phd in english programs

PhD Program in English Language and Literature

The department enrolls an average of ten PhD students each year. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package. We also offer a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical and cultural fields. Each student chooses a special committee that works closely along side the student to design a course of study within the very broad framework established by the department. The program is extremely flexible in regard to course selection, the design of examinations and the election of minor subjects of concentration outside the department. English PhD students pursuing interdisciplinary research may include on their special committees faculty members from related fields such as comparative literature, medieval studies, Romance studies, German studies, history, classics, women’s studies, linguistics, theatre and performing arts, government, philosophy, and film and video studies.

The PhD candidate is normally expected to complete six or seven one-semester courses for credit in the first year of residence and a total of six or seven more in the second and third years. The program of any doctoral candidate’s formal and informal study, whatever his or her particular interests, should be comprehensive enough to ensure familiarity with:

  • The authors and works that have been the most influential in determining the course of English, American, and related literatures
  • The theory and criticism of literature, and the relations between literature and other disciplines
  • Concerns and tools of literary and cultural history such as textual criticism, study of genre, source, and influence as well as wider issues of cultural production and historical and social contexts that bear on literature

Areas in which students may have major or minor concentrations include African-American literature, American literature to 1865, American literature after 1865, American studies (a joint program with the field of history), colonial and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies, dramatic literature, English poetry, the English Renaissance to 1660, lesbian, bisexual and gay literary studies, literary criticism and theory, the nineteenth century, Old and Middle English, prose fiction, the Restoration and the eighteenth century, the twentieth century, and women's literature.

By the time a doctoral candidate enters the fourth semester of graduate study, the special committee must decide whether he or she is qualified to proceed toward the PhD. Students are required to pass their Advancement to Candidacy Examination before their fourth year of study, prior to the dissertation.

PhD Program specifics can be viewed here: PhD Timeline PhD Procedural Guide

Special Committee

Every graduate student selects a special committee of faculty advisors who work intensively with the student in selecting courses and preparing and revising the dissertation. The committee is comprised of at least three Cornell faculty members: a chair, and typically two minor members usually from the English department, but very often representing an interdisciplinary field. The university system of special committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework established by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The special committee for each student guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress in a series of meetings with the students.

At Cornell, teaching is considered an integral part of training in academia. The field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience of at least one year for every doctoral candidate as part of the program requirements. The Department of English, in conjunction with the  John S. Knight Institute for Writing  in the Disciplines, offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching in the university-wide First-Year Writing Program. The courses are writing-intensive and may fall under such general rubrics as “Portraits of the Self,” “American Literature and Culture,” “Shakespeare,” and “Cultural Studies,” among others. A graduate student may also serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate lecture course taught by a member of the Department of English faculty.

Language Requirements

Each student and special committee will decide what work in foreign language is most appropriate for a student’s graduate program and scholarly interests. Some students’ doctoral programs require extensive knowledge of a single foreign language and literature; others require reading ability in two or more foreign languages. A student may be asked to demonstrate competence in foreign languages by presenting the undergraduate record, taking additional courses in foreign languages and literature, or translating and discussing documents related to the student’s work. Students are also normally expected to provide evidence of having studied the English language through courses in Old English, the history of the English language, grammatical analysis or the application of linguistic study to metrics or to literary criticism. Several departments at Cornell offer pertinent courses in such subjects as descriptive linguistics, psycholinguistics and the philosophy of language.

All PhD degree candidates are guaranteed five years of funding (including a stipend , a full tuition fellowship and student health insurance):

  • A first-year non-teaching fellowship
  • Two years of teaching assistantships
  • A fourth-year non-teaching fellowship for the dissertation writing year
  • A fifth-year teaching assistantship
  • Summer support for four years, including a first-year summer teaching assistantship, linked to a teachers’ training program at the Knight Institute. Summer residency in Ithaca is required.

Students have also successfully competed for Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship, Society for the Humanities Fellowships, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Shin Yong-Jin Graduate Fellowships, Provost’s Diversity Fellowships, fellowships in recognition of excellence in teaching, and grants from the Graduate School to help with the cost of travel to scholarly conferences and research collections.

Admission & Application Procedures

The application for Fall 2024 admission will open on September 15, 2023 and close at 11:59pm EST on December 1, 2023.

Our application process reflects the field’s commitment to considering the whole person and their potential to contribute to our scholarly community.  Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of academic preparation (e.g., performance in relevant courses, completion of substantive, independent research project). An applicant’s critical and creative potential will be considered: applicants should demonstrate interest in extensive research and writing and include a writing sample that reveals a capacity to argue persuasively, demonstrate the ability to synthesize a broad range of materials, as well as offer fresh insights into a problem or text. The committee will also consider whether an applicant demonstrates a commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity and offers a substantive explanation for why study at Cornell is especially compelling (e.g., a discussion of faculty research and foci). Admissions committees will consider the entire application carefully, including statements and critical writing, as well as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume/cv (if provided). Please view the requirements and procedures listed below, if you are interested in being considered for our PhD in English Language and Literature program.

Eligibility: Applicants must currently have, or expect to have, at least a BA or BS (or the equivalent) in any field before matriculation. International students, please verify degree equivalency here . Applicants are not required to meet a specified GPA minimum.

To Apply: All applications and supplemental materials must be submitted online through the Graduate School application system . While completing your application, you may save and edit your data. Once you click submit, your application will be closed for changes. Please proofread your materials carefully. Once you pay and click submit, you will not be able to make any changes or revisions.

Deadline: December 1st, 11:59pm EST.  This deadline is firm. No applications, additional materials, or revisions will be accepted after the deadline.

PhD Program Application Requirements Checklist

  • Academic Statement of Purpose Please describe (within 1000 words) in detail the substantive research questions you are interested in pursuing during your graduate studies and why they are significant. Additionally, make sure to include information about any training or research experience that you believe has prepared you for our program. You should also identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own specific questions.  Note that the identification of faculty is important; you would be well advised to read selected faculty’s recent scholarship so that you can explain why you wish to study with them. Do not rely on the courses they teach.  Please refrain from contacting individual faculty prior to receiving an offer of admission.
  • Personal Statement Please describe (within 1000 words) how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and the research you wish to conduct.  Explain, for example the meaning and purpose of the PhD in the context of your personal history and future aspirations.  Please note that we will pay additional attention to candidates who identify substantial reasons to obtain a PhD beyond the pursuit of an academic position. Additionally, provide insight into your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn (productively and positively) together.
  • Critical Writing Sample Your academic writing sample must be between 3,000 and 7,500 words (12-30 pages), typed and double-spaced. We accept excerpts from longer works, or a combination of shorter works.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation We require 3 letters of recommendation.  At the time of application, you will be allowed to enter up to 4 recommenders in the system.  Your application will be considered “Complete” when we have received at least 3 letters of recommendation.   Letters of recommendation are due December 1 . Please select three people who best know you and your work. Submitting additional letters will not enhance your application. In the recommendation section of the application, you must include the email address of each recommender. After you save the information (and before you pay/submit), the application system will automatically generate a recommendation request email to your recommender with instructions for submitting the letter electronically. If your letters are stored with a credential service such as Interfolio, please use their Online Application Delivery feature and input the email address assigned to your stored document, rather than that of your recommender’s. The electronic files will be attached to your application when they are received and will not require the letter of recommendation cover page.
  • Transcripts Scan transcripts from each institution you have attended, or are currently attending, and upload into the academic information section of the application. Be sure to remove your social security number from all documents prior to scanning. Please do not send paper copies of your transcripts. If you are subsequently admitted and accept, the Graduate School will require an official paper transcript from your degree-awarding institution prior to matriculation.
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency. For more information, please view the  Graduate School’s English Language Requirement .
  • GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test are NO LONGER REQUIRED, effective starting with the 2019 application In March 2019, the faculty of English voted overwhelmingly to eliminate all GRE requirements (both general and subject test) for application to the PhD program in English. GRE scores are not good predictors of success or failure in a PhD program in English, and the uncertain predictive value of the GRE exam is far outweighed by the toll it takes on student diversity. For many applicants the cost of preparing for and taking the exam is prohibitively expensive, and the exam is not globally accessible. Requiring the exam narrows our applicant pool at precisely the moment we should be creating bigger pipelines into higher education. We need the strength of a diverse community in order to pursue the English Department’s larger mission: to direct the force of language toward large and small acts of learning, alliance, imagination, and justice.

General Information for All Applicants

Application Fee: Visit the Graduate School for information regarding application fees, payment options, and fee waivers .

Document Identification: Please do not put your social security number on any documents.

Status Inquiries:  Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email. You will also be able to check the completion status of your application in your account. If vital sections of your application are missing, we will notify you via email after the Dec. 1 deadline and allow you ample time to provide the missing materials. Please do not inquire about the status of your application.

Credential/Application Assessments:  The Admission Review Committee members are unable to review application materials or applicant credentials prior to official application submission. Once the committee has reviewed applications and made admissions decisions, they will not discuss the results or make any recommendations for improving the strength of an applicant’s credentials. Applicants looking for feedback are advised to consult with their undergraduate advisor or someone else who knows them and their work.

Review Process:  Application review begins after the submission deadline. Notification of admissions decisions will be made by email by the end of February.

Connecting with Faculty and/or Students: Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries we receive, faculty and current students are not available to correspond with potential applicants prior to an offer of admission. Applicants who are offered admission will have the opportunity to meet faculty and students to have their questions answered prior to accepting. Staff and faculty are also not able to pre-assess potential applicant’s work outside of the formal application process. Please email [email protected] instead, if you have questions.

Visiting: The department does not offer pre-admission visits or interviews. Admitted applicants will be invited to visit the department, attend graduate seminars and meet with faculty and students before making the decision to enroll.

Transfer Credits:  Students matriculating with an MA degree may, at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, receive credit for up to two courses once they begin our program.

For Further Information

Contact [email protected]

Ph.D. Program

Click  here for the Handbook for Graduate Study in English .  This document includes departmental policies and procedures concerned with graduate study.

The Berkeley English Department offers a wide-ranging Ph.D. program, engaging in all historical periods of British and American literature, Anglophone literature, and critical and cultural theory. The program aims to assure that students gain a broad knowledge of literature in English as well as the highly-developed skills in scholarship and criticism necessary to do solid and innovative work in their chosen specialized fields.

Please note that the department does not offer a Master’s Degree program or a degree program in Creative Writing. Students can, however, petition for an M.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing upon completion of the Ph.D. course requirements (one of which must be a graduate writing workshop) and submission of a body of creative work.

Students interested in combining a Ph.D. in English with studies in another discipline may pursue Designated Emphases or Concurrent Degrees in a number of different fields

Normative time to complete the program is six years. The first two years are devoted to fulfilling the course and language requirements. The third year is spent preparing for and taking the Ph.D. oral qualifying examination. The fourth through sixth years are devoted to researching and writing the prospectus and dissertation.

The general goal of the first two years is to assure that the students have a broad and varied knowledge of the fields of British and American literature in their historical dimensions, and are also familiar with a wide range of literary forms, critical approaches, and scholarly methods. Students will complete twelve courses distributed as follows:

  • 1) English 200, “Problems in the Study of Literature”
  • 2) Medieval through 16 th -Century
  • 3) 17 th - through 18 th -Century
  • 4) 19 th -Century
  • 5) 20 th -Century
  • 6) a course organized in terms other than chronological coverage.
  • 7-12) Elective courses.

(A thirteenth required course in pedagogy can be taken later.) Students who have done prior graduate course work may transfer up to three courses for credit toward the 12-course requirement. Up to five of the 12 courses may be taken in other departments.

Students must demonstrate either proficiency in two foreign languages or advanced knowledge in one foreign language before the qualifying examination. There are no "canonical languages" in the department. Rather, each specifies which languages are to count, how they relate to the student's intellectual interests, and on which level knowledge is to be demonstrated. "Proficiency" is understood as the ability to translate (with a dictionary) a passage of about 300 words into idiomatic English prose in ninety minutes. The proficiency requirement may also be satisfied by completing one upper-division or graduate literature course in a foreign language. The advanced knowledge requirement is satisfied by completing two or three literature courses in the language with a grade of "B" or better.

At the end of the second year each student’s record is reviewed in its entirety to determine whether or not he or she is able and ready to proceed to the qualifying exam and the more specialized phase of the program.

The Qualifying Examination

Students are expected to take the qualifying examination within one year after completing course and language requirements. The qualifying exam is oral and is conducted by a committee of five faculty members. The exam lasts approximately two hours and consists of three parts: two comprehensive historical fields and a third field which explores a topic in preparation for the dissertation. The exam is meant both as a culmination of course work and as a test of readiness for the dissertation.

The Prospectus and Dissertation

The prospectus consists of an essay and bibliography setting forth the nature of the research project, its relation to existing scholarship and criticism on the subject, and its anticipated value. Each candidate must have a prospectus conference with the members of their committee and the Graduate Chair to discuss the issues outlined in the proposal and to give final approval to the project. The prospectus should be approved within one or two semesters following the qualifying exam.

The dissertation is the culmination of the student's graduate career and is expected to be a substantial and original work of scholarship or criticism. Students within normative time complete the dissertation in their fourth through sixth years.

Ph.D. Program

The Stanford English department has a long tradition of training the next generation of scholars to become leaders in academia and related fields. Our Ph.D. program encourages the production of ambitious, groundbreaking dissertation work across the diverse field interests of our prestigious faculty.

Fusing deep attention to literary history with newer approaches to media, technology, and performance, our department carefully mentors students in both scholarship and pedagogy through close interaction with faculty. Our location on the edge of the Pacific and at the heart of Silicon Valley encourages expansive, entrepreneurial thinking about the interpenetration of arts and sciences.

Program Overview

The English Department seeks to teach and promote an understanding of both the significance and the history of British and American literature (broadly defined) and to foster an appreciation of the richness and variety of texts in the language. It offers rigorous training in interpretive thinking and precise expression. Our English graduate program features the study of what imaginative language, rhetoric, and narrative art has done, can do, and will do in life, and it focuses on the roles creative writing and representations play in almost every aspect of modern experience. Completing the Ph.D. program prepares a student for full participation as a scholar and literary critic in the profession.

Financial Support

We offer an identical five-year funding package to all admitted students with competitive funding available for a sixth year. Funding covers applicable tuition costs, Stanford Cardinal Care health insurance, and living expenses in the form of direct stipend, teaching assistantships or pre-doctoral research assistantships. The department, in conjunction with the School of Humanities and Sciences, is also committed to supporting students' involvement in professional activities and funds many of the expenses for research travel, summer language study, and participation in academic conferences. Student housing is not included in the funding package.

In addition to our standard doctoral funding package, the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) provides competitive funding to support individual doctoral students, student groups, and department-based projects. VPGE funding opportunities promote innovation, diversity, and excellence in graduate education. Explore their doctoral  fellowship  and other student  funding  opportunities.

The  Knight-Hennessy Scholars  program cultivates and supports a highly-engaged, multidisciplinary and multicultural community of graduate students from across Stanford University, and delivers a diverse collection of educational experiences, preparing graduates to address complex challenges facing the world. Knight-Hennessy Scholars participate in an experiential leadership development program known as the King Global Leadership Program and receive funding for up to three years of graduate study at Stanford. Two applications must be submitted separately; one to Knight-Hennessy and one to the Stanford English graduate degree program by its deadline. Please refer to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program page to learn more and apply.

Teaching Requirements

One pedagogical seminar and four quarters of supervised teaching. Typically a student will teach three times as a teaching assistant in a literature course. For the fourth course, students will have the option of applying to design and teach a Writing Intensive Seminar in English (WISE) for undergraduate English majors or teaching a fourth quarter as a T.A..

  • 1st year: One quarter as T.A. (leading 1-2 discussion sections of undergraduate literature)
  • 2nd year: One quarter as T.A. (leading 1-2 discussion sections of undergraduate literature)
  • 3rd/4th/5th years: Two quarters of teaching, including the possibility of TA'ing or teaching a WISE course.

Language requirements

All candidates for the Ph.D. degree must demonstrate a reading knowledge of two foreign languages. One language requirement must be completed during the first year of study. The second language must be completed before the oral examination in the third year.

Candidates in the earlier periods must offer Latin and one of the following languages: French, German, Greek, Italian or Spanish. Candidates in the later period (that is, after the Renaissance) must demonstrate a reading knowledge of two languages for which  Stanford’s Language Center  regularly offers a reading course, administers a competency exam, or facilitates the administration of an American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Reading Proficiency Test (ACTFL RPT). In all cases, the choice of languages offered must be relevant to the student’s field of study and must have the approval of the candidate's adviser. Any substitution of a language other than one for which Stanford offers a competency exam must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Other requirements

All candidates for the Ph.D. must satisfactorily complete the following:

  • 135 units, at least 70 of which (normally 14 courses) must be graded course work
  • Qualifying examination, based on a reading guide of approximately 70-90 works, to be taken orally at the end of the summer after the first year of graduate work.
  • University oral examination covering the field of concentration taken no later than the winter quarter of the third year of study.
  • Submission of the dissertation prospectus
  • First chapter review with the dissertation advisor and the members of the dissertation reading committee.
  • Dissertation, which should be an original work of literary criticism demonstrating the student's ability to participate fully as a scholar and literary critic in the profession.
  • Closing colloquium designed to look forward toward the next steps; identify the major accomplishments of the dissertation and the major questions/issues/problems that remain; consider possibilities for revision, book or article publication, etc.

Best English Programs

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Earning a master's degree or

Earning a master's degree or doctorate in English can improve your writing skills, sharpen your analytical abilities and broaden your literary knowledge. These are the top schools for a graduate degree in English. Each school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. Read the methodology »

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Department of English

Doctoral program.

  • Graduate Studies

Brown's doctoral program in English offers professional training in literary criticism, critical theory, intellectual history, and all aspects of research and pedagogy in the humanities.

We promote the analysis of imaginative forms, cultural logics, and literary and visual rhetorics across the Anglophone world.  Our students are encouraged to think outside traditional conceptions of the discipline of literary studies, and often work with a diverse range of faculty, departments, and centers at Brown. Partner units include the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, the Pembroke Center, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Center for Contemporary South Asia, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Departments of Modern Culture and Media, Comparative Literature, History, American Studies, Africana Studies, Literary Arts, French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Brazilian and Portuguese Studies, the History of Art and Architecture, and Music.

The first two years of the doctoral program are devoted to course work and the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement. We expect graduate students to take the Qualifying Examination by the end of the third year. Their remaining time in the program is given to the writing of the dissertation. We expect this project to involve research and to demonstrate the potential to become a book or series of articles during the early years of the student’s career as a college or university professor.

Brown’s doctoral program trains graduate students to become teachers as well as researchers. Thus we require that, with some exceptions, our students teach for three years as assistants to members of the English Department faculty and as instructors of sections of ENGL0900 ( formerly ENGL0110 ) Critical Reading and Writing I: The Academic Essay, and ENGL0200 Seminars in Writing, Literatures, and Cultures. This teaching begins in the second year of the program. As part of their course work all students are required to take ENGL2950 Seminar in Pedagogy and Composition Theory. To help develop their teaching skills, we assign students to a variety of teaching positions, from assistant in a large course to instructor of a virtually autonomous workshop. We are convinced that the intellectual relationship between teaching and research is one that stands a college or university teacher in good stead for the duration of his or her career, and we try to establish this relationship early on by assigning graduate students, whenever possible, to teach courses related to their general area of research, and to work with faculty who may serve as appropriate mentors.

Course Requirements

Thirteen courses.

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to take a minimum of thirteen courses. These courses are typically distributed as follows:

  • Six courses in the first year (one of which is the required Proseminar*)
  • Five in the second year. ENGL2950 Seminar in Pedagogy and Composition Theory is taken by all students during their second year of graduate studies.
  • Two in the third year. The two courses taken in the third year can be independent studies designed to help students prepare for the qualifying exam.

Among the thirteen courses, students must take one in each of the following areas:

  • Medieval and Early Modern Literatures and Cultures
  • Enlightenment and the Rise of National Literatures and Cultures
  • Modern and Contemporary Literatures and Cultures

Graduate students are also required to take one course during their first year of study that focuses on race and empire, which can also satisfy one of the three area requirements listed above.

*First-year graduate students are required to take ENGL2210. This Proseminar aims to familiarize students with contemporary critical debates and stances in the wider discipline, engage with current methodologies, theories, and analytical tensions and address issues of professionalization as they relate to the first years of graduate work.

Foreign Language

Foreign language competence and courses in particular areas of specialization are required.

Ph.D. candidates can satisfy the language requirement by demonstrating an ability to use a foreign language in their scholarly and critical work. The department offers its own language exams. Students may ordinarily choose any language  appropriate to their research interests, but some fields within English and American literature have specific requirements.

Professionalization Seminars

Throughout the year, the Department plans a series of seminars that address a variety of timely academic topics that are meant to enhance the students' professional development , as well as expose them to important elements of an academic career. The seminars are usually led by faculty members, and the topics are determined each year by the Graduate Committee. Students in all years are strongly recommended to attend the professionalization seminars since they are a constitutive part of graduate formation.

Learn about Professional Development

Masters from Another Institution

In their second year at Brown, students who already have an A.M. (or M.A.) in English or graduate credit from another institution may transfer up to one year’s coursework toward the requirements for the Ph.D. at the discretion of the department.

Qualifying Examination

The purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to certify your mastery of the scholarly field in which you have chosen to specialize. It consists of two components:

  • Written Component—an essay of approximately 20 pages representing your best scholarly work to date and submitted to your committee by September 15 of your third year, and
  • Oral Examination—the oral exam is given by a committee of three faculty members chosen by the candidate; it lasts approximately two hours. The exam is taken by April 15 of the third year. The foreign language requirement must be completed in order to take the exam. See the Graduate Student Handbook for detailed guidelines.

Dissertation

The dissertation is a substantial work of criticism and scholarship that makes a contribution to professionally recognized areas of literary study. The dissertation process begins when the candidate’s proposal and first chapter are approved by a committee in his or her field and accepted by the Director of Graduate Studies. It concludes when the completed dissertation is presented to a committee of three faculty members, including the dissertation director, and successfully defended in discussion with the committee and other interested members of the department.

See Past Dissertation Topics

Financial Assistance

The University offers incoming graduate students six years of guaranteed financial support, including a stipend, tuition remission, a health services fee, and a health insurance subsidy. Students are supported by a fellowship in the first year. In years two, three, five, and six, students are supported by a teaching assistantship, and in year four by a dissertation fellowship. Financial support is contingent upon students remaining in good standing in the program and making good progress toward the doctoral degree.

Applications & Deadlines

Applications must be submitted electronically via the  Graduate School's website .

  • The deadline for applications is  December 15, 2023 .
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general and subject tests are not required.
  • Application materials should not be sent directly to the English Department.

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Top 5 Best PhD Programs in English [2024]

Lisa Marlin

Earning a PhD in English makes you an expert in language, literature, communication, research, critical thinking, and academic presentation. This qualification opens doors to a successful and well-paid career in a broad range of fields, including teaching, research, and media.

Read on for everything you need to know about the best PhD programs in English and the universities that provide them, along with career prospects, salaries, alternative streams, as well as pros and cons.

Table of Contents

Best PhD Programs in English

Harvard university, the graduate school of arts and sciences.

Harvard University logo

Graduate Program in English

Acceptance rate: 5%

Harvard University  is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The oldest institution of higher learning in the country, it was founded in 1636 and is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. This exclusive institution has an acceptance rate of only 5%.

It has one of the best English PhD programs in the the world. It is an integrated program that includes both a Masters of Arts in English as well as a PhD. It can take anywhere between four and seven years to complete, ending with a doctoral dissertation. The program will give you deep insight into the English language and literature, with an emphasis on cultural and critical theory. It will also equip you with exceptional skills in writing, helping you excel at conference presentations, teaching, and academic work.

The program has a tiered fee structure  where the fees reduce over time, and various forms of funding and financial aid  are available.

Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences

Stanford university logo

PhD in English Program

Acceptance rate:  4%

The second Ivy-League school on our list, Stanford University is a private research university located in Stanford, California. It was founded in 1885 and today is a world-renowned and highly competitive institution, with an acceptance rate of 4%. The university’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley gives it a uniquely entrepreneurial approach to arts and sciences.

Stanford has one of the best PhD English programs in the country, with a focus on literary history. The program follows new approaches to technology, media, and performance to help students become scholars and literary critics. You’ll be required to complete a dissertation at the end of the program.

There are many options for fellowships  and funding  available. In fact, 80% of all Stanford students receive some form of financial assistance.

Cornell University, The Department of Literatures in English

Cornell University logo

PhD Program in English Language and Literature

Acceptance rate: 8.7%

Cornell University, based in Ithaca, New York, is a private Ivy League university and a land-grant institution. It was established in 1865 and offers exceptional educational opportunities for students at various levels, and has an acceptance rate of 8.7%.

Cornell’s PhD in English in English Language and Literature offers a range of concentrations, including African American literature, American literature, English poetry, colonial literature, and cultural studies. The program is very flexible, and students can choose electives from various fields such as German studies, women’s studies, linguistics, and philosophy. Since the program only accepts around 10 students each year, the school offers funding  to everyone admitted.

The University of Texas at Austin, Department of English

University of Texas logo

PhD Program in English

Acceptance rate: 32%

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university that offers affordable education to a diverse student population. Established in 1883 and located in Austin, Texas, the university has an acceptance rate of 32%.

Its PhD program in English has a strong focus on research, mentoring and training for pedagogy, and benefits from resources from both the Department of English and the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. The program takes at least three years to complete, with an average annual intake of between 10-12 students. Full funding  for up to six years is available through teaching assistantships and fellowships.

