In keeping with its small and highly selective character, USC English offers financial support to all students admitted to the Ph.D. program and, subject to satisfactory progress, maintains that support for five years. These support packages take a variety of forms. In tandem with competitive advanced fellowship opportunities, it is not unusual for some students to have three and even four years of full non-teaching fellowship support.
Awards for incoming students typically combine one or more fellowship years with several years of teaching to provide at least five years of guaranteed support.
Most opportunities for support through teaching are offered in the form of assistant lectureships in the Writing Program of USC College. In return for tuition remission and a stipend, these assistant lecturers manage the writing component of the General Education classes offered by a number of departments, or they serve as tutors in the Writing Center. For more information on the Writing Program, see /writing-program/.
A smaller number of appointments as assistant lecturers are made annually in the Thematic Option (TO), a university-wide honors curriculum that brings together talented and highly motivated undergraduates from across schools and divisions (it is one of the top-ranked honors programs in the nation). Assistant lecturers in this program receive tuition remission plus a stipend. Responsibilities include running a writing seminar attached to one of the TO classes in the fall and designing and teaching one’s own seminar in the spring. Positions in the TO program are available after applicants have gained experience in the Writing Program and have completed two or more years in the English Ph.D. program. For more information on the Thematic Option Program, see /thematic-option/.
Occasionally teaching assistantships become available through the General Education Program. These TAs take on responsibility for the writing component in a course taught by a faculty member in English or another department. These assistantships are available once a student has gained experience in the Writing Program and has completed two years or more toward the Ph.D.
Support for dissertation research and writing is available through a number of university-wide competitions, as enumerated in the section on “Fellowships and Prizes,” as well as a number of College Merit Dissertation Fellowships distributed by the department. In addition, the College frequently makes available Final Year and Final Summer Dissertation grants. In recent years, 10-13 students per year have received a dissertation fellowship.
The department offers a number of fellowships and prizes, both to attract outstanding applicants and to support excellent work by more advanced students.
Graduate alumni publications pictured above:
Marci McMahon, Domestic Negotiations Rutgers UP 2013; Nora Gilbert, Better Left Unsaid Stanford UP 2012; Sean Zwagerman, Wit's End University of Pittsburgh Press 2010; Chris Abani, Sanctificum Copper Canyon Press 2013; Katherine Karlin, Send Me Work Triquarterly 2011; Samuel Park, This Burns My Heart Simon & Schuster 2011.