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Doctoral Studies

To find information about specific Doctoral Studies programs in the English Department, select from the list below:

English PhD candidates may specialize in a range of traditional literary-historical areas of study or develop a program that emphasizes such cultural studies fields or interdisciplinary areas as American studies, film studies, digital humanities, race and ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, or religious studies.

Students will take ten courses of at least three credits each.

Coursework Requirements

  • English 6480: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • At least three courses in literary history, including one covering literature before 1700 and one covering literature between 1700 and 1900
  • At least three additional courses in literary history, theory, or literary and cultural studies
  • Three electives (up to two of which may be taken in departments other than English, with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies)

Qualifying Examinations

Students will be examined in four fields; lists in each field normally include 25-30 major works or their equivalent. Students must complete all required coursework and satisfy the language requirement before scheduling their qualifying exams. Examination lists in the following fields will be devised by students in consultation with the members of their committee.

  1. Literary-Historical Period

British: Medieval, Early Modern, Restoration and Eighteenth Century, Romanticism, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

American: Colonial and Early National, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

  1. Second Literary-Historical Period or Topic

Topics are devised in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, especially the committee chair, and might focus on specific literary, generic, or thematic areas (e.g., history of lyric, gothic literature, graphic novels, the literature of war, queer literature, etc.) or a cultural studies field or otherwise interdisciplinary area (e.g., American studies, digital humanities, film studies, race/ethnic studies, religious studies, gender/sexuality studies, art history, etc.).

  1. Topic

See the description of possible topics above.

  1. Criticism and Theory

The list of works for this field will be generated by the candidate in consultation with the supervisory committee. This field may be defined broadly (such as literary theory, cultural criticism, or ethnic studies) or more narrowly (such as feminism, Marxist theory, historicism, folklore, or narrative theory).

The English PhD with a specialization in Creative Writing is neither a fine arts degree nor simply a traditional literature PhD with a creative dissertation. The program is designed to help the student become a better writer, as well as a writer who knows the history of his or her chosen genre and who is aware of the critical theory relevant to it.

The PhD is generally recognized as a writer's best preparation for a teaching career at the college or university level. Many colleges cannot afford to hire someone to teach only creative writing; the PhD is strong evidence that the writer can also teach literature courses and that he or she can take a full and active part in the academic community.

Students will take ten courses of at least three credits each.

Coursework Requirements

  • English 6480: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • At least three workshops (one in a genre other than the dissertation is recommended)
  • At least three courses in literary history, including one covering literature before 1700 and one covering literature between 1700 and 1900
  • English 7450: Narrative Theory and Practice or English 7460: Theory and Practice of Poetry (depending on the genre of the dissertation)
  • One or two electives (depending on the number of workshops taken; one of these courses may be taken in a department other than English, with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies)

Qualifying Examinations

In creative writing, exams focus on the genre (poetry or prose) of the student’s dissertation. Students will be examined in four fields; lists in each field normally include 25-30 major works or their equivalent. Students must complete all required coursework and satisfy the language requirement before scheduling their qualifying exams. Examination lists will be devised by students in consultation with the members of their committee.

  1. First Historical Period

The genre from its beginnings until the end of the nineteenth century.

  1. Second Historical Period

The genre from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

  1. Topic or Theme

Topics or themes are devised in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, especially the committee chair, and might focus on specific literary, generic, or thematic areas (e.g., history of lyric, gothic literature, graphic novels, the literature of war, queer literature, etc.) or a cultural studies field or otherwise interdisciplinary area (e.g., American studies, digital humanities, film studies, race/ethnic studies, religious studies, gender/sexuality studies, art history, etc.).

  1. Criticism and Theory

This list will focus on theoretical questions relevant to the genre or the dissertation.

The English PhD with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition is an interdisciplinary program offered in conjunction with the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies. Its aim is to give students solid preparation for academic careers in rhetoric and composition through courses, seminars, and independent study in composition theory, rhetorical theory and history, discourse analysis, literary studies, cultural studies, and pedagogical theory.

We encourage interested students to meet with Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty members at conferences or elsewhere before applying. Individual faculty members will talk with applicants by phone or in person during the application process.

Coursework Requirements

  • Four course courses in rhetoric and composition, selected from the following:
      • (1) ENGL/WRTG 6350: Composition Theory and Research
      • (2) ENGL/WRTG 6500: Studies in Writing & Pedagogy
      • (3) ENGL/WRTG 6770: Studies in Discourse Analysis
      • (4) WRTG 7740: Rhetoric I
      • (5) WRTG 7750 Rhetoric II
      • (6) ENGL/WRTG 7760: Seminar: Rhetoric/Composition/Discourse
      • (7) WRTG 7770: Research in Rhetoric and Writing
  • Four additional courses in English
  • Two additional courses in Writing and Rhetoric Studies or another department (with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies and advice from Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty)

Qualifying Examinations

After successfully completing the program of study described above, the student will take an oral examination covering the core fields. A member of the literature faculty will examine the student on the literary studies core.

Note on the Supervisory Committee in the Rhetoric and Composition Specialization

The supervisory committee chair must be a Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty member jointly appointed in English. The other four members will be appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the candidate and the Committee Chair. Normally at least one other English Department faculty member and one other Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty member will be on the committee. In addition, a faculty member from an appropriate department will be on the committee to represent the student’s allied field core.

During the first year of study, BA-to-PhD track students in all fields must take a minimum of five courses, including courses in literary history and theory; English 6480 is strongly recommended. BA-to-PhD students will take the MA Exam in British and American Literature at the end of the first year. If a score of Pass is not achieved, the candidate may retake the exam the following spring. If a Pass is again not achieved, the candidate may not retake the exam for a third time for admission to the doctoral degree program. However, should the candidate wish to pursue the MA degree, he or she may retake the exam for a third and final time in order to achieve a passing grade and thus fulfill the MA requirement.

After passing the MA exam the candidate attains full status in the PhD program and is granted teaching fellowship for at least three years. In all, the candidate will take at least 15 courses at the 6000- or 7000-level and must spend four semesters in residence beyond the MA, at least two of them continuous. Candidates in the BA-to-PhD track must follow the same guidelines for satisfactory progress towards a degree as regular PhD students. Only students who have been admitted to this program may enter it; once a candidate enters the MA or MFA program, the student may not transfer into the BA-to-PhD track program.

 

Last Updated: 11/8/16