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Creative Writing

Beginning in the academic year 2019 -2020, the UC Davis will offer a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing through the Department of English.

This innovative program includes both studio instruction and literature courses. Writers take workshop courses in several genres and can write a thesis in fiction, nonfiction, poetry or “hybrid” (multi-genre) form. Second-year students have the opportunity to teach popular Creative Writing courses, gaining valuable experience and sharing their insight with beginning practitioners.


The program of study includes composition/theory, musicology, ethnomusicology, and conducting. Composition/theory emphasizes theory, analysis, and composition. Musicology embraces the historical study of musical works, their composers, and the cultures in which they figure, welcoming traditional and contemporary modes of inquiry and emphasizing the acquisition of literary technique and style in the scholarly genres.


The program offers advanced study in the fields of United States; medieval, early modern, and modern Europe; China and Japan; Middle East and/or South Asia; Latin America; and Africa. Other areas of specialization include borderlands; critical theory; cross-cultural women’s and gender history; economic and labor history; empires; environmental history; ethnicity, race, and nationalism; law, culture, and society; mass, popular, and folk cultures; mobilities; religion and history; science, technology, and medicine; and Middle East, North African, and South Asian Studies.

Cultural Studies

Cultural studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture and society that highlights how sexuality, race, ability, citizenship, gender, nationality, class, and language organize embodied identities, social relations, and cultural objects. Drawing on faculty from a wide range of disciplines and intellectual interests, the program cuts across the humanities, social sciences, the law school, and agricultural and environmental studies.

Comparative Literature

The Comparative Literature Graduate Program enables students to study several literatures in their original languages in a theoretically and historically informed context and from an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective. Comparative literature at UC Davis provides students the opportunity to create an individual program tailored to their unique interests and goals. Individually supervised instruction and specially designed qualifying exams permit students to pursue their interests in depth and with great flexibility. The department offers both a Ph.D.


The graduate program in philosophy is a small, collegial, and supportive program with a largely analytic orientation. The faculty specializes in a variety of areas, including history of philosophy (both ancient and modern), metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science (especially biology), philosophy of mathematics, philosophical logic, ethics, meta-ethics, and social and political philosophy. The program has both M.A. and Ph.D. tracks.

Performance Studies

Composed of four clusters of interest – interactive medias, cultures/ecologies, text/history, and embodiments – the Performance Studies Graduate Group engages students in ways of thinking about performance that are historically, politically, culturally, and rhetorically informed, using tools from theater studies, dance studies, anthropology, sociology, film studies, visual culture, linguistics, literary studies, ethnography, ethnomusicology, computer science, feminist theory and women’s studies, technocultural studies, religion, critical race and ethnic studies, critical theory, cultural st

Study of Religion

The program offers advanced opportunities in the study of religion. Students receive classical training in the literatures of particular religious traditions, and they are encouraged to understand these traditions at the intersection of contemporary thematic and regional phenomena. Students have the opportunity to concentrate primarily on one of three regional specializations: American religious cultures, Mediterranean religions, and Asian religions. An additional regional specialization typically serves as a secondary area of competence.


The Spanish Graduate Program offers comprehensive knowledge of the history of the Spanish language, literary or linguistic scholarship, and competence in two other foreign languages. The faculty’s intellectual and teaching philosophy is geared toward incorporating new theoretical and scholarly models, especially cross-disciplinary methods, without ceasing to pay attention to national literatures.


The Department of English offers students the chance to pursue a literature Ph.D. in fields from the British Middle Ages and colonial America to global/postcolonial and U.S. contemporary literatures, with further strengths in literature and science, literature and environment, literary theory, translation, and gender studies. Faculty members’ interdisciplinary interests and affiliations with other programs complement the program’s grounding in traditional genres and methods of literary analysis as well as emerging methodologies. This wide range also characterizes the M.A.