Aurelie Sheehan
Department Head

Welcome from the Department Head

The Department of English at the University of Arizona is one of the nation’s most dynamic places to study Literature, Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition, Applied Linguistics, Teaching English as a Second Language, Writing, Film and Media, Cultural Studies, and much more.  With forty-eight core faculty members working at the cutting-edge of interdisciplinary work in English today, we have strong links with many other departments and units across the campus, including the nationally acclaimed Poetry Center, the Honors CollegeGender and Women’s StudiesAfricana StudiesAmerican Indian Studies, The Center for English as a Second Language, the Institute for LGBT StudiesBiosphere 2, the Institute of the Environment, the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy, and many others. Our department is forward-looking in bringing the study of English to bear on knowledge produced across the modern university.

Our department, one of the largest in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has over 500 undergraduate majors (in both English and Creative Writing), as well as over 120 graduate students in four different degree programs:  the Ph.D. Program in Literature, the RCTE Ph.D., the M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and the M.A. in English Applied Linguistics (EAL). It is also closely affiliated with SLAT, the University of Arizona’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching.  All of these graduate programs are highly distinguished, innovative in their approaches, and nationally competitive. The award-winning University of Arizona Writing Program is one of the largest and most respected programs in the nation, bringing an active research agenda to bear on teaching thousands of students every year.

These programs, while all distinct, share interests and intellectual comradeship that collectively make for a vibrant departmental atmosphere.  Our undergraduate majors can take courses in a wide variety of areas, ranging from Literature and Creative Writing to Rhetoric, American Studies, Border Studies, Translation, Digital Cultures, African American, and American Indian Studies, Film and Visual Culture, History and Grammar of the English Language, Professional and Technical Writing, Science and Environmental Writing, Postcolonial Studies, and Literary Theory, among others.  Our students also enjoy rewarding internship and international exchange programs.

The department is home to the Arizona Quarterly, one of the nation’s top journals in American literary studies, and hosts an annual conference associated with the journal.  It is also home to the Sonora Review, the oldest student run literary journal in America, and Persona: The Undergraduate Magazine of Art and Literature.  Every year, the department also sponsors “New Directions,” an innovative graduate student national conference on a select theme.  Our faculty members edit a wide range of creative and scholarly publications such as Letter Machine EditionsThe Fairy Tale ReviewThe VoltaThe Community Literacy Journal, and The Journal of Second Language Writing among others.  Department members are the principal investigators for several nationally prominent research projects, including the Crossroads Collaborative on Youth, Sexuality, Health, and Rights, funded by the Ford Foundation, and the American Indian Film Gallery, which is one of the nation’s leading film archive on Native American images.

The city of Tucson is located in the beautiful Sonoran desert with “sky island” mountain ranges soaring above and a rapidly growing downtown that features great restaurants, cafes, theaters, and bookstores.  It also has an international airport with many direct flights across the country.  Set among Native American communities, nations and reservations, and just a short distance from the city of Nogales, Mexico, we are located in a place that enjoys the rich culture and history of the Southwest’s borderlands, but that is also well suited to the study of global cultural encounters and the place of English within them.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences