The PhD curriculum offers opportunities for advanced study in a variety of literary and language fields, including literary and cultural history; aesthetic, critical, and cultural theory; digital and media studies; humanistic engagement with the sciences; and language, rhetoric, and composition.  The curriculum addresses a series of broad questions relevant to such studies: What are the histories, genealogies, and futures of literary, cultural, and rhetorical studies?  What is the relationship of such work to society, politics, and history?  To the media of representation and communication?  To reading and writing practices?  To disciplinarity and institutional contexts?  How do we conceptualize, teach, and apprehend aesthetics through literary and other modes of cultural expression?  The courses available to doctoral students particularize such broad issues and, together with extensive attention to pedagogy and teacher-training, have as a general objective the training of students to identify and formulate compelling research questions and the preparation of students for long-term careers in academia.

The program combines flexibility with consistent and continuous mentorship from the faculty and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).  The degree requirements are as follows:

  1. a minimum of 12 courses (36 credits) at the graduate level, including three required courses, with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.6 (see Satisfactory Progress)
  2. between 3 and 6 credits of ENGL898, Pre-candidacy Research
  3. reading facility in a second language
  4. successful passage of a qualifying examination
  5. an approved dissertation prospectus
  6. a successful dissertation defense

Students who begin the PhD program having earned an MA in English would be expected to complete a minimum of 9 courses (27 credits) of coursework.

The program is best understood in four stages: Course RequirementsLanguage ExamQualifying Exam, and Dissertation.