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Personal Statement

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Free Sample Personal Statement in English

Program: Ph.D. in English
After a year and a half of graduate study in English, I am certain that I want to continue studying toward a Ph.D. in English and eventually teach literature at the college level. I have decided to continue studying and researching within the discipline of literary criticism because I consider it an especially fruitful one in which to work, allowing as it does for supplemental study in any number of other disciplines like anthropology, film, history, linguistics, and psychology, to name a few. I plan to specialize in American fiction written since World War II, because the "postmodern" period and its historical context interest me the most and because I find the epistemological, ethical, and critical questions raised by the more experimental fictions of this period especially worthy of critical analysis. I would also like to focus on critical theory, because I believe that a thorough knowledge of contemporary critical debate and its pedagogical implications is indispensable to anyone who intends to teach literature, particularly contemporary literature.

At this point, my background consists of three years of undergraduate study and a year and a half of graduate study of the major historical periods and figures of English and American literature, from Old English to modernism. Although I have not yet formally studied contemporary American fiction, I have read much or all of the work of such novelists as Don DeLillo, William Gaddis, Joseph Heller, Vladimir Nabokov, and Thomas Pynchon, as well as much of the secondary criticism on DeLillo and Gaddis. In addition, I have an introductory knowledge of most of the major critical movements of the twentieth century, from Russian formalism to postcolonial theory. Finally, I have studied Latin, German, French, and, less extensively, Italian, and would be prepared to fulfill the departmental foreign language requirements within the first year of admission to the program.

In regard to occupational experience, for the last year and a half I have taught freshman composition at the University of Mahomet. In addition, this last fall I assisted Professor Jean Saltzguber, the Director of the Writing Fellows Program at the University of Mahomet, in supervising undergraduate honors students whose job was to edit preliminary drafts of papers written for honors courses. This coming spring, I will continue to teach freshman composition.

In conclusion, I would like to pursue graduate study at the University of Springfield because of the reputation of the Department of English and because I believe the size of both the University and the Department of English would be ideal for the kind of interdisciplinary work with which I would like to supplement my study of literature (perhaps through the Program for Cultural Studies). I am particularly attracted to the Department of English at the University of Springfield because it offers plenty of opportunities for teaching.

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