Why study English?

The University of Cincinnati offers a doctoral degree in English with tracks in Literary and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric & Composition. The English Department, home of The Cincinnati Review, receives additional support in its activities from 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 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, but has strengths in a variety of areas and time periods. 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, along with a body of fiction, poetry, or non-fiction. 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 term. They receive extensive theory- and practice-based training in teaching composition, and additional pedagogical training and opportunities in their own fields of study are available.

Admission Requirements

Step One: Online Application 

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

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.

  1. Letter of Intent: state academic goals and professional objectives (1-2 pages double spaced).
  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 15-20 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
  4. Unofficial transcripts from all universities and/or colleges attended are uploaded to the Online Application system

Step Two: Required Supplementary Materials

  1. Three letters of recommendation (no form required): Recommenders will submit letters through the Online Application system.
  2. GRE General Test Scores: Must be reported directly from GRE to the University of Cincinnati.
  3. Proof of English Proficiency is required of all applicants whose native language is not English.
    • 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: 160
      • Analytical: 5.0

Application Deadlines

Please refer to our departmental website for annual admission deadlines.

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

Contact Information

Jennifer Glaser
248 Arts & Sciences Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-5924

Find related programs in the following interest areas:

Program Code: 15DOC-ENGC-PHD