Ph. D. in English

Doctor of Philosophy in English

The Doctor of Philosophy degree represents the highest level of academic achievement formally recognized in the humanities. The degree is a symbol of distinguished standards of academic excellence and of mastery of advanced techniques in a discipline.

Our program of study leading to the Ph.D. is designed to prepare students for research and teaching and for positions of leadership in education and other fields. After analysis of the applicant's background and training, a graduate faculty member or the Director of Graduate Studies counsels the student in planning an appropriate program of study. Small graduate seminars enable students to develop the critical and investigative skills and insights necessary to successful scholarship, teaching, and leadership in education and other fields.

The doctoral degree in English is granted not only on the basis of successful completion of a definite number of prescribed courses but chiefly in recognition of the candidate's high attainments and ability as shown, first, by passing the required examinations in his or her general and special fields and, second, by the preparation of a dissertation.


Soon after admission to the program Ph.D. students should meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to evaluate their transcript of course work in the M.A. degree in relation to the courses required for the Ph.D.

The Director of Graduate Studies may also approve transfer credit for up to 15 hours of course work beyond the master's degree taken at another university.

Program of Study

  • Students must secure departmental approval for a program of courses, including a minimum of 90 hours beyond the baccalaureate (typically including 30 hours of M.A. course work, 30 hours of Ph.D. course work).
  • Work completed as part of a master's program and accepted as part of admission credentials may be included in the 90 hours.
  • Other transfer credit, to a maximum of 15 hours, will be evaluated by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Core and distribution requirements met at the M.A. level fulfill, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, the requirements at the Ph.D. level, freeing students to take electives to complete the 30 hours beyond the M.A. required for the Ph.D.

Time Limits

Students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree in nine years. If a student drops out of the program for more than one year without approval of a formal leave of absence, he or she must complete a re-entry application in order to continue.