Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Graduate Studies: Job Placement

Our  program is designed to provide students with the training in research  and teaching that they need to obtain academic jobs. Prospective  applicants should remember, however, that college and university  faculty positions in English are limited.

We consistently place more  than half of our literature and film Ph.D.s in tenure-track jobs. We are especially pleased to report that every one of our recent writing studies Ph.D.s has secured a tenure-track position; since 2002, in fact, about 80% of our job seekers in all fields have received one. Despite these encouraging statistics, it is nevertheless the case that the academic job market remains depressed, and there is little indication that freezes in public university funding will allow it to improve in the near future.

Due in part to the limited number of tenure-track jobs, about a third of the students who enter our M.A. program decide not to complete the Ph.D. degree. Most students who leave with the M.A. find that it provides them with strong leverage in other areas of work or study; in recent years these areas have included law school, library school, technical writing, academic administration, secondary and primary education, computing, entrepreneurship, and union  organizing.

A recent national study by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation  has discovered that, ten years after winning their Ph.D.s in English,  almost all degree-holders with non-academic jobs were glad that they  had attended graduate school, convinced that it had equipped them with  skills vital to their current careers. We work to counter rocky market conditions by offering sustained and vigorous support for our students on the academic job market. Two faculty placement officers conduct letter-writing workshops and multiple mock interviews for  job-seekers, making our placement service a model across campus and  nationwide.