The University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Science

Peen State logo

PhD in English

Acceptance rate:  9%

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is a private, Ivy-League research university. Founded in 1740, it is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the Declaration of Independence. The university has an acceptance rate of 9%.

Their PhD in English gives students a broad understanding of English and American literature. The program has a much broader vision than just submitting dissertations and passing exams; rather, it encourages students to actively participate in the intellectual and social community of the department to produce a collective body of knowledge. The tuition  per academic year is $37,678, and the university offers various funding options .

What Jobs Can You Get with a PhD in English?

Having a PhD in English leads to a broad range of career opportunities. You could work in the fields of education, writing, publishing, research, or government, among others.

Here are some of the most common roles for professionals holding a doctorate in English, with annual median salaries for each:

  • English Professor, Post-secondary/Higher Education ( $88,934 ):  A post-secondary or higher education professor delivers lectures to students, tutors them, and assists them with their research and dissertations. They may also conduct academic research.
  • Correspondent ( $81,965 ):  A correspondent works for a media organization or agency to provide news reports for print and digital media.
  • Public Relations (PR) Manager ( $71,632 ):  Public relations managers are responsible for maintaining a positive public image of their organization. To do this, they may oversee PR campaigns, deal with the media, and develop branding strategies.
  • Research Analyst ( $57,562 ) : A research analyst analyzes large amounts of data to draw conclusions and validate or disprove certain assumptions or theories.
  • Fundraising Manager ( $55,460 ):  A fundraising manager works for an organization, typically a non-profit to generate funds through grants and donations. They may conduct campaigns, write grant applications, and communicate with a range of stakeholders.
  • Editor ( $55,297 ):  An editor reviews written content to correct errors in grammar, spelling, structure, and style before it is published.

Pros and Cons of English PhD Programs

A PhD in English could be a valuable qualification that puts you on track for your dream career, but it’s not for everyone. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of completing a PhD in English that you should keep in mind.

Pros of Studying a PhD in English:

  • Make a Valuable Contribution: When you study for an English PhD, you have the chance to explore uncharted waters in the literary and language sphere. You’ll conduct independent research to come up with original findings that will add to the existing knowledge in the field.
  • Qualify for a Higher-level Job:  A PhD in English will enable you to apply for roles that are simply out of reach if you only have a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
  • Professional Networking Opportunities:  A PhD in English can advance your career and put you in constant contact with high-level professionals in the field. This can help you become part of an elite professional community, especially if you gain your doctorate from one of the best universities for English majors.

Cons of an English PhD:

  • S olitary Pursuit:  Unlike a master’s, studying a PhD involves a great deal of independent research. You will often work alone on your project, without much opportunity to interact with other students.
  • Limited Job Openings:  While earning a PhD in English can help you apply to some well-paid jobs, these roles are often limited.
  • Tough Competition for Admission: Getting admitted to a PhD program is not as easy as it is for a master’s degree. Doctorate programs have very strict admission requirements, and you’ll need a high GPA and strong GRE scores  to get into the best English grad schools for PhD

Alternatives to a PhD English

Just because you have a bachelor’s or master’s in English doesn’t mean you have to get your PhD in English. You may get a taste for a related discipline while pursuing your master’s.

You have a range of options for doctorates that will help you to pursue similar career paths. For example, you can go for a PhD in Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, or Education .

Frequently Asked Questions about PhD in English Programs

What salary can i get with a phd in english.

Having a PhD in English can lead to a broad range of career options, with various salary brackets depending on the exact role, as well as your level of experience. Having said that, the annual median salary for English PhDs is $60,000 .

Which PhD is Best After an MA in English?

After completing your MA in English , you may pursue a PhD in one of the many options available, such as literature, linguists, or teaching English as a foreign language. It all depends on your personal preferences and passions.

Is a PhD in English Worth It?

There is no doubt that a PhD in English will help advance your career and attract a better salary than most master’s degree holders, especially if your degree is from one of the best schools for English majors. If you are determined and willing to pay in the time and effort, you will enjoy the pay off in the long run.

What Can I Do After Finishing My PhD in English?

With a doctorate in English, you’ll enjoy a range of opportunities in various fields. You may work in academia, the publishing industry, or the media. This advanced degree can also lead to jobs in the government and research sectors, or you may choose to pursue an independent career as a writer or lexicographer.

Final Thoughts

A doctorate in English will not only make you an expert in language and literature, but it will also help you hone your critical thinking skills and build valuable professional connections.

The best PhD programs in English will give you a valuable qualification, as well as the option to focus on your preferred specialization. Specializations can vary greatly from one English PhD program to another, so be sure to do your research and find a school amidst the list of the top English PhD programs that best suits your passions and ideal career path. Don’t just look at the top three best English programs in the US; instead, look for programs that have courses you’re interested in.

If you’re looking for a flexible option that will allow you to earn your doctorate while balancing work and personal commitments,  take a look at our list of the top 20 online PhDs .

Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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Department of English

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The Department of English offers a program leading to the PhD degree in literatures in English. The department is small in numbers and its graduate students are carefully selected on the basis of their professional distinction as teachers, critics, and scholars. Because of its small size, the department affords students exceptionally focused attention.

The department accepts only full-time students for the PhD. Continuance beyond each of the first three years depends on satisfactory performance in the graduate seminars and passing two foreign language examinations. Students who successfully continue are awarded an MA degree in the course of the PhD program, but the department does not offer a separate master’s program. Students proceed to the dissertation after successfully passing a qualifying examination in the third year.

The PhD in English literature at Johns Hopkins consists of two years of course work and three years devoted to the research and writing of a dissertation. Students who remain in good standing will be guaranteed the same level of financial support for the full five years.

Facilities for Research

The cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., jointly contain a large collection of manuscripts and printed books. Major libraries and museums in Baltimore possess more than a thousand early manuscripts and 3 million books. The 12 million books and numerous manuscripts in the Library of Congress are supplemented in Washington by many specialized collections, notably those of the Folger Shakespeare Library, with which the university is affiliated. Opportunities for research in those libraries are open to students in the English department.

The Tudor and Stuart Club, along with a number of other outstanding lecture series within the university, enables students to learn about advances in research, criticism, and theory, and to confer with leading scholars.

The Journal Club is a departmental series in which students present to the department papers drawn from their dissertation research.

The University of Texas at Austin

English Ph.D.

The Ph.D. program in English at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest and best doctoral programs of its kind. Ranked in the top 20 English Graduate Programs by U.S. News & World Report , our program offers students intensive research mentoring and pedagogical training in the vibrant setting that is Austin, Texas. In addition, all admitted English PhD students receive six years of full funding .

Drawing on the resources of two units, the Department of English and the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, our program has at its center a dynamic and dedicated faculty of over 60 .

While the Ph.D. program is housed in and administered by the Department of English , the Department of Rhetoric and Writing is a crucial partner in helping to educate our shared students. The make-up of each cohort of students mirrors our unusual interdepartmental collaboration: each year we accept 10-12 students in literature and 4 in rhetoric and digital literacies.

One of the distinguishing features of our program is its collegiality and sense of shared purpose. Students and faculty work collaboratively on a number of departmental and university-wide committees, participate actively in reading and writing groups, and treat one another with respect.

Our program is engaged not only in meeting the challenges of a complex, rapidly changing academic discipline but also in helping to shape it. Our graduate courses examine relationships between writing and other cultural practices and explore the social, historical, rhetorical, and technological processes by which literature and other discourses are constituted. While we take seriously our responsibility to help train the next generation of the professoriate—that is, to cultivate scholarship, effective teaching, and collegiality—we also encourage our students to think of their training and their futures in the broadest terms possible.

Requirements

  • Foreign Language Requirement
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All students, regardless of whether they enter with a BA or MA, are required to complete 39 hours of formal graduate coursework taken for a grade before the end of their third year. These 39 hours must include:

  • E384K Disciplinary Inquiries, which is taken in the first semester. It may not include other courses under the E384 course number.
  • At least one 3-hour seminar on pre-1800 material
  • At least one 3-hour seminar on post-1800 material
  • At least 3 hours, but no more than 9 hours, taken out of department. Out-of-department courses include: undergraduate English courses taken for graduate credit, creative writing workshops or Literature for Writers courses with the New Writers Project, and supervised study conference courses arranged with individual faculty members.

These curricular requirements ensure that students encounter a wide range of courses, faculty, and texts during their time at UT, extending well beyond their specialized area of interest. Students choose coursework in consultation with the Associate Graduate Advisor, who may allow substitutions for English courses in cases where alternate coursework is needed to supplement departmental offerings. This alternate coursework could take the form of the out-of-department courses listed above. Such substitutions may be warranted in cases where a student is pursuing a portfolio in an interdisciplinary unit such as CWGS, MALS, or AADS; where the English department offers few courses in the student’s area of interest; or where the student needs to pursue a foreign language for research purposes. We encourage students to investigate portfolio options early in their career so they can integrate those courses as soon as possible. Some portfolios require 12 hours of coursework; in those cases, the Associate Graduate Advisor will grant an exception to the 9-hour limit on out-of-department courses.

Students who hold the position of AI are also required to take RHE398T, which is usually taken during the fall semester of their third year, or when a graduate student teaches RHE306 for the first time. RHE398T does not count toward the required 39 hours of formal graduate coursework.

Beginning in their third year of the program, students have the option of enrolling in additional seminars inside or outside the department, choosing whether to take these courses for a grade or for Credit/No Credit.  They can also enroll in E384L Scholarly Publication (usually taken in or after the third year) and E384M Professional Outcomes (usually taken in or after the fourth year). Students take these two courses for Credit/No Credit. The graduate program encourages students to continue enrolling in optional courses throughout their years as a PhD student, while they are reading for exams and planning and writing a dissertation.

In the spring of year three, students must pass the  Third-Year Examination , which tests their knowledge of and engagement with chosen fields of specialization. Students will be examined on either a fixed reading list or a reading list developed by three faculty members in collaboration with the student. The list will contain 60-80 primary and/or secondary texts. The Third-Year Examination consists of a written and an oral component. The written component consists of: 1) a 1000- to 2000-word intellectual rationale for the list; 2) an annotated version of the list (at least 1/3 of the texts with an annotation of 100 words or more each); and 3) two syllabi based on the list—the first for a survey course, the second for an upper-division seminar. Students will then sit for a two-hour oral examination during which the committee will ask questions about both the written materials and the students’ comprehension of the reading list.

The  Prospectus Examination  grants students an opportunity to receive formal feedback from three faculty members on their proposed dissertation project. Students work closely with faculty to write and revise a 15- to 20-page prospectus. Once the faculty members are ready to sign off on the document, an oral Prospectus Examination is scheduled. Students are encouraged to pass the Prospectus Examination by the end of the fall semester of their fourth year in the program.

Doctoral Candidacy  is achieved when students have successfully completed the Third-Year and Prospectus Examinations; fulfilled the foreign language requirement (see below); and identified a dissertation committee of at least four faculty members, one of whom needs to be from another graduate program or institution. All students must spend at least two long semesters, or one long semester and one summer, in candidacy before earning their degree.

The last milestone for the Ph.D. is the  Final Oral Defense , otherwise known as the dissertation defense.  In general, faculty will not schedule a defense until the dissertation is completed and ready for critical engagement.

Students working toward a Ph.D. in English at UT Austin are expected to pursue courses of language study relevant to their individual professional trajectories, as determined in consultation between students themselves; their faculty mentors; and graduate program advisor(s).

Student progress toward appropriate levels of competence will be assessed by means of a four-part  Foreign Language Audit  according to the following schedule:

Fall semester of the first year: Foreign Language Interview with the associate graduate advisor to review prior training, assess current levels of expertise, and, if necessary, begin developing an appropriate language study agenda.

Spring semester of the second year: as part of the Second-Year Reflection, students complete a first Language Study Check-in with the graduate advisor(s) and their faculty sponsor, to ensure that appropriate progress has been made toward execution of the agenda with alteration or addition in light of subfield expectations and project directions.

Spring semester of the third year (in most cases): as part of the Third-Year Exam, students will complete a second Language Study Check-in, this time with their exam committee, to determine whether satisfactory progress has been achieved on their language study agenda, again with alteration or addition in light of subfield expectations and project directions.

Fourth year (in most cases): as part of the Prospectus Exam, students will finalize their Foreign Language Audit. This will involve discussion with the exam committee, along with presentation of all necessary evidence to demonstrate that the language study agenda has been fulfilled. If, in the judgment of the committee, requisite levels of language competence have not been achieved, student and committee will agree upon a binding plan for fulfillment, during which period the student shall remain on probationary status with regard to the Foreign Language Requirement. Successful fulfillment of the Foreign Language Audit must be achieved before the student advances to Ph.D. candidacy.

Notes: Some students will enter the program with sufficient foreign language skills for their course of study (e.g. either compelling evidence of literate knowledge of a language other than English, such as a high school degree from a school in a non-English speaking country, or four or more semesters at the college level of a language other than English with a grade of B or better in the last semester, or its equivalent). These students will not need to complete the final three steps of the FLA.

Program Administration

Associate Chair & Graduate Adviser: Gretchen Murphy

Associate Graduate Adviser (Literature):  Julie Minich

Associate Graduate Adviser (Rhetoric): Scott Graham

Graduate Studies Chair: Tanya Clement

Graduate Program Administrator:  Patricia Schaub

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The graduate program in English provides you with a broad knowledge in the discipline, including critical and cultural theory and literary history. This solid foundation enables you to choose your own path based on the wide variety of areas of concentration. Our flexible program allows you to take courses outside the department to further explore your chosen field(s). Our program emphasizes excellence in writing, innovative scholarship, and eloquent presentations—important skills you will need in your future profession. The program and its faculty are committed both to diversity in its student body and in the diversity of thought and scholarship.

Examples of student theses and dissertations include “The Write to Stay Home: Southern Black Literature from the Great Depression to Early Twenty-first Century,” “Profaning Theater: The Drama of Religion on the Modernists Stage,” and “Sentimental Borders: Genre and Geography in the Literature of Civil War and Reconstruction.”

Graduates have secured faculty positions at institutions such as Brown University, Columbia University, and University of California, Los Angeles. Others have begun their careers with leading organizations such as Google and McKinsey & Company.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of English and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies .

Areas of Study

Unspecified | Medieval | Renaissance/Early Modern | 18th Century/Enlightenment | 19th Century British/Romantics/Victorian | Early American (to 1900) | 20th Century British | 20th Century American | Criticism and Theory | The English Language | Transnational Anglophone/Postcolonial | African American Literature | Drama | Poetry

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of English .

Writing Sample

The writing samples (one primary and one secondary) are highly significant parts of the application. Applicants should submit 2 double-spaced, 15-page papers of no more than 5,000 words each, in 12-point type with 1-inch margins. The writing samples must be examples of critical writing (rather than creative writing) on subjects directly related to English. Applicants should not send longer papers with instructions to read an excerpt or excerpts but should edit the samples themselves so that they submit only 15 pages for each paper. Applicants who know the field in which they expect to specialize should, when possible, submit a primary writing sample related to that field.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is not a personal statement and should not be heavily weighted down with autobiographical anecdotes. It should be no longer than 1,000 words. It should give the admissions committee a clear sense of applicants’ individual interests and strengths. Applicants need not indicate a precise field of specialization if they do not know, but it is helpful to know something about a candidate’s professional aspirations and sense of their own skills, as well as how the Harvard Department of English might help in attaining their goals. Those who already have a research topic in mind should outline it in detail, giving a sense of how they plan their progress through the program. Those who do not should at least attempt to define the questions and interests they foresee driving their work over the next few years.

Standardized Tests

GRE: Not Accepted

While there are no specific prerequisites for admission, a strong language background helps to strengthen the application, and students who lack it should be aware that they will need to address these gaps during their first two years of graduate study.

While a candidate's overall GPA is important, it is more important to have an average of no lower than A- in literature (and related) courses. In addition, while we encourage applications from candidates in programs other than English, they must have both the requisite critical skills and a foundation in English literature for graduate work in English. Most of our successful candidates have some knowledge of all the major fields of English literary study and advanced knowledge of the field in which they intend to study.

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for English

See list of English faculty

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Questions about the program.

PhD Graduate Education at Northeastern University logo

The PhD program in English prepares students for a range of scholarly careers in English through a combination of literary studies with writing and rhetoric. In literary studies, we emphasize American literature, Transatlantic and Caribbean literature, Early Modern literature, and the study of gender and sexuality.

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In writing and rhetoric, we emphasize teaching and assessing writing, community engagement, diversity and identity, and empirical research methodologies. We also have exceptional offerings in the digital humanities, including digital archiving, network analysis, digital editing and encoding, geospatial analysis, and text mining.

Students in the PhD program in English undertake a program of study designed to train them to be productive scholars, teachers, and leaders in their chosen fields. In coursework, students read and analyze 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 designing the three comprehensive field papers in areas of scholarly interest and competence corresponding to recognized and emerging fields of study. Finally, 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 students complete their studies, the department offers strong support 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.

Learn more about this PhD program in English from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities .

  • All doctoral students receive full five- or six-year teaching fellowship funding
  • Opportunities for involvement in research and teaching in centers including the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks; the Writing Center; the Digital Scholarship Group; and the Humanities Center as well as with individual faculty
  • The department focuses particularly on the fields of American Literature; Transatlantic and Caribbean Studies; Digital Humanities; and Writing and Rhetoric

We have a high rate of placement for students conducting both local and national job searches. Our graduates have obtained tenure-track positions at four-year colleges and universities across the country and abroad, including: Columbia College (Chicago); the Florida Institute of Technology; Frankiln Pierce University; McKendree University; Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts; Middle Tennessee State University; the National Technical University, Norway; Oberlin College; Park University (Missouri); Providence College; Sterling College; Rhode Island College; Wesleyan College (Georgia); and the University of Puerto Rico. Other full-time placements include positions in departments of English and in writing programs at the American University of Dubai; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of Southern California; and Wheelock College (Boston). Tenure-track placements at two-year colleges include Bristol CC, Queensborough CC, and Quincy College.

Application Materials

Application.

  • Application fee – US $100
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
  • English proficiency for international applicants
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – Optional
  • Writing sample

Admissions deadline for Fall term: December 1

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Higher Degrees in English

The Graduate Program in English leads to the degrees of Master of Arts (AM) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The AM is an integral part of the doctoral program, and therefore only students who intend to pursue the PhD are eligible for admission to the Graduate Program in English.

The Program

The program takes from four to seven years to complete, with the majority finishing in five or six years. The first two years are devoted to coursework and, in the first year, to preparation for the PhD Qualifying Exam (the “General” exam) at the beginning of the second year. The second and third years are devoted to preparing for the Dissertation Qualifying Exam (the “Field” exam) and writing the Dissertation Prospectus. The fourth, fifth, and sixth years are spent completing the doctoral dissertation. From the third year until the final year (when they are generally supported by Dissertation Completion Fellowships), students also devote time to teaching and to developing teaching skills. Students with prior graduate training or those with a demonstrated ability may complete their dissertations in the fourth or fifth years. Students are strongly discouraged from taking more than seven years to complete the program except under the most exceptional circumstances.

The program aims to provide the PhD candidate with a broad knowledge of the field of English, including critical and cultural theory. Additional important skills include facility with the tools of scholarship—ancient and modern foreign languages, bibliographic procedures, and textual and editorial methods. The program also emphasizes the ability to write well, to do solid and innovative scholarly and critical work in a specialized field or fields, to teach effectively, and to make articulate presentations at conferences, seminars, and symposia.

The minimum residence requirement is two years of enrollment in full-time study, with a total of at least fourteen courses completed with honor grades (no grade lower than B-).

The minimum standard for satisfactory work in the Graduate School is a B average in each academic year.

  • A minimum of 14 courses must be completed no later than the end of the second year.
  • At least ten courses must be at the 200- (graduate) level, and at least six of these ten must be taken within the department. Graduate students in the English department will have priority for admission into 200-level courses.
  • Beginning with the incoming class of 2020-21, two proseminars are now required as part of the ten required seminars.
  • The remaining courses may be either at the 100- or the 200-level.
  • Students typically devote part of their course work in the first year to preparing for the “General” exam, focusing increasingly on their field in the second year.

Proseminars

• Beginning with the incoming class of 2020-21, two proseminars will now be required as part of the ten required seminars.

• The first-year proseminar (taken in the spring semester of the first year) introduces students to the theories, methods, and history of English as a discipline, and contemporary debates in English studies. The readings feature classic texts in all fields, drawn from the General Exam list. This first-year proseminar helps students prepare for the General Exam (taken at the beginning of their second year); it gives them a broad knowledge for teaching and writing outside their specialty; and it builds an intellectual and cultural community among first-year students.

• The second-year proseminar has a two-part focus: it introduces students to the craft of scholarly publishing by helping them revise a research paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the course. It thus gives students the tools to begin publishing early in their career. It also introduces students to the growing array of alternative careers in the humanities by exposing them to scholars who are leaders in fields such as editing, curating, and digital humanities.

Independent Study and Creative Writing

  • Students may petition to take one of the 100-level courses as independent study (English 399) with a professor, but not before the second term of residence.
  • Other independent study courses will be permitted only in exceptional circumstances and with the consent of the professor and director of graduate studies (DGS).
  • Only one creative writing course, which counts as a 100-level course, may count toward the PhD degree course requirements.

Credit for Work Done Elsewhere (Advanced Standing)

Once the student has completed at least three 200-level courses with a grade of A or A-, a maximum of four graduate-level courses may be transferred from other graduate programs, at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Transferred courses will not count toward the minimum of ten required 200-level courses, but will be counted as 100-level courses.

Incompletes

No more than one Incomplete may be carried forward at any one time by a graduate student in the English Department. It must be made up no later than six weeks after the start of the next term.

In applying for an Incomplete, students must have signed permission from the instructor and the DGS, or the course in question may not count toward the program requirements. If students do not complete work by the deadline, the course will not count toward the program requirements, unless there are documented extenuating circumstances.

Language Requirements

A reading knowledge of two languages is required. Normally, Latin, Ancient Greek, Old English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian are the accepted languages. Other languages, including ASL and computer languages, may be acceptable if the DGS deems them relevant and appropriate to a student’s program of study. Students may fulfill the language requirements:

(1) by passing a two-hour translation exam with a dictionary; (2) by taking a one-term literature course in the chosen language, when conducted in the language and/or the readings are in the language (DGS approval may be necessary in some cases) (3) or by taking two terms of Old English*, elementary Latin or Ancient Greek.

Any course taken to fulfill the language requirement must be passed with a grade of B- or better. Literature-level language courses count for course credit ; elementary language courses do not. *Please note that only the spring semester of Old English will count towards the graduate course requirement (as a 100-level course, or as a 200-level course in the case of ENG 200d) when taken to fulfill a language requirement.

Examples of past language exams can be found  here .

The (Non-Terminal) Master of Arts Degree

In order to apply for the AM degree, students must complete, with a grade of B+ or better, no fewer than a total of seven courses, including a minimum of four English courses, at least three of which must be at the graduate (200-) level, and one additional course that must be taken at the graduate level, but may be taken in another department. Students must also fulfill at least one of their departmental language requirements.

General Exam

At the beginning of the second year, students will take a 75-90 minute oral exam, based on a list of authors and/or titles which the Department will make available for each entering class in the summer prior to its arrival. The examiners will be three regular members of the department (assistant, associate, or full professors), whose names will not be disclosed in advance.

Candidates whose performance on the exam is judged inadequate will be marked as “not yet passed” and must retake the exam at a time to be determined. If candidates do not pass on the second attempt, they will not be able to continue in the program.

Note: Students must fulfill at least one language requirement by the end of the first year in order to be eligible to take the General Exam.

Field Oral Exam

The purpose of the Field Oral exam is twofold: to discuss an emerging dissertation topic, and to examine students' preparation in primary teaching and the scholarly field(s) they mean to claim, particularly field(s) related to the dissertation. Students should be prepared to display knowledge of the field(s) in general based on the books and articles listed in their field bibliography.

The order of events in the exam is up to the committee and student to establish beforehand, but typically the exam has two parts: a discussion of the field(s) in which the proposed dissertation situates itself and in which the student intends to teach; and a discussion of the dissertation topic. The exam should assess both the viability of the thesis topic and the preparedness of the student to pursue it at this time. The level of preparedness should be clarified between the student and committee in their meetings before the exam. The discussion of the dissertation topic should substantially aid the student in writing the prospectus, due six weeks after the exam.

In some field exams, there is already a clear idea of the dissertation, one that the student has already discussed with the committee. The discussion in the exam can thus dive more deeply into the details of the project. In other field exams, the student's dissertation project is not yet fully formed, and the exam actively contributes to fleshing out the formation of the project's scope and direction. The committee and student should agree beforehand on the specific format and scope of the exam.

The two-hour examination is typically taken before the end of the Fall Reading Period of the third year of graduate study, although it is possible to take it as late as the end of February, should the need arise. The exam is conducted by a three-person examination committee, chosen by the individual student, normally from among the tenured and ladder faculty of the English department, (the chair is chosen by May 15 of the second year, and the remaining examiners by no later than September 1 of the third year). One faculty member acts as chair of the committee and often assists the student in selecting other members. The committee, or some part of it, will likely continue to serve as individual students’ dissertation advisors.

During the exam, students are asked to describe and discuss their dissertation project, and to demonstrate an adequate knowledge both of the major primary works and of selected scholarly works in the field(s) as they relate to their dissertation.

The twin purposes of the exam--representing the chosen field, and giving a first account of a dissertation project--are represented by two separate bibliographies, each consisting of primary and scholarly works, drawn up by the student in consultation with the examination committee. There may be considerable overlap between these two bibliographies.

