Department of English

Support the Department of English today!

Department of English

In the English department, every student arrives in our classrooms with a different dream. We strive to make the department a place where students explore individual passions and define a course of study unique to their goals. We are committed to strong academic advising and a low student-to-faculty ratio. We count on alumni and community support to augment student success through access, engagement, and academic and professional development.

Every gift makes a difference.

Here are several ways you can direct your giving in the department:

Give to the English Opportunity Fund (EOF)

In a department where over 80% of our majors receive financial aid, the EOF’s flexible support for undergraduates makes a difference in three critical ways:  

1. Cover the costs of study abroad programs, or travel to regional/national conferences. These professional development opportunities help undergraduates deepen their academic connections and enhance their research, yet many can’t afford to go without help.

2. Underwrite internship stipends ensuring access to substantial professional development experiences essential for all our majors.  Many have to work during the summers so this fund offers them a chance to take on an internship when it otherwise may not have been possible.

3. Provide need-based scholarships to help offset the cost of books and computer supplies so students can fully participate in their academic pursuits.

Give to the Graduate Support Fund

Ph.D. students in the English Department gain skills in research and critical analysis as they focus on American Studies, Composition and Rhetoric, Early Modern and Renaissance Studies, Digital Humanities, Caribbean Studies, Postcolonial Literature, and more. In addition, our students:

  • manage journals and coordinate educational programming. 
  • research “undervalued literatures” and are essential in bringing the voices of others to a wider audience. 
  • code and design websites, work with digital archives.
  • research social justice pedagogy, critical race theory, multimodal pedagogy, BIPOC rhetoric and Hip-Hop pedagogy. 
  • evaluate education policy and literacy development in high schools and colleges, moving into careers in research universities, secondary education, communications, as well as jobs in the public and private sectors.

Gifts to the Graduate Fund will:

1. Provide essential Summer Funding for PhD students. Currently, 35% of our PhD candidates are international students. For those with visa restrictions, summers can be extremely difficult as international students are not allowed to work off campus and there are few on-campus jobs for them. Summer Funding will provide critical support between semesters to help cover rent, meals, medical expenses, and more while also providing them time to complete their graduate studies. With one third of our students in need of summer support, gifts to this fund are a high priority.

2. Underwrite Graduate Travel. Helping students cover the cost of travel to conferences is a critical way of providing professional development opportunities for our community. Attending professional conferences augments students’ research and presentation skills, provides essential networking options, and positions our students as strong candidates in the workforce.

Help us attract, retain, and support underrepresented students.

In the English department, we support and share UMass Amherst’s responsibility “to provide access and opportunities for all people, while demonstrating our commitment to inclusion of historically underrepresented groups. We believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to academic excellence and that our students, faculty, and staff should reflect the diverse world in which we live.”

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, State of the Humanities 2022: From Graduate Education to the Workforce reports that the “share of graduate degrees earned by members of traditionally minoritized ethnic/racial groups has been trending upward.” From 2000 to 2020 among doctoral degree recipients, the share increased from 11% to 20%.

In our PhD program about 6% of our students are from underrepresented populations. To change that, we hope to offer competitive recruiting scholarships, multi-year support, and awards to applicants who show outstanding promise. In addition, every year we lose exceptional applicants to universities who can provide better funding packages.

Your gift will help ensure the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and academic excellence become the hallmarks of our success.

English graduate students sitting outside on the grass in a circle.

Give to the Professor Noy Holland Prize in Ecological Writing

In 2022, Professor Noy Holland retired from teaching after 25 years. In honor of her work as a mentor, colleague, and advocate for the environment, we are creating the Professor Noy Holland Prize in Ecological Writing. This will be an annual prize awarded to graduate students in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Natural Sciences at the University. All graduate students in these colleges who have taken a course in the environmental humanities, or environmental sciences are eligible, and the prize will recognize students who demonstrate excellence in ecological writing.

All graduate students in these colleges who have taken a course in the environmental humanities, or environmental sciences are eligible, and the prize will recognize students who demonstrate excellence in ecological writing.Ten students pose with Noy Holland for a group photo outside of South College

Give to the PWTC Lab Fund

The Professional Writing and Technical Communication (PWTC) certificate prepares students for careers in technical and professional writing and digital communication. PWTC students gain project-based experience in editing, grant writing, software documentation, report writing, and web design. The program enjoys a well-established network of more than 300 graduates and a high replacement rate.

Donations to the program will be used to keep the PWTC computer lab equipped with state-of-the-art hardware and software.

Two PWTC alumni point to a slide as they talk to PWTC students about information design in healthcare.

Whether in industry, government, publishing, or the nonprofit sector, our alumni tell us the skills they honed through the Department of English are like having superpowers

And we agree! Please join us as we engage the next generation of readers, writers, communicators, and problem solvers with the creative approaches, coursework, and professional training they need to be tomorrow’s leaders. 

Your gifts help make this possible.