Phd in english: requirements, salary, jobs, & career growth, what is phd in english.

A PhD in English is a postgraduate degree that focuses on the study of English language, literature, and culture. The PhD in English program is typically intended to prepare students for careers in research and teaching in the field of English studies.

A PhD in English program often includes advanced study in literary theory, critical analysis, research technique, and linguistics. Furthermore, students are frequently required to complete a substantial research project or dissertation under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Some common areas of specialization within a PhD in English program include:

  • American literature
  • British literature
  • Comparative literature
  • Cultural studies
  • Creative writing
  • Linguistics
  • Rhetoric and composition

How much money do people make with a PhD in English?

The pay of someone with a PhD in English can vary depending on criteria such as their area of specialization, region, and job type.

Academics, such as professors and researchers, can expect to earn between $70,000 and $120,000 per year, depending on their level of expertise, institution, and topic of study. However, compensation for adjunct or part-time faculty employment may be lower.

Working in sectors such as publishing, writing, or journalism may be further choices for someone with a PhD in English. Salaries in these sectors can range greatly, with some employment earning less than $50,000 per year and others receiving six figures.

What is expected job growth with PhD in English?

Individuals with a PhD in English may face varying job development prospects based on their area of concentration and the career route they pick.

However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job growth for postsecondary teachers, including those in the subject of English, will be 9 percent from 2020 to 2030.

This expansion can be linked to rising demand for higher education, which includes courses in English and other liberal arts disciplines.

However, competition for tenure-track posts at colleges and universities can be fierce, and many PhD English graduates may find work in non-academic industries such as publishing, writing, or journalism.

What can you do with a PhD in English?

A PhD in English can lead to a wide range of professional prospects in academia and beyond. Here are a few examples of possible job paths:

1. College or university professor: One of the most typical job routes for those with a PhD in English is to become a college or university professor. Teaching English literature and language courses, conducting research, producing scholarly articles and books, and mentoring students are all part of the job.

2. Writing and editing: Individuals with a PhD in English may pursue employment in writing or editing. Positions in journalism, technical writing, grant writing, or working at publishing houses are examples of this.

3. Research and Analysis: Individuals with a PhD in English may engage in research and analysis professions such as market research or data analysis, as their strong research skills and ability to critically examine texts can be useful in a variety of sectors.

4. Arts and Culture: Some graduates may work in the arts and culture sector, such as museums, art galleries, or cultural organizations.

5. Government and Non-profit: Graduates with a PhD in English may also work in government or non-profit organizations in fields such as education, policy, or advocacy.

What are the requirements for a PhD in English?

The specific requirements for obtaining a PhD in English can vary depending on the institution and program, but generally, the following are common requirements:

1. Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree: Applicants to most PhD programs in English must have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. Although it is not usually required, certain schools may accept applicants with a Master’s degree in a related discipline.

2. Academic Transcripts: Applicants are usually expected to present certified transcripts of their undergraduate and graduate education, which demonstrate their academic performance and achievement.

3. Statement of Purpose: Applicants are typically expected to provide a personal statement or statement of purpose detailing their research interests, academic ambitions, and reason for pursuing a PhD in English.

4. Standardized Test Scores: Applicants to many PhD programs may be required to submit scores from standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other related assessments.

5. Letters of Recommendation: Applicants to PhD programs in English are frequently required to provide letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources who may speak to the applicant’s academic talents, research potential, and eligibility for a PhD program.

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How long does it take to get a phd in english.

The length of time it takes to earn a PhD in English varies based on the school, the speed of the particular student, and other considerations. A PhD in English usually takes between 5-7 years to complete.

The first 2-3 years of a PhD program are often spent studying English literature, theory, and research methodologies. Students will often take comprehensive tests during this time to demonstrate their understanding in these topics.

After completing their coursework, students will typically spend the next 2-3 years working on their dissertation. Conducting original research, analyzing data, and writing a lengthy and detailed dissertation are all part of this process.

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Do you need a masters in english to get a phd in english.

A master’s degree in English is usually not required to apply for a PhD program in English. Many English PhD programs accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree in English or a related discipline, however others may demand extra coursework or research experience.

However, having a master’s degree in English may be advantageous for some individuals because it might demonstrate a higher level of knowledge and preparedness for the additional coursework and research necessary in a PhD program.

What are the Best PhD in English Degree programs?

1. harvard university 2. university of california, berkeley 3. university of chicago 4. stanford university 5. columbia university 6. yale university 7. princeton university 8. university of pennsylvania 9. university of michigan 10. university of california, los angeles (ucla), leave a comment cancel reply.

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Department of English


Graduate Program Overview

Graduate students in Firestone Library Special Collections room

Ph.D. Program in English at Princeton

The aim of the Princeton graduate program in English is to produce well-trained and field-transforming scholars, insightful and imaginative critics, and effective and creative teachers. The Ph.D. program is both rigorous and supportive. With two years of coursework and three years of research and teaching, all fully funded, it is possible to complete the degree in five years. We offer multiple funding opportunities for research fellowships in year six, should students need additional time for dissertation completion and for the academic job market, or for pursuing other career opportunities.

Princeton is a research institution with strengths across the disciplines, but it maintains a feeling of intimacy. In keeping with the goals of the University at large, the Department of English seeks to cultivate and sustain a  diverse , cosmopolitan, and lively intellectual community. Because this is a residential university, whose traditions emphasize teaching as well as research, the faculty is easily accessible to students and committed to their progress.

The  faculty  of the Department of English is notable for its world-renowned scholarly reputation, and commitment to teaching and close collaboration with colleagues and students. The faculty showcases wide-ranging interdisciplinary interests as well as a diverse range of critical approaches within the discipline. In addition to offering seminars in every major historical field of concentration, from medieval to contemporary literatures, we offer a wide range of theoretical specializations in fields such as feminist theory, gender and sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, Marxism, postcolonialism, environmental studies, political and social theory, and cultural studies. Students may also take courses in cognate departments such as comparative literature, classics, philosophy, linguistics, history, and art history.

Course of Study

The graduate program in English is a five-year program (with multiple opportunities for funding in year six) leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Students may not enroll for a Master of Arts degree. During the first two years, students prepare for the General Examination through work in seminars, and directed or independent reading. The third, fourth, and fifth years are devoted the writing of a dissertation, and to teaching in undergraduate courses. Through numerous funding opportunities, we are able to offer sixth-year students generous research support.

Although programs are flexible, during the first two years graduate students normally take an average of three courses per semester, to complete the required 12 courses by the end of the second year. The comprehensive General Examination is then taken at the beginning of the third year of study.

Students must also demonstrate a reading knowledge of two foreign languages before the completion of the General Examination.

Course Requirements

Graduate students are required to take a minimum of twelve courses over their first two years in the program, usually enrolling in three courses per semester.

Our distribution requirements are designed to acquaint each student with a diverse range of historical periods and thematic and methodological concerns. The Department values both historical expertise and theoretical inquiry, and assumes that our discipline includes the study of film, visual culture, and media studies.

Graduate Students in English must take courses in each of the following six areas:

  • Medieval and Renaissance
  • 18th Century and 19th Century
  • Modern and Contemporary
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Postcoloniality
  • Gender and Sexuality

All distribution requirements must be taken for a letter grade. The six-course distribution requirement comprises 50% of the courses required for the degree, leaving sufficient room for intensive coursework in areas of specialization. 

While some graduate seminars may cover more than one field, students may not use one course to fulfill two or more distribution requirements at the same time. For example, a medieval course with a substantial commitment to theory may fulfill either the medieval and Renaissance or the theory requirements.

Each entering student is assigned a faculty advisor who works with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in planning course selection in the first and second years. After successfully submitting and presenting the dissertation proposal during the spring of the third year, students choose three faculty members to serve as their dissertation advisers.

Graduate Action Committee (GAC)

The Graduate Action Committee (GAC) is a representative group of graduate students in the Department that advocates for graduate student with faculty and administration. Among its primary goals are representing the concerns of the entire graduate student body, promoting intellectual and social interaction between faculty and graduate students, organizing an annual speaker series of distinguished academics, and improving the quality of graduate student life at Princeton. Every graduate student in the Department is welcome and encouraged to participate in GAC.

Working Group on Graduate Issues (WGGI)

The Working Group on Graduate Issues (WGGI) is a four- or five-person elected group of students who meet at several points during the academic year with the chair, director of graduate studies, and one additional faculty member to represent graduate student concerns.

In addition to participating in a variety of seminars and colloquia organized by the Department and other units at the University, graduate students are welcome to organize colloquia of their own. These may involve the discussion of an article or problem, the presentation of a paper, or a forum for debate.

Graduate students who have passed the General Examination are required to teach in undergraduate courses. While the minimum Department requirement is four hours, most students teach more than this. Students may conduct sections of large lecture courses, or direct precepts in upper-division courses. This teaching is supervised by experienced members of the faculty. The Department and University also offer, on an annual basis, a teacher training seminar and workshop. Advanced graduate students may co-design and co-teach courses with faculty through the  Collaborative Teaching Initiative . 

Library Collections

In addition to the general collections of Princeton’s libraries, Firestone Library has a number of special collections that are particularly rich in materials for study: one of the most important collections of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the United States; works of the Restoration Period, with emphasis on drama; the theater collection, which contains materials for the study of theatrical history; extensive collections concerning the history and literature of the middle Atlantic and southern states; little poetry magazines; concrete and visual poetry; the Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated books, 1670–1870; the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists; the J. Harlin O’Connell Collection of the 1890's and the Gallatin Collection of Aubrey Beardsley; and the archives of major American publishing houses. The extensive Miriam Y. Holden Collection of Books on the History of Women is located adjacent to the Department’s literature collection in the Scribner Room.

Job Placement

We offer strong support and deep resources for students pursuing careers inside and outside academia. Our Job Placement and Career Resources page provides details, as well as information and statistics about recent academic appointments.

Admission  and Financial Aid

Competition for admission to the program is keen. About ten new students from a wide range of backgrounds are enrolled each year. The Department looks for candidates of outstanding ability and intellectual promise who have the potential to be lively, effective, and sympathetic scholars and teachers. Its judgments are based on letters of recommendation, transcripts, a personal statement, and a sample of the candidate’s academic writing. GRE scores are not required. Facility in foreign languages is also taken into account. To access the online application, please visit the  Graduate Admission Office .

All admitted students are fully funded. Fellowships are awarded by the Graduate School on the Department’s recommendation. Students are also eligible to apply for competitive external and internal fellowships, such as those offered by the Graduate School, the Center for Human Values, and the Center for the Study of Religion.

English Department

The Department offices, lecture halls, and seminar rooms are located in McCosh Hall. There are two libraries in McCosh Hall: the Thorp Library, home to the Bain-Swiggett Library of Contemporary Poetry, and the Hinds Library, the Department’s reading room and lounge. There is also a separate English Graduate Reading Room in Firestone Library, where reserve books for graduate seminars are kept on the shelves. It is adjacent to the Scribner Room, the Department's large non-circulating collection of books and journals.

The Graduate School provides University housing for about 65 percent of the graduate student body. New students have first priority. Although housing in the Princeton area is expensive, many graduate students find convenient and attractive private housing, sharing accommodations or investigating neighboring towns. There are also opportunities for graduate students to apply for resident positions in the undergraduate colleges.

Visiting Princeton

Applicants for admission are welcome to visit the campus at any time, and  tours  of the campus are available. Once the formal admissions period is over by the end of February, admitted students will be invited to campus and will have the opportunity to visit seminars, and meet with faculty and current graduate students.

