English (Ph.D.)

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. Students may apply to the Ph.D. program with either a B.A. or M.A. degree. Students that apply with a B.A. will have the opportunity to receive an M.A. degree before the completion of their Ph.D. The application deadline is December 15, but every Ph.D. student must begin the program in the fall semester. The English Department requires that all applicants provide a statement of purpose indicating areas of research interest, at least two academic letters of reference, a sample of the student's scholarly or critical writing, and GRE General Test Scores.


The Ph.D. program requires ninety credits of course work beyond the B.A. degree, which must include:

  1. Sixty credits of course work (for students entering the program with an M.A., up to thirty credits may be transferred from another institution)
  2. Completion of distribution requirements within and outside concentration areas listed below
  3. Thirty credits of dissertation courses (ENG 9991, ENG 9992, ENG 9993, ENG 9994) taken in consecutive academic year semesters following the completion of regular course work and the Qualifying Exam
  4. All courses must be at the 7000- or 8000-level; permission from the Director of Graduate Studies is required to take courses at lower levels unless such courses are required by the English Department (e.g., ENG 6001, Pedagogical Practicum I, or ENG 6004, Pedagogical Practicum II, for graduate teaching assistants)

The Ph.D. program has three concentrations: Literary and Cultural Studies, Rhetoric and Composition Studies, and Film and Media Studies. Each doctoral student must select a concentration early enough in her or his program to fulfill the course distribution requirements, which include:

All new Ph.D. students are required to take the following introductory course:
Issues in Critical Theory (offered every fall term)
Select at least two courses in concentration 1
Select at least two courses outside concentration 2
Select at least two 8000-level seminars in concentration 3
Select at least one course focused on contemporary pedagogical theory and best practices in teaching 4
Teaching of Literary and Cultural Studies
The Teaching of Writing
Writing Technologies

Academic Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Graduate Teaching Assistants: Each Graduate Teaching Assistant must take ENG 6001, Pedagogical Practicum I, in the first semester in which she or he holds the assistantship, and ENG 6004, Pedagogical Practicum II, in the second semester in which she or he holds the assistantship.

Foreign Language Requirement: Demonstration of reading proficiency in at least one foreign language if directed to do so by an academic advisor based on the research topic of the dissertation. The preferred method for demonstrating proficiency is to pass a translation examination (for further details, consult the Director of Graduate Studies).

Final Qualifying Examination: One year before she or he plans to take the Qualifying Examination (QE), each student meets with her or his advisor to declare the field and emphasis in which she or he plans to be examined. Designated fields reflect the current division of the discipline as published by the Modern Language Association. Emphases are designed to underscore the necessity of embedding doctoral work in ongoing critical debates among the various disciplines and sub-disciplines that make up English studies. An emphasis should identify a topical or thematic category and/or articulate a theoretical or methodological approach. Students will also need to list two (or more) courses that support the declared emphasis. The student writes a brief description of her or his field and emphasis and the dissertation director presents this to the Department Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee selects the other two members of the QE Committee. The QE Committee then works with the student to construct a list of texts on which she or he is to be examined (roughly 100-120 texts). The exam itself should be scheduled no later than the semester following the completion of course work. The QE Committee composes questions for a six-hour written examination. Within one week after taking the written exam, the student then takes a ninety-minute oral examination. The student passes or fails the exam in its entirety. No later than one month after successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, the student selects a dissertation committee consisting of three members of the English Department graduate faculty and one appropriately qualified individual who is not a member of the English Department. Members of this committee may or may not have been members of the student's QE Committee.

Dissertation Defense: A final Public Lecture Presentation-Defense, after the dissertation has been completed, is also required.