NOTE: The English Graduate Program was substantianlly revised in the Spring of 2017. The program options listed below do not yet appear in the official UAB Graduate School Catalog.


Students pursuing the Creative Writing theme must follow Plan I, writing a creative thesis in their chosen genre. Students pursuing the graduate themes of Literature or Rhetoric and Composition have a choice to make.

Should I write a thesis (Plan I) or should I prepare to sit for a "30 book exam" (Plan II)?

The Program Description and Program Guidelines documents offer a detailed account of each of these options, but a summary might be useful here:

Plan I

Plan I requires the presentation of an acceptable thesis embodying the results of original research and/or creative work. The thesis can take one of two forms: a paper of about 60 pages that presents and develops a single principal idea (i.e. not a collection of otherwise unrelated essays) OR a journal article manuscript of 6,000 words or more, together with some ancillary documents such as an annotated bibliography, an abstract of the argument, and a shorter version of the article (8-10 pages) that would be suitable for presentation at a professional conference. Once the thesis is complete, you must schedule and pass a thesis defense by the deadline listed on the Graduate School website.

Plan II

Plan II requires you to write a brief (~750 word) statement of interests and intentions and then compose a bibliography containing 30 books that you will study during the final semester in the graduate program. Near the end of the final semester, you will sit for a three-hour essay examination focusing on the works from the book list. The written exam is followed by a one-hour oral exam during which you and the Graduate Studies Committee will engage in further discussion of the 30 books. Once you have cleared both the written and oral exams, you will be cleared to graduate.

Further Guidance

The Program Description and the Program Guidelines documents offer a much more expansive description of these end-of-program options. Feel free to consult with your individual GSC Chair or with the Director of Graduate Studies for advice.