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Best College Rankings

30 Best PhD Programs in English

college rank best phd programs english

Quick Highlights:

  • Our #1 ranked school for a PhD in English is  University at Buffalo , followed by  University of California, Berkeley .
  • PhD English programs focus on comprehensive English language and literature knowledge . They require coursework, exams, and a dissertation.
  • Specializations may be available in areas like rhetoric and digital humanities.
  • Many programs emphasize practical experience, including teaching opportunities and involvement in academic communities .

With one of the 30 top English PhD programs, career opportunities are numerous, because let’s face it: researching, writing, teaching, learning, communicating, and critical thinking all translate into a highly sought-after knowledge and skill set.

This is not a trick question: What would we do if we could not communicate with each other, whether verbally or in writing (or texting)?

Seriously think about it: Without language, what do we have?

There are those who live and breathe:

  • sentence structures

They can’t seem to get enough of learning about the dynamic subject we call English. If you love language, writing, research, learning, and continuously searching for that right word, a PhD in English may be the graduate program you’re looking for.

Check out our top English PhD program rankings and start preparing for your future!

  • Top MFA in Creative Writing
  • Best PhD in Communications

What Is a PhD in English?

A PhD in English is a terminal degree, meaning it’s the highest you can get in any given subject. While concentrations and programs of study differ, three parts of an English PhD are certain:

  • qualifying exams
  • a dissertation

Coursework typically includes various literature classes to provide a strong breadth of English language and literature knowledge. Most top English PhD programs also require foreign language requirements. After the coursework is finished in around 2-3 years, English majors will take a comprehensive qualifying exam to achieve doctoral status. This exam covers all they have studied this far, and passing it will allow them to move on to their dissertation.

A dissertation is the final step to earning a PhD in English. Think of it as an independent research project that takes years to:

  • compile information

The dissertation defense is the last step, where you present your project to a faculty panel.

Most top English PhD programs take five to seven years to complete, but of course, it depends on full-time or part-time status. It is also worth noting that many graduate schools, including the ones we have reviewed, provide full funding to the student earning a PhD.

You may also like: Doctorate vs PhD

What Are the Top English PhD Programs?

At CollegeRank , we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Average Net Price

University of Buffalo

While all of our rankings in this article are notable, The University of Buffalo ranks in the top 1% of not just the country but the world by the Center for World University Rankings. Founded in 1846, SUNY Buffalo is the largest campus in the 64-campus SUNY system. It offers one of the best English PhD programs. It just happens to be our #1 choice!

What sets SUNY Buffalo apart from others? As a student, you are a part of a vibrant, supportive community as an active participant in every part of the program. You are not just going to school, but you are a part of the process. This includes attending and voting in department meetings and joining the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA).

This top PhD in English requires 72 credits, which are satisfied through ten graduate seminar courses in fields such as:

  • American and British literature
  • poetics and critical theory

You will then take an oral qualifying exam and complete and defend a “book-length work of original scholarship,” otherwise known as a dissertation.

As a graduate program student, you are encouraged to publish during your time at SUNY Buffalo and equipped with a third-year workshop for this goal. This graduate program takes approximately five years and is fully in person. You can apply through the Graduate Enrollment Services.

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California


Globally ranked as the fourth-best university according to U.S. News & World Report rankings, University of California-Berkeley has been described as a “glorious place,” full of “commitment to excellence.” This is a top graduate program in the country. The PhD in comparative literature, is both “historical and theoretical”. It includes a “signature combination of teaching and research on literature, film, and other media.”

In this English PhD program , you will choose one literature from a historical and critical perspective and complete comparative work in three kinds of literature. You will then complete ten courses encompassing:

  • comparative
  • major types of literature
  • minor types of literature

The University of California-Berkeley says this program takes approximately seven years to complete and includes a recommended timetable to stay on track.

The University of California-Berkeley offers a myriad of fellowships and financial aid to help with the cost of this PhD program. In addition, you have the opportunity to seek employment through the department in teaching and research assistantship programs. Alumni have won national awards from the Modern Language Association and the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA).

University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland is devoted to social entrepreneurship. It is recognized as the nation’s first  “Do Good” university. Home to over 41,000 students and 388,000 alumni, UMD spans 12 schools and colleges. It offers 297 academic programs, including the nationally ranked PhD in English. This graduate program prepares students who plan to teach at the university level with:

  • language courses

Along with You will study an in-depth range of topics such as:

  • literary and cultural history,
  • aesthetic, critical and cultural theory
  • digital and media studies
  • humanistic engagement with the sciences
  • language, rhetoric and composition

You will complete a minimum of 12 courses, including a foreign language requirement, while maintaining a 3.6 GPA. 

UMD’s top English PhD program is highly competitive but well worth the competition if you are accepted because all students receive a five-year funding package. To apply, you need to submit:

  • a statement of goals and research interests
  • transcripts
  • three letters of recommendation
  • a sample of critical writing
  • an academic CV

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin is not only known for its food (especially breakfast tacos!) and music, but it’s also our #4 ranking. It has:

  • excellent academic programs
  • extensive research
  • shared values of “equity, excellence, innovation, and empowerment”

It is ranked #20 in Best Graduate Schools from U.S. News & World Report . UT Austin offers a PhD in English with a concentration in literature or rhetoric and digital literacies.

Whether you enter the program with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, you are required to complete 39 graduate seminar hours before the end of your third year. You must pass the third-year examination to achieve doctoral candidacy. The final milestone for the PhD in English is the dissertation defense. Graduate students have access to six years of funding from combined teaching assistantships.

UT Austin’s admission is highly competitive. Each year, this English PhD program accepts 12-14 students into the literature concentration and four in the rhetoric and digital literacies program. You can apply through ApplyTexas if you have a BA or MA plus at least 15 hours of upper-division English credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin Madison

A top-ranked university with 19 faculty and alumni Nobel Prize winners? Yes, please! Check out UW-Madison, awarded #13 in America’s Best Colleges from U.S. News & Report . UW Madison offers more than 9,000 courses across over 450 academic programs, including a PhD in English with the following specializations:

  • Composition and rhetoric
  • English language and linguistics
  • Literature studies

This graduate program “combines a sharp focus on conceptual approaches to literary and cultural works with a commitment to broad coverage of the field of Anglophone literature.” As a student, you will tailor the program to your career goals through a required minor. You will also study interdisciplinary areas such as:

  • literary theory and criticism
  • gender studies
  • race and ethnic studies

You will complete 51-63 coursework credits depending on which concentration you choose. Each concentration includes:

  • major courses
  • minor courses
  • research/method/tools courses

While some of the best English PhD rankings offer online or hybrid formats, UW-Madison’s coursework is face-to-face. Applicants must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution. English degrees are preferred but they are not required.

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Texas Tech

Texas Tech warded a “Very High Research Activity” category by Carnegie Classification of Institution of Higher Education. It is a comprehensive public research university that spans 13 colleges and schools and 200 degree programs. At Texas Tech, you can earn a PhD in English with a specialization in literature.

One of the best parts of Texas Tech’s PhD in English is vast areas of study. You can choose any of the following concentrations:

  • Early British literature
  • Later British literature
  • English and American literature
  • Comparative literature, globalization, and translation
  • Creative writing
  • Linguistics
  • Book history and digital humanities
  • Film and media studies
  • Literature, social justice, and environment

No matter which concentration you choose, you will take courses such as:

  • Research Methods
  • Critical Methods
  • Writing for Publication
  • Teaching College Literature

Texas Tech employs a holistic assessment for applicants while looking for:

  • critical analysis skills
  • a focused academic purpose
  • strong letters of recommendation

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

University of South Florida

Located in the heart of Tampa Bay, the University of South Florida is one of the fastest-rising universities in the nation. U.S. News and World Report ranks it as the 46th best public university in the country. At UCF, you can earn a PhD in English with either a literature or rhetoric and composition concentration.

UCF’s top English PhD program requires at least 30 hours of coursework, including:

  • Scholarly Research and Writing
  • Teaching Practicum
  • Studies in Criticism and Theory

After completing your coursework, you must create and submit a portfolio and fulfill a foreign language requirement before you are admitted to doctoral candidacy. Then, the real fun starts: writing your dissertation.

USF graduate students can also earn graduate certificates in:

  • comparative literary studies
  • creative writing
  • digital humanities
  • professional and technical communication

UCF’s program is pretty competitive. You need:

  • a Master of Arts from an accredited university
  • at least a 3.7 GPA
  • “competitive” GRE verbal and analytical writing scores
  • recommendation letters
  • a scholarly writing sample
  • a personal statement

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

University of Utah

“Step One: Imagine. Step Two: Do.”

The University of Utah is fondly known by students, faculty, and alumni as “The U,”. It features a simple yet profound motto that has inspired many graduates to go on and make their mark on the world. Notable alumni include writer Orson Scott Card and award-winning actor Stephen Covey, among many others.

You, too, can imagine what is possible and then take action by checking out the top PhD in English . It has concentrations in rhetoric and composition or literacy and cultural studies. The program entails:

  • Ten seminar courses (including four concentration courses)
  • Four additional English courses
  • Two courses in writing and rhetoric studies
  • A qualifying exam
  • A successful dissertation

The Department of English features ample opportunities for publications, along with the graduate student reading series, Working Dog, where you can showcase your original work to not only other classmates, but the public.

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is a nationally ranked university in public research and best value. It features a rich Native American history. The first graduating class in 1895 included three students before Arizona was even a state!

Check out the PhD in rhetoric, composition, and teaching of English – perfect if you intend to teach at a four-year college or a writing program.  UA’s Department of English states that the graduates of this doctoral program are “distinguished for their public engagement and action-oriented research, published scholarship, and innovative teaching.” 

The University of Arizona has an outstanding 97% job placement. English PhD graduates find themselves as nationally recognized scholars teaching, researching, and writing all over the world.

In this top English PhD program, you will complete 66 credit units, which includes 18 dissertation credits. Courses include:

  • Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition
  • Qualifying Portfolio Workshop

To apply, you need to submit:

  • a CV, a statement of purpose
  • unofficial transcripts
  • a writing sample in rhetoric or composition

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University

LSU is Louisiana’s flagship institution. Louisiana State University is known for its top-notch academics and impressive return on investments. Ninety-two percent of all students receive scholarships or financial aid. Two in three students graduate with absolutely no debt. LSU’s PhD in English arms graduate students with the knowledge and skills to become expert:

  • researchers

Similar to most English PhD programs, this program is organized into three phases:

  • dissertation

The coursework consists of 48 credit hours of literature that “range across periods, genres, and traditions,” and critical and theoretical methods. Students will then take their exams and progress into the dissertation phase.

Students typically write one chapter of their dissertation per semester while enrolled in the Dissertation Writing Workshop. A perk of this program is that you can apply if you have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s of Arts. If you already have a master’s degree, you can apply up to 24 credit hours toward this degree and finish the PhD in just four years.

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University

Arizona State University boasts several national recognitions. This includes #1 in the country for most innovative school and the best graduate schools from U.S. News & World Report. Among the half a million alumni include notable:

  • politicians
  • actors and actresses

ASU features a PhD in English literature that is worth checking out!

The PhD in English literature emphasizes literary texts not only from a cultural and historical perspective but also from the “production, distribution, and reception.” The “texts” are defined as “folklore, oral traditions, popular culture, and film and digital media in addition to traditional literature.” The graduate program includes 42-72 hours in coursework. It also includes 12 hours of dissertation work.

