The English Department of the College of Humanities of the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico offers a complete graduate program at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. The UPR is the state university, and the Río Piedras campus is its oldest and largest unit. The campus has an enrollment of 20,290 students, 83.2% undergraduates and 16.8% graduate students. A land-grant university, UPR has been an accredited part of the Middle States Association of Universities since 1946. The Río Piedras Campus has a long tradition in Caribbean Studies and maintains specialized bibliographic holdings in the field.
Set amidst the lush sub-tropical vegetation and the old Spanish-style architecture of the campus, the English Department is centrally located and within easy reach of the library and other facilities. Among the many distinguished faculty members of the English Department in past years have been Saul Bellow, William Kennedy, and George Lamming.
The department is committed to broadening students’ education through a wide variety of critical approaches and courses ranging from early British and American to African, Caribbean, and diaspora literature and culture, as well as linguistics, writing, translation, conversational English, and human communication. It also provides students with many opportunities to meet eminent writers and scholars like Velma Pollard, Antonio Benítez Rojo, Lorna Goodison, Mervyn Alleyne, Víctor Hernández Cruz, and Willie Perdomo, by hosting many conferences, symposia, and seminars.
The department offers two undergraduate majors (Literature and Linguistics / Communication), a Master of Arts in Literature or Linguistics, and a Ph.D. with a specialization in Literature and Language of the English-speaking Caribbean.
The M.A. program has offered advanced studies in the areas of general English-language Literature and Linguistics since the late 1960s. Courses represent the global range of Anglophone Literature, Language, and Culture: from Old English to postcolonial theory, from Shakespeare to reggae and calypso lyrics, from generative syntax to ethnolinguistics, from Paradise Lost to feminism and film theory. The program’s primary goal is the pursuit of academic excellence in general English-language studies within the context of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region as a whole.
The Ph.D. program began in January 2000 and has already granted more than thirty-five doctorates. Its emphasis is on critical studies of oral and scribal forms of Anglophone literary and cultural expression and on the analysis of the development and structure of Anglophone creole languages within the broader context of Caribbean, Caribbean Rim, and diasporic metropolitan societies and cultures. Its seminars include in-depth analyses of specific Caribbean authors like Naipaul and Walcott, Caribbean literature in metropolitan, postcolonial, and global contexts, Caribbean women’s literature, African influence in the Caribbean, the structure and acquisition of pidgin and creole languages, language, identity, and power relations, and fieldwork in Caribbean and African settings.