Ph.D. in English

Students in the Ph.D. program in English undertake a program of study designed to train them to be productive scholars and teachers in their chosen fields. Course work exposes students to the important texts, current issues, and critical methodologies of the discipline. Drawing on the breadth of this preparation, students demonstrate their ability to recognize and produce scholarly arguments in the preliminary examination. In the third or fourth year, comprehensive exams require students to develop three defined areas of scholarly interest and competence corresponding to recognized and emerging fields of study. The dissertation provides an opportunity for designing a focused research project in consultation with a dissertation advisor. Throughout the program, faculty work closely with doctoral students to develop their scholarly and professional identities in preparation for careers in academia.

As they complete their studies, the department offers strong support to students for the academic job search, including workshops on stages from dissertation writing to the job market itself, individual advising, mock interviews, and a departmental dossier service. We have a high rate of placement for students conducting a national job search, and our graduates have obtained tenure-track positions at colleges and universities across the country, including Columbia College (Chicago); the Florida Institute of Technology; McKendree University; Park University (Missouri); Sterling College; Rhode Island College; Wesleyan College (Georgia); and the University of Puerto Rico; and visiting or postdoctoral positions at institutions including Duke University, Providence College, and West Point.

For complete information on requirements for and policies in the Ph.D. program, please consult the graduate booklet published by the Graduate School (PDF format). Please note the following update, which will be incorporated in the 2013-2014 graduate booklet. Starting with the 2013-2014 entering graduate student cohort, all PhD students will be required to enroll in ENGL 5103: Proseminar and ENGL 7392: Writing and the Teaching of Writing (descriptions below) during their first Fall semester. Petitions will be considered by the Graduate Studies Committee if you have already taken Proseminar or similar in a previous graduate program.

  • ENGL 5103: Proseminar

The proseminar, required for all graduate students in English, will introduce students to the history and current scholarly practices of English studies. The proseminar will survey theoretical, methodological, and institutional issues in the development of the discipline; introduce students to the research of the English department’s graduate faculty; and provide opportunities for the practice of key components of scholarly production, including formulating research questions, using databases, conducting literature reviews, and writing and presenting scholarship in common formats other than the long research paper, such as conference proposals, oral presentations, and book reviews.

  • ENGL 7392: Writing and the Teaching of Writing

Examines the theory and practice of writing and teaching writing. Required for stipended graduate assistants (SGAs) in their first year of teaching in the Writing Program in the English department.