This doctoral program is highly flexible and allows you to take courses in your interest areas. Sample courses include:

  • Methods and Issues in Teaching Composition
  • Rhetorical Traditions

To apply you need:

  • statement of purpose
  • an academic writing sample of 10-25 pages

The deadline to apply is January 1, and the GRE is not required.

University of California – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California


Have you ever wondered which U.S. city features the most museums and theaters than any other city? Well, it’s Los Angeles!  UCLA is proud to be right in the center of the excitement. (And in case you’re wondering, LA is home to 105 museums and 225 theaters!) At UCLA-Los Angeles, you can join the current 15,724 graduate students and earn a comprehensive PhD in English literature.

UCLA structures its PhD in three stages. Stage one entails 14 graduate seminars in English literature, with various requirements to ensure a diverse depth of literature. Stage one also includes a first qualifying exam before you proceed to stage two for a second qualifying exam. Stage three is the research, writing, and completion of a dissertation. It begins in year five and typically takes two years to complete.

Component of UCLA’s PhD program include:

  • dissertation project
  • teacher training

Teaching assistantships are available and encouraged for graduate students. To apply you need to submit:

  • a writing sample of 15-25 pages

Currently, the GRE exam requirement is waived because of Covid-19.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor was voted #1 for Best Small College Town in America and Best U.S. Public University ( QS World University Rankings and Wallethub ). It is globally recognized for its exceptional academic quality. U-M Ann Arbor features a stellar doctoral program in English language and literature for those who aim to:

  • write in a collective community

This top English PhD program allows you to specialize in British, American, or anglophone literature. Also, to“explore a wide range of critical, theoretical, and cultural perspectives.” The program focuses on learning as a social process. This is one reason why English graduate students are guaranteed six years of program funding! A huge perk.

In your first year you will:

  • complete two basic languages or one advanced language
  • Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • three upper-level seminars

Your second year will be devoted to the preliminary examination. In the third year, a third-year review, which will provide feedback and direction. Finally, you will devote your last few years to your dissertation.

University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri

If you know what the Tiger Walk and Tiger Prowl are, you certainly are familiar with the University of Missouri. It is fondly known as Mizzou. With a long history of traditions, Mizzou’s pride is seen all over the world. You can earn a PhD in English in just five years, including 30 hours of coursework that provides “deep knowledge and methodological sophistication. with a concentration on creative writing or literature.

Sample courses include:

  • Literacy Criticism
  • The Theory and Practice of Teaching in English
  • English Linguistics
  • creative writing workshops if you choose the creative writing concentration

By the spring of your third year, you should begin writing your dissertation. This could be scholarly or creative, depending on your concentration. You will have two years to complete your dissertation before you defend it by the end of your fifth year.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • “Medieval Romance, Fanfiction, and the Erotics of Shame” 
  • “Science Frictions: Science, Folklore, and ‘The Future ” 
  • “Magical Safe Spaces: The Role of Literature in Medieval and Early Modern Magic” 

University of Virginia – Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is one of the very best in the nation. Both U.S. News & World Report and Money Magazine rank UVA #2 and #4 as the best public university and the best value. UVA houses a PhD in English language, literature, and research that leads graduates to all types of careers in:

  • education administration

This best English PhD program entails 72 credits, including courses like:

  • Introduction to Literary Research
  • Dissertation Seminar

During the second semester of the fourth year, students will give a 40-min talk about their dissertation. This is a great opportunity for students to share their work with a formal venue before they defend their dissertation later.

In addition to this degree, you can earn graduate certificates in:

  • Comparative literature
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • African studies
  • Environmental humanities
  • Digital humanities

Accepted students receive financial support and health insurance for at least five years of their duration in the program.

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Founded in 1794, UT Knoxville is one of the oldest in the country. UT Knoxville spreads across 910 acres. The 294 buildings house 11 colleges and 900 programs of study! If you’re a teacher and want to continue your education studies, then UT’s PhD in literacy studies and education may be for you.

This program is not a standard PhD in English. It combines English and education and allows you to choose from a number of concentrations and specializations. You can choose between literacy studies and education. Then you can further choose an emphasis like:

  • children’s and young adult literature
  • ESL education
  • literacy education

This program includes 48 credit hours beyond a master’s degree. This includes six credits in a cognate area and 24 hours of doctoral research and dissertation courses. Comprehensive exams should be completed in five years. The dissertation should be completed within eight years. To apply to this program, you need at least three years of teaching experience.

University of Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Smart. Spirited. Solution-Driven.

Those are words to describe the University of Louisiana at Lafayette It is the second-largest university in Louisiana, home to over 19,000 students. We also must mention that UL’s sports teams are THE Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns®! With a PhD in English from UL, you will receive a strong background in British and American language and literature. You can further customize your program to match your career goals.

UL now has over 100 students in its PhD program, which is a lot for a PhD in English! You can specialize in four areas (out of 21!) such as:

  • critical theory
  • Africana literature
  • feminist theory and criticism

The degree requires 72 credit hours, which include 48 in coursework and 24 in dissertation research.

UL’s PhD program asks for application materials that “testify to solid academic preparation for advanced work.” These materials include:

  • Transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • A Statement of purpose
  • A CV with relevant academic/professional experience
  • A critical (or creative) writing sample
  • Optional GRE scores

To enter in the spring, submit your application by November 15.

New York University

New York City, New York


Imagine studying English in one of the most vibrant cities in the nation: New York City. New York University Steinhardt is a top university. It is ranked #10 among the Best Graduate Schools in Education ( U.S. News & World Report ). NYU Steinhardt offers a range of programs:

  • doctoral programs

This includes the notable PhD in English education: secondary and college.

This doctoral program at New York University prepares graduates to become:

  • university researchers
  • English curriculum specialists
  • post-secondary English language educators

You will enjoy small classes in one of the most diverse settings in the world: New York City! As a student, you will complete 48-60 credits, depending on the focus area and prior coursework.

Coursework includes:

  • teaching and learning seminars
  • two cognate courses
  • foundation requirements
  • research methodology classes

Before beginning your dissertation, you will complete a research experience course to prepare you. While many programs require full-time status, you can complete this PhD full-time or part-time. To apply, you need:

  • A statement of purpose
  • A writing sample (no more than 20 pages)
  • Three recommendation letters

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin once said, “well-done is better than well-said.” This statement, by the school’s founder, serves as the cornerstone tradition of the University of Pennsylvania. Since the 1740s, Penn continues to evolve into a place of social activism, touching all of its programs. Penn’s PhD in English combines English and American literature to produce a comprehensive program with a range of specializations.

This “intellectually dynamic and rigorous” PhD program prepares students to be scholars and educators of English. You can specialize in one primary field. Or you can specialize in two additional fields such as:

  • contemporary poetry

Penn recognizes that true learning comes when students become active participants in their academic and social community. The program’s emphasis is on the relationships between scholars and faculty.

In this top English PhD program , you will take courses such as Teaching of Literature and Composition. This is along with six literature courses spanning throughout various time periods. During your third year, you will choose a specialization as you start working on your dissertation. All PhD students receive the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, which covers tuition and health insurance for five years.

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

who can do phd in english

Have you ever wondered which academic institution is our nation’s oldest? Well, it’s Harvard University, established in 1636! With over 400,000 alumni all over the world including:

  • 49 Nobel Laureates
  • 32 heads of state
  • 48 Pulitzer Prize winners

It’s no wonder Harvard University made our list of top English PhD rankings. After all, it’s Harvard! Check out Harvard University’s PhD in English that covers topics ranging from medieval literature to criticism and theory.

Harvard’s PhD in English provides a broad knowledge of English and teaches students to:

  • research and write well
  • teach effectively
  • present their research at conferences and seminars

The first two years are devoted to coursework and preparing for the PhD qualifying exam, while the rest of the time is spent working on the dissertation.

Check out the many past doctoral theses and dissertations published on Harvard University’s website. Harvard states that this program typically takes between four and seven years. Most students finishing in five or six years. While GRE scores are not required for admission, past English classes, strong writing samples, and excellent letters of recommendation are.

Columbia University in the City of New York

who can do phd in english

A private Ivy League University, Columbia University has been a leader in higher education for over 250 years. Columbia University spans three undergraduate schools and 13 graduate schools. This includes the Teacher College, which opened in 1880. Columbia’s Teacher College features a PhD in English education for students who aim to become teachers and researchers in higher education.

This English PhD program includes 75 credits, and students may transfer up to 30 credits from previous graduate work. All PhD English education majors will take courses like:

  • Research Paper: Teaching of English
  • Professional Seminar: Foundational Texts

As a student, you stay on track through:

  • milestones of coursework
  • meeting with your dissertation committee

While most doctoral English PhD programs only admit students once a year, Columbia’s program allows entry in both the summer and fall. To apply you need:

  • a master’s degree in English
  • education or a related field
  • at least 3-5 years of full-time teaching experience
  • an academic writing sample

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

who can do phd in english

Cornell University is a private Ivy League research university in Ithaca, NY. It is home to over 24,000 students. This top-ranked university includes 15 colleges and schools, including The College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University. You can earn a PhD in English and language literature. This English PhD program comes with a generous financial package for students.

Cornell’s PhD in English language and literature allows you to customize your plan of study to suit your interests. You will form a faculty committee that will work with you on selecting your courses and writing and revising your dissertation. You can choose from a myriad of areas such as:

  • Romance studies
  • Cultural studies

This graduate program also emphasizes teaching an essential part of this plan of study. As a student, you are required to teach writing-intensive courses for at least one year during your time at Cornell. As mentioned, Cornell University provides five years of funding that includes:

  • full tuition
  • health insurance

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

who can do phd in english

Syracuse University, a highly-ranked private research institution, states that “being orange is more than just a color, a place or degree. It embodies a lifelong connection to a global network of innovators, thinkers, and creative solution finders.” Join the “Orange Community” of 22,000 other students when you earn a top PhD in English from Syracuse University.

Syracuse’s Ph.D. in English includes “specialized professional training in criticism, theory, research, and the teaching of literary and filmic texts”. It prepares you to teach at the college and university level.  You can apply whether you have a BA or master’s degree, and you will take between 12-18 courses, depending on your past academic records.

This PhD program is pretty straightforward. You will take courses like:

  • Introduction to Critical Theory
  • focused graduate seminars
  • a foreign language

You will also take two exams: the field exam and the qualifying exam. This will qualify you as a doctoral candidate to begin:

  • researching
  • defending your dissertation

Syracuse boasts an excellent job placement record for PhD in English graduates.

Washington University in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

who can do phd in english

Washington University was founded in 1853 in St. Luis. WashUis an independent university with more than 16,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. It offers many opportunities, including:

  • customizable programs
  • study abroad experiences
  • impressive financial aid options

You won’t want to miss the PhD in English and American literature from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Washington University’s PhD in English and American literature is described as “innovative, collegial, competitive, and generously funded, offering one of the top financial packages in the nation”. The program is rooted in literary history. As a student, you can tailor your plan of study to incorporate areas of English that you want to explore.

During your time at WashU, you will serve as both a graduate assistant and instructor in undergraduate English and literature courses. During year four, you will submit a dissertation prospectus. The next two years you will spend working on your dissertation. By April of year six, you will be ready to defend your dissertation and become a Doctor of English!