At least four weeks before the exam, the student should meet with the committee, present the two bibliographies (of the chosen field(s) and of the dissertation project), and discuss the format of the exam.

The exam is graded Pass/Fail.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus, signed and approved by three advisors (or two co-advisors, with a third committee member to be added at a later date), is due to the Graduate Office six “business weeks” after passing the Field Oral Examination. The “business weeks” do not include the Winter Recess, so a student passing the exam four weeks before Winter Recess begins, for example, would have another two weeks after the start of classes in the Spring Term to complete the prospectus.

The prospectus is neither a draft chapter nor a detailed road-map of the next two years work but a sketch, no longer than seven to ten pages, of the topic upon which the student plans to write. It gives a preliminary account of the argument, structure, and scope of the intended treatment of the topic. The overview will be followed by a bibliography.

The prospectus is written in consultation with the dissertation advisors, who will meet with students at least once in the spring of the third year to discuss the prospectus and to draw up a timetable for the writing of the dissertation.

In planning a timetable, students need to bear in mind (1) that two draft chapters of the dissertation must be completed by the middle of their fifth year, if they are to be eligible to apply for completion fellowships in their sixth year, and (2) that students generally enter the job market in the fall of their sixth year, with at least two final chapters and a third draft chapter completed. They should also remember that term-time fellowships and traveling fellowships may be available to them in the fifth year, but that these require applications which are due as early as December or January of the fourth year.  Note: The timetable described above can be accelerated if a student so wishes and is in the position to do so.

Article Submission and Professional Writing Workshop

Students are required to submit an article to a scholarly journal by the end of their 5th year (acceptance is not required). Failure to do so would result in the loss of good standing. This is encouraged for all students, but is a requirement beginning with the incoming class of 2015-16. In conjunction with this new requirement, the department has established a professional writing workshop open to English department students only. Attendance will not be required but expected of students in residence. Students will be expected to take the course at some time before the beginning of the 6th year, and ordinarily in the spring of their 5th year. The course will be graded Sat/Unsat.

Dissertation Advising

Students should assemble a group of faculty members to supervise the dissertation. Several supervisory arrangements are possible: students may work with a committee of three faculty members who share nearly equal responsibility for advising, or with a committee consisting of a principal faculty advisor and a second and third reader. In the first scenario, one of the three faculty members will be asked to serve as a nominal chair of the committee; in the second scenario, the principal advisor serves as chair. If the scope of the project requires it, students should consult the DGS about including a faculty advisor from a department other than English or from another university.

The advising mode chosen will be indicated to the department when the prospectus is submitted. Regardless of the structure of advising, three faculty readers are required to certify the completed dissertation. If it is deemed useful, chapter meetings between the student and the entire committee may be arranged in consultation with the chair.

The Dissertation

After the dissertation prospectus has been approved, candidates work with their dissertation directors or their dissertation committee. All of the designated advisors must approve the final work.

The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original and substantial work of scholarship or criticism, excellent in form and content. The department accepts dissertations on a great variety of topics involving a broad range of approaches to literature. It sets no specific page limits, preferring to give students and directors as much freedom as possible.

Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense will be a necessary part of receiving the PhD, though it will not be a pass/fail examination. The defense is required for all students who entered the program in 2007 or after.

The form of the defense is as follows:

  • Each student’s defense will be a separate event
  • In addition to the student and the advisors, the participants typically include any interested faculty and any interested graduate students
  • The Graduate Office will announce the upcoming defense to all members of the department, unless otherwise specified by the student
  • The event will start with a 15–20 minute presentation by the student and last at most 90 minutes
  • If a student has left Cambridge and cannot return easily for this purpose, the defense may be held remotely

Arrangements will be overseen by the Graduate Office but conducted by the student (as with the Fields examination); students will be required to send an email to the Director of Graduate Studies and to the Graduate Program Administrator, with a copy to their advisors, indicating the day, time, and location of the defense.

The meeting for a November, March, or May degree must take place any time after advisors have signed off on the dissertation (by signing the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate) and, in the case of the May degree, at least a week before Commencement. In practice, however, the student will need to defend after advisors have signed off and before advisors disperse. That period will normally be between 1–14 May, and most probably in the early days of May. It is up to the student to coordinate the arrangements.

Students begin teaching in their third year*. Ordinarily they teach discussion sections in courses and in the department’s program of tutorials for undergraduate honors majors.

Preparation for a teaching career is a required part of students’ training, and Teaching Fellows benefit from the supervision and guidance of department members.

Teaching fellows are required to take English 350, the Teaching Colloquium, in their first year of teaching. In addition, they are encouraged to avail themselves of the facilities at the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

*English graduate students wishing to teach in their 2nd year must have 1) passed Generals, 2) completed all required course work by the end of their first year OR must have previous comparable teaching experience, and 3) received written authorization from the Director of Graduate Studies and the GSAS Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid.

Doctoral Conferences "Colloquia"

The Department of English’s  Doctoral Conferences (commonly referred to as “Colloquia”) bring together students and faculty from Harvard and other institutions to discuss current research in literature. Colloquia meet regularly throughout the academic year, and all Harvard graduate students and faculty should feel free to attend any of them, regardless of primary field(s) of interest.

Careers and Placement Seminar

As students near the end of their dissertation writing, they may take a seminar preparing them to seek academic and other employment. Students learn about the job application process, develop cover letters and CVs, and practice presenting their work in interviews and job talks, all in a rigorous and supportive environment. Students should leave the seminar with strong materials for the job market, confident identities as the expert scholars and teachers they have become, and clear articulations of how they will contribute to literary studies in the years ahead. The seminar supplements and formalizes the extensive informal placement advising offered in the department.

Graduate Student Progress Timeline

This document  provides a year-by-year breakdown of requirements for satisfactory progress in our program.

  • Guidelines for Admission
  • Teaching Fellows
  • Fellowships
  • Graduate Prizes
  • Resources for Grad Students
  • English PhD Alumni Network & Placement Information

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Undergraduate

Humans use stories to cope and thrive, from prehistoric cave paintings to distilling experience in novels, screenplays, and hip hop rhymes. By studying English literature, students learn how to analyze and appreciate the language of the past and to contribute to the narrative of the future. Concentrators will develop expertise in interpreting others’ rhetoric and learn to communicate meaningfully.

The Graduate Program in English aims to provide Ph.D. candidates with a broad knowledge of the field of English, including critical and cultural theory. Additional important skills include facility with the tools of scholarship—ancient and modern foreign languages, bibliographic procedures, and textual and editorial methods. The program also emphasizes the ability to write well, to do solid and innovative scholarly and critical work in a specialized field or fields, to teach effectively, and to make articulate presentations at conferences, seminars, and symposia.

Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in English will deepen their understanding of fiction, poetry, and drama while learning to analyze and interpret literary texts. Students will hone their research and writing skills, and become a stronger reader and critical thinker.

English (Literature), PHD

On this page:.

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Second Language Requirement: No

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD English (Literature)

The PhD program in English with a concentration in literature trains students in various methodologies, pedagogies and areas of inquiry that constitute literary and cultural studies.

With a diverse and distinguished faculty, the program offers opportunities for specialization in traditional areas of literary criticism, cultural analysis and theory, as well as various fields of interdisciplinary study.

A doctorate in literature equips students with a range of highly sought-after skills and competencies: research and analysis of complex material, communication in written and oral modes, collaboration, independence and self-motivation, creativity and adaptability.

The PhD in English (literature) at ASU is a premier graduate program in the U.S. with strong interdisciplinary ties and faculty links to research centers on campus and in the state, including the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, the Institute for Humanities Research, and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. With these resources and a strong mentorship program at their fingertips, our graduates are prepared for a wide array of professional opportunities including careers in college teaching, research, writing, editing, higher education, and humanities-related organizations.

Lee Bebout ,  Director  

Sheila Luna , Program Manager

Faculty in Literature

Doctoral Examinations

Doctoral Procedures and Timeline

Teaching Assistantships

Degree Requirements

84 credit hours, a foreign language exam, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

A student with an appropriate master's degree must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of approved graduate work, which includes 12 credit hours of dissertation, provided the student's master's degree is accepted by the supervisory committee and the academic unit. Research hours may be used toward coursework in consultation with the advisor.

A student without an appropriate master's degree must complete 84 credit hours of work at ASU. At the advisor's discretion, students may include up to 12 credit hours of appropriate, graduate-level coursework undertaken at another university and not previously counted toward any other degree.

Specifically required are six credit hours in theory courses and ENG 501 Approaches to Research. Students must complete eight graduate courses in any of the following categories:

  • cultural studies
  • ethnic studies
  • gender studies
  • history and structure of the English language
  • literature 1500--1660
  • literature 1660--1900
  • literature since 1900
  • literature to 1500
  • postcolonial or anglophone literatures

Students must take at least five graduate seminars at the 600 level en route to the doctorate, at least three of which must be taken in the doctoral program. Up to 12 credit hours taken outside the department may be counted toward the degree. Students should consult with their supervisory committees when choosing electives.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  • graduate admission application and application fee
  • official transcripts
  • statement of purpose
  • resume or curriculum vitae
  • three letters of recommendation
  • academic writing sample relevant to the field
  • proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information An applicant whose native language is not English and has not graduated from an institution of higher learning in the United States must provide proof of English proficiency, regardless of current residency. Applicants can find more information about English proficiency requirements on the school website . Please note that official scores must be sent to ASU in order for the application to be processed.

The well-considered, one- to two-page, single-spaced statement of purpose should explain the applicant's scholarly background and training, career goals, proposed research specialization, any secondary field of interest and why the applicant wishes to pursue a PhD in English (Literature) at Arizona State University. Applicants applying for funding must also submit a statement of teaching philosophy.

Courses and Electives

Approaches to Research (3 credits / one class) :  Students must take the core class ENG 501 Approaches to Research.

Theory (6 credits / two courses): Appropriate courses for filling this requirement must be in the area of the history of criticism, literary theory, rhetorical theory, linguistic theory or cultural theory. Examples of courses which meet this requirement, if the specific topic is appropriate, include the following: ENG 502, 503, 504, 550, 551, 552, 554, 556, 602, 604, 651, LIN 510, 516, 517; however, an equivalent or more advanced course in linguistic, rhetorical or literary theory would also be acceptable.

Additional Required Courses (24 credits / 8 classes): Students must complete eight graduate courses in any of the following categories: cultural studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, genre, history and structure of the English language, literature to 1500, literature 1500-1660, literature 1660-1900, literature since 1900, postcolonial or anglophone literatures.

A minimum of five courses counted toward the PhD, which may include those listed above, must be taken at the 600-level (three of which must be taken in the doctoral program at ASU). Students wishing to take courses outside of the department may count up to 12 credit hours toward the degree. These courses may also fulfill some of the above degree requirements. Students should consult with an advisor or their committee chair when choosing electives.

Other Requirements

Language Requirement : PhD students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the dissertation committee. The language requirement must be completed before the student is eligible to take the doctoral exams. This requirement may be met by

  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language.
  • Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Demonstrating native-speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent.
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
  • Having fulfilled a foreign language requirement towards a previously awarded master’s degree that has been completed within five years of the semester for which the student has been admitted to the doctoral program. This foreign language must be in a language approved by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee.
  • For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.

PhD Examinations :  Essay, oral exam, colloquy on the dissertation prospectus.

Dissertation : Students must take 12 credit hours of ENG 799.

Miscellaneous : Students may take research (ENG 792) for the purpose of working independently in preparation for the doctoral examination. This is an alternative to be elected by the student at the discretion and with the approval of the advisor and supervisory committee and can count towards course work. Satisfactory completion of ENG 792 is indicated by the grade of "Y." Individual interim segments of ENG 792 will be graded "Z" (course in progress), and changed to "Y" (successful completion) after the dissertation defense. No conventional letter grades are awarded for ENG 792 or 799.

The Graduate College also requires that students be enrolled every semester, excluding summer sessions, until they have completed all requirements for the degree. Continuous enrollment may be satisfied by registration for one hour of ENG 799, or, in cases where dissertation or other credit hours are not needed, Continuous Registration (ENG 595 or 795). If students wish to interrupt their programs of study for one or more semesters, they may apply for a leave of absence, not to exceed one year. Failure to enroll or obtain leave status for the semesters in which they are not enrolled will result in dismissal from the program.

Doctoral Supervisory Committee

The doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of three members from the  graduate faculty  selected at the time the student files a program of study. In consultation with the director of the Ph.D. program, the student will select the committee chair, who also serves as the student's advisor. Once a graduate faculty member has agreed to serve as the student's chair, the student and chair will then consult before recommending two other members to the director of the doctoral program. Ideally another member of the supervisory committee in addition to the chair should be in the area of specialization. It is the responsibility of each student to form a supervisory committee very early in the program so that the chair and members of the committee may be involved in shaping the course of study, for example, in determining such matters as the choice of foreign language(s) and in specifying courses that will be required for the student's particular area of concentration.

Important Notice to Current International Students

In order for international students to maintain good standing for their VISAs, they must take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester (i.e., 3 classes), 6 credits (2 classes) should be face-to-face classes.

Next Steps to attend ASU

Learn about our programs, apply to a program, visit our campus, application deadlines, learning outcomes.

  • Will be able to identify and evaluate various disciplinary arguments, trends, traditions and debates within the knowledge community of literary and cultural studies scholars
  • Will demonstrate the ability to produce written work of publishable quality
  • Will demonstrate research skills necessary to bring a project of literary or cultural analysis to fruition, including (i) the ability to evaluate disciplinary debates and developments; (ii) the ability to produce research on historical and cultural meanings of texts and related cultural productions

Career Opportunities

Graduates are prepared for careers in higher education and other fields that value this expertise. Sectors employing high numbers of arts and humanities graduates include information and communication, financial and insurance, public administration and defense, arts and entertainment, and education.

Career examples include:

  • art director
  • criminal investigator or special agent
  • intelligence analyst
  • market research analyst
  • museum curator, educator or exhibit designer
  • political analyst
  • public relations specialist or manager
  • technical writer

Global Opportunities

Global experience.

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs. https://mystudyabroad.asu.edu

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.

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CollegeRank.net

Best College Rankings

30 Best PhD Programs in English

college rank best phd programs english

With one of the 30 top English PhD programs, career opportunities are numerous, because let’s face it: researching, writing, teaching, learning, communicating, and critical thinking all translate into a highly sought-after knowledge and skill set.

This is not a trick question: What would we do if we could not communicate with each other, whether verbally or in writing (or texting)?

Seriously think about it: Without language, what do we have?

There are those who live and breathe:

  • sentence structures

They can’t seem to get enough of learning about the dynamic subject we call English. If you love language, writing, research, learning, and continuously searching for that right word, a PhD in English may be the graduate program you’re looking for.

Check out our top English PhD program rankings and start preparing for your future!

  • Top MFA in Creative Writing
  • Best PhD in Communications

Table of Contents

What Is a PhD in English?

A PhD in English is a terminal degree, meaning it’s the highest you can get in any given subject. While concentrations and programs of study differ, three parts of an English PhD are certain:

  • qualifying exams
  • a dissertation

Coursework typically includes various literature classes to provide a strong breadth of English language and literature knowledge. Most top English PhD programs also require foreign language requirements. After the coursework is finished in around 2-3 years, English majors will take a comprehensive qualifying exam to achieve doctoral status. This exam covers all they have studied this far, and passing it will allow them to move on to their dissertation.

A dissertation is the final step to earning a PhD in English. Think of it as an independent research project that takes years to:

  • compile information

The dissertation defense is the last step, where you present your project to a faculty panel.

Most top English PhD programs take five to seven years to complete, but of course, it depends on full-time or part-time status. It is also worth noting that many graduate schools, including the ones we have reviewed, provide full funding to the student earning a PhD.

You may also like: Doctorate vs PhD

What Are the Top English PhD Programs?

At CollegeRank , we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Average Net Price

University of Buffalo

While all of our rankings in this article are notable, The University of Buffalo ranks in the top 1% of not just the country but the world by the Center for World University Rankings. Founded in 1846, SUNY Buffalo is the largest campus in the 64-campus SUNY system. It offers one of the best English PhD programs. It just happens to be our #1 choice!

What sets SUNY Buffalo apart from others? As a student, you are a part of a vibrant, supportive community as an active participant in every part of the program. You are not just going to school, but you are a part of the process. This includes attending and voting in department meetings and joining the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA).

This top PhD in English requires 72 credits, which are satisfied through ten graduate seminar courses in fields such as:

  • American and British literature
  • poetics and critical theory

You will then take an oral qualifying exam and complete and defend a “book-length work of original scholarship,” otherwise known as a dissertation.

As a graduate program student, you are encouraged to publish during your time at SUNY Buffalo and equipped with a third-year workshop for this goal. This graduate program takes approximately five years and is fully in person. You can apply through the Graduate Enrollment Services.

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Berkeley

Globally ranked as the fourth-best university according to U.S. News & World Report rankings, University of California-Berkeley has been described as a “glorious place,” full of “commitment to excellence.” This is a top graduate program in the country. The PhD in comparative literature, is both “historical and theoretical”. It includes a “signature combination of teaching and research on literature, film, and other media.”

In this English PhD program , you will choose one literature from a historical and critical perspective and complete comparative work in three kinds of literature. You will then complete ten courses encompassing:

  • comparative
  • major types of literature
  • minor types of literature

The University of California-Berkeley says this program takes approximately seven years to complete and includes a recommended timetable to stay on track.

The University of California-Berkeley offers a myriad of fellowships and financial aid to help with the cost of this PhD program. In addition, you have the opportunity to seek employment through the department in teaching and research assistantship programs. Alumni have won national awards from the Modern Language Association and the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA).

University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland is devoted to social entrepreneurship. It is recognized as the nation’s first  “Do Good” university. Home to over 41,000 students and 388,000 alumni, UMD spans 12 schools and colleges. It offers 297 academic programs, including the nationally ranked PhD in English. This graduate program prepares students who plan to teach at the university level with:

  • language courses

Along with You will study an in-depth range of topics such as:

  • literary and cultural history,
  • aesthetic, critical and cultural theory
  • digital and media studies
  • humanistic engagement with the sciences
  • language, rhetoric and composition

You will complete a minimum of 12 courses, including a foreign language requirement, while maintaining a 3.6 GPA. 

UMD’s top English PhD program is highly competitive but well worth the competition if you are accepted because all students receive a five-year funding package. To apply, you need to submit:

  • a statement of goals and research interests
  • transcripts
  • three letters of recommendation
  • a sample of critical writing
  • an academic CV

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin is not only known for its food (especially breakfast tacos!) and music, but it’s also our #4 ranking. It has:

  • excellent academic programs
  • extensive research
  • shared values of “equity, excellence, innovation, and empowerment”

It is ranked #20 in Best Graduate Schools from U.S. News & World Report . UT Austin offers a PhD in English with a concentration in literature or rhetoric and digital literacies.

Whether you enter the program with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, you are required to complete 39 graduate seminar hours before the end of your third year. You must pass the third-year examination to achieve doctoral candidacy. The final milestone for the PhD in English is the dissertation defense. Graduate students have access to six years of funding from combined teaching assistantships.

UT Austin’s admission is highly competitive. Each year, this English PhD program accepts 12-14 students into the literature concentration and four in the rhetoric and digital literacies program. You can apply through ApplyTexas if you have a BA or MA plus at least 15 hours of upper-division English credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin Madison

A top-ranked university with 19 faculty and alumni Nobel Prize winners? Yes, please! Check out UW-Madison, awarded #13 in America’s Best Colleges from U.S. News & Report . UW Madison offers more than 9,000 courses across over 450 academic programs, including a PhD in English with the following specializations:

  • Composition and rhetoric
  • English language and linguistics
  • Literature studies

This graduate program “combines a sharp focus on conceptual approaches to literary and cultural works with a commitment to broad coverage of the field of Anglophone literature.” As a student, you will tailor the program to your career goals through a required minor. You will also study interdisciplinary areas such as:

  • literary theory and criticism
  • gender studies
  • race and ethnic studies

You will complete 51-63 coursework credits depending on which concentration you choose. Each concentration includes:

  • major courses
  • minor courses
  • research/method/tools courses

While some of the best English PhD rankings offer online or hybrid formats, UW-Madison’s coursework is face-to-face. Applicants must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution. English degrees are preferred but they are not required.

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Texas Tech

Texas Tech warded a “Very High Research Activity” category by Carnegie Classification of Institution of Higher Education. It is a comprehensive public research university that spans 13 colleges and schools and 200 degree programs. At Texas Tech, you can earn a PhD in English with a specialization in literature.

One of the best parts of Texas Tech’s PhD in English is vast areas of study. You can choose any of the following concentrations:

  • Early British literature
  • Later British literature
  • English and American literature
  • Comparative literature, globalization, and translation
  • Creative writing
  • Linguistics
  • Book history and digital humanities
  • Film and media studies
  • Literature, social justice, and environment

No matter which concentration you choose, you will take courses such as:

  • Research Methods
  • Critical Methods
  • Writing for Publication
  • Teaching College Literature

Texas Tech employs a holistic assessment for applicants while looking for:

  • critical analysis skills
  • a focused academic purpose
  • strong letters of recommendation

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

University of South Florida

Located in the heart of Tampa Bay, the University of South Florida is one of the fastest-rising universities in the nation. U.S. News and World Report ranks it as the 46th best public university in the country. At UCF, you can earn a PhD in English with either a literature or rhetoric and composition concentration.

UCF’s top English PhD program requires at least 30 hours of coursework, including:

  • Scholarly Research and Writing
  • Teaching Practicum
  • Studies in Criticism and Theory

After completing your coursework, you must create and submit a portfolio and fulfill a foreign language requirement before you are admitted to doctoral candidacy. Then, the real fun starts: writing your dissertation.

USF graduate students can also earn graduate certificates in:

  • comparative literary studies
  • creative writing
  • digital humanities
  • professional and technical communication

UCF’s program is pretty competitive. You need:

  • a Master of Arts from an accredited university
  • at least a 3.7 GPA
  • “competitive” GRE verbal and analytical writing scores
  • recommendation letters
  • a scholarly writing sample
  • a personal statement

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

University of Utah

“Step One: Imagine. Step Two: Do.”

The University of Utah is fondly known by students, faculty, and alumni as “The U,”. It features a simple yet profound motto that has inspired many graduates to go on and make their mark on the world. Notable alumni include writer Orson Scott Card and award-winning actor Stephen Covey, among many others.

You, too, can imagine what is possible and then take action by checking out the top PhD in English . It has concentrations in rhetoric and composition or literacy and cultural studies. The program entails:

  • Ten seminar courses (including four concentration courses)
  • Four additional English courses
  • Two courses in writing and rhetoric studies
  • A qualifying exam
  • A successful dissertation

The Department of English features ample opportunities for publications, along with the graduate student reading series, Working Dog, where you can showcase your original work to not only other classmates, but the public.

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is a nationally ranked university in public research and best value. It features a rich Native American history. The first graduating class in 1895 included three students before Arizona was even a state!

Check out the PhD in rhetoric, composition, and teaching of English – perfect if you intend to teach at a four-year college or a writing program.  UA’s Department of English states that the graduates of this doctoral program are “distinguished for their public engagement and action-oriented research, published scholarship, and innovative teaching.” 

The University of Arizona has an outstanding 97% job placement. English PhD graduates find themselves as nationally recognized scholars teaching, researching, and writing all over the world.

In this top English PhD program, you will complete 66 credit units, which includes 18 dissertation credits. Courses include:

  • Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition
  • Qualifying Portfolio Workshop

To apply, you need to submit:

  • a CV, a statement of purpose
  • unofficial transcripts
  • a writing sample in rhetoric or composition

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University

LSU is Louisiana’s flagship institution. Louisiana State University is known for its top-notch academics and impressive return on investments. Ninety-two percent of all students receive scholarships or financial aid. Two in three students graduate with absolutely no debt. LSU’s PhD in English arms graduate students with the knowledge and skills to become expert:

  • researchers

Similar to most English PhD programs, this program is organized into three phases:

  • dissertation

The coursework consists of 48 credit hours of literature that “range across periods, genres, and traditions,” and critical and theoretical methods. Students will then take their exams and progress into the dissertation phase.

Students typically write one chapter of their dissertation per semester while enrolled in the Dissertation Writing Workshop. A perk of this program is that you can apply if you have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s of Arts. If you already have a master’s degree, you can apply up to 24 credit hours toward this degree and finish the PhD in just four years.

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University

Arizona State University boasts several national recognitions. This includes #1 in the country for most innovative school and the best graduate schools from U.S. News & World Report. Among the half a million alumni include notable:

  • politicians
  • actors and actresses

ASU features a PhD in English literature that is worth checking out!

The PhD in English literature emphasizes literary texts not only from a cultural and historical perspective but also from the “production, distribution, and reception.” The “texts” are defined as “folklore, oral traditions, popular culture, and film and digital media in addition to traditional literature.” The graduate program includes 42-72 hours in coursework. It also includes 12 hours of dissertation work.

This doctoral program is highly flexible and allows you to take courses in your interest areas. Sample courses include:

  • Methods and Issues in Teaching Composition
  • Rhetorical Traditions

To apply you need:

  • statement of purpose
  • an academic writing sample of 10-25 pages

The deadline to apply is January 1, and the GRE is not required.

University of California – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

UCLA

Have you ever wondered which U.S. city features the most museums and theaters than any other city? Well, it’s Los Angeles!  UCLA is proud to be right in the center of the excitement. (And in case you’re wondering, LA is home to 105 museums and 225 theaters!) At UCLA-Los Angeles, you can join the current 15,724 graduate students and earn a comprehensive PhD in English literature.

