Placement and Support for Jobseekers in the English Department

In a difficult job market, the department of English at the University of Virginia has maintained a very solid placement record—click HERE to see our results over the last decade.  We are committed to ensuring that our graduate students present themselves as effectively as possible in their quest for employment in academia and in a broad range of careers.  A good number of our PhDs have moved on to exciting positions by no means limited to tenure track assistant professorships. Our assistance does not, incidentally, end when students have received the PhD; the Director of Graduate Placement continues to work with people in temporary or visiting positions.

For all PhD students—whether they are interested in eventually applying for tenure track positions, post-doctoral fellowships, positions in educational administration or in university libraries, or in fields such as editing, publishing, media, consulting, business, government, humanities institutions, or elsewhere in the non-profit sector—our department and the larger institution offer the following resources:

  • Advice and mentorship from the moment you enter the program (students should keep a careful eye out for our informational sessions on how to start preparing for the job market at a quite early stage in the program). 
  • A faculty member who serves as Director of Graduate Placement. The “Job Coach” assists students in drafting the complex application materials now needed for academic positions and guides them through every stage of the job search—offering detailed advice on each aspect of the application process, scheduling mock interviews, briefing job finalists on the challenges of the campus visit, and advising on negotiations after the receipt of a job offer. 
  • An active commitment to expanding career horizons for our PhD students.  From their first days in the UVA English department, students will encounter discussion and events about the many pathways open to those with advanced training in literary scholarship and teaching and the choices one might make along the way to help realize various possibilities.  Some might choose to take advantage of our local expertise and resources in the Digital Humanities (earn a DH certificate on the way to the PhD!); others might look to our courses for the training of secondary-school teachers; others might seek internships at organizations within the university or the Charlottesville area through PhD Plus (see below); still others might gravitate toward departmental mentorship in the thriving career field of Rhetoric and Composition.  Both GESA (the Graduate English Students’ Association) and the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Emily Ogden, can help students think towards new career possibilities. 
  • PhD Plus, a University of Virginia-wide initiative, sponsored by the Provost's Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, to prepare PhD students and Postdoctoral scholars across all disciplines for long-term career success.  Its internships, events, mentoring resources and various liaisons help to develop, in the program’s own words, “versatile academics who are deeply engaged with society’s needs to become influential professionals in every sector and field.”  You can find out more about PhD Plus at an article about the alternative career path of a recent UVA English PhD here.
  • UVA’s Career Services office, offering a full range of advising and consulting services to graduate students as well as undergraduates.
  • The university also sponsors several competitive one-year lectureships (with full benefits) at UVA for recent English PhDs; these offer jobseekers the opportunity to hone their application profile.


The current Placement Director is Rebecca Rush.