Doctoral Degrees

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English & Comp Literature

What is English & Comp Literature?

The University of Cincinnati offers doctoral degrees with tracks in Literature, Creative Writing and Rhetoric & Composition. The English Department, home of The Cincinnati Review, receives additional support in its activities by the Elliston Poetry Foundation, The Schiff Foundation for fiction, and the Helen Weinberger Center for Drama and Playwriting. 

All doctoral coursework is seminar or workshop style, and all classes are supervised by our most active researchers and publishing writers. The curriculum is enhanced by the annual Ropes Lecture series, speakers from the Taft Center for the Humanities, and a superlative array of visiting creative writers. 

The doctoral program emphasizes the study of modern and contemporary literature. Our literature curriculum is driven by a broad interest in theory and the relationship between writing and culture. UC was one of the first programs in the nation to have developed the option for a creative dissertation, which currently includes an independent critical essay. Our doctoral students have outstanding publication histories and a strong record of job placement.

Virtually all admitted doctoral students receive departmental financial aid in the form of scholarships and assistantships. Students that are awarded graduate assistantships teach one course per quarter. They receive extensive theory and practice-based training in teaching composition, and additional pedagogical training and opportunities are available. Applicants interested in consideration for departmental financial aid must submit complete applications by February 1.

Freshman Admission Requirements

Step One: Online Application 

You will be required to submit the following materials as part of the Online Application:

  1. Letter of Intent: state academic goals and professional objectives
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Writing samples (combine all samples into one document):
    • Literature Track:
      • Critical writing sample - a literary analysis or research paper totaling 20 pages
    • Creative Writing Track:
      • Creative writing sample - a chapter of a novel, two short stories, pages of poetry, or an act of a play totaling 15 to 20 pages
      • Critical writing sample - a literary analysis or a research paper totaling 10-15 pages
    • Rhetoric & Composition Track:
      • Critical writing sample - pedagogical and/or rhetorical analysis, research paper, or literary analysis totaling 15-20 pages

Step Two: Required Supplementary Materials

  1. Three letters of recommendation (no form required): Recommenders will submit letters through the Online Application system.
  2. Unofficial transcripts are used for admissions review. When offered admission, official transcripts from all universities and/or colleges attended should be submitted to the mailing address below.
  3. GRE General Test and GRE Literature in English Subject Test Scores: Must be reported directly from GRE to the University of Cincinnati.
  4. Proof of English Proficiency is required of all applicants whose native language is not English.

Submit transcripts to:

Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0627

All applications are given careful and individual review. In some cases, students who do not meet the required GPAs and GRE scores may be admitted.

  • MFA or MA in English from an accredited university or college. See the Department Guide to Graduate Studies for BA-PhD Direct information.
  • Minimum graduate GPA: 3.75
  • Minimum GRE scores:
    • Verbal: 600
    • Analytical: 5.0
    • Literature in English Subject: 500


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in English & Comp Literature

Full-Time Program Duration

5 Years


Uptown Campus West

Admission Criteria



155 B McMicken Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221
Phone: (513) 556-3906
Jennifer Glaser