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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of English and Literary Arts

Department of English

PhD in English and Literary Arts

PhD in English & Literary Arts

The Graduate Program in English offers the PhD in English & Literary Arts with a concentration in Literary Studies. Course work is offered in traditional literary fields, cultural studies, ethnic literatures, and gender studies.

Customize Your Degree

Because of our relatively small faculty, the department has the flexibility to allow students to tailor their degrees to their specific talents and interests. We do so with a distinctive curriculum that offers not only typical graduate seminars but also writing workshops, individually designed tutorials, and colloquia devoted to teaching and professional development. Such a curriculum encourages students to cross genre boundaries in their writing, to relate theory to practice, and to work creatively with scholarly projects.

The graduate program is a lively and professional community. Graduate students:

  • teach a variety of courses in literature and writing
  • serve on committees
  • participate in departmental searches
  • gain valuable experience advising students one-on-one in the university Writing Center
  • organize their own reading series
  • attend professional conferences
  • publish their work

For more information, please see: Frequently asked questions (Application FAQs) 


Ph.D. in English & Literary Arts 

  • 90 hours of course credit (total) needed to graduate.
  • 48 hours of foundational coursework must be in formal 4.0 credit English Department classes (excluding ENGL 4100, ENGL 4120, ENGL 5995, and non-ENGL courses [cognates]).
  • The First-Year GTA Professional Development Sequence (see below) contributes to these 48 hours.
  • 5 courses (20 hours) distributed over three periods of literary study: before 1700, 1700-1900, and after 1900. Students must take at least one course in one period, and at least two courses in the other two periods. In trans-historical courses, the approved emphasis for a student's work in the class may determine the appropriate time period designation toward satisfying this program requirements.
  • No single course may satisfy more than one requirement.
  • After completing 60 credits, including the 48 hours of foundational coursework, by the end of year two, Ph.D. students take comprehensive examinations during Fall Quarter of their third year of study.
  • For the remaining credits (beyond the foundational 48) needed to graduate, doctoral students may take a combination of regular 4.0 classes, tutorials, cognates or independent research hours. However, these limitations also apply: 8 hours maximum for cognates, 10 hours maximum for tutorials (ENGL 4100), and 32 hours maximum for independent research (ENGL 5995).
  • No single course may satisfy more than one requirement.

GTA [Graduate Teaching Assistant] Professional Development Sequence

During Fall Quarter, all first-year Writing Center GTAs will take ENGL 4830 Section 1, Teaching and Writing Literature, as a 2.0 credit course. During Winter Quarter, all first-year ENGL GTAs and Writing Center GTAs will register for a 4.0 credit course on The Critical Imagination. All of the above first-year GTA credits will count toward the required 48 hours of foundational ENGL coursework within the total 90 hours of credits needed to graduate.

Further Graduate Information

Graduate Program Information

For more information, please email or call 303-871-2249.