Academic Catalog

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 who 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 January 15, and 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, two academic letters of reference, and a sample of the student's scholarly or critical writing. Applicants should also submit the English Department's Graduate Admissions form.

Please note that graduate admissions decisions are made by a committee and not by individual faculty members.


The Ph.D. program requires ninety credits of course work beyond the B.A. degree. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Major Requirements

  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 as listed below.
  3. Thirty credits of dissertation courses (ENG 9991ENG 9992ENG 9993ENG 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 6000-, 7000- or 8000-level; permission from the Director of Graduate Studies is required to take courses at lower levels.


The Ph.D. program has two concentrations: Literature, Culture, Media, and Writing; and Rhetoric and Writing Studies. Each doctoral student must select a concentration early enough in her or his program to fulfill the course distribution requirements.

An admissions moratorium has been approved for the Film and Media Studies concentration, effective Winter 2022.

Literature, Culture, Media and Writing

ENG 7001Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English3
At least two 2-credit-hour teaching practica 1

Students who are Graduate Teaching Assistants may substitute ENG 7850, Pedagogical Practicum I, or ENG 7860, Pedagogical Practicum II, for this requirement.

Rhetoric and Writing Studies

ENG 7062Designing Research in Composition and Rhetoric3
ENG 7007Composition Theory3
ENG 7061Rhetorical Theory3
ENG 8007Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition Studies3
ENG 7820Graduate Internship Practicum2
Two teaching practica at the 6000- or 7000- level
At least two courses from the following list:
Historical Studies in Composition and Rhetoric
The Teaching of Writing
Writing Technologies
Technical and Professional Communication
Two additional courses in English, Communication, or related field
Electives (transfer credit or additional courses in English or Communication)

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Each Graduate Teaching Assistant must take ENG 7850, Pedagogical Practicum I, in the first semester in which she or he holds the assistantship, and ENG 7860, Pedagogical Practicum II, in the fourth 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.

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