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

who can do phd in english

Ranked #9 in the U.S. News & World Report 2020 Best Colleges, Northwestern University is a comprehensive research university. It has more than 13,000 graduate students and an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University features a PhD in literature that emphasizes:

  • literary history
  • criticism, and theory
  • interdisciplinary studies

This best English graduate program includes:

  • lectures and workshops from global scholars
  • student-organized colloquia
  • reading groups, conferences
  • many ways to learn from not only the faculty, but from peers

You will complete 20 graduate-level courses in diverse historical periods during your first three years. In addition, you will complete a foreign language requirement by the end of year one.

At Northwestern, you will:

  • work as a graduate assistant
  • teach at least one course
  • work on your dissertation during years four and five

While this PhD program can be completed in five years, most students complete it in six. As a graduate student at Northwestern, you will receive:

  • full financial aid
  • travel grants
  • pedagogical training
  • job placement

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida

who can do phd in english

Established in 1925, the University of Miami is a private research academic institution with numerous national recognitions in academic and research success. Check out UM’s Pride Points and what it means to be part of the Hurricane family. While you’re at it, check out the PhD in English with concentrations in Caribbean studies or early modern literature. This is a degree full of diversity and opportunity.

UM’s PhD in English is nationally ranked by the National Research Council for student and faculty diversity. As a student at UM, you will enjoy diverse topics such as:

  • Caribbean literature
  • early modern literature
  • cultural theory

The cohorts are only five to seven students, so you will be among a tight-knit community of English scholars.

UM admits incoming students with either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in English, and your previous degree(s) will determine whether you need to take 54 or 36 credits of coursework. You will also receive:

  • at least five years of tuition remissions

UM reports that over 90% of its PhD graduates have full-time employment within nine months of graduating.

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

who can do phd in english

The University of Chicago, a highly-ranked private research university, is known for its value of free and open inquiry. This has led to research breakthroughs such as:

  • finding the cancer-genetics link
  • discovering revolutionary economics links
  • improving the graduation rates in urban cities

UChicago’s PhD in English language and literature involves intensive research for solutions, and open expression, staying true to UChicago’s values.

The University of Chicago’s PhD in English language and literature “prepares students for independent work as teachers, scholars, and critics by developing their abilities to pose and investigate problems in the advanced study of literature in English.” The four major elements of this program include:

  • the dissertation.

Part of the appeal of this program are the dynamic courses like:

  • The Print Revolution and New Readers: Women, Workers, Children
  • Early Science Fiction
  • Readings in Exile
  • scanned transcripts
  • 3-4 recommendation letters
  • a 15-20 page writing sample
  • a 1-3 page statement of purpose

Boston College

Newton, Massachusetts

who can do phd in english

“Education with a heart and soul – and the power to transform” is Boston College’s motto. Boston College is the first higher education institution in Boston. This private Jesuit research university is among one of the nation’s leaders. Boston College’s PhD in English gives graduate students the choice of a wide range of courses to tailor the program to their interests and career goals.

As a student, you are required to take just four PhD seminars along with courses in composition theory and pedagogy and research colloquium. The rest is up to you, and you will work with your advisor to build your program. Teaching is another component and starting with your second year, you will become a teaching assistant in a British or American literature class.

We’ll be honest: the very thing that we love about this program—the small classes—means that each year Boston College only admits 4-5 students. Applications for the fall semester are due by January 2. To apply you need:

  • a critical writing statement

The Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C.

who can do phd in english

Right in the heart of our nation’s capital, you will find the Catholic University of America. It is the only national research academic institution found by the U.S. bishops. CatholicU is a great place to earn a  PhD in English language and literature offering:

  • more than 250 academic programs
  • 5,700 students
  • 90,000+ alumni

And who wouldn’t want to study literature in Washington D.C.?

CatholicU’s English language and literature program includes 54 credit of coursework, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. The comprehensive exam consists of three parts:

  • literary theory
  • the history of criticism

After you pass the exam, you will begin your dissertation, described by CatholicU as “a substantial piece of original research,” which “gives the doctoral program its capstone.”

CatholicU’s location allows you to become fully immersed in literary history since you are among some of the most reputable museums, research collections, and libraries. Classes are small, so you will get personalized attention, including pedagogical training. CatholicU offers funding for this English language and literature PhD program for up to seven years.

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

who can do phd in english

Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters features a “flexible and dynamic” PhD in English that entails 42 credits of literary criticism courses, preparing you for:

  • individualized reading courses
  • independent study

Your written and oral exams in the third year will assess your knowledge and skills in your specialization, a secondary field, literary theory, and methodology.

You will then focus on researching for your dissertation, which you will defend in year five or six. 

Notre Dame also offers a 5+1 program that gives job incentives for students finishing this program in five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

PhD graduates can find rewarding careers in academia, journalism, media, and other communication fields. You can also become a content strategist or explore writing opportunities. Your expertise in language and literature opens doors to diverse fields of research and publishing.

Historical trends indicate PhDs in English graduates find jobs in academia, research, publishing, and related fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary teachers (which includes university professors) is projected to grow 8% through 2032. This should result in about 118,000 new job openings each year, over the next 10 years.

Pay varies for PhD in English graduates, based on factors such as experience, location, and employment sector. In academia, assistant professors with a PhD in English start with salaries ranging from $60,000 to $80,000, while more experienced professors earn higher salaries.

A PhD in English typically takes 5 to 7 years. It involves coursework, comprehensive exams, dissertation research, and writing. Some online PhD programs allow students to finish their degree in less time, but the average is 6 years.

Many PhD programs in English offer financial support to students, which can include tuition waivers, stipends, and teaching or research assistant positions. Students often receive compensation for their teaching or research contributions, helping to offset costs during their doctoral studies. Stipends and compensation for teaching or research assistantships can range from a few thousand dollars to more substantial amounts, depending on the university, location, and program.

Yes, earning a PhD in English grants you the title of “Doctor.” When you successfully complete a doctoral program, including a PhD in English, you’re awarded the academic title of “Doctor of Philosophy.” You can use the prefix “Dr.” before your name in professional and academic contexts.

Yes, it is possible to pursue a PhD in English without a master’s degree. Some doctoral programs accept students with a bachelor’s degree directly into their PhD programs, providing specific academic and admission requirements are met.

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The graduate program in English provides you with a broad knowledge in the discipline, including critical and cultural theory and literary history. This solid foundation enables you to choose your own path based on the wide variety of areas of concentration. Our flexible program allows you to take courses outside the department to further explore your chosen field(s). Our program emphasizes excellence in writing, innovative scholarship, and eloquent presentations—important skills you will need in your future profession. The program and its faculty are committed both to diversity in its student body and in the diversity of thought and scholarship.

Examples of student theses and dissertations include “The Write to Stay Home: Southern Black Literature from the Great Depression to Early Twenty-first Century,” “Profaning Theater: The Drama of Religion on the Modernists Stage,” and “Sentimental Borders: Genre and Geography in the Literature of Civil War and Reconstruction.”

Graduates have secured faculty positions at institutions such as Brown University, Columbia University, and University of California, Los Angeles. Others have begun their careers with leading organizations such as Google and McKinsey & Company.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of English , and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies .

Areas of Study

Unspecified | Medieval | Renaissance/Early Modern | 18th Century/Enlightenment | 19th Century British/Romantics/Victorian | Early American (to 1900) | 20th Century British | 20th Century American | Criticism and Theory | The English Language | Transnational Anglophone/Postcolonial | African American Literature | Drama | Poetry

Admissions Requirements

Please review the admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of English .

Writing Sample

The writing samples (one primary and one secondary) are highly significant parts of the application. Applicants should submit 2 double-spaced, 15-page papers of no more than 5,000 words each, in 12-point type with 1-inch margins. The writing samples must be examples of critical writing (rather than creative writing) on subjects directly related to English. Applicants should not send longer papers with instructions to read an excerpt or excerpts but should edit the samples themselves so that they submit only 15 pages for each paper. Applicants who know the field in which they expect to specialize should, when possible, submit a primary writing sample related to that field.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is not a personal statement and should not be heavily weighted down with autobiographical anecdotes. It should be no longer than 1,000 words. It should give the admissions committee a clear sense of the applicant's individual interests and strengths. Applicants need not indicate a precise field of specialization if they do not know, but it is helpful to know something about a candidate’s professional aspirations and sense of their own skills, as well as how the Harvard Department of English might help in attaining their goals. Those who already have a research topic in mind should outline it in detail, giving a sense of how they plan their progress through the program. Those who do not have a research topic should at least attempt to define the questions and interests they foresee driving their work over the next few years.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Optional GRE Subject: Optional

While there are no specific prerequisites for admission, a strong language background helps to strengthen the application, and students who lack it should be aware that they will need to address these gaps during their first two years of graduate study.

While a candidate's overall GPA is important, it is more important to have an average of no lower than A- in literature (and related) courses. In addition, while we encourage applications from candidates in programs other than English, they must have both the requisite critical skills and a foundation in English literature for graduate work in English. Most of our successful candidates have some knowledge of all the major fields of English literary study and advanced knowledge of the field in which they intend to study.

Theses and Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for English

See list of English faculty


Questions about the program.

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Higher Degrees in English

The Graduate Program in English leads to the degrees of Master of Arts (AM) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The AM is an integral part of the doctoral program, and therefore only students who intend to pursue the PhD are eligible for admission to the Graduate Program in English.

The Program

The program takes from four to seven years to complete, with the majority finishing in five or six years. The first two years are devoted to coursework and, in the first year, to preparation for the PhD Qualifying Exam (the “General” exam) at the beginning of the second year. The second and third years are devoted to preparing for the Dissertation Qualifying Exam (the “Field” exam) and writing the Dissertation Prospectus. The fourth, fifth, and sixth years are spent completing the doctoral dissertation. From the third year until the final year (when they are generally supported by Dissertation Completion Fellowships), students also devote time to teaching and to developing teaching skills. Students with prior graduate training or those with a demonstrated ability may complete their dissertations in the fourth or fifth years. Students are strongly discouraged from taking more than seven years to complete the program except under the most exceptional circumstances.

The program aims to provide the PhD candidate with a broad knowledge of the field of English, including critical and cultural theory. Additional important skills include facility with the tools of scholarship—ancient and modern foreign languages, bibliographic procedures, and textual and editorial methods. The program also emphasizes the ability to write well, to do solid and innovative scholarly and critical work in a specialized field or fields, to teach effectively, and to make articulate presentations at conferences, seminars, and symposia.

The minimum residence requirement is two years of enrollment in full-time study, with a total of at least fourteen courses completed with honor grades (no grade lower than B-).

The minimum standard for satisfactory work in the Graduate School is a B average in each academic year.

  • A minimum of 14 courses must be completed no later than the end of the second year.
  • At least ten courses must be at the 200- (graduate) level, and at least six of these ten must be taken within the department. Graduate students in the English department will have priority for admission into 200-level courses.
  • Beginning with the incoming class of 2020-21, two proseminars are now required as part of the ten required seminars.
  • The remaining courses may be either at the 100- or the 200-level.
  • Students typically devote part of their course work in the first year to preparing for the “General” exam, focusing increasingly on their field in the second year.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to take at least two courses that engage extensively with texts in Literary Theory. Such courses should introduce works by writers such as Freud, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, de Beauvoir, Fanon, Gates, Bhabha, and Jameson, and texts such as  The Poetics  by Aristotle,  The Birth of Tragedy  by Friedrich Nietzsche,  Mimesis  by Eric Auerbach, and  The Theory of the Novel  by Georg Lukacs. We recommend students consult with mentors and the graduate office if they need help finding courses that introduce these and similar works of theory.


