English Language and Literature

Cockefair Hall, Room 106
5121 Rockhill Road
(816) 235-1305

Mailing Address
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Department of English Language and Literature
Cockefair Hall 106
5121 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Chair: Jennifer Phegley

Associate Chair: Laurie Ellinghausen

Hadara Bar-Nadav, Virginia Blanton, Stephen Dilks, Laurie Ellinghausen, Jane Greer, Christie Hodgen, James McKusick, Jennifer Phegley, Jeffrey Rydberg-Cox

Associate Professors:
John Barton, Jennifer Frangos, Michael Pritchett, Anthony Shiu, Whitney Terrell

Assistant Professors:
Antonio Byrd

Associate Teaching Professors:
Crystal Gorham Doss

Full-time Lecturers:
Sheila Honig, Cynthia Jones

Professors Emeriti:
Joan Dean, Robert M. Farnsworth, Moira Ferguson, James McKinley, David Ray, Lois Spatz, Thomas Stroik, Linda Voigts, Robert Willson

Associate Professors Emeriti:
Ralph Berets, Daniel Mahala, James A. Reeds, Jonas Spatz, Robert Stewart, Jacqueline Wood

Department Description

The Department of English Language and Literature offers programs of study that lead to the Bachelor of Arts, the Master of Arts, the Master of Fine Arts, and the Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy degrees. In the undergraduate program, students may pursue a general English program, or they may select an emphasis in American Studies; Classical, Medieval and Early Modern Literature; Creative Writing; or Language and Rhetoric. Four minors in English are offered: Creative Writing, Language and Literature; Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing; and Writing. Master's in English students may focus their studies on Literature, or may select from two emphases: Language and Rhetoric, or Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing. The M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Media Arts is an interdisciplinary program leading to a terminal degree. English is an academic discipline eligible for full participation in the University's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program.

The Department of English includes faculty who have a broad range of professional competence in the study of literature and language, and who are trained to teach courses in British and American literature, linguistics, American culture, film, creative writing, and composition. The department believes the study and teaching of literature and language to be an important means of preserving and vitalizing our humanistic tradition.


The Department of English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences publish New Letters, a continuation of The University Review, which for over 50 years published the works of new and distinguished writers. New Letters continues to provide a medium for the best imaginative writing available.

The Department of English sponsors the publication of Number One, a magazine of student poetry and fiction, and The Sosland Journal, a collection of award-winning student essays from the Ilus W. Davis contest.

Related Information, Opportunities, and Conferences

The Department of English sponsors undergraduate and graduate student conferences, a writers' reading series, and annual contests in creative and expository writing. The department offers additional scholarships for creative writers and students in literature, including the Diversity in English Scholarship for undergraduates. Graduate students are also eligible for the Farnsworth Fellowship. Interdisciplinary Ph.D. students can apply for the Ilus Davis Doctoral Teaching Fellowship. The department also offers courses and an annual conference for English teachers as part of its continuing education function. Student groups provide social and literary activities for majors and interested others: English Graduate Student Association, Graduate Students in Creative Writing, and Sigma Tau Delta (the international English honor society).

Career Implications of the Undergraduate Degree

The English major is recommended for students interested in a broad, general background in the humanities and in the skills of analysis, synthesis, and self-expression. It is excellent preparation for medicine, business, and law, as well as for further literary study in graduate school.

In addition to careers in education, writing, and editing, English majors with writing and editorial skills find that they are desirable candidates for positions in businesses where effective communication and written evaluation are required.

Internships and Other Opportunities

Through the resources of the metropolitan media and publishing houses, as well as the on-campus facilities of the national literary journal New Letters and the academic journal Eighteenth Century Theory & Interpretation, students may gain experience in writing and editing. With the approval of the supervising faculty, as well as the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students may intern with these media for credit. In addition, a number of other on- and off-campus internships are available for writers and editors.

Graduate Degrees

The Department of English offers three graduate programs: the Master of Arts: English; the Master of Fine Arts: Creative Writing and Media Arts; and the Interdisciplinary Ph.D.