ISU Headlines

Idaho State University’s Ph.D. in English, Teaching of English featured in MLA report

Posted June 10, 2014

Idaho State University’s doctoral degree in English and the Teaching of English was featured as an innovative doctoral program in a report released in May by the Modern Language Association.

The Report of the MLA Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature pointed to ISU’s program as one of four in the United States that have anticipated changes needed in the field.

“Many of the recommendations in this report echo changes already being undertaken in some institutions in response to the challenges and the opportunities it identifies,” the MLA Task Force noted. “We present these examples as evidence that the field is undergoing transformation and to demonstrate some of the diversity of solutions that departments are devising.”

According to Jessica Winston, director of English graduate studies at ISU, the Ph.D. in English and the Teaching of English “is a distinctive program that combines training in British and American literatures with theoretical and practical work in teaching literature and composition.”

The program currently has 27 students. Alongside their graduate coursework in English, candidates take two to three pedagogical seminars and do two to three teaching internships in which they apply pedagogical theory to classroom or online practice. Most students complete the degree in four years of study. The program has an excellent record of job placement.

“The degree is designed to respond to a need among two- and four-year colleges for knowledgeable, skilled faculty members who can teach a wide variety of classes in composition and literature,” Winston said.

ISU has more than four decades’ experience offering doctoral education in English. The Doctor of Arts (D.A.) in English degree was established in 1971 with Carnegie Foundation funding. In 2009 ISU converted its D.A. in English to the Ph.D. in English and the Teaching of English, combining the content-specific pedagogical focus of the D.A. with the stronger focus on research of the Ph.D.

More information can be found on the department website: or by calling Winston at (208) 282-4294.

The MLA report is available on line at