• Beginning with the incoming class of 2020-21, two proseminars will now be required as part of the ten required seminars.

• The first-year proseminar (taken in the spring semester of the first year) introduces students to the theories, methods, and history of English as a discipline, and contemporary debates in English studies. The readings feature classic texts in all fields, drawn from the General Exam list. This first-year proseminar helps students prepare for the General Exam (taken at the beginning of their second year); it gives them a broad knowledge for teaching and writing outside their specialty; and it builds an intellectual and cultural community among first-year students.

• The second-year proseminar has a two-part focus: it introduces students to the craft of scholarly publishing by helping them revise a research paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the course. It thus gives students the tools to begin publishing early in their career. It also introduces students to the growing array of alternative careers in the humanities by exposing them to scholars who are leaders in fields such as editing, curating, and digital humanities.

Independent Study and Creative Writing

  • Students may petition to take one of the 100-level courses as independent study (English 399) with a professor, but not before the second term of residence.
  • Other independent study courses will be permitted only in exceptional circumstances and with the consent of the professor and director of graduate studies (DGS).
  • Only one creative writing course, which counts as a 100-level course, may count toward the PhD degree course requirements.

Credit for Work Done Elsewhere (Advanced Standing)

Once the student has completed at least three 200-level courses with a grade of A or A-, a maximum of four graduate-level courses may be transferred from other graduate programs, at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Transferred courses will not count toward the minimum of ten required 200-level courses, but will be counted as 100-level courses.


No more than one Incomplete may be carried forward at any one time by a graduate student in the English Department. It must be made up no later than six weeks after the start of the next term.

In applying for an Incomplete, students must have signed permission from the instructor and the DGS, or the course in question may not count toward the program requirements. If students do not complete work by the deadline, the course will not count toward the program requirements, unless there are documented extenuating circumstances.

Language Requirements

A reading knowledge of two languages is required. Normally, Latin, Ancient Greek, Old English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian are the accepted languages. Other languages, including ASL and computer languages, may be acceptable if the DGS deems them relevant and appropriate to a student’s program of study. Students may fulfill the language requirements:

(1) by passing a two-hour translation exam with a dictionary; (2) by taking a one-term literature course in the chosen language, when conducted in the language and/or the readings are in the language (DGS approval may be necessary in some cases) (3) or by taking two terms of Old English*, elementary Latin or Ancient Greek.

Any course taken to fulfill the language requirement must be passed with a grade of B- or better. Literature-level language courses count for course credit ; elementary language courses do not. *Please note that only the spring semester of Old English will count towards the graduate course requirement (as a 100-level course, or as a 200-level course in the case of ENG 200d) when taken to fulfill a language requirement.

Examples of past language exams can be found  here .

The (Non-Terminal) Master of Arts Degree

In order to apply for the AM degree, students must complete, with a grade of B+ or better, no fewer than a total of seven courses, including a minimum of four English courses, at least three of which must be at the graduate (200-) level, and one additional course that must be taken at the graduate level, but may be taken in another department. Students must also fulfill at least one of their departmental language requirements.

General Exam

At the beginning of the second year, students will take a 75-90 minute oral exam, based on a list of authors and/or titles which the Department will make available for each entering class in the summer prior to its arrival. The examiners will be three regular members of the department (assistant, associate, or full professors), whose names will not be disclosed in advance.

Candidates whose performance on the exam is judged inadequate will be marked as “not yet passed” and must retake the exam at a time to be determined. If candidates do not pass on the second attempt, they will not be able to continue in the program.

Note: Students must fulfill at least one language requirement by the end of the first year in order to be eligible to take the General Exam.

Field Oral Exam

The purpose of the Field Oral exam is twofold: to discuss an emerging dissertation topic, and to examine students' preparation in primary teaching and the scholarly field(s) they mean to claim, particularly field(s) related to the dissertation. Students should be prepared to display knowledge of the field(s) in general based on the books and articles listed in their field bibliography.

The order of events in the exam is up to the committee and student to establish beforehand, but typically the exam has two parts: a discussion of the field(s) in which the proposed dissertation situates itself and in which the student intends to teach; and a discussion of the dissertation topic. The exam should assess both the viability of the thesis topic and the preparedness of the student to pursue it at this time. The level of preparedness should be clarified between the student and committee in their meetings before the exam. The discussion of the dissertation topic should substantially aid the student in writing the prospectus, due six weeks after the exam.

In some field exams, there is already a clear idea of the dissertation, one that the student has already discussed with the committee. The discussion in the exam can thus dive more deeply into the details of the project. In other field exams, the student's dissertation project is not yet fully formed, and the exam actively contributes to fleshing out the formation of the project's scope and direction. The committee and student should agree beforehand on the specific format and scope of the exam.

The two-hour examination is typically taken before the end of the Fall Reading Period of the third year of graduate study, although it is possible to take it as late as the end of February, should the need arise. The exam is conducted by a three-person examination committee, chosen by the individual student, normally from among the tenured and ladder faculty of the English department, (the chair is chosen by May 15 of the second year, and the remaining examiners by no later than September 1 of the third year). One faculty member acts as chair of the committee and often assists the student in selecting other members. The committee, or some part of it, will likely continue to serve as individual students’ dissertation advisors.

During the exam, students are asked to describe and discuss their dissertation project, and to demonstrate an adequate knowledge both of the major primary works and of selected scholarly works in the field(s) as they relate to their dissertation.

The twin purposes of the exam--representing the chosen field, and giving a first account of a dissertation project--are represented by two separate bibliographies, each consisting of primary and scholarly works, drawn up by the student in consultation with the examination committee. There may be considerable overlap between these two bibliographies.

At least four weeks before the exam, the student should meet with the committee, present the two bibliographies (of the chosen field(s) and of the dissertation project), and discuss the format of the exam.

The exam is graded Pass/Fail.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus, signed and approved by three advisors (or two co-advisors, with a third committee member to be added at a later date), is due to the Graduate Office six “business weeks” after passing the Field Oral Examination. The “business weeks” do not include the Winter Recess, so a student passing the exam four weeks before Winter Recess begins, for example, would have another two weeks after the start of classes in the Spring Term to complete the prospectus.

The prospectus is neither a draft chapter nor a detailed road-map of the next two years work but a sketch, no longer than seven to ten pages, of the topic upon which the student plans to write. It gives a preliminary account of the argument, structure, and scope of the intended treatment of the topic. The overview will be followed by a bibliography.

The prospectus is written in consultation with the dissertation advisors, who will meet with students at least once in the spring of the third year to discuss the prospectus and to draw up a timetable for the writing of the dissertation.

In planning a timetable, students need to bear in mind (1) that two draft chapters of the dissertation must be completed by the middle of their fifth year, if they are to be eligible to apply for completion fellowships in their sixth year, and (2) that students generally enter the job market in the fall of their sixth year, with at least two final chapters and a third draft chapter completed. They should also remember that term-time fellowships and traveling fellowships may be available to them in the fifth year, but that these require applications which are due as early as December or January of the fourth year.  Note: The timetable described above can be accelerated if a student so wishes and is in the position to do so.

Article Submission and Professional Writing Workshop

Students are required to submit an article to a scholarly journal by the end of their 5th year (acceptance is not required). Failure to do so would result in the loss of good standing. This is encouraged for all students, but is a requirement beginning with the incoming class of 2015-16. In conjunction with this new requirement, the department has established a professional writing workshop open to English department students only. Attendance will not be required but expected of students in residence. Students will be expected to take the course at some time before the beginning of the 6th year, and ordinarily in the spring of their 5th year. The course will be graded Sat/Unsat.

Dissertation Advising

Students should assemble a group of faculty members to supervise the dissertation. Several supervisory arrangements are possible: students may work with a committee of three faculty members who share nearly equal responsibility for advising, or with a committee consisting of a principal faculty advisor and a second and third reader. In the first scenario, one of the three faculty members will be asked to serve as a nominal chair of the committee; in the second scenario, the principal advisor serves as chair. If the scope of the project requires it, students should consult the DGS about including a faculty advisor from a department other than English or from another university.

The advising mode chosen will be indicated to the department when the prospectus is submitted. Regardless of the structure of advising, three faculty readers are required to certify the completed dissertation. If it is deemed useful, chapter meetings between the student and the entire committee may be arranged in consultation with the chair.

The Dissertation

After the dissertation prospectus has been approved, candidates work with their dissertation directors or their dissertation committee. All of the designated advisors must approve the final work.

The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original and substantial work of scholarship or criticism, excellent in form and content. The department accepts dissertations on a great variety of topics involving a broad range of approaches to literature. It sets no specific page limits, preferring to give students and directors as much freedom as possible.

Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense will be a necessary part of receiving the PhD, though it will not be a pass/fail examination. The defense is required for all students who entered the program in 2007 or after.

The form of the defense is as follows:

  • Each student’s defense will be a separate event
  • In addition to the student and the advisors, the participants typically include any interested faculty and any interested graduate students
  • The Graduate Office will announce the upcoming defense to all members of the department, unless otherwise specified by the student
  • The event will start with a 15–20 minute presentation by the student and last at most 90 minutes
  • If a student has left Cambridge and cannot return easily for this purpose, the defense may be held remotely

Arrangements will be overseen by the Graduate Office but conducted by the student (as with the Fields examination); students will be required to send an email to the Director of Graduate Studies and to the Graduate Program Administrator, with a copy to their advisors, indicating the day, time, and location of the defense.

The meeting for a November, March, or May degree must take place any time after advisors have signed off on the dissertation (by signing the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate) and, in the case of the May degree, at least a week before Commencement. In practice, however, the student will need to defend after advisors have signed off and before advisors disperse. That period will normally be between 1–14 May, and most probably in the early days of May. It is up to the student to coordinate the arrangements.

Students begin teaching in their third year*. Ordinarily they teach discussion sections in courses and in the department’s program of tutorials for undergraduate honors majors.

Preparation for a teaching career is a required part of students’ training, and Teaching Fellows benefit from the supervision and guidance of department members.

Teaching fellows are required to take English 350, the Teaching Colloquium, in their first year of teaching. In addition, they are encouraged to avail themselves of the facilities at the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

*English graduate students wishing to teach in their 2nd year must have 1) passed Generals, 2) completed all required course work by the end of their first year OR must have previous comparable teaching experience, and 3) received written authorization from the Director of Graduate Studies and the GSAS Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid.

Doctoral Conferences "Colloquia"

The Department of English’s  Doctoral Conferences (commonly referred to as “Colloquia”) bring together students and faculty from Harvard and other institutions to discuss current research in literature. Colloquia meet regularly throughout the academic year, and all Harvard graduate students and faculty should feel free to attend any of them, regardless of primary field(s) of interest.

Careers and Placement Seminar

As students near the end of their dissertation writing, they may take a seminar preparing them to seek academic and other employment. Students learn about the job application process, develop cover letters and CVs, and practice presenting their work in interviews and job talks, all in a rigorous and supportive environment. Students should leave the seminar with strong materials for the job market, confident identities as the expert scholars and teachers they have become, and clear articulations of how they will contribute to literary studies in the years ahead. The seminar supplements and formalizes the extensive informal placement advising offered in the department.

Graduate Student Progress Timeline

This document  provides a year-by-year breakdown of requirements for satisfactory progress in our program.