UCLA structures its PhD in three stages. Stage one entails 14 graduate seminars in English literature, with various requirements to ensure a diverse depth of literature. Stage one also includes a first qualifying exam before you proceed to stage two for a second qualifying exam. Stage three is the research, writing, and completion of a dissertation. It begins in year five and typically takes two years to complete.

Component of UCLA’s PhD program include:

  • dissertation project
  • teacher training

Teaching assistantships are available and encouraged for graduate students. To apply you need to submit:

  • a writing sample of 15-25 pages

Currently, the GRE exam requirement is waived because of Covid-19.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor was voted #1 for Best Small College Town in America and Best U.S. Public University ( QS World University Rankings and Wallethub ). It is globally recognized for its exceptional academic quality. U-M Ann Arbor features a stellar doctoral program in English language and literature for those who aim to:

  • write in a collective community

This top English PhD program allows you to specialize in British, American, or anglophone literature. Also, to“explore a wide range of critical, theoretical, and cultural perspectives.” The program focuses on learning as a social process. This is one reason why English graduate students are guaranteed six years of program funding! A huge perk.

In your first year you will:

  • complete two basic languages or one advanced language
  • Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • three upper-level seminars

Your second year will be devoted to the preliminary examination. In the third year, a third-year review, which will provide feedback and direction. Finally, you will devote your last few years to your dissertation.

University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri

If you know what the Tiger Walk and Tiger Prowl are, you certainly are familiar with the University of Missouri. It is fondly known as Mizzou. With a long history of traditions, Mizzou’s pride is seen all over the world. You can earn a PhD in English in just five years, including 30 hours of coursework that provides “deep knowledge and methodological sophistication. with a concentration on creative writing or literature.

Sample courses include:

  • Literacy Criticism
  • The Theory and Practice of Teaching in English
  • English Linguistics
  • creative writing workshops if you choose the creative writing concentration

By the spring of your third year, you should begin writing your dissertation. This could be scholarly or creative, depending on your concentration. You will have two years to complete your dissertation before you defend it by the end of your fifth year.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • “Medieval Romance, Fanfiction, and the Erotics of Shame” 
  • “Science Frictions: Science, Folklore, and ‘The Future ” 
  • “Magical Safe Spaces: The Role of Literature in Medieval and Early Modern Magic” 

University of Virginia – Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is one of the very best in the nation. Both U.S. News & World Report and Money Magazine rank UVA #2 and #4 as the best public university and the best value. UVA houses a PhD in English language, literature, and research that leads graduates to all types of careers in:

  • education administration

This best English PhD program entails 72 credits, including courses like:

  • Introduction to Literary Research
  • Dissertation Seminar

During the second semester of the fourth year, students will give a 40-min talk about their dissertation. This is a great opportunity for students to share their work with a formal venue before they defend their dissertation later.

In addition to this degree, you can earn graduate certificates in:

  • Comparative literature
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • African studies
  • Environmental humanities
  • Digital humanities

Accepted students receive financial support and health insurance for at least five years of their duration in the program.

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Founded in 1794, UT Knoxville is one of the oldest in the country. UT Knoxville spreads across 910 acres. The 294 buildings house 11 colleges and 900 programs of study! If you’re a teacher and want to continue your education studies, then UT’s PhD in literacy studies and education may be for you.

This program is not a standard PhD in English. It combines English and education and allows you to choose from a number of concentrations and specializations. You can choose between literacy studies and education. Then you can further choose an emphasis like:

  • children’s and young adult literature
  • ESL education
  • literacy education

This program includes 48 credit hours beyond a master’s degree. This includes six credits in a cognate area and 24 hours of doctoral research and dissertation courses. Comprehensive exams should be completed in five years. The dissertation should be completed within eight years. To apply to this program, you need at least three years of teaching experience.

University of Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Smart. Spirited. Solution-Driven.

Those are words to describe the University of Louisiana at Lafayette It is the second-largest university in Louisiana, home to over 19,000 students. We also must mention that UL’s sports teams are THE Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns®! With a PhD in English from UL, you will receive a strong background in British and American language and literature. You can further customize your program to match your career goals.

UL now has over 100 students in its PhD program, which is a lot for a PhD in English! You can specialize in four areas (out of 21!) such as:

  • critical theory
  • Africana literature
  • feminist theory and criticism

The degree requires 72 credit hours, which include 48 in coursework and 24 in dissertation research.

UL’s PhD program asks for application materials that “testify to solid academic preparation for advanced work.” These materials include:

  • Transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • A Statement of purpose
  • A CV with relevant academic/professional experience
  • A critical (or creative) writing sample
  • Optional GRE scores

To enter in the spring, submit your application by November 15.

New York University

New York City, New York

NYU

Imagine studying English in one of the most vibrant cities in the nation: New York City. New York University Steinhardt is a top university. It is ranked #10 among the Best Graduate Schools in Education ( U.S. News & World Report ). NYU Steinhardt offers a range of programs:

  • doctoral programs

This includes the notable PhD in English education: secondary and college.

This doctoral program at New York University prepares graduates to become:

  • university researchers
  • English curriculum specialists
  • post-secondary English language educators

You will enjoy small classes in one of the most diverse settings in the world: New York City! As a student, you will complete 48-60 credits, depending on the focus area and prior coursework.

Coursework includes:

  • teaching and learning seminars
  • two cognate courses
  • foundation requirements
  • research methodology classes

Before beginning your dissertation, you will complete a research experience course to prepare you. While many programs require full-time status, you can complete this PhD full-time or part-time. To apply, you need:

  • A statement of purpose
  • A writing sample (no more than 20 pages)
  • Three recommendation letters

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin once said, “well-done is better than well-said.” This statement, by the school’s founder, serves as the cornerstone tradition of the University of Pennsylvania. Since the 1740s, Penn continues to evolve into a place of social activism, touching all of its programs. Penn’s PhD in English combines English and American literature to produce a comprehensive program with a range of specializations.

This “intellectually dynamic and rigorous” PhD program prepares students to be scholars and educators of English. You can specialize in one primary field. Or you can specialize in two additional fields such as:

  • contemporary poetry

Penn recognizes that true learning comes when students become active participants in their academic and social community. The program’s emphasis is on the relationships between scholars and faculty.

In this top English PhD program , you will take courses such as Teaching of Literature and Composition. This is along with six literature courses spanning throughout various time periods. During your third year, you will choose a specialization as you start working on your dissertation. All PhD students receive the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, which covers tuition and health insurance for five years.

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

phd in english programs

Have you ever wondered which academic institution is our nation’s oldest? Well, it’s Harvard University, established in 1636! With over 400,000 alumni all over the world including:

  • 49 Nobel Laureates
  • 32 heads of state
  • 48 Pulitzer Prize winners

It’s no wonder Harvard University made our list of top English PhD rankings. After all, it’s Harvard! Check out Harvard University’s PhD in English that covers topics ranging from medieval literature to criticism and theory.

Harvard’s PhD in English provides a broad knowledge of English and teaches students to:

  • research and write well
  • teach effectively
  • present their research at conferences and seminars

The first two years are devoted to coursework and preparing for the PhD qualifying exam, while the rest of the time is spent working on the dissertation.

Check out the many past doctoral theses and dissertations published on Harvard University’s website. Harvard states that this program typically takes between four and seven years. Most students finishing in five or six years. While GRE scores are not required for admission, past English classes, strong writing samples, and excellent letters of recommendation are.

Columbia University in the City of New York

phd in english programs

A private Ivy League University, Columbia University has been a leader in higher education for over 250 years. Columbia University spans three undergraduate schools and 13 graduate schools. This includes the Teacher College, which opened in 1880. Columbia’s Teacher College features a PhD in English education for students who aim to become teachers and researchers in higher education.

This English PhD program includes 75 credits, and students may transfer up to 30 credits from previous graduate work. All PhD English education majors will take courses like:

  • Research Paper: Teaching of English
  • Professional Seminar: Foundational Texts

As a student, you stay on track through:

  • milestones of coursework
  • meeting with your dissertation committee

While most doctoral English PhD programs only admit students once a year, Columbia’s program allows entry in both the summer and fall. To apply you need:

  • a master’s degree in English
  • education or a related field
  • at least 3-5 years of full-time teaching experience
  • an academic writing sample

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

phd in english programs

Cornell University is a private Ivy League research university in Ithaca, NY. It is home to over 24,000 students. This top-ranked university includes 15 colleges and schools, including The College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University. You can earn a PhD in English and language literature. This English PhD program comes with a generous financial package for students.

Cornell’s PhD in English language and literature allows you to customize your plan of study to suit your interests. You will form a faculty committee that will work with you on selecting your courses and writing and revising your dissertation. You can choose from a myriad of areas such as:

  • Romance studies
  • Cultural studies

This graduate program also emphasizes teaching an essential part of this plan of study. As a student, you are required to teach writing-intensive courses for at least one year during your time at Cornell. As mentioned, Cornell University provides five years of funding that includes:

  • full tuition
  • health insurance

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

phd in english programs

Syracuse University, a highly-ranked private research institution, states that “being orange is more than just a color, a place or degree. It embodies a lifelong connection to a global network of innovators, thinkers, and creative solution finders.” Join the “Orange Community” of 22,000 other students when you earn a top PhD in English from Syracuse University.

Syracuse’s Ph.D. in English includes “specialized professional training in criticism, theory, research, and the teaching of literary and filmic texts”. It prepares you to teach at the college and university level.  You can apply whether you have a BA or master’s degree, and you will take between 12-18 courses, depending on your past academic records.

This PhD program is pretty straightforward. You will take courses like:

  • Introduction to Critical Theory
  • focused graduate seminars
  • a foreign language

You will also take two exams: the field exam and the qualifying exam. This will qualify you as a doctoral candidate to begin:

  • researching
  • defending your dissertation

Syracuse boasts an excellent job placement record for PhD in English graduates.

Washington University in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

phd in english programs

Washington University was founded in 1853 in St. Luis. WashUis an independent university with more than 16,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. It offers many opportunities, including:

  • customizable programs
  • study abroad experiences
  • impressive financial aid options

You won’t want to miss the PhD in English and American literature from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Washington University’s PhD in English and American literature is described as “innovative, collegial, competitive, and generously funded, offering one of the top financial packages in the nation”. The program is rooted in literary history. As a student, you can tailor your plan of study to incorporate areas of English that you want to explore.

During your time at WashU, you will serve as both a graduate assistant and instructor in undergraduate English and literature courses. During year four, you will submit a dissertation prospectus. The next two years you will spend working on your dissertation. By April of year six, you will be ready to defend your dissertation and become a Doctor of English!

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

phd in english programs

Ranked #9 in the U.S. News & World Report 2020 Best Colleges, Northwestern University is a comprehensive research university. It has more than 13,000 graduate students and an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University features a PhD in literature that emphasizes:

  • literary history
  • criticism, and theory
  • interdisciplinary studies

This best English graduate program includes:

  • lectures and workshops from global scholars
  • student-organized colloquia
  • reading groups, conferences
  • many ways to learn from not only the faculty, but from peers

You will complete 20 graduate-level courses in diverse historical periods during your first three years. In addition, you will complete a foreign language requirement by the end of year one.

At Northwestern, you will:

  • work as a graduate assistant
  • teach at least one course
  • work on your dissertation during years four and five

While this PhD program can be completed in five years, most students complete it in six. As a graduate student at Northwestern, you will receive:

  • full financial aid
  • travel grants
  • pedagogical training
  • job placement

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida

phd in english programs

Established in 1925, the University of Miami is a private research academic institution with numerous national recognitions in academic and research success. Check out UM’s Pride Points and what it means to be part of the Hurricane family. While you’re at it, check out the PhD in English with concentrations in Caribbean studies or early modern literature. This is a degree full of diversity and opportunity.

UM’s PhD in English is nationally ranked by the National Research Council for student and faculty diversity. As a student at UM, you will enjoy diverse topics such as:

  • Caribbean literature
  • early modern literature
  • cultural theory

The cohorts are only five to seven students, so you will be among a tight-knit community of English scholars.

UM admits incoming students with either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in English, and your previous degree(s) will determine whether you need to take 54 or 36 credits of coursework. You will also receive:

  • at least five years of tuition remissions

UM reports that over 90% of its PhD graduates have full-time employment within nine months of graduating.

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

phd in english programs

The University of Chicago, a highly-ranked private research university, is known for its value of free and open inquiry. This has led to research breakthroughs such as:

  • finding the cancer-genetics link
  • discovering revolutionary economics links
  • improving the graduation rates in urban cities

UChicago’s PhD in English language and literature involves intensive research for solutions, and open expression, staying true to UChicago’s values.

The University of Chicago’s PhD in English language and literature “prepares students for independent work as teachers, scholars, and critics by developing their abilities to pose and investigate problems in the advanced study of literature in English.” The four major elements of this program include:

  • the dissertation.

Part of the appeal of this program are the dynamic courses like:

  • The Print Revolution and New Readers: Women, Workers, Children
  • Early Science Fiction
  • Readings in Exile
  • scanned transcripts
  • 3-4 recommendation letters
  • a 15-20 page writing sample
  • a 1-3 page statement of purpose

Boston College

Newton, Massachusetts

phd in english programs

“Education with a heart and soul – and the power to transform” is Boston College’s motto. Boston College is the first higher education institution in Boston. This private Jesuit research university is among one of the nation’s leaders. Boston College’s PhD in English gives graduate students the choice of a wide range of courses to tailor the program to their interests and career goals.

As a student, you are required to take just four PhD seminars along with courses in composition theory and pedagogy and research colloquium. The rest is up to you, and you will work with your advisor to build your program. Teaching is another component and starting with your second year, you will become a teaching assistant in a British or American literature class.

We’ll be honest: the very thing that we love about this program—the small classes—means that each year Boston College only admits 4-5 students. Applications for the fall semester are due by January 2. To apply you need:

  • a critical writing statement

The Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C.

phd in english programs

Right in the heart of our nation’s capital, you will find the Catholic University of America. It is the only national research academic institution found by the U.S. bishops. CatholicU is a great place to earn a  PhD in English language and literature offering:

  • more than 250 academic programs
  • 5,700 students
  • 90,000+ alumni

And who wouldn’t want to study literature in Washington D.C.?

CatholicU’s English language and literature program includes 54 credit of coursework, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. The comprehensive exam consists of three parts:

  • literary theory
  • the history of criticism

After you pass the exam, you will begin your dissertation, described by CatholicU as “a substantial piece of original research,” which “gives the doctoral program its capstone.”

CatholicU’s location allows you to become fully immersed in literary history since you are among some of the most reputable museums, research collections, and libraries. Classes are small, so you will get personalized attention, including pedagogical training. CatholicU offers funding for this English language and literature PhD program for up to seven years.

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

phd in english programs

Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters features a “flexible and dynamic” PhD in English that entails 42 credits of literary criticism courses, preparing you for:

  • individualized reading courses
  • independent study

Your written and oral exams in the third year will assess your knowledge and skills in your specialization, a secondary field, literary theory, and methodology.

You will then focus on researching for your dissertation, which you will defend in year five or six. 

Notre Dame also offers a 5+1 program that gives job incentives for students finishing this program in five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

PhD graduates can find rewarding careers in academia, journalism, media, and other communication fields. You can also become a content strategist or explore writing opportunities. Your expertise in language and literature opens doors to diverse fields of research and publishing.

Historical trends indicate PhDs in English graduates find jobs in academia, research, publishing, and related fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary teachers (which includes university professors) is projected to grow 8% through 2032. This should result in about 118,000 new job openings each year, over the next 10 years.

Pay varies for PhD in English graduates, based on factors such as experience, location, and employment sector. In academia, assistant professors with a PhD in English start with salaries ranging from $60,000 to $80,000, while more experienced professors earn higher salaries.

A PhD in English typically takes 5 to 7 years. It involves coursework, comprehensive exams, dissertation research, and writing. Some online PhD programs allow students to finish their degree in less time, but the average is 6 years.

Many PhD programs in English offer financial support to students, which can include tuition waivers, stipends, and teaching or research assistant positions. Students often receive compensation for their teaching or research contributions, helping to offset costs during their doctoral studies. Stipends and compensation for teaching or research assistantships can range from a few thousand dollars to more substantial amounts, depending on the university, location, and program.

Yes, earning a PhD in English grants you the title of “Doctor.” When you successfully complete a doctoral program, including a PhD in English, you’re awarded the academic title of “Doctor of Philosophy.” You can use the prefix “Dr.” before your name in professional and academic contexts.

Yes, it is possible to pursue a PhD in English without a master’s degree. Some doctoral programs accept students with a bachelor’s degree directly into their PhD programs, providing specific academic and admission requirements are met.

University of California Irvine

  • Chancellor’s Message

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2023-24 edition, english, ph.d..

The Ph.D. program in English at UCI is the #1 department for literary and critical theory nationally (US News and World Report). The research and teaching of department faculty represents and cuts across a range of fields, historical periods, and methodological approaches. Our  graduates have gone on  to faculty positions at a range of nationally ranked colleges and universities, including, in recent years, the University of Michigan, Tulane, Rice, Clemson, BYU, and Connecticut College.

Many of our Ph.D. faculty and students participate jointly in collaborative, interdisciplinary research clusters and reading groups. Some groups currently active include  The Center for Early Cultures , the Culture and Capital Center,  Medieval Devysings ,  Poetics | History | Theory , the Queer Theory Reading Group, and the Rhetoric Reading Group. Our Ph.D. program allows students to customize their study and research around their own intellectual interests. Students can also take seminars in other programs and departments, and can receive interdisciplinary certificates in  Asian American studies ,  Chicano/Latino Studies ,  Critical Theory ,  Gender and Sexuality Studies ,  Latin American Studies ,  Medical Humanities ,  Rhetoric and Composition , and  Visual Studies

All admitted students receive a multi-year funding package, including a range of teaching opportunities. Students may enter the graduate program in English with either a B.A. or an M.A. In either case, the first two years are spent taking courses, completing the language requirement, and writing the M.A. paper. In the third year, students select two or three fields of study for their qualifying exams - exam lists are developed by the student in consultation with their advisor and are intended to help the student build expertise and confidence toward a future dissertation. After successfully completing the qualifying examination, students write a dissertation under the supervision of a three-person dissertation committee, which they select.

Admission to the Ph.D. program in English is determined by careful review of the applicants' prior academic performance, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Admission is for the following fall quarter only. The application and supporting documents (transcripts, writing sample, and three letters of recommendation) are required by the deadline. Applicants must use the university's electronic application process.

Since admission to the graduate program is competitive, it is recommended that prospective applicants consider carefully the following information:

  • One of the most important components of an application is the writing sample. This should be a critically-oriented piece that illustrates an applicant's ability to do scholarly research and interpret literary or cultural texts. It is helpful if the writing sample is relevant to your proposed field of study, although this is not a requirement. Only one writing sample should be submitted, and it should not exceed 20 pages. Please note: the writing sample and the statement of purpose (part of the university's online electronic application) are two separate essays, and both are required for the Ph.D. application.
  • The statement of purpose is generally 1-2 pages and should tell the admissions committee who you are as a scholar, what your research interests are, and why you are applying to the UCI English Ph.D. program in particular. The personal history statement , also part of the online application, is not required but is highly recommended, especially for those applicants who think they may be eligible for a diversity fellowship. It should address aspects of your background or personal experience relevant to your application and/or to your academic interests.
  • A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.50 in the last two years of undergraduate study is recommended to be competitive.

For more information about the application process, including deadline and information for international students, visit the UCI Graduate Division application page .

Students must take a minimum of 15 graduate seminars, of which a maximum of three can be taken outside the English Department, though students are allowed to petition for additional courses to count toward the requirement. Courses should expose students to a variety of topics, approaches, genres, and theoretical issues in literary history as well as prepare students for an area of specialization. Adequate historical coverage generally entails at least one course on literatures in English in each of the following periods: medieval; Renaissance; the long 18th century; Romanticism; Victorian or late 19th century; the 20th century. Students should take courses from a number of different faculty in order to provide a good basis for choosing members of committees and to gain educational breadth and diversity. All work for the Ph.D. degree must be in courses limited to graduate students.

M.A. Examination

As the coursework for the M.A. nears completion, students meet with their advisor to plan for the M.A. examination. The advisor and the student will select a seminar essay the student has already written and which will be revised for the M.A. examination (the essay should be article length, i.e. between 20 and 40 pages). The purpose of the revision is to demonstrate that a student has the skills needed to pursue a Ph.D. in English. The final paper must, therefore, be well-written and clearly argued. The student will also prepare a "Statement of Purpose" which addresses coursework to date and plans for subsequent courses; plans for the qualifying examination and dissertation; and professional aims. The exam meeting itself will be conducted by a member of the departmental M.A. Examination Committee and two other faculty members, including the student's M.A. advisor. Examinations usually last one hour.

Foreign Language Requirement

The student must demonstrate a highly proficient reading knowledge of one foreign language by passing a translation test. The test must be passed before the M.A. examination. The tests are two-hour sight translations - during which the use of dictionaries is permitted - and may be re-taken. The Graduate Committee asks qualified members of the Department or other departments to set and mark the examinations.

The Department expects its graduates to obtain considerable teaching experience before completing the Ph.D. The amount of teaching any candidate may do will depend upon the availability of teaching assistantships and the maximum limit of 12 quarters of appointments before advancement to candidacy and 18 quarters of total teaching support. (Both are campuswide limits.) Appointments are made on the basis of academic progress and performance as a teacher at the university level. All other considerations being equal, students making normal progress toward the degree have a more compelling claim to support than those who do not. For instance, although students can receive up to 18 quarters of support, priority is normally given to those who have not yet used 15 quarters.

Qualifying Examination

After students have completed the coursework (and any other requirements), they prepare for the qualifying examination. Working closely with the chair of the committee (confirmed at the M.A. examination), the student should select three other members of the examination committee. A fifth member, working or non-working, from outside the Department and sometimes from outside the School of Humanities, is selected by the chair of the committee in consultation with the student. The primary function of the qualifying examination is to test the student's knowledge of two or three fields of specialization. Working with the advisor and the other members of the committee, the student will prepare reading lists in each of these two or three fields; the number of works read for the examination should total 120-150. Each field list will also be prefaced by a "headnote," written by the student, of 500-1000 words. The examination itself will take place in the spring quarter of the student's third year. It consists of eight hours of on-campus writing and (a week later) a two hour-long oral exam covering both the written exam essays as well as any texts on the student's lists.

Upon satisfactorily completing the qualifying examination, the student is admitted to candidacy for the degree.

Dissertation

After completing the qualifying examination, the candidate will form a suitable dissertation committee of three members, chaired by a member of the Department. The candidate and the committee will discuss expectations for a substantial piece of writing - a prospectus, introduction, or chapter draft to be completed in the quarter immediately following the qualifying exam. The committee and the candidate will discuss the piece and make plans for the dissertation as a whole. After submitting the full dissertation to their committee members, students will be required to pass an oral dissertation defense with their doctoral committee prior to filing the dissertation and graduating.

The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is seven years, and the maximum time permitted is nine years.

The following interdisciplinary emphasis programs are available for English Ph.D. students as an optional supplement to their coursework and study.

Emphasis in Asian American Studies

The emphasis in Asian American Studies is offered to students in an array of fields in the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences, Social Ecology, and the Arts. Completion of this rigorous academic sequence demonstrates significant scholarly ability and ethical commitment to the critical study of race broadly, and of Asian Americans in particular.

Emphasis in Chicano/Latino Studies

The emphasis in Chicano/Latino Studies is available in conjunction with all Ph.D. programs offered at UC Irvine. As a supplementary program of study, it provides substantive, theoretical, and methodological training in Chicano/Latino studies. Additional coursework allows students to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of Chicano/Latino issues to further their research program and be better prepared to engage with diverse communities.

Emphasis in Critical Theory

Critical Theory at UCI is understood in the broad sense as the study of the shared assumptions, problems, and commitments of the various discourses in the humanities. An emphasis in Critical Theory is available for doctoral students in all department within the School of Humanities.

Emphasis in Feminist Studies

The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies offers an emphasis in Feminist Studies , which emphasizes interdisciplinary, multicultural scholarship and includes course work in feminist theories, the cultural roles of women, women's socioeconomic condition, women's history, women's literature in a cross-cultural frame, women's images in fine arts and film, women of color, and lesbian and gay studies. 

Emphasis in Latin American Studies

The graduate emphasis in Latin American Studies is open to students from all fields and allows students to gain interdisciplinary knowledge about the study of Latin America and form scholarly relationships with a range of faculty and graduate students interested in Latin America from across the UCI campus.

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2023-2024 Catalogue

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PhD Program

The English Department will begin reviewing completed MA applications on January 1, 2024 and will continue to accept them until the March 15, 2024 deadline

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Requirements for the PhD

In the PhD Program, students move toward specialization in a particular area of study. The requirements include:

  • Sixteen graduate-level courses, including a required eight courses taken in the first year.
  • A successful review by the Graduate Committee upon completion of the first year.
  • Demonstration of a reading knowledge of one foreign language at an advanced level or two foreign languages at an intermediate level – including one language completed as part of the first year.
  • Completion of a Qualifying Oral Examination
  • Submission and approval of a Dissertation Prospectus
  • Completion and defense of a Ph.D. dissertation

Please note that successful completion of requirements in the first year earns each Ph.D. student an M.A. degree as a matter of course.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for PhD Students

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of English guarantee five full years (12 months each) of financial support for PhD students who maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress . This support will be in the form of Teaching Fellowships or Graduate Fellowships. All requirements for the doctorate, including dissertation, must be completed within seven years (exceptions require a petition to GRS). A leave of absence of up to two semesters is permitted for appropriate cause.

Given these time constraints, students should work closely with their advisers and dissertation readers to devise an efficient schedule for meeting all benchmarks. Faculty and students share responsibility for adhering closely to this schedule.

