The Department of English offers a full range of courses in the study of British and American literatures. In it you will read and discuss literary works written in English, develop an understanding of the history and criticism relevant to these works, and produce well-informed criticism of their own. You will have access to courses ranging from Old English to contemporary literatures, including coverage of both African American literature and the literatures of the African diaspora.

Admission Requirements

A spring flower with the UAB dragon topiary out of focus behind it. For admission in good standing, you must meet the UAB Graduate School's requirements for scholarship and test scores. You should normally have finished the requirements for an undergraduate degree in English, including satisfactory completion of at least six semester hours in a foreign language. A generally well-prepared applicant who is lacking in some part of the undergraduate preparation may be admitted with the provision that any deficiencies be removed by a time specified by the graduate program director.


Most literature courses can be considered to fall into one of the following areas, each of which has its own reading list.

  • British Literature before 1500
  • British Literature 1500-1660
  • British Literature 1660-1790
  • British Literature 1790-1900
  • British Literature 1900-present
  • American Literature before 1800
  • American Literature 1800-1900
  • American Literature 1900-present
  • African American Literature 1746-present
  • African Diaspora Literature
  • Composition Pedagogy
  • Rhetorical Theory
  • Linguistics
  • Critical Theory

Plans of Study

Literature students can choose between writing a thesis (Plan I) and taking area exams (Plan II). We invite you to read a general overview of the procedures governing the plans, while theme-specific requirements for Plan I and Plan II and course descriptions can be found in the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Graduate School Information

For information about applying to the Literature program, contact us or visit the UAB Graduate School website.