  • Guidelines for Admission
  • Teaching Fellows
  • Fellowships
  • Graduate Prizes
  • Resources for Grad Students
  • English PhD Alumni Network & Placement Information

who can do phd in english

PhD Program in English Language and Literature

The department enrolls an average of ten PhD students each year. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package. We also offer a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical and cultural fields. Each student chooses a special committee that works closely along side the student to design a course of study within the very broad framework established by the department. The program is extremely flexible in regard to course selection, the design of examinations and the election of minor subjects of concentration outside the department. English PhD students pursuing interdisciplinary research may include on their special committees faculty members from related fields such as comparative literature, medieval studies, Romance studies, German studies, history, classics, women’s studies, linguistics, theatre and performing arts, government, philosophy, and film and video studies.

The PhD candidate is normally expected to complete six or seven one-semester courses for credit in the first year of residence and a total of six or seven more in the second and third years. The program of any doctoral candidate’s formal and informal study, whatever his or her particular interests, should be comprehensive enough to ensure familiarity with:

  • The authors and works that have been the most influential in determining the course of English, American, and related literatures
  • The theory and criticism of literature, and the relations between literature and other disciplines
  • Concerns and tools of literary and cultural history such as textual criticism, study of genre, source, and influence as well as wider issues of cultural production and historical and social contexts that bear on literature

Areas in which students may have major or minor concentrations include African-American literature, American literature to 1865, American literature after 1865, American studies (a joint program with the field of history), colonial and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies, dramatic literature, English poetry, the English Renaissance to 1660, lesbian, bisexual and gay literary studies, literary criticism and theory, the nineteenth century, Old and Middle English, prose fiction, the Restoration and the eighteenth century, the twentieth century, and women's literature.

By the time a doctoral candidate enters the fourth semester of graduate study, the special committee must decide whether he or she is qualified to proceed toward the PhD. Students are required to pass their Advancement to Candidacy Examination before their fourth year of study, prior to the dissertation.

PhD Program specifics can be viewed here: PhD Timeline PhD Procedural Guide

Special Committee

Every graduate student selects a special committee of faculty advisors who work intensively with the student in selecting courses and preparing and revising the dissertation. The committee is comprised of at least three Cornell faculty members: a chair, and typically two minor members usually from the English department, but very often representing an interdisciplinary field. The university system of special committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework established by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The special committee for each student guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress in a series of meetings with the students.

At Cornell, teaching is considered an integral part of training in academia. The field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience of at least one year for every doctoral candidate as part of the program requirements. The Department of English, in conjunction with the  John S. Knight Institute for Writing  in the Disciplines, offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching in the university-wide First-Year Writing Program. The courses are writing-intensive and may fall under such general rubrics as “Portraits of the Self,” “American Literature and Culture,” “Shakespeare,” and “Cultural Studies,” among others. A graduate student may also serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate lecture course taught by a member of the Department of English faculty.

Language Requirements

Each student and special committee will decide what work in foreign language is most appropriate for a student’s graduate program and scholarly interests. Some students’ doctoral programs require extensive knowledge of a single foreign language and literature; others require reading ability in two or more foreign languages. A student may be asked to demonstrate competence in foreign languages by presenting the undergraduate record, taking additional courses in foreign languages and literature, or translating and discussing documents related to the student’s work. Students are also normally expected to provide evidence of having studied the English language through courses in Old English, the history of the English language, grammatical analysis or the application of linguistic study to metrics or to literary criticism. Several departments at Cornell offer pertinent courses in such subjects as descriptive linguistics, psycholinguistics and the philosophy of language.

All PhD degree candidates are guaranteed five years of funding (including a stipend , a full tuition fellowship and student health insurance):

  • A first-year non-teaching fellowship
  • Two years of teaching assistantships
  • A fourth-year non-teaching fellowship for the dissertation writing year
  • A fifth-year teaching assistantship
  • Summer support for four years, including a first-year summer teaching assistantship, linked to a teachers’ training program at the Knight Institute. Summer residency in Ithaca is required.

Students have also successfully competed for Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship, Society for the Humanities Fellowships, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Shin Yong-Jin Graduate Fellowships, Provost’s Diversity Fellowships, fellowships in recognition of excellence in teaching, and grants from the Graduate School to help with the cost of travel to scholarly conferences and research collections.

Admission & Application Procedures

The application for Fall 2025 admission will open on September 15, 2024 and close at 11:59pm EST on December 1, 2024.

Please do not reach out directly to faculty with inquires, instead email  [email protected] , if you have questions.

Our application process reflects the field’s commitment to considering the whole person and their potential to contribute to our scholarly community.  Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of academic preparation (e.g., performance in relevant courses, completion of substantive, independent research project). An applicant’s critical and creative potential will be considered: applicants should demonstrate interest in extensive research and writing and include a writing sample that reveals a capacity to argue persuasively, demonstrate the ability to synthesize a broad range of materials, as well as offer fresh insights into a problem or text. The committee will also consider whether an applicant demonstrates a commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity and offers a substantive explanation for why study at Cornell is especially compelling (e.g., a discussion of faculty research and foci). Admissions committees will consider the entire application carefully, including statements and critical writing, as well as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume/cv (if provided). Please view the requirements and procedures listed below, if you are interested in being considered for our PhD in English Language and Literature program.

Eligibility: Applicants must currently have, or expect to have, at least a BA or BS (or the equivalent) in any field before matriculation. International students, please verify degree equivalency here . Applicants are not required to meet a specified GPA minimum.

To Apply: All applications and supplemental materials must be submitted online through the Graduate School application system . While completing your application, you may save and edit your data. Once you click submit, your application will be closed for changes. Please proofread your materials carefully. Once you pay and click submit, you will not be able to make any changes or revisions.

Deadline: December 1st, 11:59pm EST.  This deadline is firm. No applications, additional materials, or revisions will be accepted after the deadline.

PhD Program Application Requirements Checklist

  • Academic Statement of Purpose Please describe (within 1000 words) in detail the substantive research questions you are interested in pursuing during your graduate studies and why they are significant. Additionally, make sure to include information about any training or research experience that you believe has prepared you for our program. You should also identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own specific questions.  Note that the identification of faculty is important; you would be well advised to read selected faculty’s recent scholarship so that you can explain why you wish to study with them. Do not rely on the courses they teach.  Please refrain from contacting individual faculty prior to receiving an offer of admission.
  • Personal Statement Please describe (within 1000 words) how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and the research you wish to conduct.  Explain, for example the meaning and purpose of the PhD in the context of your personal history and future aspirations.  Please note that we will pay additional attention to candidates who identify substantial reasons to obtain a PhD beyond the pursuit of an academic position. Additionally, provide insight into your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn (productively and positively) together.
  • Critical Writing Sample Your academic writing sample must be between 3,000 and 7,500 words (12-30 pages), typed and double-spaced. We accept excerpts from longer works, or a combination of shorter works.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation We require 3 letters of recommendation.  At the time of application, you will be allowed to enter up to 4 recommenders in the system.  Your application will be considered “Complete” when we have received at least 3 letters of recommendation.   Letters of recommendation are due December 1 . Please select three people who best know you and your work. Submitting additional letters will not enhance your application. In the recommendation section of the application, you must include the email address of each recommender. After you save the information (and before you pay/submit), the application system will automatically generate a recommendation request email to your recommender with instructions for submitting the letter electronically. If your letters are stored with a credential service such as Interfolio, please use their Online Application Delivery feature and input the email address assigned to your stored document, rather than that of your recommender’s. The electronic files will be attached to your application when they are received and will not require the letter of recommendation cover page.
  • Transcripts Scan transcripts from each institution you have attended, or are currently attending, and upload into the academic information section of the application. Be sure to remove your social security number from all documents prior to scanning. Please do not send paper copies of your transcripts. If you are subsequently admitted and accept, the Graduate School will require an official paper transcript from your degree-awarding institution prior to matriculation.
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency. For more information, please view the  Graduate School’s English Language Requirement .
  • GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test are NO LONGER REQUIRED, effective starting with the 2019 application In March 2019, the faculty of English voted overwhelmingly to eliminate all GRE requirements (both general and subject test) for application to the PhD program in English. GRE scores are not good predictors of success or failure in a PhD program in English, and the uncertain predictive value of the GRE exam is far outweighed by the toll it takes on student diversity. For many applicants the cost of preparing for and taking the exam is prohibitively expensive, and the exam is not globally accessible. Requiring the exam narrows our applicant pool at precisely the moment we should be creating bigger pipelines into higher education. We need the strength of a diverse community in order to pursue the English Department’s larger mission: to direct the force of language toward large and small acts of learning, alliance, imagination, and justice.

General Information for All Applicants

Application Fee: Visit the Graduate School for information regarding application fees, payment options, and fee waivers .

Document Identification: Please do not put your social security number on any documents.

Status Inquiries:  Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email. You will also be able to check the completion status of your application in your account. If vital sections of your application are missing, we will notify you via email after the Dec. 1 deadline and allow you ample time to provide the missing materials. Please do not inquire about the status of your application.

Credential/Application Assessments:  The Admission Review Committee members are unable to review application materials or applicant credentials prior to official application submission. Once the committee has reviewed applications and made admissions decisions, they will not discuss the results or make any recommendations for improving the strength of an applicant’s credentials. Applicants looking for feedback are advised to consult with their undergraduate advisor or someone else who knows them and their work.

Review Process:  Application review begins after the submission deadline. Notification of admissions decisions will be made by email by the end of February.

Connecting with Faculty and/or Students: Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries we receive, faculty and current students are not available to correspond with potential applicants prior to an offer of admission. Applicants who are offered admission will have the opportunity to meet faculty and students to have their questions answered prior to accepting. Staff and faculty are also not able to pre-assess potential applicant’s work outside of the formal application process. Please email [email protected] instead, if you have questions.

Visiting: The department does not offer pre-admission visits or interviews. Admitted applicants will be invited to visit the department, attend graduate seminars and meet with faculty and students before making the decision to enroll.

Transfer Credits:  Students matriculating with an MA degree may, at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, receive credit for up to two courses once they begin our program.

For Further Information

Contact [email protected]

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Humans use stories to cope and thrive, from prehistoric cave paintings to distilling experience in novels, screenplays, and hip hop rhymes. By studying English literature, students learn how to analyze and appreciate the language of the past and to contribute to the narrative of the future. Concentrators will develop expertise in interpreting others’ rhetoric and learn to communicate meaningfully.

The Graduate Program in English aims to provide Ph.D. candidates with a broad knowledge of the field of English, including critical and cultural theory. Additional important skills include facility with the tools of scholarship—ancient and modern foreign languages, bibliographic procedures, and textual and editorial methods. The program also emphasizes the ability to write well, to do solid and innovative scholarly and critical work in a specialized field or fields, to teach effectively, and to make articulate presentations at conferences, seminars, and symposia.

Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in English will deepen their understanding of fiction, poetry, and drama while learning to analyze and interpret literary texts. Students will hone their research and writing skills, and become a stronger reader and critical thinker.

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The 6 Best Types of PhD Programs for English Majors

who can do phd in english

If you’re reading this, you’re probably exploring your options for advancing your undergraduate degree. Could a PhD be the ticket to realizing your academic goals and dreams? The decision to return to graduate school for a PhD is a significant one. However, a PhD is worthwhile — essential, even — if you want to conduct original research or if you desire a career in academia or another specialized field. Some know exactly the subject in which they’ll earn their doctorate. For others, the decision is more ambiguous. The question then becomes: how can you create the most synergy between your bachelor’s in English and your PhD? It starts with narrowing your field of focus. So, go ahead and rule out those graduate programs in biochemistry and start exploring a PhD in the humanities .

