Degree Requirements

Program Outline

Year One Coursework: All students in the first year of the program enroll in the PhD Colloquium, which is designed to introduce theoretical and practical questions posed by the student of literature. Additionally, students take six courses to meet period requirements (Medieval/Renaissance, 18th/19th-century, and 20th/21st-century).

Year Two Coursework: Students entering with an MA in English take two courses for letter grades. Students entering without a masters degree in English take six courses for letter grades. Some of the courses during the first and second year may be taken outside the department.

Foreign Language Requirement: By the end of their second year in the PhD program, students must meet the Department's foreign language requirement by successfully completing one of the following courses at this university: a one-quarter graduate course, or two undergraduate courses, in the literature of one language; a year of elementary-to-intermediate Latin or Greek; or a Language for Research Purposes course. Students often fulfill the language requirement through intensive summer language courses, which they can take as early as the summer preceding matriculation in the program.

Year Three: Students enroll in the Advanced Writing Workshop and a pedagogy course, Teaching Undergraduate English. The goal of the Advanced Writing Workshop is to sharpen students’ analytical thinking and writing skills and to prepare them for writing for publication and writing a dissertation. The pedagogy course prepares students for the various teaching opportunities that begin in the third year as course assistants, discussion leaders, and ultimately, lecturers in standalone courses.

By the end of year three, students complete their oral fields examinations and determine their dissertation committee.

Year Four: Students have the opportunity to gain a range of important teaching experience. In year four, students attend their first annual meeting with their committee members to plan for their dissertation proposal, outline a writing and research timeline, and receive other collaborative guidance. In order to be admitted to candidacy, students must have completed all coursework, including substantial paper requirements (with no outstanding grades or incompletes); have completed their foreign language requirement; have passed their oral fields exam; and have submitted an approved dissertation proposal to the Department.

Year Five and Beyond: Students in years four and beyond hold annual advisory meetings with their committee to discuss timelines and progress towards the dissertation defense. Students must complete one approved chapter per year in order to make satisfactory progress. However, it is expected that most students will complete and receive committee approval for two or more chapters per year. Students have the opportunity to teach standalone BA courses, work for the writing center, mentor English undergraduates writing BA theses, and more. More information about teaching opportunities can be found here.

Students in the Joint PhD Program in Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS) should consult the TAPS graduate degree requirements page and send any questions to the Director of Graduate Studies in TAPS.