The following achievements are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress:

Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, have no more than 2 failing grades (lower than B- or an incomplete grade older than 12 months), and pass qualifying exams and other milestones on the following recommended schedule:

Year 1:      Eight graduate courses – for the M.A. degree / first foreign language requirement.

Year 2:      Continue course work and study toward the completion of the language requirement.

Year 3:     Complete course work and language requirements. In the fall of the third year, students take the pro-seminar (EN794 A1), in which they develop their Qualifying Oral Examination rationale and reading list, and form an oral exam committee.

Year 4:      Fall: Students should take the Qualifying Exam early in the Fall semester.

Spring: Prospectus submitted and dissertation writing begins.

Years 5+ : Dissertation.

Additional departmental details regarding all stages of the degree can be found in the graduate handbook

For GRS college policies and general information please see the Graduate Bulletin

Robert Chodat, Director of Graduate Studies

Department of English

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Ph.d. in literature.

Professor Mike Ziser leading discussion

Our PhD students are involved in a range of interdisciplinary and public initiatives. For example, some affiliate with interdisciplinary  Designated Emphases ; others have received grants to create  podcasts , convene interdisciplinary  working groups , or organize and annual graduate student  conference ; each year one student participates in a year-long exchange program with the  Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies  in Mainz, Germany; some have worked as Graduate Assistants and researchers for research centers such as the  Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program , the experimental media  Modlab , and the university’s  Datalab .

Students graduate with the qualitative and quantitative skills necessary for professional research and teaching in English, as well as extensive pedagogical training and a range of teaching experience that includes writing and composition, as well as designing and teaching Introduction to Literature courses. Our Alumni Directory  includes titles of recent dissertations, as well as information about the diverse careers for which the PhD has helped prepare our graduates. There is an option to complete an MA in literature , but it is not a stand-alone program.

Questions? Contact:

Aaron Barstow Graduate Program Coordinator, Ph.D. Program in Literature [email protected]   (530) 752-2738 Pronouns: he/they

Admissions / Online Application

Degree requirements for the Ph.D. program   (links to more details) include 50 units of coursework with at least 44 units taken for a letter grade, proficiency in one foreign language proficiency before degree conferral, preliminary and qualifying examinations, and a dissertation. In addition, there are also opportunities for students to pursue a Designated Emphasis and gain teaching experience.

Coursework Requirements

2 Core Courses (8 units)

  • English 200: Introduction to Graduate Studies (taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory)
  • One survey course in literary theory (Critical Theory 200A or 200C taken for a grade).

1 Workshop (2 units)

  • English 288: Prospectus Workshop (taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory); students may petition to complete this course independently with a Prospectus Adviser.

10 Graduate-level Seminars (40 units)

  • All courses must be taken for a grade.
  • Five courses must satisfy the breadth requirement (see below).
  • Five courses will be comprised of electives (see below).
  • Students may count one undergraduate 100-level course as one of their ten required courses.
  • Aside from ENL 200, no course graded Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory may count as one of the twelve required seminars. Independent and group studies may not be taken for a grade.

13 Total Graduate Courses (50 units; 44 units taken for a grade)  Additionally, students who enter the Ph.D. program without a MA degree can earn one en route to the Ph.D. degree.

The English Ph.D. requires a reading knowledge of one foreign language before completing the degree; it is not an admissions requirement. This could be satisfied through previous or current coursework or an exam. Any of the following demonstrates proficiency:

Completion within the past eight years of 3 semester-length, or 4 quarter-length courses in a foreign language at the undergraduate level. Students must earn a passing grade, but courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.

Students may take the Placement Test offered by the UC Davis Language Center , testing out of the language at the intermediate level.

A Pass in the language exam offered in the English Department at the beginning of Fall or Spring quarter each year.

The breadth requirements must be fulfilled by coursework in the Department of English or coursework taught by English Department faculty.  Five courses (of the total 40 units above) will satisfy this requirement. Students must complete two Earlier Period courses, and two Later Period courses, and one Focus course. 

Earlier Period Courses Pre-1800; or Pre-1865 if the course focus is on American literature

Later Period Courses post-1800; or post-1865 if the course focus is on American literature

Focus Course Interdisciplinary, Identity, Genre, Other National, Method, Theory

Faculty and/or the Graduate Advisor may choose to designate a course as fulfilling more than one category, but students may use the course to fulfill only one requirement. For instance, a student could use a course on women in Early Modern literature to satisfy the Earlier Period requirement, or the Focus (Identity) requirement, but not both. A student could use a course on Cold War Drama to satisfy the Later Period requirement or the Focus (Genre) requirement, but not both.

The electives requirement can be fulfilled by actual offered seminars inside or outside the English Department.  Five elective courses will satisfy degree requirements. UWP 390 is acceptable as one of the electives. Also, be aware 299s are ungraded but still count towards overall units. With the approval of the Graduate Adviser, students may also enroll in a graduate class at another University of California campus through the Intercampus Exchange Program .

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with MA coursework from another institution may petition the Graduate Adviser for a Course Waiver up to three of the twelve required seminars; each approved petition will reduce the number of required courses by one. Students may not reduce their coursework to fewer than nine seminars.

Students holding an MA may also petition the Graduate Adviser for course relief for up to five of the breadth requirements; each approved petition allows the student to substitute elective courses. ENL 200 may not be waived or relieved.

For each waiver or relief request, students must submit to the English Graduate Office a Course Waiver or Relief Request form (available in the office) along with the syllabus from the course and the student's seminar paper.

Graduate students may participate in a Designated Emphasis (DE) , a specialization that might include a new method of inquiry or an important field of application which is related to two or more existing Ph.D. programs. The DE is awarded in conjunction with the Ph.D. degree and is signified by a transcript notation; for example, “Ph.D. in Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Native American Studies.”  More information .

In the Spring Quarter of the second year or Fall Quarter of the third year of graduate study, students take a Preliminary Examination in two historical fields and one focus field. Three faculty members conduct the oral examination, each representing one of the fields. Prior to taking the Preliminary Examination, students must have completed the following:

Introduction to Graduate Studies (ENL200)

Survey of Literary Theory (CRI200A or CRI200C)

Four of five Breadth Requirements

Four of five Elective Requirements

Additionally, students select one focus field. A student may devise her/his own focus list in collaboration with two faculty members or, as is more common, choose one from among the following:

Black Studies

Critical Theory

Disability Studies

Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities

Film Studies

Media Technologies

Performance Studies

Postcolonial Theory

Psychoanalysis

Queer Feminisms

Queer Theories

Race and Ethnicity Studies

Science and Literature

Science Fiction

English 299 (Independent Study) is ordinarily used the quarters before the Preliminary Examination to prepare for the oral  examination and is graded Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory. Students may register for ENL 299 under the Graduate Advisor or a faculty member in the field of their exam for the quarter(s) they intend to study.

In the event that the student does not pass the exam, the exam chair will report the decision to the Graduate Adviser, who will work with the committee to decide whether the student should be given a chance to retake the exam (no less than six months later) or whether the student should be dismissed from the program. The Graduate Adviser will report this final decision to the student within 72 hours of the exam’s conclusion.

Any remaining requirements after taking the Preliminary Examination must be completed before scheduling the Qualifying Examination.

Students will select two historical fields from among the following list.   Students who would like to do non-consecutive historical fields need to get prior approval from the Graduate Adviser.  These lists and additional helpful documents can be accessed via our box folder "Preliminary Exam" in the English Graduate Program file.

The Qualifying Examination  happens as early as the spring of the third year and should be taken no later than the spring of the fourth year . The reading list for this exam, which is conducted orally, is constructed by the student in consultation with his or her three-person dissertation committee. When making their lists, students may consult the standard lists for preliminary exams available on the department's Box site. If the student has elected a designated emphasis (DE), materials from that field should also be incorporated into the Qualifying Exam reading list.

Graduate Studies requires the Qualifying Examination Application (GS319) to be submitted at least 30 days prior the the scheduled exam date.

Qualifying Examination Committee  The student, in consultation with their Prospectus Adviser and, if needed, the Graduate Adviser, nominates  four   faculty to serve on the Qualifying Examination Committee: 

  • The three proposed Dissertation Committee members 
  • One member must be from outside the English graduate program (this may be a member of the Dissertation Committee). 

The QE Committee is responsible for administering the exam. Neither the “Prospectus Adviser” nor the Dissertation Director (in many, though not all, cases these will be same) may be the chair of the QE Committee. Students with a designated emphasis (DE) must include one faculty member affiliated with the DE on both their qualifying and dissertation committee. DE paperwork must be approved before the QE application is submitted. The exam will focus on the Prospectus and the Qualifying Exam reading list. The bibliography of the prospectus will normally overlap substantially with the Qualifying Exam reading list.

The Qualifying Exam Report (GS343) must be submitted withing 72 hours of the exam. Upon successful completion, students receive the Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Plan B (GS321) .

If you are disabled, you are entitled to accommodations for all requirements of the program you’re enrolled in, a process formally handled by the Student Disability Center . We recommend starting the process of coordinating with the SDC early in your graduate school journey, as it can take time for the Center to process information.  We must work with the SDC to implement your accommodations for your exams.  Please indicate your need for accommodations to us as soon as possible, so we can include the Center in our exam scheduling process.  Please notify us by the fourth week of the quarter in which you intend to sit the exam.

The dissertation must be an original work of scholarship and/or interpretation. It may be critical, bibliographical, historical, or biographical in its subject. Students work with a dissertation director and consult with two official readers as well as with other faculty knowledgeable about the project. A dditional details . 

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The 6 Best Types of PhD Programs for English Majors

phd in english programs

If you’re reading this, you’re probably exploring your options for advancing your undergraduate degree. Could a PhD be the ticket to realizing your academic goals and dreams? The decision to return to graduate school for a PhD is a significant one. However, a PhD is worthwhile — essential, even — if you want to conduct original research, or if you desire a career in academia or another specialized field. Some know exactly the subject in which they’ll earn their doctorate. For others, the decision is more ambiguous. The question then becomes: how can you create the most synergy between your bachelor’s in English and your PhD? It starts with narrowing your field of focus. So, go ahead and rule out those graduate programs in biochemistry, and start exploring a PhD in the humanities .

What do we mean by “the humanities?”

 A word cloud written on a black chalkboard in white chalk, featuring many aspects of studying humanities. In the center, in yellow chalk, “humanities” is written.

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Best phd programs for english majors.

If your undergraduate degree is in English, pursuing a PhD in the same discipline is an obvious path — but it’s not the only one. Depending on the kinds of classes you took and your interests within the field of humanities, you may be qualified to pursue a PhD in other disciplines. However, you should keep in mind that if you choose to pursue a new field of study, you may need to take additional prerequisite courses in addition to the courses you took to earn your bachelor’s degree.

1. PhD in Religious Studies

As an English major, you’ve most likely read a few religious texts, and you understand their significance regardless of your affiliation (if any). Truthfully, a PhD in Religious Studies doesn’t require you to be religious. Studying religion is studying ethics, beliefs, communities, and people. A PhD in Religious Studies will foster a greater understanding of the roles religion plays in the contemporary world and throughout history. You’ll examine the world’s religious traditions as social, cultural, and historical phenomena.

phd in english programs

2. PhD in Linguistics*

Have you ever marveled at the perfect word choice in your favorite play? Or, while reading a line of dialogue in a piece of literary fiction, heard the dialect, clear as a bell? There is no literature without language. The study of language is called linguistics, and it encompasses every aspect of language, in addition to the methods of studying and modeling them. Linguistics has traditional areas of analysis like phonetics, morphology, and syntax, the latter of which studies the rules and constraints that govern how speakers of a language can organize words into sentences. There are also linguistic sub-disciplines like historical linguistics, which is the study of language change, particularly in relation to a specific language or group of languages. For lovers of the written word, loving words themselves and the science behind them is the next logical step.

3. PhD in History

History, of course, is the study of the past. At the same, history helps us understand change and how the society we currently live in came to be.

History and English are inextricably intertwined. After all, many of the novels, poems, and essays you read as an English major made history in their own right. Both history and English make use of a very similar set of skills. Do you enjoy studying literary theories and analyzing texts through a specific critical lens? History has a comparable approach. It’s much more than reciting the names of influential people and the dates of important events; historians must understand it all within the context of the time.

Part of being a student of history is gaining the skill to sort through diverse, often conflicting interpretations. Your undergraduate degree in English will have set you up for success.

phd in english programs

4. PhD in Media Studies*

Like all forms of art, the creations of writers give us direct access to what it means to be human in all its complexity and mystery. If you found that your favorite part about being an English major was the art you encountered and the stories you were exposed to, you might want to consider a PhD in something like Media Studies. Media Studies will allow you to study story, culture, and contextual theory across various technical modes of production and reproduction, including print, photography, cinema, video, television, radio, etc.

5. PhD in Political Science*

At first, Political Science and English may seem like strange bedfellows. But you’ve already built a strong foundation in critical reading and thinking, approaching literary analysis through multiple lenses, and finding the influences of culture, politics, and social issues peppered throughout a work during your undergraduate study. Political and economic factors — and the relations between them — figure into many great works. Studying political science allows you to understand the origins and underpinnings of political values, from a historical and philosophical perspective. Think about it this way: if you find your favorite written works tend to have larger political meaning, this might be the right route for you.

6. PhD in English

Unsurprisingly, a major in English prepares you incredibly well for a PhD in English. From the first flowerings of poetry in Old English to the most recent creative work being published, a PhD in English gives students the comprehensive knowledge of literary criticism they need to join faculties across the world. Depending on your specialization, you’ll study anything from medieval literature to African-American literature to literature in the age of revolutions. Your bachelor’s degree in English gave you a broad overview, whereas your PhD will help you identify a specialty and drill down to become a subject matter expert.

phd in english programs

Explore the Humanities at Southern Methodist University

It’s not just what you study, but where. SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences can offer you a world-class education in the heart of Dallas, Texas.

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English Education PhD

Doctor of philosophy (75 points).

The primary purpose of the doctoral programs in English Education at Teachers College is to advance knowledge relevant to the teaching and learning of English and to prepare expert teachers of English for careers as scholars, researchers, and teacher educators in the field of English education. ​​ The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in English Education is open to a wide array of scholarly interests and thrives on the diversity of backgrounds and experiences students bring with them. As a Ph.D. student, you will become conversant with the principal theories, research methods, and pedagogical traditions of the field of English education. The degree program leads to an original research project culminating in the development of a scholarly dissertation that contributes to knowledge in the field. Graduates often take up research careers in universities or other educational institutions upon completion of their Ph.D. 

Experiences and Exposures: 

  • World-class faculty come together with a collaborative group of students from around the world to critically engage with theoretical and pedagogical stances that underpin English Education. 
  • Engagement in the scholarly community via coursework, research experiences, and opportunities to write and present at scholarly conferences. 
  • Supported by faculty mentors, students take on individual exploration of enquiries and conduct original research into issues of critical importance to the field of English Education.

Final Admissions Deadline:  January 15th

The final deadline for doctoral program applications is January 15th (with a December 1st as a priority deadline).

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to a faculty member regarding the admissions process for this program.

A group of students converse in a study group at Teachers College.

Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 75
  • Entry Terms: Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 1
  • Summer/Fall (Final): January 15

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Online Degree Application , including Statement of Purpose and Resume
  • Transcripts and/or Course-by-Course Evaluations for all Undergraduate/Graduate Coursework Completed
  • Results from an accepted English Proficiency Exam (if applicable)
  • $75 Application Fee
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation, one (1) of which must be academic
  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Three to five (3-5) years full-time teaching experience is expected

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

View Full Catalog Listing

Doctor of Philosophy in English Ed

The Doctor of Philosophy (75 credits) degree is designed to prepare candidates for positions in higher education as teachers and researchers whose scholarly activity is focused on the theoretical, philosophical, and pedagogical questions that define English education as a discipline for teaching and inquiry.

Required courses for ALL English Education/Teaching of English doctoral candidates:

A&HE 5510 Seminar in Foundational Texts 1 

A&HE 5504 Research Paper: Teaching of English (co-requisite with A&HE 5149)A&HE 5149 Writing Research: Methods and Assumptions (co-requisite with A&HE 5504)

A&HE 6504 Doctoral Seminar: Teaching of English

A&HE 7504 Dissertation Seminar: Teaching of English

A&HE 8904 Dissertation Advisement in the Teaching of English

A range of electives in literary and rhetorical studies

Four research methods courses for a total of at least 12 credits. It is recommended that candidates include at least two of the following:

A&HE 5150 Research in Practice

A&HE 5160 Qualitative Methodologies & Theoretical Frameworks

A&HE 6151 Narrative Research in English Education

A&HE 6152 Advanced Narrative Research in English Education

Students may also satisfy the requirement for research methods courses by completing approved courses in other programs and departments across the College.

Credit Requirements and Transfer Credits for the Ph.D. in English Education

The number of courses students take depends in part on the number of credits students transfer from previous graduate work at Teachers College. Students working toward the Ph.D. degree (75 credits) may transfer a maximum of 30 credits and will thus complete at least 45 credits while in the Ph.D. program. Approval of transfer of credits is always at the discretion of the advisor.

Coursework Restrictions

An academic advisor must approve all coursework in a student’s program plan, especially to ensure enforcement of the following College and Departmental policies:

No course that is “R” (attendance) credit or that is “P” (pass/fail) may be counted toward the Ph.D. aside from A&HE 6504 and A&HE 7504.

Students must consult their academic advisors when they undertake an independent study, an internship, fieldwork courses, or graduate courses in other colleges (usually GSAS) of Columbia University or at other universities within the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.

Doctoral students are generally discouraged from taking 4000-level courses and must consult with their academic advisors before registering for these courses.

Candidates should take a minimum of two courses outside the English Education Program (Courses not designated A&HE).

Doctoral Program Milestones Program Plan

During their first year of study, students in consultation with their advisor should complete, and file with the Office of Doctoral Studies, a program plan (the forms are available in the English education office and in the Office of Doctoral Studies) anticipating all the courses they will need to complete within the scope of their doctoral studies. This program plan should then be reviewed annually with the student’s advisor (and revised as necessary) giving student and advisor an annual measure of the student’s progress through the program

A&HE 5504: Research Paper in the Teaching of English

Before enrolling in A&HE 5504, students must have completed at least two research methods courses, have successfully completed the Certification 1 Examination, have discovered an area or problem of interest that they wish to study for their 5504 project, and have familiarized themselves with some of the available research literature on the topic or problem they propose to investigate. The research paper completed in A&HE 5504 allows a doctoral student to demonstrate the capacity to complete independent research and produce a research paper at a level of sophistication that promises success in undertaking a doctoral research project and doctoral dissertation. The completed A&HE 5504 research paper must be approved by faculty as qualifying the student to proceed to the next milestone in the doctoral program, the Certification 2 Examination.

Certification Examinations

Certification examinations certify a student’s expertise in the foundational texts, research traditions, and theoretical perspectives that represent the history of English Education as an academic discipline and that inform research in the more specialized field of study defined by a student’s anticipated dissertation project. Doctoral students in the English Education Program must pass two separate certification examinations. Examination 1 is a take-home examination, seven days in duration, covering the history of English education with a focus on one of the major curricular strands within the discipline. Examination 2, covering a specialized disciplinary area related to the student’s dissertation topic, is a take-home written examination to be completed within a time frame (up to one semester) set by the student’s faculty advisor. The topics and texts to be covered by the two examinations and the examination questions are determined by each student’s advisor in consultation with the student who will be examined.

Foreign Language Requirement

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in English education must demonstrate reading proficiency in at least one foreign language at a level of competence sufficient to read scholarly or professional work relevant to their own field of study. Students should contact the Office of Doctoral Studies for the current policy regarding satisfying this requirement. Courses in statistics or other past substitutes for a foreign language will not be accepted.

Dissertation Proposal (A&HE 7504)

The doctoral dissertation proposal consolidates the work candidates have done in courses, professional reading, and the two certification examinations. It is usually a 60 to 100-page document, which outlines a coherent account of the work a candidate wants to undertake for dissertation research, usually presenting drafts of early chapters for the dissertation. Typically a proposal includes an introductory chapter describing the origins and aims of the project, a fairly complete review of the literature, a chapter on research methods, and some preliminary data and data analysis. The dissertation proposal must be accepted at a formal or informal hearing where at least two faculty members function as examiners. Students may not undertake the dissertation proposal until both certification exams have been completed successfully.

Award of the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree

Students become eligible to apply for the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree upon completing 75 credits of coursework and fulfilling each of the previous doctoral program milestones. Upon being awarded the M.Phil. degree, doctoral students become “candidates” for the Ph.D. degree. Applications for the M.Phil. degree can be filed with the Office of Doctoral Studies.

Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is the culminating research project of the doctoral program and constitutes a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of English Education. As candidates write their dissertations, they must enroll in A&HE 8904: Dissertation Advisement in Teaching English, which is designed to help them refine their thinking and revise their writing as they complete successive drafts of their dissertation.

The Advanced Seminar

What is known historically as the Advanced Seminar now functions as a pre-defense meeting of a portion (2-3 faculty members) of the Ph.D. candidate’s doctoral dissertation committee, which convenes to interrogate and advise the candidate on the dissertation in progress in order to ensure its successful completion. The committee may be convened at any point in a candidate’s progress toward completing the dissertation research, but is ordinarily convened for English education candidates at a point when the candidate can present a rough draft of the entire dissertation for scrutiny by the dissertation committee members. The committee is convened in response to a formal request filed with the Office of Doctoral Studies (ODS) by the candidate with the approval of the dissertation advisor. Candidates should consult the ODS early in the dissertation project to ensure that all procedural rules for convening the Advanced Seminar and reporting on its deliberations are properly observed.

Dissertation Defense

The dissertation defense offers the opportunity for members of the candidate’s dissertation committee, all of whom have carefully read the dissertation, to interrogate the candidate on any and all dimensions of the candidate’s research and the written dissertation that is the product of that research. In most cases the committee will suggest minor revisions that the candidate is expected to incorporate into the dissertation before filing the final version. A typical defense, however, is less an interrogation than it is a collegial discussion of the candidate’s research project and findings with attention to next steps in the candidate’s research agenda and possibilities for revising and publishing the dissertation or sections of it. A successful dissertation defense marks both a moment of certification and a ritual initiation. At the conclusion of a successful defense, authorized doctoral faculty officially certify a candidate’s accomplishment in completing a major research study that makes a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of English education broadly defined, and thereby welcome the doctoral candidate into the community of scholars.

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Program Director : Yolanda Sealey Ruiz, Limarys Caraballo

Teachers College, Columbia University 327 Horace Mann Hall

Phone: 212.678.3070 Fax: 212.678.8197

Email: pa_enged@tc.edu

Explore Programs

English - doctorate (phd).

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DEGREE OVERVIEW

The PhD in English prepares students at the most advanced stage for the interpretation and composition of texts. The PhD program emphasizes rigorous critical study in the fields of rhetoric, composition, critical theory, cultural studies, literary studies, pedagogy, and technical writing.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The PhD program enhances students’ awareness of their literary and cultural environment and prepares them for a career in higher education as a rigorous scholar and inspirational teacher. PhD students benefit from:

  • award-winning faculty recognized for excellence in teaching and research
  • low faculty-to-student ratio and small class sizes
  • an individualized program of study
  • competitive funding for eligible students
  • opportunities to teach first-year writing and sophomore literature courses or to work in the Writing Centerflexible scheduling (full time, part time, afternoon, evening)
  • Admissions requirements
  • Degree curriculum (scroll down to course list)
  • Degree information in the University Catalog
  • Program accreditation

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Teaching at research universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges
  • Editing and publishing
  • Technical writing
  • Digital media

DEGREE OPTIONS

PhD in English

The PhD requires 30 semester hours of coursework beyond the MA, followed by a minimum of nine hours of dissertation work. After completing their coursework, PhD students must pass a written comprehensive examination. The degree culminates with a defense of the dissertation.

UTA English - Graduate Studies

WHY CHOOSE US?

  • Research-1 Doctoral University (Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education)
  • No. 3 fastest-growing doctoral public institution nationally (Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac)
  • Awarding-winning faculty recognized for excellence in teaching and research
  • Low faculty-to-student ratio and small class sizes

GET STARTED

Take the next step toward investing in yourself by learning more about our English - DOCTORATE (PHD) program.

Apply Today

If you're ready, so are we. The next step is to apply. Applying for admission is easy, and we're here to work with you every step of the way.

PROGRAM CONTACT

Name: Graduate Coordinator

Phone: 817-272-0466

Email: [email protected]

Learn more about this program on the Department or College website.

Department of English

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Check out the University Catalog for more information.

If you wish to apply follow this link.

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Phd program in english, starting study in fall 2024 and later.

This page contains information only for students who are beginning their graduate study in Fall 2024 or later .

Our Ph.D. program in English provides students with interdisciplinary coursework in a range of research areas, mentorship from faculty at the forefront of their fields, teachi ng experience in First-Year Writing and beyond, and dedicated support for job searches in academia and beyond.   After completing required coursework, Ph.D. students work with their advisory committees to devise exam reading lists that will deepen their knowledge in their selected fields for both teaching and research purposes. Students then design a dissertation project that best suits their intellectual and professional goals – whether that project be a traditional textual dissertation, a born-digital project, or a creative or translation work with a critical introduction.     Students entering our Ph.D. program with a B.A. enjoy financial support through a teaching assistantship for six years. Students entering with an M.A. in English or Rhetoric and Composition are funded through a teaching assistantship for five years.  

Learn about Financial Support

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Program Requirements

Advisory committee.

