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MFA | Department Structure

The Department of Literature is composed of 10 sections: Writing; Classics; Comparative Literature; Cultural Studies; and Literatures in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Each of these sections has its own set of requirements that students must fulfill to earn their degree.


The department is governed by a Chair and Vice-Chair, elected by the ladder-rank faculty. They are advised and assisted in their duties by an Executive Committee of elected representatives of the ladder-rank faculty.

Faculty Advisors

The Chair appoints faculty members to serve as the Director of the MFA Program, Director of Graduate Studies (PhD), and Section Heads and Graduate Advisors for each section.

Faculty office hours are posted on this website. Faculty who are on leave are not expected to be available for advising, reading papers, supervising independent studies, or attending qualifying examinations or dissertation defenses. Likewise, during the summer faculty are not available for these activities.


MFA students work with the MFA Graduate Coordinator and the Student Affairs Assistant. Refer to the staff directory for names and contact information.

Graduate Studies Committee (GSC)

The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) represents the concerns of the graduate students to the faculty and departmental administration and facilitates communication among all components of the program.

The GSC consists of:

  • the director of graduate studies, who chairs  the committee
  • the graduate advisers from each of the sections that have graduate course offerings;
  • the graduate student co-chairs/representatives to the Executive Committee (as elected by the previous year’s GSC members);
  • one or two graduate students from each of the graduate studies sections, elected by the student body;
  • one or two students from the MFA Program;
  • the student representatives to UCSD’s Graduate Student Association;
  • one or two graduate students who are ABD (All But Dissertation).

All members have a vote in the committee's business. The GSC is constituted annually (by election and appointment before the end of spring quarter) to take office the following September. It meets at least once each quarter during the academic year and can be called into special session by the Department Chair, by the Director of Graduate Studies, or by petition of any three faculty or graduate student members of the department. The committee:

  • Makes suggestions on seminar offerings. It takes the responsibility, when necessary, of asking the Department Chair to modify section offerings to accommodate student needs (based on a survey of student opinions).
  • Acts as an advisory body concerning all departmental policy decisions affecting graduate students.
  • Elects a representative and alternate to the executive committee. The representative initiates and participates in executive committee discussion of matters affecting graduate students.

Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the campus-wide official graduate student organization. Functions of the GSA include allocating the graduate student activity fee, appointing graduate students to campus-wide committees, and sponsoring academic and social events. 

The GSA is governed by an internally elected executive board. Its membership includes two or more representatives from each department. Literature department representatives to the GSA are elected annually as a part of the GSC election.