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Grad student presenting at EGO conference


Graduate students in the UMass English Department hail from all over the United States and around the world, and they are wonderfully diverse with respect to age, race, sexual orientation, and professional interests.

Our students also compete successfully for University Fellowships, national fellowships, and the university's distinguished teaching awards. They regularly present papers at both regional and national conferences, and many leave with at least one publication at the time of their doctorate. Students play an active role in program policy and governance, and they organize an annual conference, hosted by the English Graduate Organization.


Graduate students have opportunities to teach in the University's Writing Program, the English Department, and other departments on campus. Learn more about teaching opportunities on our Funding page.

English Graduate Organization (EGO)

The UMass Amherst English Graduate Organization (EGO) is a student-run organization dedicated to enhancing the academic experience of all English graduate students here at UMass Amherst. The goals of EGO are advocacy for graduate students with and to the faculty, enhanced communication within the graduate student community, and professionalization of the English graduate body. EGO also seeks to coordinate its activities with other English department committees such as the Graduate Studies Committee, and to deliver graduate students’ ideas and concerns to these other committees.

Annual Graduate Student Conference

Every Spring Semester, the English Graduate Organization plans an interdisciplinary conference where graduate students from UMass and regional programs present their scholarly work to the University community. Sessions are chaired either by faculty or by the students themselves. This conference is an excellent opportunity for young scholars to present their work at an early stage in their careers to a supportive and interested audience.

Dissertation Workshop

This year-long, faculty-led, voluntary writing group has been enormously successful in helping students through the sometimes difficult transition into a full-time writing project. This workshop usually consists of ten or fewer students, and topics about the dissertation process itself are the focus of early discussions. Students also present their work-in-progress to the group throughout the year, receiving helpful feedback from their peers. Most students leave the dissertation workshop with a completed prospectus and first chapter.

Job Planning

The English Department has, we believe, one of the most thorough job planning and placement frameworks across the country. All students entering the academic job market have the following resources at their disposal:

  • Job materials: The Associate Director of Graduate Studies offers an initial workshop on preparing your written materials for the job search. They also meet with each and every student individually to go over drafts of letters and CVs.
  • Dossier review: In addition, the Associate Director reads over each student’s dossier to determine that all letters are present and in order, and that the dossier represents the student in the best possible fashion.
  • Interview workshop: The Associate Director offers a second workshop during the fall in which strategies for interviewing at the MLA are discussed.
  • Mock interviews: Every student who is invited to interview for any position is offered a practice interview by the department. The interview lasts approximately 35-40 minutes, and is then analyzed and discussed with the student by the faculty-member participants and the Director or Associate Director of Graduate Studies.
  • One-on-one guidance: The Associate Director meets with every student who is scheduled for an on-campus interview to discuss what to expect and how to handle various scenarios. Faculty members are also willing to discuss multiple job offers with students and how to make the decision that is best for them at this point in their lives.