What do we mean by “the humanities?”

 A word cloud written on a black chalkboard in white chalk, featuring many aspects of studying humanities. In the center, in yellow chalk, “humanities” is written.

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Best phd programs for english majors.

If your undergraduate degree is in English, pursuing a PhD in the same discipline is an obvious path — but it’s not the only one. Depending on the kinds of classes you took and your interests within the field of humanities, you may be qualified to pursue a PhD in other disciplines. However, you should keep in mind that if you choose to pursue a new field of study, you may need to take additional prerequisite courses in addition to the courses you took to earn your bachelor’s degree.

1. PhD in Religious Studies

As an English major, you’ve most likely read a few religious texts, and you understand their significance regardless of your affiliation (if any). Truthfully, a PhD in Religious Studies doesn’t require you to be religious. Studying religion is studying ethics, beliefs, communities, and people. A PhD in Religious Studies will foster a greater understanding of the role of religion in the contemporary world and throughout history. You’ll examine the world’s religious traditions as social, cultural, and historical phenomena.

who can do phd in english

2. PhD in Linguistics*

Have you ever marveled at the perfect word choice in your favorite play? Or, while reading a line of dialogue in a piece of literary fiction, heard the dialect clear as a bell? There is no literature without language. The study of language is called linguistics, and it encompasses every aspect of language and the methods of studying and modeling them. Linguistics has traditional areas of analysis like phonetics, morphology, and syntax, the latter of which studies the rules and constraints that govern how speakers of a language can organize words into sentences. There are also linguistic sub-disciplines like historical linguistics, which is the study of language change, particularly in relation to a specific language or group of languages. For lovers of the written word, loving words themselves and the science behind them is the next logical step.

3. PhD in History

History, of course, is the study of the past. At the same, history helps us understand change and how the society we currently live in came to be.

History and English are inextricably intertwined. After all, many of the novels, poems, and essays you read as an English major made history in their own right. Both history and English make use of a very similar set of skills. Do you enjoy studying literary theories and analyzing texts through a specific critical lens? History has a comparable approach. It’s much more than reciting the names of influential people and the dates of important events; historians must understand it all within the context of the time.

Part of being a student of history is gaining the skill to sort through diverse, often conflicting interpretations. Your undergraduate degree in English will have set you up for success.

who can do phd in english

4. PhD in Media Studies*

Like all forms of art, the creations of writers give us direct access to what it means to be human in all its complexity and mystery. If you found that your favorite part about being an English major was the art you encountered and the stories you were exposed to, you might want to consider a PhD in something like Media Studies. Media Studies will allow you to study story, culture, and contextual theory across various technical modes of production and reproduction, including print, photography, cinema, video, television, radio, etc.

5. PhD in Political Science*

At first, Political Science and English may seem like strange bedfellows. But you’ve already built a strong foundation in critical reading and thinking, approaching literary analysis through multiple lenses and finding the influences of culture, politics, and social issues peppered throughout a work during your undergraduate study. Political and economic factors — and the relations between them — figure into many great works. Studying political science allows you to understand the origins and underpinnings of political values from a historical and philosophical perspective. Think about it this way: if you find your favorite written works tend to have larger political meaning this might be the right route for you.

6. PhD in English

Unsurprisingly, a major in English prepares you incredibly well for a PhD in English. From the first flowerings of poetry in Old English to the most recent creative work being published, a PhD in English gives students the comprehensive knowledge of literary criticism they need to join faculties across the world. Depending on your specialization, you’ll study anything from medieval literature to African-American literature to literature in the age of revolutions. Your bachelor’s degree in English gave you a broad overview, whereas your PhD will help you identify a specialty and drill down to become a subject matter expert.

who can do phd in english

Explore the Humanities at Southern Methodist University

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Ph.D. Admissions FAQs

What graduate degrees does Stanford offer in English?

The English department offers both the Ph.D. and MA degree, but the graduate program is primarily oriented towards the Ph.D. degree.  MA degrees are awarded to Stanford coterminal BA students or en route to the Ph.D.   We do not accept external applicants directly to the MA program.

How long does it take to take to earn a Ph.D. in English at Stanford?

The typical time to degree is 6 years, although it is quite possible to complete all the requirements in 5 years. Most of the first two years are spent in coursework and the qualifying examination. The end of the second year and the beginning of the third year are spent preparing for the oral exam which is usually taken by the end of autumn quarter of the third year. By the beginning of the fourth year students have defined a research project and present this proposal to their committee. The remaining time is spent researching and writing the dissertation

What financial support is available? Are international students eligible for financial support?

All students admitted to the English Ph.D. program receive five years of 12-month funding. Financial support is provided through a combination of fellowship stipend and tuition, and assistantship salaray and tuition allowance. Students in good academic standing also receive funding in the sixth year of the program. Additional funding is provided to support academic and research expenses such as conference attendance and travel.

Stanford's  Knight-Hennessy Scholars program  also awards up to 100 graduate students every year with full funding. Please refer to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program page for important information.

What are the language requirements for the program?

Ph.D. candidates must prove reading knowledge of two foreign languages. Ideally, applicants will have language proficiency before admission, as it is not practical to acquire two languages from scratch given the rigors of the program.

Will I have opportunities to teach during the program?

Pedagogy is an integral part of our program and we require students to participate in a pedagogical seminar in the first year.  Typically a student will teach three times as a teaching assistant in a literature course. For the fourth course, students will have the option of applying to design and teach a tutorial for undergraduate English majors or teaching a fourth quarter as a T.A.. 

How can I find faculty in my field of interest?  Is it important that I contact a specific professor prior to applying?

The faculty profiles are categorized by field of interest. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty directly regarding research interests. However, faculty members do not admit students directly as “their own”.  Students are not admitted to work with particular faculty members; rather, we admit the set of students who we feel are the strongest and would benefit the most from the kind of graduate education that we provide.  That is, admissions decisions are not made by individual faculty members, but rather are made by the English Graduate Admissions Committee which includes a subset of the faculty and graduate students.

Is an online program of study or are online courses in English available?

The department does not offer online or distance learning instruction in English.  Students in an English degree program are expected to be in residence.

Can I attend the Ph.D. or MA program part-time?

No, these programs are designed with the expectation that students will be devoting all their time to their graduate study.

Can I start the graduate program in the winter or spring quarter?

No, the department admits applicants to the autumn quarter only.

Can I be a visiting student in the Stanford English department?

Students enrolled as Ph.D. students at other Universities may apply to visit the English department for periods ranging from one quarter to an academic year.  For information, deadlines and fees involved see Research Policy Handbook .

Is it possible to transfer into the Stanford graduate program from another graduate program?

We do not accept transfer students per se.  Students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program elsewhere must apply through the regular admissions process.  Up to 45 quarter units of graduate coursework previously taken towards a graduate degree may be transferred towards the Ph.D. degree at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies after the first year of study. Typically this does not lessen the time to degree since students are expected to complete all Ph.D. requirements (qualifying exam, language requirements, dissertation proposal, dissertation, etc.), though some slight adjustments might be made to how they fulfill some of the course requirements.  

May I request information about your program?

The most up-to-date information about English at Stanford can be found on our web site:  individual faculty and graduate student interests, courses currently offered and degree requirements.  If you have specific questions after perusing our pages, please email us at  englishadmissions [at] lists.stanford.edu ( englishadmissions[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu )  .

Will you mail me application materials?

Stanford’s graduate admissions application is found on-line at:  https://gradadmissions.stanford.edu/apply/apply-now

Can I arrange a visit to the English department?

Prior to visiting, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the department’s student services manager and specific faculty to arrange individual appointments.  It is helpful to include a little about your background and interests in English in your email.  We do not recommend visiting the department without an appointment as faculty may be busy with prior commitments.  We ask that you do not visit while applications are under review in January and February.

When is the application deadline?

The deadline for admission for the 2025-26 academic year is December 1, 2024.

Am I eligible to apply for the Ph.D. program in English?

You are eligible for admission to graduate programs at Stanford as long as you have either completed a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association; or completed an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing.

How selective is the admissions process for the Ph.D. program?

We are able to matriculate about 4-6 students with funding from an applicant pool of 200+.

What does the admissions committee look for when reviewing applications?

In reviewing applications for our Ph.D. program, we look for evidence that the applicant not only will thrive in our graduate program, but will go on to put the training we offer to fruitful use in an academic or a non-academic career.  We look for evidence of:

  • academic potential as evidenced in past academic achievement
  • an understanding of, and passion for, research
  • a good fit between the applicant’s interests and the interests and capabilities of our faculty

What kind of writing sample should I submit with my application?

A sample of critical or scholarly writing, 12-25 pages in length (not including references). This may be an excerpt from a longer work, such as a senior thesis. It should, however, be clear of grading comments and should preferably be in your expressed field of interest.

What kind of information should I include in my statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose should be designed as a narrative presentation of yourself.  We want to know what you’ve done in English or in related fields, why you want to study English and particularly why you think Stanford is an appropriate place for you to do it.  We want to know what your literary interests are.  If you aren’t sure yet what you plan to do in English, that’s fine, but we want to know that you have some idea of the possibilities.  Don’t repeat things that we will learn from other parts of your application, such as your transcript, but do highlight things you think are particularly important, and do feel free to explain any things in your other materials that you are less proud of.  Caution:  avoid telling us too much about your childhood and your fascination with literature.  The statement of purpose should be ideally 500-600 words, maximum 1000, double spaced.

Do I need to take the GRE?

No, the GRE General and Subject Tests are not required for the Autumn 2023 admissions cycle.

I am an International applicant who speaks and reads English. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Possibly. If you have a degree from an English-speaking institution, you may not have to take the TOEFL.   Please refer to the  Graduate Admissions web page  for queries regarding the TOEFL.

Do I need to have an MA before I apply to the Ph.D. program?

No. Only about 25% of our graduate students had earned an MA before being admitted to the Ph.D. program.

My undergraduate degree is not in English? Does that matter?

While the majority of our degree candidates have an undergraduate degree in English, we have admitted students from other disciplines, such as Art History, Philosophy and even Astrophysics! However, these students had taken an exceptional number of undergraduate courses in English and were extremely well-prepared for a doctoral program in English.

Will you accept recommendation letters from private credentialing services, such as Interfolio?

Unfortunately, our application system does not work directly with the letter service (such as Interfolio) process. Letters of recommendation must be submitted via the Stanford application system. 

Can letters of recommendation be uploaded before I submit my on-line application?

Your recommenders may upload their letters as soon as you name them in the application process and they receive the instruction email and password.  The letters will then be electronically stored until you submit your application.

My test scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts, or writing sample will be late. What do I do?

All materials for admission to the doctoral program, including letter of recommendation, must be submitted electronically by December 1, 2023. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application materials by mid January.

I have been out of school for several years and there is no one left who can write an academic recommendation for me. May my employer write one?

The purpose of submitting letters of recommendation is to give program faculty an indication of your ability to do scholarly research. It is recommended that current or former professors in your major-field courses be asked by you to submit letters, as they would have the best idea of your research potential. If, however, such persons are no longer available to ask, anyone who you think can best assess your potential for graduate study can be asked to write the letter.

I want to send more than the required number of letters of recommendation because I feel this will enhance my chances of being offered admission. Is this true?

It is not the quantity of letters, rather the quality. You should submit no more than three letters.

Can I apply to more than one department?

Stanford policy allows applicants to apply for only (1) one graduate program per year. However, if the department reviewing your application feels you are better suited to another program, they can opt to transfer your file to another department if you authorize this action on your application.

