Areas of Study

Most graduate English courses at UAB fall into one of the following three groups, under which are listed the areas of study. Degree requirements may make reference to these areas and groups. Reading lists for Plan IIstudents studying for area examinations are available as links below. Plan II students should know that each of the area exams will present a choice of two clearly identified passages from the relevant reading list. The examinee will choose one of these passages as the starting point of his or her essay; the essay itself will address the following question:
Choose one of the following passages and write an essay that (1) establishes—based on the chosen passage—some significant literary, intellectual, and/or cultural context and presents a thesis having to do with that context; 2) explains, by a close reading of the text, why the chosen passage is important both to the work from which it is taken and to the thesis of the present essay; and (3) discusses the context and thesis in relation to at least two other works form the area reading list.
Note that this question will be identical for all area exams except linguistics—the passages will change, but the question will always be the same. For more detailed information, including a sample area exam essay, see the program description for Plan II students. Group IGroup IIGroup IIIIn the lists below, click on the link for a PDF of the reading list.

Group I: British Literature

Group II: American Literature

Group III: Composition, Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Critical Theory


While every effort is made to keep information on the Department of English web site as accurate and up-to-date as possible, students are responsible for verifying course requirements and program status by seeing the appropriate university advisor(s) and program director(s).