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English Department

Job Placement

Vanderbilt's Ph.D. Program in English offers professionalization training and sessions aimed at the job market from the student's first year in our program.

  • A Proseminar in year one (required for all first year graduate students) begins training students in important skills like writing conference abstracts and papers, presenting public papers, and developing the kind of research, argumentative, and theoretical skills that will lead to publishable writing.
  • The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) hosts a conference for the first year students that gives them a valuable opportunity to practice their conference skills, with feedback from fellow students and faculty across the College. 
  • EGSA also hosts an array of events for graduate students aimed at developing research, pedagogical, grant application, and paper performance skills every year, and keeps an up-to-date database of job application materials - from curriculum vitaes (CVs) and application letters to teaching philosophies - to support students as they begin to prepare for the job market.
  • All graduate seminars throughout the student's course training are designed with an eye not just toward content, but also to aspects of professionalization. 
  • In year four, the English Graduate Program offers students the opportunity to participate in "Project: Publish!" - a year-long series of sessions, peer-group work, one-on-one draft feedback from various faculty, and finally careful editing - aimed at getting a seminar paper or dissertation chapter into publishable essay form. Participants submit their finely-honed essay to their target journal at the end of April. 
  • In years four and five, the English Department's Job Placement Service provides advanced Ph.D. students and recent degree recipients the resources they need for success on the academic job market. Every fall semester, Job Placement organizes a series of workshops designed to help job candidates meet the challenges of gaining academic employment - from the first draft of the cover letter to the negotiation of a job offer. There are sessions on the job market timeline on crafting CVs, abstracts and application letters, assembling dossiers, interviewing at MLA and on campus, as well as applying for postdocs. They keep a substantial archive of resources for job seekers, including resource files on every aspect of the application process -  and they centralize all job postings on their site - which all English PhD candidates can access. Additionally, each year they host a "speed dating" program where multiple faculty members have brief one-on-one sessions with students entering the market so that students get feedback from several different faculty. Job Placement also runs mock interviews as well as practice job talks and teaching presentations for job candidates.