All Ph.D. students are assigned a Major Advisor by the Director of Graduate Studies upon matriculation. Associate Advisors may be members of any University department. Students should discuss all courses and program policies with their Major Advisor.

Students may change Major or Associate advisors at any time (for example, when selecting an appropriate examination committee). Forms to change Advisory Committee members are available in the Graduate English Office and on the university's website for the Graduate School .

Plan of Study

The Plan of Study for the Ph.D. degree must be signed by all members of the Advisory Committee and submitted to the Graduate School in the last semester of coursework for the degree. The Graduate School requires 15 credits of the mandatory research course GRAD 6950. These credits can be fulfilled within two to three semesters of continuous registration with a full Teaching Assistantship.

The Plan of Study must indicate which courses have been taken and are to be taken in fulfillment of requirements, how the language requirement has been or will be fulfilled, and what the dissertation topic will be. The Plan of Study must be on file with the Graduate School before the Dissertation Prospectus Colloquium takes place. Any changes–in courses submitted, language requirement plans–must be submitted to the Graduate School on a Request for Changes in Plan of Graduate Study form. All forms are available in the English Graduate Office and the Graduate School website .

Coursework Requirements and Policy on Incomplete Grades

Students entering with an MA are required to complete 25 credits of coursework and at least 15 credits of dissertation research. Students entering with a BA are required to complete 37 credits of coursework and at least 15 credits of dissertation research. Coursework credits include distribution requirements (described below) as well as two seminars taken in the first semester in support of the teaching assistantship: ENGL 5100, The Theory and Teaching of Writing (3 credits) and ENGL 5182, Practicum in the Teaching of Writing (1 credit).

Students who feel they have fulfilled any of the course requirements at another institution may petition the graduate program office to have those requirements waived at UConn.

MA/Ph.D. students who are continuing for the PhD have until the end of the third year of coursework to fulfill the distribution requirements.

Coursework is normally taken at Storrs. Transfer of up to six credits from another institution’s graduate program, or six credits from non-degree graduate coursework undertaken at UConn, may be accepted toward the MA or the Ph.D., provided that such credits are not used to earn a degree at another institution.

The Graduate Executive Committee recommends that students take no more than six credits of Independent Study. All Independent Studies must be requested through the Independent Study Form and approved by the Graduate Executive Committee.

Distribution Requirements

All graduate students (MA and PhD) are required to fulfill three distribution requirements:

  • a course in pre-1800 texts,
  • a course in post-1800 texts, and
  • a course in theory.

For MA students, these requirements ensure breadth of study to support common pathways beyond that degree, including secondary education and doctoral work. For PhD students, these seminars provide vital context for the deeper investigations required by PhD exams and the dissertation.

The 1800 pivot date of the chronological distribution requirements is not meant to signal an important shift in literary or cultural history but instead establishes a midpoint in common areas of study; in asking students to take coursework on either side of 1800, these distribution requirements ensure that students in earlier periods look forward to later developments in the field and that students in later periods trace the field backward.

Students can fulfill these requirements in the following ways:

  • Take a course that focuses entirely on the distribution requirement’s stated area of study. For example, a Milton seminar would fulfill the pre-1800 requirement, a twentieth-century literature course would fulfill the post-1800 requirement, and a lyric theory seminar would fulfill the theory seminar requirement. Often, these courses are offered under course designations (such as ENGL 5330: Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature or ENGL 6500: Seminar in Literary Theory) that make clear their ability to fulfill distribution requirements. However, at times courses listed under more general course designations can fulfill these requirements. Consult with the instructor of record and the Director of Graduate Studies if a course’s eligibility to fulfill a distribution requirement is unclear.
  • Take a transhistorical seminar or a seminar organized by a methodology or thematic concern and complete research and writing in the distribution requirement’s stated area of study. Seminars that span centuries (such as  Shakespeare on Screen) or those that focus on a methodology or theme (such as Disability Studies) can fulfill the pre- or post-1800 distribution requirement if the student completes the major writing assignment of the seminar focusing on texts or ideas from the relevant chronological period. For example, if a student enrolls in a Medical Humanities seminar, they can fulfill the pre-1800 requirement by focusing their work for the course on a pre-1800 text, such as Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year , even if the bulk of that seminar’s reading is post-1800. If they enroll in a seminar on adaptation of Arthurian texts, they can fulfill the pre-1800 requirement by completing work that draws substantially on Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur in theorizing modern retellings of that text. Please consult with the instructor of record to ensure that this type of work is possible if you plan on using a transhistorical, methodology-based, or thematic seminar to fulfill a distribution requirement.
  • Complete a teaching mentorship in the distribution requirement’s stated area of study.
  • Submit to the graduate office proof that you have completed a seminar in the distribution requirement’s stated area of study (unofficial transcripts and, if available, a syllabus) in the completion of a previous degree. Note that while coursework completed in the course of earning a previous degree can be used to fulfill English Department distribution requirements, those credits cannot count toward your UConn degree on your plan of study.

Note that some seminars can fulfill more than one distribution requirement. For example, a seminar in African American Literary Theory fulfills the theory distribution requirement and can, with relevant research writing, fulfill either the pre- or post-1800 requirement.

Students should email the graduate program administrator when they complete a distribution requirement to ensure that the graduate office keeps accurate records.

Policy on Incomplete Grades

The Graduate Executive Committee strongly discourages incompletes. However, the Committee recognizes that, at times, extenuating circumstances merit offering a student additional time beyond the semester to complete work for a seminar. In that case, the student should determine with the faculty member teaching the seminar a reasonable timeline for completing and submitting seminar work — ideally no more than one month. It is the student’s responsibility to remain in communication with their professor about outstanding work, especially if the student requires additional time.

According to the academic regulations of the Graduate School, if a student does not submit all work required to resolve an incomplete within 12 months following the end of the semester for which the grade was recorded, no credit will be allowed for the course. A limited extension of the incomplete beyond 12 months may be granted by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the instructor, but the Graduate School is not obligated to approve an extension if the instructor of the course is no longer at UConn.

If a student accumulates more than three incompletes on their transcript, they will be placed on probationary status by the Graduate Executive Committee and may be required to resolve those incompletes before being allowed to register for additional coursework. A student whose transcript includes four or more grades of incomplete may not be eligible for a teaching assistantship.

Language Requirement

Overview. As part of their graduate work, PhD students in English study at least one language other than English. In fulfilling the language requirement, students are not expected to achieve spoken or written fluency in another language. Instead, the goal of this requirement is to acquire reading knowledge . This requirement is in place to:

  • Enrich or expand students’ research and pedagogy in their area of specialization . Basic knowledge in another language enables and encourages students to seek out and explore primary texts and scholarship in languages other than English and thus to respond more fully to the critical conversations occurring in their areas of expertise.
  • Provide students with linguistic tools they will find valuable in a range of careers . English PhDs pursue careers in a wide array of contexts, including academia, nonprofits, publishing, secondary education, government institutions, libraries and archives, and museums — all pathways that could benefit from the expanded worldview, human connection, and research expertise that experience in languages provides. Moreover, anyone working in a teaching capacity, and who therefore is likely to encounter students from diverse linguistic backgrounds, benefits from an insider knowledge of the experience of reading and learning as a non-native speaker.
  • Challenge an anglocentric understanding of language in our discipline and culture at large. Our department values a diversity of voices and acknowledges that many languages and ways of speaking have been silenced through violence, both physical and cultural. We encourage our students to study languages other than English, in part, to resist a push for monolingualism in America and the cultural erasures that accompany it.

The methods students may use to fulfill this requirement are outlined below. While we require students engage only one language other than English, we recognize that those specializing in certain research areas might find acquiring additional language skills necessary for their research.

The Director of Graduate Studies recommends that all students, and especially those who are not entering the program with knowledge of a language other than English, discuss their plans regarding this requirement with their major advisor early in the program, preferably during their first semester. They should plan on fulfilling the requirement prior to completing coursework. At the latest, students should plan to complete the requirement before the submission of the dissertation prospectus. Please consult with the Director of Graduate Studies if any problem arises in completing this requirement according to that timeline.

Methods. In collaboration with their major advisor, students should determine which of the methods of fulfilling the language requirement described below best suits their course of study. For methods (1) through (3), students must have completed the courses or examination no more than five years prior to submitting their PhD plan of study for approval.

The options below are arranged from those that require no additional work to those that require the deepest investment. If a student anticipates that a language will be vital to their research, we encourage them to select a means for fulfilling the requirement that allows for substantial language study. Please note that students may choose to pursue the study of written languages (such as Spanish, German, Arabic, Mandarin, etc.), digital languages (such as Python), and gestural languages (ASL). The option to pursue any particular language will depend, in part, on resources (faculty, coursework) available at UConn and beyond.

  • The student may establish evidence of competence in the language through an official transcript stating that the undergraduate or a higher degree was earned with that language as the major or minor area of study.
  • The student may pass an examination set by a member of the university faculty (or, if approved by the advisory committee and the DGS, a faculty member at another college or university). The examiner may be a member of the English department — and the graduate office maintains a list of faculty qualified and willing to administer language exams — but may not be a member of the student’s advisory committee.The examination will include the translation into English of a passage approximately 400 to 500 words in length with the assistance of a dictionary. The examiner will choose the passage in collaboration with the student’s major advisor. The examination must be supervised and have a reasonable time limit. In the event that a student is studying a language not typically rendered in print/text form, such as American Sign Language (ASL), the examiner will provide an appropriate text that the student will translate into English. If the result is not successful, the exam may be repeated as many times as needed.Students pursuing this option can consult with their advisors and the graduate office for resources they can use to learn independently in preparation for the exam. To schedule a language exam, the student should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies. When the exam is finished, the examiner should send an email confirming the student’s successful completion of the exam to the graduate office, copying the student and their major advisor.
  • A PhD or MA reading examination in a language other than English passed at another graduate school may be accepted in transfer (subject to the above five-year limitation). The student should provide the graduate office evidence that they passed such an exam.
  • The student may pass both semesters of an approved one-year reading or beginning course in the language with grades equivalent to C or higher. The courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis, with a grade of Pass denoting a performance that meets the language requirement. Alternatively, the student may pass a course in a language other than English or in literature written in a language other than English at or above the 3000 level, provided that the reading for the course is required to be done in the language . Language courses taken concurrently with the graduate program at other institutions are eligible to fulfill the requirement as long as the student can provide evidence that they have taken the course and received a grade of C or higher.
  • The student can complete UConn’s Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation .
  • The student’s native language is a language other than English.

Ph.D. Exams

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations are based on two reading lists (details below), which are created in the final semester of coursework and must be approved by the Graduate Executive Committee. The Graduate Executive Committee recommends the following timeline for completing the Doctoral Examination and moving to the dissertation.

  • In consultation with the Advisory Committee, create exam lists in the spring semester of the final coursework year. While creating exam lists, discuss the timing and formatting of the Ph.D. exam (details below).
  • Submit exam lists and the PhD Exam List Approval Form  to the Graduate Office for approval by April 15.
  • Submit Plan of Study to the Graduate School in summer or early fall semester in the third year.
  • Take the Doctoral Examination no later than February 28th of the academic year following the completion of coursework. The Graduate Executive Committee recommends that students take exams in the late fall.
  • Submit dissertation prospectus and schedule the Prospectus Colloquium no later than April 1st of the academic year following the completion of coursework.

Creation and Submission of Examination Lists

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations are based on two reading lists, which provide the materials for three discrete exams: one addressing the first reading list, one addressing the second reading list, and a third which combines materials from both lists. For the purposes of the exams, each list designates a clearly defined and professionally recognizable field or subfield of scholarship (e.g., a literary-historical period such as the Renaissance, a transtemporal genre such as Drama, a critical tradition such as Feminism, an established body of literature such as Children’s Literature). The relationship between the two reading lists is to be determined by the advisory committee, with the understanding that the fields identified by each list are to complement one another (in terms of history, discipline, method, genre, or otherwise). When appropriate, students should discuss with their advisors ways to handle the challenges of representing multiple subfields and/or disciplines within the two-list structure

Traditionally, each list comprises approximately 60-75 works, including 75% primary works and 25% secondary works. A “secondary” work may refer to a book, essay, or group of essays including literary criticism, historical, or theoretical texts. Lists from students in certain fields may look slightly different. For example, lists in Rhetoric and Composition may contain entirely secondary texts, including articles and book chapters alongside book-length texts. Lists in fields such as Digital Humanities or Film Studies may include texts in a variety of modalities. Students in these fields should discuss with their advisors the best way to proceed. All lists should include no fewer than 60-75 works overall, of any genre or modality. Because each field is different, a student’s list should reflect the kind of texts (e.g., theoretical, multimodal, visual) that are important in that field. How each text “counts” on the Ph.D. exam list will be determined at the discretion of the student and their advisory committee, as the graduate office recognizes that length and complexity are not equivalent.

Generally speaking, excerpts are not permissible, though standard excerpts of exceedingly long or multi-volume works may be permitted with the approval of the advisory committee. In assembling selections of poems, essays, excerpts, etc., students should not use undergraduate-oriented anthologies such as the Norton or Bedford anthologies; instead, students should research and choose an authoritative scholarly edition that surveys adequately — for a Ph.D.-level exam — each author’s writings. The student’s reading lists should reflect both breadth and depth of reading, as well as a sense of the history of criticism throughout the fields and contemporary critical and theoretical approaches. There should be no overlap of works between reading lists. Selections of works should take into consideration both coverage of the field and preparation for the anticipated dissertation.

Reading lists are to be drawn up by the student in consultation with their advisory committee, beginning at the end of the fall semester of the final year of coursework. Students are encouraged, though not required, to meet with the advisory committee as a whole to discuss the creation of the lists. All items in each list should be numbered clearly, and lists should be arranged chronologically or in some other systematic fashion.

Each list should be accompanied by a brief rationale (no longer than 500 words), that explains its content. The purpose of the rationales is the following: (1) to identify a body of texts and its legibility as part of a professionally recognizable field or subfield; (2) to justify inclusions or exclusions that might seem idiosyncratic or which are, at least, not self-explanatory (e.g., including more drama than prose or poetry on a Renaissance list); (3) to indicate a methodological, theoretical, or other type of emphasis (e.g., a high number of gender studies-oriented secondary works).

You can find a sample examination list with correct formatting and marginal notes explaining its elements here.

The student is responsible for making copies of their lists and rationales and depositing them, along with the completed PhD Exam List Approval Form , in the Graduate English Office no later than April 15th of the final year of coursework. All reading lists will then be referred to the Graduate Executive Committee for approval. The Graduate Executive Committee will not approve lists that fail to meet the basic guidelines recommended above. Students whose ideas about the exams continue to change during the reading period may update their lists with the approval of their advisory committees.

Scheduling the Examination

After examination lists are approved, students in consultation with their advisory committees need to agree upon the timing and format of the exams (details below) as well as specific dates on which their exam is to be administered. Please complete the PhD Exam Scheduling Form which will be automatically routed to the Graduate English Office. If the student requires a space on campus to take the exam, arrangements should be made at this time. The deadline by which all students must take their Examination (including the exam conference) is February 28th of the fourth year for MA/Ph.D.s or the same date of the third year for Ph.D.s.

Understanding Ph.D. Examination Deadline and Time Limits

The Ph.D. examination was devised in part to facilitate students’ timely completion of the doctoral degree, and so the Graduate Executive Committee requires that students meet all official deadlines. Students incapable of meeting an examination deadline, for whatever reason, must apply for a time extension from the Director of Graduate Studies by submitting a typed request, signed by the student and their major advisor, ideally at least one month in advance of the deadline. The letter must state the specific reasons for the time delay and also designate the specific amount of extra time requested.

The Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Graduate Executive Committee, will determine an appropriate response to the request, which will be communicated to the candidate by the Director of Graduate Studies. The Committee’s response will specify new deadlines by which the exam should be taken.

Taking the Examination

The PhD exam consists of three parts. The first two exams (Field 1 and Field 2) test the student’s knowledge of works on each field list. The third exam (Synthesis) tests the student’s ability to combine material from both reading lists in the service of a comprehensive argument, ideally one informing future work on the dissertation.

The exam can take one of two formats:

  • Written exam: The student writes three essays (Field One, Field Two, and Synthesis). Each exam should include two questions, of which the student selects and answers one. This format requires an exam conference, but the student will know if they have passed the exam before that meeting. The exam conference is described below. It is ungraded.
  • Hybrid exam: The student writes two essays (Field One and Field Two). The Synthesis exam is a graded, two-hour oral examination, initiated by a 15- to 20-minute presentation from the student in which they outline three to four research questions that arose from their reading, dedicating approximately equal time to each. The remaining time is led by the student’s advisors as an oral synthesis exam; advisors might, for example, ask questions that lead a student to clarify, nuance, or expand upon the research questions outlined during their presentation. Note that this exam is separate from the field exams; the student’s presentation, and the advisory committee’s questions, should not replicate the inquiries from those previous exams. In addition to the two written exams and oral exam, this format requires an exam conference, but the student will know if they have passed the exam before that meeting. The exam conference is described below. It is ungraded.

Written exams should be allotted 24 hours for completion. The three exams can be spaced across any three dates within a period of one month, with approval of all members of the advisory committee. If a student is taking the exams on three consecutive days, they should receive all exam questions at once. If a student is taking the exams according to a more dispersed timeline, they should receive one set of questions at a time.

These formats are designed to provide graduate students and their advisory committees the flexibility to design a Ph.D. exam that is intellectually challenging and responsive to a student’s needs and goals. As students prepare reading lists for their exams, they should consult with their advisory committee to select a fitting exam format. In the course of these conversations, students and their committees should take into account matters of access (outlined below) as well as students’ caretaking responsibilities, their ability to secure a quiet space to take exams, and other relevant factors. If these factors require a change in the exam’s format not recognized above, or in the event of a disagreement, the student should consult with their major advisor and/or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Examination questions are to be drafted by the candidate’s committee and reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies, but the major advisor is responsible for assembling the exam. Candidates are not permitted to view the questions prior to the examination. The Graduate Office asks the major advisor to distribute questions for written exams upon the schedule determined by the student and their committee. The Graduate Administrator will assist in scheduling a space for the oral exam, if applicable.

The Graduate Executive Committee strongly recommends that all candidates consult their entire Advisory Committee about their understanding of the examination process and expectations for each part of it — ideally throughout their preparations but certainly early in the process of assembling the lists and at a later stage just prior to scheduling the examination.

The Graduate Executive Committee assumes that answers to written exams will be approximately 10-15 pages of double-spaced prose (with limited block quoting); that each essay will answer the question asked by the advisory committee, however creatively; that each essay will establish a clear argument and seek to back it up with textual evidence; and that each essay will be clearly written and appropriately revised. Pre-written essays are strictly forbidden. The candidate should pay attention to the question’s instructions regarding the number of texts they should use in their response and not consider a text in detail in more than one essay.

Access and Accommodations for Ph.D. Exams

The University of Connecticut is committed to achieving equal educational and employment opportunity and full participation for persons with disabilities. Graduate students who have questions about access or require further access measures in any element of the graduate program should contact the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), Wilbur Cross Building Room 204, (860) 486-2020, or visit the Center for Students with Disabilities website . Alternatively, students may register online with the CSD by logging into the student MyAccess portal .

The English Graduate Office advises students who would like to discuss matters related to access to consult with the Director of Graduate Studies, ideally during the creation of the exam lists. Access measures for Ph.D. exams may include, but are not limited to, extended time to complete the exam, the use of voice recognition programs and the extended time some programs require, or locating and scheduling space to take the exam.

The Examination Grade

Upon completion of the examination, students will receive a grade from their committee of “Pass,” or “Fail.” Major advisors should communicate this grade to their advisees as soon as possible and before the day set for the examination conference. Students who fail the examination will be required to meet with their advisory committee to determine an appropriate time and plan for retaking it. Students failing the examination twice will be dismissed from the program. Please Note: ABD status grants a salary increase and eligibility for a library study carrel.

The Examination Conference

Within two weeks of a student passing the Ph.D. examination, the advisory committee will meet with the student to discuss the examination. This examination conference is a mandatory, but not a graded, component of the examination. The purpose of the conference is twofold: to offer candidates a forum for a thorough discussion of their exam’s strengths and weaknesses and to help the student transition from the examination phase to the prospectus phase of the Ph.D.. To this end, the Graduate Executive Committee assumes that advisory committee members will divide time appropriately between offering feedback on each of the three exams and working collaboratively to establish a clear understanding of expectations, goals, deadlines for completion of the prospectus.

The Dissertation

In light of growing diversity in students’ motivations for attaining a PhD in English and professional opportunities available to humanities PhDs, the department supports and encourages dissertations in many forms. For example, the dissertation might take the form of a prototype for a book manuscript; a born-digital project or a project with some online or computational components; or a creative work or translation with a critical introduction.

​Students should consult with their advisory committee and, if necessary, the Director of Graduate Studies about the proposed format of their dissertation as early in their graduate career as is practical. During those conversations, students and their advisors should consider the format of the dissertation in relation to the students’ scholarly needs and professional goals, the expectations and standards of the profession or intellectual community the student plans to enter, and the resources the student will require to complete the proposed project, including time, funding, advising, and skills. The student, advisory committee, and Director of Graduate Studies will agree upon the form and scope of the dissertation through the submission, review, and approval of the prospectus.

Prospectus Colloquium

The Dissertation Prospectus Colloquium is an opportunity for the student to discuss the thesis topic in detail with the Advisory Committee. The colloquium should take place before the student begins writing the dissertation. The Advisory Committee expects to be presented with a Prospectus sufficiently far along in its development for a judgment to be made on its scholarly validity and potential as a fully developed dissertation. The student and Major Advisor should inform the Director of Graduate Studies at least one month in advance of the day and time of this event. Departmental Representatives need at least two weeks notice before the actual colloquium to read the prospectus. The readers are expected to attend the colloquium; however, it is not necessary that they do so. Comments from the readers can be given to the Major Advisor and student.

Dissertation Chapter Advisory Conference

The Dissertation Chapter Advisory Conference is a non-graded opportunity for students to discuss with their advisory committees the strengths and weaknesses of a complete draft of a dissertation chapter. The conference is designed to serve three basic purposes: 1) to facilitate the transition of ABDs into the process of researching and writing the doctoral dissertation; 2) to encourage early communication between students and their committee members, and between primary and secondary advisors; 3) to encourage discussion of a future plan for the completion of the other dissertation chapters/parts. The Graduate Executive Committee requires every Ph.D. student to submit a complete draft of a chapter to the advisory committee, within 3 months but no later than 6 months after the date of the Dissertation Prospectus Colloquium. By “complete,” the Committee wishes to emphasize that the intellectual integrity of the submitted chapter must not be compromised by any omitted material (such as notes, bibliography, etc.), by significant stylistic weaknesses, grammatical errors, etc. After the Conference, students must turn into the Graduate office a First Chapter Conference Form , which must be signed by all advisory committee members.

Dissertation Defense

A dissertation defense is required of every student by the Graduate School. The student’s Advisory Committee and 2 Departmental Representatives are required to attend; members of the department and the University community are invited to attend. The defense is both an examination and a forum for the candidate to comment on the scope and significance of the research. As a result of the dissertation defense, the student’s Advisory Committee may require revisions and corrections to the dissertation. The student initiates scheduling of the Defense by consulting first with members of the Advisory Committee and the Graduate Office. At least five members of the faculty (including the members of the student’s Advisory Committee) must attend the defense. Only members of the Advisory Committee, however, may actually recommend passing or failing the student.

According to the Graduate School catalog, the dissertation should represent a significant contribution to ongoing research in the candidate’s field. While the Graduate School does not stipulate a minimum length for dissertations, the Graduate Executive Committee strongly suggests a minimum length of 60,000 words inclusive for a traditional dissertation in English (not a creative dissertation or a “born-digital” DH dissertation). The committee suggests this length as representing approximately 2/3 of the standard length of an academic monograph according to current publication practices. Students who wish to complete a creative dissertation, a “born-digital” dissertation, or a project in a format other than a collection of textual chapters should consult with their advisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students must schedule the dissertation defense with the Graduate Office and Advisory Committee at least three months ahead of time. Electronic copies of the dissertation should be distributed at least three weeks prior to the defense: to each Advisory Committee member and to department representatives. The student must also notify the UConn Events Calendar two weeks in advance. For further information, see this helpful guide from the Graduate School .

Annual Review of Progress toward Degree

Beginning in their first semester following the completion of coursework, Ph.D. students must annually report their progress by completing an Annual Review of Progress toward Degree , including a self-evaluation and a response from their major advisor. Neither evaluation need exceed 250 words. These evaluations are reviewed each spring semester by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in consultation with the Associate Director of Graduate Studies (ADGS). In the preparation for the review, students and their major advisors should consult with one another about the students’ achievements, progress, and any potential delays over the previous academic year. The review is due to the Graduate Office no later than April 1. Please see the form for submission instructions.

For students in the first year following the completion of coursework, satisfactory progress is measured by the student and major advisor in terms of their preparation for and writing of their PhD examinations. Subsequent reviews focus on the remaining milestones in the program, including the language requirement, the dissertation prospectus and colloquium, and progress toward the dissertation defense. Note that students can consult with their major advisors and/or the DGS to request extensions on deadlines, which are designed to help students complete their degree within funding .

For students who are ABD, the Review of Progress toward Degree  should focus on the dissertation. The self-evaluation from the student should record milestones achieved and set forth research and writing accomplished since the last evaluation as well as research and writing plans for the next twelve months.

If the student’s review raises concerns about their progress, the DGS will arrange a meeting with the student to devise a plan for moving forward.

Job Training and Professional Development

In the semester prior to submitting applications for a job, contact the Director of Graduate Studies to announce your intentions to go on the job market. The department runs annual meetings on CV and cover letter writing, teaching portfolio workshops, MLA and campus interviewing, etc. The Executive Committee recommends that Ph.D. students attend all of them.

