PhD Program in English Literature

Program Requirements

Both the MA and PhD program in English Literature take the following courses:

  • Professionalization Seminar (1 credit, may be waived for PhD
       students entering with knowledge of the profession)
  • Methods of Criticism and Critical Debates: Introduction to Theory
       Course (3 credits)
  • Cultural Difference and Alterity: Literature and/or Theory Course
       (3 credits)
  • English Composition Practicum (2 credits)
  • Teaching College Writing (3 credits)
  • Foreign language
  • Further course work at the PhD level includes the following:

  • Four courses supporting two fields of study (6 credits each, for a
       total of 12 credits)
  • Three Electives, chosen from courses at the 6000-8000 levels (9 credits)
  • One Research seminar for exam preparation and the dissertation
    proposal, or another course supporting one of the two fields of study
       (3 credits)
  • At least one 8000-level course
  • Students with sufficient background can, with approval from the Area Director, take an alternate theory course to the Introduction to Theory Course.

PhD Exams

Upon completing course work, students move forward to the dissertation stage of the PhD program by passing a qualifying written and oral examination.  Faculty members administer exams designed in consultation with a committee approved by the Director of Graduate Study.  The exam structure is linked to course work, with the goal of focusing on preparation for the dissertation.

  • Students select two fields of study.  Fields of study might include
    broad literary or theoretical movements, topics based on historical
    chronology, national boundaries, and genre study, including narratology and poetic theory, and pedagogy; they might focus on concepts emerging from the study of race and ethnicity, class, gender and/or sexuality, or from popular culture, film, and media studies.   
  • The first field of study includes a substantial theoretical component relevant to the proposed dissertation topic.  Along with coverage of primary and secondary texts in the area studied, it addresses the topic, methodology, and theoretical position of the dissertation.
  • The second field of study may be single area further supporting work on the dissertation, or it may be designed to enhance the candidate’s success in the job market.

Students construct and complete reading lists for the two fields of study in consultation with members of their exam committees.