, Charles Bernstein, Jane Smiley, and Paul Theroux.