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MA/PhD in English Language and Literature

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Program Overview

Our MA/PhD in English Language and Literature is an integrated program that allows students to earn an MA on the way to the PhD. We do not admit students for a terminal MA degree. The program receives over 250 applications of admission each year and typically enrolls an entering class of 10-14 students, all of whom receive funding.   

The MA/PhD program offers two tracks: one in Literature and Culture, the other in Language and Rhetoric. Within each track, students will develop individualized programs of study in close consultation with faculty mentors. Intellectually, there is substantial connection between work in these areas of the department: faculty teaching in the Language and Rhetoric track are certainly thinking about matters of culture, just as faculty teaching in Literature and Culture clearly attend to the nature and politics of language. Students in either track can and do take courses in the other.

However, these two tracks offer distinct forms of professional training and accreditation: students in the Literature and Culture track are trained to conduct research and to teach in literary and cultural studies (e.g., in fields such as Victorian literature, ecocritism, or contemporary speculative fiction). Students in the Language and Rhetoric track are trained to conduct research and to teach in areas broadly related to language-in-use (e.g., in fields such as composition studies, rhetoric, history of English, applied linguistics, literacy, and writing pedagogy). Their research might study practices in the composition classroom or might address topics in discourse analysis, language policy, and translingualism. On completion of the PhD, Literature and Culture students are qualified to apply for jobs teaching in their area of literary or cultural study; students in Language and Rhetoric are qualified to apply for jobs in rhetoric and composition studies, applied linguistics, or writing program administration. When applying to the program, applicants must choose between these two tracks and may not apply to both simultaneously.

Department faculty work across a range of historical periods (Medieval, Early Modern, 19 th , 20 th , and 21 st centuries) and methodological frameworks with a focus on the study of discourse, literacy, textuality, genre (including speculative fiction and SF), gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, postcoloniality, indigeneity, disability, environment, media, and public culture. For a fuller snapshot of the work we do, please consult our faculty profiles . 

Application Information

Application materials are due December 1. (If December 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the deadline is the following Monday.)  Offers of admission are usually made by mid-March.  

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For frequently asked questions, please see our  MA/PhD FAQ  page. 

Funding Opportunities

We offer a funding package to all admitted MA/PhD students. The funding package includes a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a monthly stipend during the academic year through an Academic Student Employee position. In general, duties include teaching one English class, assisting in a large lecture and leading quiz sections, or assisting in program administration.

PhD students also have opportunities to compete for fellowships and scholarships offered through the Department of English.

  • Check out our other Funding Opportunities

MA/PhD Degree Requirements

MA/PhD degree requirements can be found here: PhD Degree Requirements .

Students who enter our PhD program without a related master’s degree will be required to complete an MA in the first two years. More information can be found here:  MA/PhD Degree Requirements: Master's Degree .

Placement & Alumni

A recent survey of our graduates from 2008-2018 showed the following employment rates:

  • 43% in tenure-track positions
  • 43% in other academic positions (not tenure-track)
  • 8% in professional careers

Dissertation abstracts from recent graduates can be found here: Graduate Research .

Check out our  PhD Alumni Spotlight page where recent alumni have shared their current job placements, highlights from their time at UW, and advice for current and prospective students. 

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  • We welcome questions and correspondence from prospective graduate students at  [email protected]
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  • Guide to Applying for Graduate School

The process of preparing for and applying to a PhD program can be overwhelming. The University of Pennsylvania has created this webpage to help prospective PhD students think through the process so you can put together a strong application.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree one may obtain within a particular field of study. This ranges from studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields; Social Science fields such as Education, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology; as well as Humanities fields such as English, History, Music, Philosophy, and more. The PhD degree aims to prepare people to think critically, develop research, and produce scholarship that may be used for further research or implementation. The PhD historically prepared students to take on faculty roles in colleges and universities, and that is still the goal for many students pursuing the PhD. However, today the PhD is a sought-after degree in many other industries including pharmaceutical research, arts organizations and other nonprofits, publishing, government policy, big tech, finance, and more.

  • Who can apply to a PhD program?  PhD education is available to people from various educational, occupational, socioeconomic, and demographic backgrounds.
  • Who should get a PhD?  People interested in uncovering new ideas, solutions, processes, etc. within a specific area of study through conducting independent research.
  • Why is it important for diverse candidates to become PhD holders?  Our world thrives on heterogeneous ideas and experiences, which is why it is indispensable to include students with diverse perspectives in our PhD programs. These students will generate important and original research.

Most PhD programs are fully funded, meaning that for a specific number of years, the program will pay for your tuition and fees and health insurance, as well as provide you with a stipend for living expenses. The structure of this funding varies by field. Below is an outline of general funding information as well as trends according to field of study.

  • Funding packages provided by educational institution.
  • Funding packages provided through faculty research grants: Many STEM fields fund students through research grants awarded to faculty. In these cases, students perform research alongside the faculty. 
  • Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships: Part-time service that provides teaching and research training opportunities within your area of study.
  • Fellowships: Internal or external merit-based funding. Some fellowships require an application while others are given via nomination. Educational institutions typically have a resource listing fellowship opportunities. Winning a competitive fellowship looks good on your resume.
  • Grants: Requires an application with supporting materials of either your grades, scholarly work, and/or anticipated research. These are available through internal and external means. Grants greatly vary so be sure to always understand the requirements. Educational institutions typically have a resource listing grant opportunities. Winning a competitive grant looks good on your resume.
  • Employment: For example, serving as a residential advisor, on-campus jobs, etc. Some PhD programs restrict additional employment, so be sure to check before applying for jobs.
  • The funding opportunities described here often can be combined.

Choosing a school or program that provides the most potential funding may be a challenging decision. The value of the same amount of funding will differ depending on the cost of living in different geographic locations. Admitted applicants should investigate cost-of-living tools (available on the web) and be sure to understand how their funding will be structured. Ask questions when you are admitted, such as: 

  • Could you share more about your program’s funding mechanism?
  • For how long is funding guaranteed? How does that compare to the average time-to-completion? Historically, what percentage of students have received funding beyond the guaranteed funding package?
  • Does funding cover tuition, fees, books, etc.?
  • Does the funding rely on teaching, research, or other service? How much and for how long? 

Choosing a program for your studies is a personal decision that should reflect not only your research interests, but your work style, and interests outside of the classroom. Here we have identified five key tips to consider when selecting schools. 

  • Ask about which programs are strong in your area of interest, which have high completion rates, which have career outcomes that align with your goals, etc. 
  • Conduct a general internet search with terms related to your research interest.
  • Determine your geographic and personal preferences. Does the area meet your community needs? Is it important that the university aligns with your sociopolitical values? Do you prefer a large city or a smaller/college town? Is there a particular region(s) that has better access to resources needed to conduct your research?
  • Access your current or former university career center. These services are often still available for former students!
  • As you narrow your choices, try to identify at least 3 faculty in the programs of interest with whom you’d like to study. Also note how many of them have tenure. If relevant, research which of those faculty are taking on advisees in your year of matriculation.
  • Read articles from faculty with similar research interests.
  • Note the number of awards, publications, and service activities of faculty.
  • Identify research opportunities funded by both your program and university at large.
  • Connect with current and former students in the program for informational interviews.
  • Connect with campus Diversity Offices.
  • Whenever possible, before submitting your applications, make an appointment to visit the campuses and department(s) that interest you.
  • Use  LinkedIn  to see what graduates of your program are doing and how they are involved in their communities.
  • Estimate your feasible cost of living by geographic location and compare to the funding package offered.
  • Consider availability of health insurance, childcare, housing, transportation, and other fringe benefits.
  • Connect with a local bank or your prospective university’s financial services office for budgeting, savings, and other financial wellness advice.
  • Your First Year in a Ph.D. Program
  • What Does Academic Success Mean and How to Achieve it?  (STEM)
  • Pathways to Science  (STEM)
  • 7 Advantages PhDs Have Over Other Job Candidates  (Industry)
  • During your undergraduate/master’s education, you should pursue coursework and/or research that will prepare you for the higher expectations of a PhD program; for example, taking a research methods course, pursuing a summer research experience, or conducting research with a professor at your home institution.
  • Identify instructors who could write a letter of recommendation. Ask them to write letters even if you do not intend to apply to PhD programs immediately. Their letter will be stronger if they draft it while their memory of you is fresh.
  • Experiences outside of higher education can also strengthen your PhD application. These may range from project management to volunteer work.
  • Develop soft or hard skills. A soft skill that is most useful from the first day of your PhD program is networking. This is necessary not only for meeting other students but also to find collaborators with similar research interests and selecting faculty for your dissertation committee. Learning how to negotiate will also serve you well when approaching collaborative projects. Hard skills related to your field might include learning statistical analysis software, economic theory, a foreign language, or search engine optimization. In short, identify a few soft and hard skills that you can familiarize yourself with prior to your program’s start date.
  • Finally, prepare by identifying leading researchers and practitioners in your field, exploring peer-reviewed literature and/or publications, and gain familiarity with research methods.
  • Be sure to address all the specific questions/topics in the personal statement prompt. 
  • Clearly state why you want to pursue a PhD.
  • Propose your research interest.
  • Identify the faculty you’d like to study under. 
  • Discuss the unique qualities/experiences you offer to the program/school.
  • Outline what you hope to do with your degree.
  • Ask for recommendation letters early in the process, at least 2-4 weeks before the deadline. A good letter takes time to write!
  • Provide recommenders with your resume, information about the program, your personal statement and/or information about your research interests and research goals.
  • Consider your current/former instructors, supervisors, colleagues. These should be people who can speak to your work ethic, academic abilities, and research interests.
  • Test scores (i.e. TOFEL, GRE, GMAT, etc.) may or may not be required.
  • All transcripts including those for coursework completed abroad and transfer credits. Some programs require official transcripts, which take longer to procure.
  • Writing sample (field dependent): Include a graduate-level sample and update any statements, statistics, etc. as needed. It is highly encouraged that you edit your previous work.
  • Diversity statement: Many institutions offer an optional short statement where students can expand on their diverse backgrounds and experiences that may contribute to the diversity interests/efforts of the school.
  • Typically, PhD applications are due 10-12 months in advance of the program’s start date (i.e. apply in November to start the following September). A good rule of thumb is to begin your application process 6 months before the deadline. 
  • The availability of reduced application fees or fee waivers varies and sometimes depends on financial status and/or experiences (AmeriCorps, National Society of Black Engineers, attending certain conferences, etc.). If you are interested in a reduced fee or waiver, reach out to the program coordinator for details.
  • Dress professionally, even if the interview is virtual. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit but dress pants/skirt and a blouse/button down shirt would be appropriate.  
  • Develop an engaging elevator pitch, a 30-60 second summary, of your research interests and what you hope to gain by becoming a student at that particular university. Practice your pitch with friends and ask for honest feedback.
  • Prepare 2-3 questions to ask during the interview. These could include questions about program expectations, the experience and success of their PhD students, and (academic/financial/mental health) support for PhD students.
  • Some interview programs will include multiple activities including a social event. Be sure to maintain a professional attitude: do not drink too much and keep conversation on academic/professional topics.
  • This is also your opportunity to decide whether this campus is a good fit for you.
  • Academia Insider  is a good resource. 

Unlike undergraduate and master’s level education, coursework is just one component of the degree. A PhD comes with additional expectations: you must independently conduct scholarly research in your field of study, train in specific activities such as teaching or lab/field research, pass “milestone” requirements along the way, such as comprehensive exams, and complete the process by writing a dissertation. Furthermore, some fields require you to write multiple articles (number varies by field/program) for conference presentation and/or peer-reviewed publication.

There are other important elements as well:

  • Student/Advisor relationship. This is one of the most valuable relationships you can have as a PhD student. Your faculty advisor not only assists you with learning how to approach your research topic, but also typically serves as the lead supervisor of your dissertation research and writing, and ideally mentors you throughout the PhD experience. The selection process of choosing your advisor varies so be sure to know what is expected of you as a student and what is expected of the faculty member. Whenever possible, it is important to align your personality and work style with that of your faculty advisor. Many universities publish expectations for the PhD student/faculty advisor relationship;  AMP’ed  is Penn’s guide.
  • Other relationships: Your faculty advisor is far from the only important person during your PhD career. Other faculty members will also serve on your dissertation committee and be potential mentors. Other students in your program can also provide good advice and guidance along the way.
  • Coursework: Most programs have a number of required courses all students must take regardless of research interests. Once you have finished this requirement, the classes you choose should closely align with your research topic. Choose courses that will help you learn more about your dissertation topic and research methods. It is a good idea to discuss elective course selection with your advisor. 
  • The dissertation is a large-scale, written document that explores a narrow research topic of your choice. It is the final step before receiving your degree and must be presented and “defended” to your dissertation committee (made up of faculty members) for approval. Defending means that you have to answer in-depth questions about your topic. While this might sound daunting, the dissertation is simply a demonstration of all the knowledge and expertise you have acquired through your PhD education. 
  • Networking comes in many forms and includes connections with your fellow classmates, faculty members, and scholarly community. Formal networking events typically take place at academic conferences, where scholars and students present research. Increasing your academic circle will not only allow you to have study buddies, but offer you the opportunity to collaborate on articles or even gain employment. Your school’s career center can provide best practices for effective networking. 

Explore  graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania  and click on the programs that interest you to learn more about admissions and academic requirements.

Upcoming Penn recruitment events include:

  • Fontaine Fellows Recruitment Dinner (by invitation only): Friday, March 22, 2024
  • IDDEAS@Wharton  (Introduction to Diversity in Doctoral Education and Scholarship): April 18-19, 2024. Deadline to apply is January 31.
  • DEEPenn STEM  (Diversity Equity Engagement at Penn in STEM): October 11-13, 2024. Application opens in March 2024.
  • DivE In Weekend  (Diversity & Equity Initiative for Mind Research): Fall 2024

National conferences to explore:

  • The Leadership Alliance  supports students into research careers
  • McNair Scholar Conferences
  • SACNAS , the largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the U.S.
  • ABRCMS , the annual biomedical research conference for minoritized scientists
  • The PhD Project  for students interested in business PhD programs

Recommended pages

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Join our Postgraduate Open Day - Wednesday 20 March

PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)/ MA by Research

On campus: Annual tuition fee 2024 entry: UK: £4,778 full-time; £2,389 part-time International: £21,840 full-time Distance learning PhD: Annual tuition fee 2024/25: £12,330 part-time  More detail .

  • Visit an Open Day
  • Request a prospectus
  • Course details
  • Entry Requirements
  • Employability

Carry out your research with one of the UK’s leading English Language departments, renowned for its expertise in Corpus Research, Cognitive Linguistics and Psycholinguistics, and Discourse Analysis and Stylistics, from anywhere in the world. 

We offer both and campus-based and distance learning PhD courses. There are two distance learning PhD programmes in English Language and Applied Linguistics: a standard programme and a modular programme. There is no assessed taught component, but students follow online research training modules. Both distance learning options are part-time, while the campus programme can be either full-time or part-time.

All programmes have regular contact with your supervisor. On the distance learning programmes, this contact is by email and/or video conference and allow you to remain in your resident country while pursuing your research. This is particularly beneficial if you are interested in relating your research to your current work. 

The Standard PhD

The standard programme requires a traditional 80,000-word thesis. The work is examined at the end of the programme, as with other PhD programmes. Students identify and refine a thesis topic and research design in consultation with their supervisor and send drafts of the various chapters for comment as they work through the programme. As with all PhDs, progress is monitored throughout the registration period.

Distance Modular PhD

The modular programme requires three modules: two shorter research papers (Module 1 - 12,000 words, Module 2 - 20,000 words) and a final thesis of 50,000 words (Module 3). The work is examined in three phases, at the end of each module. The final product (in terms of total quantity and quality of work) is therefore similar to the standard PhD; however the modular option provides an incremental, continuously assessed route allowing students to progress through explicitly marked stages to a PhD. Students identify a topic they wish to work on and to which all their written work should be related; the nature of the assessment means however that the topic may not be as tightly focused as that in a traditional PhD.

Virtual Open Day: Postgraduate opportunities in English Language and Applied Linguistics - 28 April 2020, 14:00-15:00

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Join us online to watch a range of staff and student videos, and take part in our online chat where staff from the Department will be answering your questions about postgraduate study.

Find out more and register

Postgraduate scholarships available

phd in english programs

The College of Arts and Law is offering a range of scholarships for our postgraduate taught and research programmes to ensure that the very best talent is nurtured and supported.

Learn more about our scholarships

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

  • Graduate School Language Skills

phd in english programs

The staff are extremely friendly and approachable which makes for a really productive atmosphere in the department. I also really value the range of expertise across the department. Helena

Why study this course?

  • World-leading research : The University of Birmingham is ranked equal 10th in the UK amongst Russell Group universities in the Research Excellence Framework exercise 2021 according to the Times Higher Education. Additionally, the University of Birmingham is ranked in the top 50 for the study of English Language and Literature in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. These rankings are compiled annually to help prospective students identify the leading universities worldwide in a particular subject.
  • Distance learning experience : The Department has many years of experience in delivering high quality distance learning programmes at postgraduate level. Staff also have expertise in supervising doctoral research at a distance. Through the University library, you will have electronic access to a wide range of applied linguistic research journals and e-books.
  • Exceptional student support : While the programmes are rigorous in their standards and expectations, they also provide excellent support and a high degree of flexibility. You will receive the same level of support and supervision as our on-campus students.
  • Research resources :  Our English Language programmes benefit from the 450 million-word Bank of English corpus, an invaluable collection of authentic language data. All students and researchers working within English Language also have free access a variety of language corpora, and, where necessary, training in how to use them. Additionally, the Main Library houses an extensive collection of books on English language and linguistics, including English language teaching, and subscribes to 250 periodicals in the fields of English language and literature.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience .

Content and assessment for the Modular PhD

Module 1 - Subject-focused work, to include some research training and preparation related to the subject, such as empirical work, literature searches, and research methodology.

The 12,000-word assessment may be divided into 3 x 4,000 papers or combinations amounting to the total (60 credits). Pass/Fail.

Module 2 - Structured research and writing on the research topic. It may be linked in a linear way to Module 1, or the connection may be looser.

The 20,000-word assessment may be divided into one or two papers amounting to the total (120 credits). Pass/Fail

Module 3 - The thesis (maximum 50,000 words - 360 credits). Pass/Fail

The assessed work from Modules 2 and 3 should be of publishable quality.

Each assessment (i.e. each module) is submitted and passed before the student can proceed to the next. One re-submission of each module is permitted. The external examiner is consulted when each module is completed. Like all PhD theses at Birmingham, a Modular PhD is examined in a viva voce examination which takes place after the submission of Module 3.

We charge an annual tuition fee:

On campus PhD/MA by Research: Annual tuition fee 2024 entry:

  • UK: £4,778 full-time; £2,389 part-time *
  • International: £21,840 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2024.

Distance learning PhD:

  • Fees for students joining between September 2023 and August 2024 are as follows: £11,730 part-time
  • Fees for students joining between September 2024 and August 2025 are as follows: £12,330 part-time

Tuition fees will be payable each year for between four years (minimum registration) and six years (maximum registration). Students who go into Writing Up after four or five years will pay a nominal continuation fee (the same as for the full-time PhD).

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about  fees for international students .

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about  postgraduate tuition fees and funding .

How To Apply

Application deadlines.

Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2023.

Additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six-step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

You may also wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

  • How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page . Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Our Standard Requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree, with a GPA of 14/20 from a recognised institution to be considered. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of the Licenciado or an equivalent professional title from a recognised Argentinian university, with a promedio of at least 7.5, may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. Applicants for PhD degrees will normally have a Maestria or equivalent

Applicants who hold a Masters degree will be considered for admission to PhD study.

Holders of a good four-year Diplomstudium/Magister or a Masters degree from a recognised university with a minimum overall grade of 2.5 will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students with a good 5-year Specialist Diploma or 4-year Bachelor degree from a recognised higher education institution in Azerbaijan, with a minimum GPA of 4/5 or 80% will be considered for entry to postgraduate taught programmes at the University of Birmingham.

For postgraduate research programmes applicants should have a good 5-year Specialist Diploma (completed after 1991), with a minimum grade point average of 4/5 or 80%, from a recognised higher education institution or a Masters or “Magistr Diplomu” or “Kandidat Nauk” from a recognised higher education institution in Azerbaijan.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree, with a GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 75% from a recognised institution to be considered. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree, with a CGPA of 3.0-3.3/4.0 or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Students who hold a Masters degree from the University of Botswana with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 (70%/B/'very good') will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.

Please note 4-year bachelor degrees from the University of Botswana are considered equivalent to a Diploma of Higher Education. 5-year bachelor degrees from the University of Botswana are considered equivalent to a British Bachelor (Ordinary) degree.

Students who have completed a Masters degree from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study.

A Licenciatura or Bacharelado degree from a recognised Brazilian university:

  • A grade of 7.5/10 for entry to programmes with a 2:1 requirement
  • A grade of 6.5/10for entry to programmes with a 2:2 requirement

Holders of a good Bachelors degree with honours (4 to 6 years) from a recognised university with a upper second class grade or higher will be considered for entry to taught postgraduate programmes.  Holders of a good Masters degree from a recognised university will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a good post-2001 Masters degree from a recognised university will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students with a minimum average of 14 out of 20 (or 70%) on a 4-year Licence, Bachelor degree or Diplôme d'Etudes Superieures de Commerce (DESC) or Diplôme d'Ingénieur or a Maîtrise will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.

Holders of a bachelor degree with honours from a recognised Canadian university may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. A GPA of 3.0/4, 7.0/9 or 75% is usually equivalent to a UK 2.1.

Holders of the Licenciado or equivalent Professional Title from a recognised Chilean university will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. Applicants for PhD study will preferably hold a Magister degree or equivalent.

Students with a bachelor’s degree (4 years minimum) may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. However please note that we will only consider students who meet the entry guidance below.  Please note: for the subject areas below we use the Shanghai Ranking 2022 (full table)  ,  Shanghai Ranking 2023 (full table) , and Shanghai Ranking of Chinese Art Universities 2023 .

需要具备学士学位(4年制)的申请人可申请研究生课程。请根据所申请的课程查看相应的入学要求。 请注意,中国院校名单参考 软科中国大学排名2022(总榜) ,  软科中国大学排名2023(总榜) ,以及 软科中国艺术类高校名单2023 。  

Business School    - MSc programmes (excluding MBA)  

商学院硕士课程(MBA除外)入学要求

School of Computer Science – all MSc programmes 计算机学院硕士课程入学要求

College of Social Sciences – courses listed below 社会科学 学院部分硕士课程入学要求 MA Education  (including all pathways) MSc TESOL Education MSc Public Management MA Global Public Policy MA Social Policy MA Sociology Department of Political Science and International Studies  全部硕士课程 International Development Department  全部硕士课程

  All other programmes (including MBA)   所有其他 硕士课程(包括 MBA)入学要求

Please note:

  • Borderline cases: We may consider students with lower average score (within 5%) on a case-by-case basis if you have a relevant degree and very excellent grades in relevant subjects and/or relevant work experience. 如申请人均分低于相应录取要求(5%以内),但具有出色学术背景,优异的专业成绩,以及(或)相关的工作经验,部分课程将有可能单独酌情考虑。
  • Please contact the China Recruitment Team for any questions on the above entry requirements. 如果您对录取要求有疑问,请联系伯明翰大学中国办公室   [email protected]

Holders of the Licenciado/Professional Title from a recognised Colombian university will be considered for our Postgraduate Diploma and Masters degrees. Applicants for PhD degrees will normally have a Maestria or equivalent.

Holders of a good bachelor degree with honours (4 to 6 years) from a recognised university with a upper second class grade or higher will be considered for entry to taught postgraduate programmes.  Holders of a good Masters degree from a recognised university will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a good Bacclaureus (Bachelors) from a recognised Croatian Higher Education institution with a minimum overall grade of 4.0 out of 5.0, vrlo dobar ‘very good’, or a Masters degree, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a Bachelors degree(from the University of the West Indies or the University of Technology) may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. A Class II Upper Division degree is usually equivalent to a UK 2.1. For further details on particular institutions please refer to the list below.  Applicants for PhD level study will preferably hold a Masters degree or Mphil from the University of the West Indies.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a good Bachelors degree from a recognised institution with a minimum overall grade of 6.5 out of 10, or a GPA of 3 out of 4, and will usually be required to have completed a good Masters degree to be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a good Bakalár from a recognised Czech Higher Education institution with a minimum overall grade of 1.5, B, velmi dobre ‘very good’ (post-2004) or 2, velmi dobre ‘good’ (pre-2004), or a good post-2002 Magistr (Masters), will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a good Bachelors degree from a recognised institution with a minimum overall grade of 7-10 out of 12 (or 8 out of 13) or higher for 2:1 equivalence and will usually be required to have completed a good Masters/ Magisterkonfereus/Magister Artium degree to be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of the Licenciado or an equivalent professional title from a recognised Ecuadorian university may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. Grades of 70% or higher can be considered as UK 2.1 equivalent.  Applicants for PhD level study will preferably hold a Magister/Masterado or equivalent qualification, but holders of the Licenciado with excellent grades can be considered.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree, with a GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 75% from a recognised institution. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a good Bakalaurusekraad from a recognised university with a minimum overall grade of 4/5 or B, or a good one- or two-year Magistrikraad from a recognised university, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students who hold a Masters degree with very good grades (grade B, 3.5/4 GPA or 85%) will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. 

