Becoming a Literature Professor: Corey’s Dream

For Corey Fuchs, one of Cassandra’s boyfriends in Mr. Right is a Myth, an intense love of Edgar Allan Poe could only mean one thing.  Okay, two things.  Poe tattoos and the dream of becoming an American Literature professor.  So what steps would Corey need to take to fulfill his dream of becoming a literature professor?

Plan to Invest Years

“So I’ll finish my Ph.D. in 2007,” he says, sticking chopsticks into his noodle bowl.  “My goal is to gain tenure in a small college town.  I’m from Bloomington and I’ve been in Chambana for years, but there’s something appealing about a picturesque Midwest college town.” – Mr. Right is a Myth, Chapter 27

The first step in the process is a bachelor of arts degree in English Literature, Comparative Literature or Creative Writing.  This typically takes four years to complete.

The next step is a master of arts in English Literature.  Many universities require a specialized sub-field.  For Corey, this would be American Literature.  Master’s programs take an average of two years to complete.

Cassandra believes Corey will make the coolest professor ever

The third step is to complete a Ph.D. program.  This can take from five to 12 years depending on the discipline and whether a student is studying full time or balancing studies with work, family and other obligations.

For the humanities and arts, the average is 9.6 years, according to Coursera.  Students must complete graduate-level coursework, take comprehensive exams and write a dissertation.  Some Ph.D. students also are expected to teach at least one class per semester.

Nearly 50 percent of students drop out before completing their degree, according to the International Journal of Higher Education.

In addition, there is a considerable financial burden.  Completing a PhD program costs from just under $100,000 to more than $200,000 depending on the university, and the average student owes $159,625 in loans.

Career Prospects

Corey dreams of lecturing to a room full of students

The job market is highly competitive.  According to PrepScholar, the number of qualified candidates outnumbers the open positions and the odds of becoming a professor are “slim.”  Seventy-three percent of professors are non-tenured. One thing that can give one candidate an advantage over another is academic publications.

Professors make between $3,556 per standard course section for a part-time faculty member to $140,543 annually for a full professor, according to the American Association of University Professors.  Adjunct professors make less than minimum wage, if holding office hours and grading papers is also taken into account, and must supplement their income with other jobs.  Many are on Medicaid and other public assistance.

Pay also varies considerably by field.  Corey could, at best, expect to make an average of $69,000.


Now that you know the steps to becoming a literature professor, would you want to do it?  Leave a comment below.  Comments close after 90 days.


Here’s the 4-1-1

Mr. Right is a Myth by Melina DrugaThis blog is a companion piece to The Rock Star’s Wife, a series about sex, family, and rock & roll.  The series has elements of chick lit, romance and erotica and is best compared to The Vagina Monologues for its frank talk of sex and its consequences.  The series follows Cassandra from her teenage years into her 40s as she navigates relationships (both romantic and platonic) — all with music playing a prominent roll.

Book two, Mr. Right is a Myth, debuts August 2023:  Co-ed Cassandra Economos has a plan.  Earn her degree then move into a Chicago penthouse.  If she can meet a guy who accepts her, high sex drive and all, that’s an added bonus.  But how many frogs must she kiss before she meets a prince?

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