Holders of a good Kandidaatti / Kandidat (old system), a professional title such as Ekonomi, Diplomi-insinööri, Arkkitehti, Lisensiaatti (in Medicine, Dentistry and Vetinary Medicine), or a Maisteri / Magister (new system), Lisensiaatti / Licenciat, Oikeustieteen Kandidaatti / Juris Kandidat (new system) or Proviisori / Provisor from a recognised Finnish Higher Education institution, with a minimum overall grade of 2/3 or 4/5, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters/Maîtrise with a minimum overall grade of 13 out of 20, or a Magistère / Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies / Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Specialisées / Mastère Specialis, from a recognised French university or Grande École to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a Magister Artium, a Diplom or an Erstes Staatsexamen from a recognised university with a minimum overall grade of 2.5, or a good two-year Lizentiat / Aufbaustudium / Zweites Staatsexamen or a Masters degree from a recognised university, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students who hold a Bachelor degree from a recognised institution will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. Most taught Masters programmes require a minimum of an upper second class degree (2.1) with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 Students who have completed a Masters degree from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a good four-year Ptychio (Bachelor degree) with a minimum overall grade of 6.5 out of 10, from a recognised Greek university (AEI), and will usually be required to have completed a good Metaptychiako Diploma Eidikefsis (Masters degree) from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

4-year Licenciado is deemed equivalent to a UK bachelors degree. A score of 75 or higher from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC) can be considered comparable to a UK 2.1, 60 is comparable to a UK 2.2.  Private universities have a higher pass mark, so 80 or higher should be considered comparable to a UK 2.1, 70 is comparable to a UK 2.2

The Hong Kong Bachelor degree is considered comparable to British Bachelor degree standard. Students with bachelor degrees awarded by universities in Hong Kong may be considered for entry to one of our postgraduate degree programmes.

Students with Masters degrees may be considered for PhD study.

Holders of a good Alapfokozat / Alapképzés or Egyetemi Oklevel from a recognised university with a minimum overall grade of 3.5, or a good Mesterfokozat (Masters degree) or Egyetemi Doktor (university doctorate), will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree, with a 60% or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of the 4 year Sarjana (S1) from a recognised Indonesian institution will be considered for postgraduate study. Entry requirements vary with a minimum requirement of a GPA of 2.8.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree, with a score of 14/20 or 70% from a recognised institution to be considered. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree from a recognised institution, with 100 out of 110 or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Students who hold the Maitrise, Diplome d'Etude Approfondies, Diplome d'Etude Superieures or Diplome d'Etude Superieures Specialisees will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees (14-15/20 or Bien from a well ranked institution is considered comparable to a UK 2.1, while a score of 12-13/20 or Assez Bien is considered comparable to a UK 2.2).

Students with a Bachelor degree from a recognised university in Japan will be considered for entry to a postgraduate Masters degree provided they achieve a sufficiently high overall score in their first (Bachelor) degree. A GPA of 3.0/4.0 or a B average from a good Japanese university is usually considered equivalent to a UK 2:1.

Students with a Masters degree from a recognised university in Japan will be considered for PhD study. A high overall grade will be necessary to be considered.

Students who have completed their Specialist Diploma Мамаң дипломы/Диплом специалиста) or "Magistr" (Магистр дипломы/Диплом магистра) degree (completed after 1991) from a recognised higher education institution, with a minimum GPA of 2.67/4.00 for courses requiring a UK lower second and 3.00/4.00 for courses requiring a UK upper second class degree, will be considered for entry to postgraduate Masters degrees and, occasionally, directly for PhD degrees.  Holders of a Bachelor "Bakalavr" degree (Бакалавр дипломы/Диплом бакалавра) from a recognised higher education institution, with a minimum GPA of  2.67/4.00 for courses requiring a UK lower second and 3.00/4.00 for courses requiring a UK upper second class degree, may also be considered for entry to taught postgraduate programmes.

Students who hold a Bachelor degree from a recognised institution will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. Most taught Masters programmes require a minimum of an upper second class degree (2.1) with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/50

Holders of a good Postgraduate Diploma (professional programme) from a recognised university or institution of Higher Education, with a minimum overall grade of 7.5 out of 10, or a post-2000 Magistrs, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree, with a score of 16/20 or 80% from a recognised institution to be considered. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a Bachelors degree from a recognised university in Libya will be considered for postgraduate study. Holders of a Bachelors degree will normally be expected to have achieved score of 70% for 2:1 equivalency or 65% for 2:2 equivalency. Alternatively students will require a minimum of 3.0/4.0 or BB to be considered.

Holders of a good pre-2001 Magistras from a recognised university with a minimum overall grade of 8 out of 10, or a good post-2001 Magistras, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes

Holders of a good Bachelors degree from a recognised Luxembourgish Higher Education institution with a minimum overall grade of 16 out of 20, or a Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Spécialisées (comparable to a UK PGDip) or Masters degree from a recognised Luxembourgish Higher Education institution will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students who hold a Masters degree will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees (70-74% or A or Marginal Distinction from a well ranked institution is considered comparable to a UK 2.1, while a score of 60-69% or B or Bare Distinction/Credit is considered comparable to a UK 2.2).

Holders of a Bachelors degree from a recognised Malaysian institution (usually achieved with the equivalent of a second class upper or a grade point average minimum of 3.0) will be considered for postgraduate study at Diploma or Masters level.

Holders of a good Bachelors degree from the University of Malta with a minimum grade of 2:1 (Hons), and/or a Masters degree, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students who hold a Bachelor degree (Honours) from a recognised institution (including the University of Mauritius) will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.  Most taught Masters programmes require a minimum of an upper second class degree (2:1).

Students who hold the Licenciado/Professional Titulo from a recognised Mexican university with a promedio of at least 8 will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.

Students who have completed a Maestria from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree, licence or Maîtrise and a Masters degree, with a score of 14/20 or 70% from a recognised institution to be considered. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Students with a good four year honours degree from a recognised university will be considered for postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. PhD applications will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree, with 60-74% or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a good Doctoraal from a recognised Dutch university with a minimum overall grade of 7 out of 10, and/or a good Masters degree, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students who hold a Bachelor degree (minimum 4 years and/or level 400) from a recognised institution will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.  Most taught Masters programmes require a minimum of an upper second class degree (2.1) with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a good Bachelors degree from a recognised institution with a minimum GPA of B/Very Good or 1.6-2.5 for a 2.1 equivalency, and will usually be required to have completed a good Masters, Mastergrad, Magister. Artium, Sivilingeniør, Candidatus realium or Candidatus philologiae degree to be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree, with a CGPA of 3.0/4 or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a Bachelors degree from a recognised university in the Palestinian Territories will be considered for postgraduate study. Holders of Bachelors degree will normally be expected to have achieved a GPA of 3/4 or 80% for 2:1 equivalency or a GPA of 2.5/4 or 70% for 2:2 equivalency.    

Holders of the Título de Licenciado /Título de (4-6 years) or an equivalent professional title from a recognised Paraguayan university may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. Grades of 4/5 or higher can be considered as UK 2.1 equivalent.  The Título Intermedio is a 2-3 year degree and is equivalent to a HNC, it is not suitable for postgraduate entry but holders of this award could be considered for second year undergraduate entry or pre-Masters.  Applicants for PhD level study will preferably hold a Título de Maestría / Magister or equivalent qualification, but holders of the Título/Grado de Licenciado/a with excellent grades can be considered.

Holders of the Licenciado, with at least 13/20 may be considered as UK 2.1 equivalent. The Grado de Bachiller is equivalent to an ordinary degree, so grades of 15+/20 are required.  Applicants for PhD level study will preferably hold a Título de Maestría or equivalent qualification.

Holders of a good pre-2001 Magister from a recognised Polish university with a minimum overall grade of 4 out of 5, dobry ‘good’, and/or a good Swiadectwo Ukonczenia Studiów Podyplomowych (Certificate of Postgraduate Study) or post-2001 Magister from a recognised Polish university with a minimum overall grade of 4.5/4+ out of 5, dobry plus 'better than good', will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a good Licenciado from a recognised university, or a Diploma de Estudos Superiores Especializados (DESE) from a recognised Polytechnic Institution, with a minimum overall grade of 16 out of 20, and/or a good Mestrado / Mestre (Masters) from a recognised university, will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a good Bachelors degree from a recognised Romanian Higher Education institution with a minimum overall grade of 8 out of 10, and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree/Diploma de Master/Diploma de Studii Academice Postuniversitare (Postgraduate Diploma - Academic Studies) or Diploma de Studii Postuniversitare de Specializare (Postgraduate Diploma - Specialised Studies) to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a good Диплом Специалиста (Specialist Diploma) or Диплом Магистра (Magistr) degree from recognised universities in Russia (minimum GPA of 4.0) will be considered for entry to taught postgraduate programmes/PhD study.

Students who hold a 4-year Bachelor degree with at least 16/20 or 70% will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.   

Students who hold a Maitrise, Diplome d'Etude Approfondies,Diplome d'Etude Superieures or Diplome d'Etude Superieures Specialisees will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. A score of 14-15/20 or Bien from a well ranked institution is considered comparable to a UK 2.1, while a score of 12-13/20 or Assez Bien is considered comparable to a UK 2.2

Students who hold a Bachelor (Honours) degree from a recognised institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 (or a score of 60-69% or B+) from a well ranked institution will be considered for most our Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees with a 2:1 requirement.

Students holding a good Bachelors Honours degree will be considered for postgraduate study at Diploma or Masters level.

Holders of a good three-year Bakalár or pre-2002 Magister from a recognised Slovakian Higher Education institution with a minimum overall grade of 1.5, B, Vel’mi dobrý ‘very good’, and/or a good Inžinier or a post-2002 Magister from a recognised Slovakian Higher Education institution will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a good Diploma o pridobljeni univerzitetni izobrazbi (Bachelors degree), Diplomant (Professionally oriented first degree), Univerzitetni diplomant (Academically oriented first degree) or Visoko Obrazovanja (until 1999) from a recognised Slovenian Higher Education institution with a minimum overall grade of 8.0 out of 10, and/or a good Diploma specializacija (Postgraduate Diploma) or Magister (Masters) will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students who hold a Bachelor Honours degree (also known as Baccalaureus Honores / Baccalaureus Cum Honoribus) from a recognised institution will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. Most Masters programmes will require a second class upper (70%) or a distinction (75%).

Holders of a Masters degree will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a Bachelor degree from a recognised South Korean institution (usually with the equivalent of a second class upper or a grade point average 3.0/4.0 or 3.2/4.5) will be considered for Masters programmes.

Holders of a good Masters degree from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study on an individual basis.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree, with 7 out of 10 or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and will usually be required to have completed a Masters degree, with 60-74% or a CGPA 3.30/4.0 or higher for 2:1 equivalency from a recognised institution to be considered for entry. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a good Kandidatexamen (Bachelors degree) or Yrkesexamen (Professional Bachelors degree) from a recognised Swedish Higher Education institution with the majority of subjects with a grade of VG (Val godkänd), and/or a good Magisterexamen (Masters degree), International Masters degree or Licentiatexamen (comparable to a UK Mphil), will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a good "PostGraduate Certificate" or "PostGraduate Diploma" or a Masters degree from a recognised Swiss higher education institution (with a minimum GPA of 5/6 or 8/10 or 2/5 (gut-bien-bene/good) for a 2.1 equivalence) may be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree, with a GPA of 3.0/4.0, 3.5/5 or 75% from a recognised institution to be considered. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

Holders of a good Bachelor degree (from 75% to 85% depending upon the university in Taiwan) from a recognised institution will be considered for postgraduate Masters study. Holders of a good Masters degree from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study.

Students who hold a Bachelor degree from a recognised institution will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.  Most taught Masters programmes require a minimum of an upper second class degree (2.1) Students who have completed a Masters degree from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study.

Holders of a good Masters degree from a recognised institution will be considered for entry to our postgraduate research programmes.

Holders of a good Masters degree or Mphil from a recognised university will be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes.

Students with a Bachelors degree from the following universities may be considered for entry to postgraduate programmes:

  • Ateneo de Manila University - Quezon City
  • De La Salle University - Manila
  • University of Santo Tomas
  • University of the Philippines - Diliman

Students from all other institutions with a Bachelors and a Masters degree or relevant work experience may be considered for postgraduate programmes.

Grading Schemes

1-5 where 1 is the highest 2.1 = 1.75 2.2 = 2.25 

Out of 4.0 where 4 is the highest 2.1 = 3.0 2.2 = 2.5

Letter grades and percentages 2.1 = B / 3.00 / 83% 2.2 = C+ / 2.5 / 77%

Holders of a postdoctoral qualification from a recognised institution will be considered for PhD study.  Students may be considered for PhD study if they have a Masters from one of the above listed universities.

Holders of a Lisans Diplomasi with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0/4.0 from a recognised university will be considered for postgraduate study at Diploma or Masters level.

Holders of a Yuksek Diplomasi from a recognised university will be considered for PhD study.

Students who hold a Bachelor degree from a recognised institution will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. Most Masters programmes will require a second class upper (2.1) or GPA of 3.5/5.0

Applicants for postgraduate research programmes should hold a good Bachelors degree / Диплом бакалавра (Dyplom Bakalavra), Диплом спеціаліста (Specialist Diploma) or a Dyplom Magistra from a recognised Ukrainian higher education institution with a minimum GPA of 4.0/5.0, 3.5/4, 8/12 or 80% or higher for 2:1 equivalence and will usually be required to have completed a good Masters degree to be considered for entry to postgraduate research programmes. Applicants with lower grades than this may be considered on an individual basis.

The University will consider students who hold an Honours degree from a recognised institution in the USA with a GPA of:

  • 2.8 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for entry to programmes with a 2:2 requirement 
  • 3.2 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for entry to programmes with a 2:1 requirement 

Please note that some subjects which are studied at postgraduate level in the USA, eg. Medicine and Law, are traditionally studied at undergraduate level in the UK.

Holders of the Magistr Diplomi (Master's degree) or Diplomi (Specialist Diploma), awarded by prestigious universities, who have attained high grades in their studies will be considered for postgraduate study.  Holders of the Fanlari Nomzodi (Candidate of Science), where appropriate, will be considered for PhD study.

Holders of the Licenciatura/Título or an equivalent professional title from a recognised Venezuelan university may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. Scales of 1-5, 1-10 and 1-20 are used, an overall score of 70% or equivalent can be considered equivalent to a UK 2.1.  Applicants for PhD level study will preferably hold a Maestria or equivalent qualification

Holders of a Bachelors degree from a recognised Vietnamese institution (usually achieved with the equivalent of a second class upper or a grade point average minimum GPA of 7.0 and above) will be considered for postgraduate study at Diploma or Masters level.  Holders of a Masters degree (thac si) will be considered for entry to PhD programmes.

Students who hold a Masters degree with a minimum GPA of 3.5/5.0 or a mark of 2.0/2.5 (A) will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees.   

Students who hold a good Bachelor Honours degree will be considered for Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters degrees. 

We specialise and welcome applications from prospective research students interested in corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics, and stylistics and discourse analysis.

A summary of our key research areas, and staff working within those, can be found below. General queries which are not subject-specific (including fees, scholarship enquiries and paperwork) are best directed to the  College of Arts and Law Graduate School .

  • Applied linguistics and second language acquisition  
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Discourse and analysis and stylistics
  • Sign language and gesture
  • Cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics
  • Iconicity and figurative language
  • Sociolinguistics and language variation and change
  • Quantitative linguistics and data visualisation

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network  provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team  who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: English Language and Linguistics

Birmingham's English Language and Linguistics postgraduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, particularly in relation to verbal and written communication. They also develop crucial skills in organisation, time management, analysis and interpretation of information.

Many of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has prepared them, such as becoming a language analyst or data scientist. Others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including teaching, research administration and events.

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Department of English

people walking down a path with reunion badges around their necks

Image from the Brandeis 75th Anniversary

If you'd like to add a classnote, please fill out this survey .

Abigail Arnold, PhD '20

I did not move far away--I am now the Assistant Director of Operations and Academic Administration for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis! I love working with the team there and writing articles about Brandeis's amazing graduate students for our website. In my free time, I'm reading a lot, including in a Victorian book club with two fellow Brandeis PhDs, and walking around Waltham.

Cynthia Barber, MA '64

I taught at the Humanities Dept at Howard University for 3 years after Brandeis. Since 1985 I have lived in Albuquerque doing my own sculpture and design work, as well as working at Tamarind Institute for 15 years. My sculpture is in the collections of the Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque Academy, CNM, and many private collections.

Sheridan Blau, MA, PhD '67

Finally retiring this summer from Teachers College, Columbia University, after 16 years as Professor of Practice in English Education. I am also Professor Emeritus of English & Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara where I taught for 39 years, after four years teaching in the English dept at the University of Michigan, straight out of Brandeis. I continue to teach Milton, along with courses in English education. Publications mostly about teaching and learning literature and writing, but some on Milton and Herbert. Fondly remember and remain influenced by beloved Brandeis profs. J.V. Cunningham and Allen Grossman. Still miss my former classmates and dear friends at Brandeis who have have passed away, including Gill Henkin (long ago) and Mark Krupnick, who became one of the most important cultural critics of our generation.

Larissa Cvach, Joint MA '15

Howdy to all my fellow Brandeisians -

I'm sending this update from beautiful, sunny Las Vegas. I'm happy to let you know I accepted a position as an administrative assistant at The Care Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The Care Center is the campus resource for students, faculty, and staff who are victims and survivors of interpersonal and power-based violence (this includes domestic, intimate partner, dating, and stalking.) We offer a crisis hotline, counseling, and financial resources, especially for people who need to move from their residence urgently.

I'm so proud of the work we do in The Care Center; this work has been incredibly satisfying and professionally fulfilling. While I have placed any aspirations of obtaining a PhD on the way, way back burner for now, I am full of joy to be contributing in another very meaningful way to life here on campus.

Also, I have been having so much fun attending free lectures, screenings, and exhibitions associated with the university. In October, I attended a panel titled "Sex Acts: The Possibilities and Politics of Writing about Sex." This panel featured Lynn Comella, Tina Horne, Edgar Gomez, and Vi Khi Nao. All are published authors, and I'm recommending them to everyone. I will also be attending a screening of "Orlando: My Political Biography," hosted by the UNLV English Department and Black Mountain Institute. (This documentary draws from the eponymous Woolf text.)

Other than that, all is well here, and I'm hoping the same for you and yours. May you all stay warm, well-fed, and well-loved.

  • Undergraduate English Program
  • Undergraduate Creative Writing Program
  • Doctorate in English (PhD)
  • Master of Arts in English
  • Joint Master of Arts in English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

IMAGES

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  2. Ph.D. Admissions

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  3. Top 5 Best Online English PhD Degree Programs (Doctorates)

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  5. The 6 Best Types of PhD Programs for English Majors

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COMMENTS

  1. Graduate Program Overview

    Ph.D. Program in English at Princeton The aim of the Princeton graduate program in English is to produce well-trained and field-transforming scholars, insightful and imaginative critics, and effective and creative teachers. The Ph.D. program is both rigorous and supportive.

  2. PhD Program in English Language and Literature

    English PhD students pursuing interdisciplinary research may include on their special committees faculty members from related fields such as comparative literature, medieval studies, Romance studies, German studies, history, classics, women's studies, linguistics, theatre and performing arts, government, philosophy, and film and video studies.

  3. Ph.D. Program

    Students will complete twelve courses distributed as follows: 1) English 200, "Problems in the Study of Literature" 2) Medieval through 16 th -Century 3) 17 th - through 18 th -Century 4) 19 th -Century 5) 20 th -Century 6) a course organized in terms other than chronological coverage. 7-12) Elective courses.

  4. Ph.D. Program

    Learn about the Ph.D. program in English at Stanford, a long-standing and esteemed department that offers training in literary history, media, technology, and performance. Find out the financial, teaching, and language requirements, the funding opportunities, and the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.

  5. Best English Programs

    Grad Schools Education Home Best English Programs Ranked in 2021, part of Best Social Sciences and Humanities Schools Earning a master's degree or doctorate in English can improve your...

  6. Doctoral Program

    Brown's doctoral program in English offers professional training in literary criticism, critical theory, intellectual history, and all aspects of research and pedagogy in the humanities. We promote the analysis of imaginative forms, cultural logics, and literary and visual rhetorics across the Anglophone world.

  7. Top 5 Best PhD Programs in English [2024]

    PhD Program in English Language and Literature. Acceptance rate: 8.7% Cornell University, based in Ithaca, New York, is a private Ivy League university and a land-grant institution. It was established in 1865 and offers exceptional educational opportunities for students at various levels, and has an acceptance rate of 8.7%.

  8. Graduate

    The Department of English offers a program leading to the PhD degree in literatures in English. The department is small in numbers and its graduate students are carefully selected on the basis of their professional distinction as teachers, critics, and scholars. Because of its small size, the department affords students exceptionally focused attention.

  9. English Ph.D.

    The Ph.D. program in English at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest and best doctoral programs of its kind. Ranked in the top 20 English Graduate Programs by U.S. News & World Report, our program offers students intensive research mentoring and pedagogical training in the vibrant setting that is Austin, Texas.

  10. English

    The graduate program in English provides you with a broad knowledge in the discipline, including critical and cultural theory and literary history. This solid foundation enables you to choose your own path based on the wide variety of areas of concentration.

  11. English

    The PhD program in English prepares students for a range of scholarly careers in English through a combination of literary studies with writing and rhetoric. In literary studies, we emphasize American literature, Transatlantic and Caribbean literature, Early Modern literature, and the study of gender and sexuality. In The News

  12. Program Description

    The Graduate Program in English leads to the degrees of Master of Arts (AM) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The AM is an integral part of the doctoral program, and therefore only students who intend to pursue the PhD are eligible for admission to the Graduate Program in English. The Program

  13. English

    English Undergraduate Graduate Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally.

  14. English (Literature), PHD

    Program Description Degree Awarded: PHD English (Literature) The PhD program in English with a concentration in literature trains students in various methodologies, pedagogies and areas of inquiry that constitute literary and cultural studies.

  15. 30 Best PhD Programs in English

    30 Best PhD Programs in English High Resolution Badge With one of the 30 top English PhD programs, career opportunities are numerous, because let's face it: researching, writing, teaching, learning, communicating, and critical thinking all translate into a highly sought-after knowledge and skill set.

  16. English, Ph.D. < University of California Irvine

    The Ph.D. program in English at UCI is the #1 department for literary and critical theory nationally (US News and World Report). The research and teaching of department faculty represents and cuts across a range of fields, historical periods, and methodological approaches. Our graduates have gone on to faculty positions at a range of nationally ...

  17. PhD Program

    The English Department will begin reviewing completed MA applications on January 1, 2024 and will continue to accept them until the March 15, 2024 deadline. BU PhD Program Profile metrics. Requirements for the PhD. In the PhD Program, students move toward specialization in a particular area of study. The requirements include:

  18. Ph.D. in Literature

    Students in our PhD program gain advanced knowledge of literature from the British Middle Ages and colonial America to global/postcolonial and U.S. contemporary, as well as knowledge of literary theory, literary analysis, and interdisciplinary methods. The course of study balances coverage of national literary traditions with innovative methods and topics such as literature

  19. The 6 Best Types of PhD Programs for English Majors

    1. PhD in Religious Studies. As an English major, you've most likely read a few religious texts, and you understand their significance regardless of your affiliation (if any). Truthfully, a PhD in Religious Studies doesn't require you to be religious. Studying religion is studying ethics, beliefs, communities, and people.

  20. English Education PhD

    Doctoral students in the English Education Program must pass two separate certification examinations. Examination 1 is a take-home examination, seven days in duration, covering the history of English education with a focus on one of the major curricular strands within the discipline.

  21. English

    The PhD in English prepares students at the most advanced stage for the interpretation and composition of texts. The PhD program emphasizes rigorous critical study in the fields of rhetoric, composition, critical theory, cultural studies, literary studies, pedagogy, and technical writing.

  22. PhD Program in English, starting study in Fall 2024 and Later

    Our Ph.D. program in English provides students with interdisciplinary coursework in a range of research areas, mentorship from faculty at the forefront of their fields, teaching experience in First-Year Writing and beyond, and dedicated support for job searches in academia and beyond.

  23. MA/PhD in English Language and Literature

    Program Overview Our MA/PhD in English Language and Literature is an integrated program that allows students to earn an MA on the way to the PhD. We do not admit students for a terminal MA degree. The program receives over 250 applications of admission each year and typically enrolls an entering class of 10-14 students, all of whom receive funding.

  24. Guide to Applying for Graduate School

    A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree one may obtain within a particular field of study. This ranges from studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields; Social Science fields such as Education, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology; as well as Humanities fields such as English, History, Music, Philosophy, and more.

  25. PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics via distance learning

    We offer both and campus-based and distance learning PhD courses. There are two distance learning PhD programmes in English Language and Applied Linguistics: a standard programme and a modular programme. There is no assessed taught component, but students follow online research training modules.

  26. Degree Programs

    10/20/23 PhD Programs in Biomedical Sciences PhD; 11/2/23 Philosophy MA; 11/2/23 Philosophy PhD; 10/20/23 Physical Therapy DPT; 10/20/23 Physics Education: Adolescence EdM; ... 10/20/23 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages EdM; 10/20/23 Temporomandibular Disorders and Orofacial Pain Advanced Certificate;

  27. Graduate Alumni Classnotes

    Undergraduate English Program; Undergraduate Creative Writing Program; Graduate Programs. Doctorate in English (PhD) Master of Arts in English; Joint Master of Arts in English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Graduate Student Directory; Alumni. Recent Alumni; Graduate Alumni Classnotes; Graduate Student Conferences; Faculty; Courses ...