How much does it cost to apply?

Stanford uses an online application and the fee is $125. This method allows applicants to save data and work on their application from any computer on multiple occasions.

Are there any fee waivers for the $125 fee?

For information on eligibility for fee waivers please refer to  Graduate Application Fee Waiver .

What is the status of my application?

Please check the Graduate Application Status Page in the application portal for updates to your application. 

How are applications reviewed?

Applications are reviewed holistically to assess their promise for teaching and research careers. Heavier emphasis is placed on the writing sample and letters of recommendation.

When do you make decisions?

We make every effort to make offers of admission by the last week in February. Notices of admissions status are delivered at that time via the online application system.  Once decisions have been made, you will receive an email alerting you to check your status.

If I am not accepted, can I receive feedback?

We recognize that a great deal of time and effort is devoted to the application and that applicants may wish to receive feedback on how it could have been improved. Unfortunately, due to many constraints, the Department of English does not provide feedback to applicants denied admission. We wish you every success in your future academic endeavors. 

If I am not accepted, can I reapply?

You are required to complete the online application again, which incurs an application fee. Your application should include a revised Statement of Purpose. We can reuse your transcripts, and Letters of Recommendation if you wish; however, if any changes to these documents attest to your improved suitability to the program, they should be resubmitted. We are unable to access documents from other Stanford departments you have applied to previously.

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English

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Enhance Your Knowledge of Literary Theory, Research, and Writing with Liberty’s Ph.D. in English

Are you looking to deepen your understanding of literature, textual analysis, and the English language? Liberty University’s online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English is designed to help you do just that. This program gives you the chance to engage with complex texts, develop original research, and contribute to scholarly discussions in English studies.

Our online doctorate in English offers a comprehensive exploration of literature and major authors from a variety of time periods as well as the historical development of the English language. Throughout the program, you can hone your analytical skills and prepare to contribute innovative research to the existing body of academic knowledge, potentially influencing both scholarly and public discourse.

This program may be a great fit if you aspire to teach English, literature, or related subjects at the collegiate level. You can not only enrich your own understanding of important texts but also become equipped to guide the next generation of college students through studies in literary theory, writing, and more.

What Will You Learn in Liberty University’s Doctorate in English Online?

  • American and British literature
  • Christian literary tradition and major Christian authors
  • Literary theory and advanced textual analysis
  • Methods and materials of research
  • Origin and evolution of English

In addition to taking core English classes, you’ll have the ability to customize your education through elective courses. That way, you can pursue specialized interests and topics that align with your academic and career goals. Your studies will culminate in the completion of a dissertation, where you will conduct research and work to contribute new knowledge to the field of English. The dissertation process gives you an opportunity to showcase your expertise and lay a strong foundation for your future academic or professional endeavors.

Potential Careers for Graduates of Our Ph.D. in English Online Program

  • Literary agent

Benefits of Pursuing Your Doctorate in English Online with Liberty University

As a leader in distance education since 1985, we understand what it takes to create a flexible and affordable education for busy people. Since we have been investing in distance and online learning for decades, our experience has taught us how to streamline our degree options so you can focus on what really matters to you. While many schools offer online degrees, we believe Liberty stands out.

Here’s what sets us apart:

  • We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility . Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank in the top 10% of Niche.com’s best online schools in America . Earning your online degree from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition can help set you apart from others in your field.
  • The majority of tuition for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs has not increased in 9 years. While many other online colleges have raised tuition, Liberty has been able to keep costs low as a nonprofit university.
  • Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • We want to provide you with the freedom to balance your studies with personal and professional commitments, which is why our Ph.D. in English is offered 100% online.

Military Tuition Discount

We want to help you find the doctoral degree you want — at a price you’ve earned. As a thank-you for your military service, Liberty University offers eligible current and former service members like you or your spouse multiple pathways to earn a doctoral degree for only $300/credit hour . Here’s how:

  • If you’re earning or have earned a master’s degree through Liberty, you automatically qualify for the low price (when you begin within 2 years of your master’s completion).
  • If you haven’t earned a graduate degree through Liberty, our Executive Certificate program allows you to pay only $300/credit hour for a postgraduate certificate that can stand alone or potentially count as the first 21 hours of a related doctoral degree. Then pay just $300/credit hour for your doctorate. Learn more!

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Candidates work closely with their supervisor who is assigned to them after a candidate has been accepted and before the commencement of their studies. The supervisor will be a specialist in the general field in which you propose to work, although they may not be an expert on your particular topic of research. Your supervisor will assist you in refining your research topic, oversee the general direction of your work, and ensure that what you are doing is up to the standard expected for the degree towards which you are working. You can expect to meet your supervisor on average once a month to report on your progress, and more frequently than this if necessary. How much you write in a given period will vary, but as a rule of thumb you will usually be expected to produce at least one substantial piece of written work each term.

Prospective PhD students should research the Faculty thoroughly before applying to ensure that there is a Faculty member with appropriate expertise to oversee the proposed project. The Faculty’s research map might be of use as a starting point here, as will the Faculty academic staff profiles .

In addition to their supervisor, PhD students are assigned an advisor, who is a member of the Faculty with expertise in the student’s field. The student has a formal advisory meeting with the supervisor and the advisor once a year. The advisor is also available for less formal consultation from the outset.

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PhD and MA Graduate Admissions

Our application deadline is December 15th at 11:59 pm. Due to our application portal's technical specifications, the system may allow submission of applications after that deadline. No applications submitted after the December 15th deadline will be reviewed.

Application Procedures

Applicants to all graduate degree programs should apply online through  ApplyWeb . We do not accept paper applications.

For both the terminal M.A. and Ph.D. programs,  the application portal opens on  October 2nd  and closes on  December 15th  of each year. There is a short grace period after December 15th in which we will still accept letters of recommendation and official test scores. The Graduate Coordinator will follow up with you after December 15th if you are missing any of these elements and will provide a need-by date. Please note that the grace period is meant to allow recommenders to be a little late without negatively affecting your application, and should not be considered an alternate due date. Applicants should provide the December 15th due date to their recommenders. Applicants are ultimately responsible for ensuring that we receive their letters of recommendation.

Applications for submatriculation  are accepted until February 10th  of each year.   Students interested in submatriculating should be in touch with the Undergraduate Chair, the Graduate Chair, and their College contact (assigned and listed in Path@Penn ) before or during the application process. Each of these contacts provide important information about the submatriculation process.

We only accept full-time students for the M.A. and Ph.D. program , and do not offer part-time options for either program. All applicants are applying to begin in the fall semester of the following year. We do not accept applications for spring admission.

The application fee is $90 , payable via credit or debit card at the time of submission. 

NOTE: Application fee waivers are managed entirely by the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences, and individual departments do not have the power to grant them. To apply for a fee waiver, applicants should send a brief letter to Patricia Rea, Associate Director for Admissions, at  [email protected] , stating the reason for the request. This letter should be sent no later than  December 1st . Please be advised that the applicant must demonstrate a clear and compelling case of financial hardship.

Technical isues with ApplyWeb should be addressed to Technical Support ( [email protected] ).

Elements of the Application

In addition to your application form, which you will complete via ApplyWeb, we ask that you attach the following supporting documents to your application.

A personal statement.*  In the personal statement, all M.A. and Ph.D. applications within the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences should address the following: Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create. In the English Graduate Group, we ask that you discuss in this same personal statement your particular interest in our program, including why it is a good fit for your goals in graduate school. Your personal statement should not exceed 1200 words.

A critical writing sample.*  This should be approximately 20 double-spaced pages long and should reflect your writing abilities and most up-to-date critical thinking.  The writing sample must match one of your field interests or concentrations.  We strongly prefer a single, 20-page paper over two shorter papers that add up to 20 pages.

Three letters of recommendation.  These should be written by professors who know your work and can attest to your academic ability. Personal and other non-academic recommendation letters are strongly discouraged. Applicants should use the ApplyWeb system to submit letters. Applicants will submit the names, titles, and contact information of their recommenders, who will receive an emailed invitation to submit a letter on the applicant's behalf. If you or your recommenders have issues with this system, please email Meghan Hall ( [email protected] ) for troubleshooting.  Please do not submit more than four recommendation letters. 

Electronic versions of your academic transcripts.  These do not have to be official transcripts, but can either be a pdf downloaded from your student portal or a scanned copy of a paper transcript.  If accepted, you will need to provide a final, official paper copy of your transcript before you matriculate.

  • Proof of English Proficiency.  Applicants with citizenship or permanent resident status in the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, or New Zealand are not required to provide this, and their applications will automatically waive the requirement. Citizens of other countries may satisfy this requirement by either  1 ) submitting proof of having graduated from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction to Meghan Hall, Graduate Coordinator (in most cases, your transcripts will suffice), or  2 ) submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores . Our TOEFL code is 2986.  IELTS scores must be sent via mail to University of Pennsylvania, Department of English, 3340 Walnut Street, Rm 127, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Attn: Meghan Hall, Graduate Coordinator. The University of Pennsylvania only accepts hard copies of IELTS scores. Questions about individual cases should be directed to Meghan Hall ( [email protected] ).

*  For both your  personal statement  and  critical writing sample , please include  1 primary field of interest  and up to  2 additional fields of interest  at the top of the first page, or in the page's header. Your primary field of interest should match your selection of concentration on the ApplyWeb application form. Please choose from the following list:

  • Medieval Literature
  • Early Modern/Renaissance Literature
  • Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature  (includes Restoration, Eighteenth Century, Early Romanticism, British Empire Studies)
  • Nineteenth-Century British Literature  (includes Later Romanticism, Victorianism, British Empire Studies)
  • Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century British Literature  (includes British Modernism, Postwar, Contemporary, British Empire Studies)
  • American Literature through the Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century American Literature  (includes American Modernism, Postwar, Contemporary)
  • American Studies/Ethnic Studies  (Asian American, Latino/a, Native American, Critical Race Studies, Transnational Americas)
  • African American and Afro-diaspora Literature
  • Contemporary Poetry & Poetics
  • Postcolonial Studies  (Global South: South Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, East Asia)
  • Film, Television, and New Media
  • Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Material Texts and Digital Humanities

Example: a student interested in the 18th-century British Novel, colonial discourse, and feminism would include at the top of their personal statement, “Primary: 18th-Century British Literature, Additional: British Empire Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies”

Example: a student interested in studying Latino/a literature, Latin American Literature, and Film would include at the top of their personal statement, "Primary: American/Ethnic Studies; Additional: Postcolonial-Latin America and Film, Television, and New Media." 

For International Applicants & Admittees

NOTE TO APPLICANTS FROM THE UK: we encourage UK applicants to apply for a Thouron Fellowship. The Thouron is a 1-2 year fellowship that pays for a Masters degree. Fellows who are admitted to our Ph.D. program may then continue with fellowship support from Penn. Note that the Thouron deadline is in November. Information and application materials are available on the Thouron.org website .

International Students admitted into the program should apply for their Social Security number as soon as possible so that they don't experience a delay in receiving their stipend.

Questions about the admission process? See our  Frequently Asked Questions  or contact Meghan Hall, Graduate Coordinator ( [email protected] ).

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Phd program in english, starting study in fall 2024 and later.

This page contains information only for students who are beginning their graduate study in Fall 2024 or later .

Our Ph.D. program in English provides students with interdisciplinary coursework in a range of research areas, mentorship from faculty at the forefront of their fields, teachi ng experience in First-Year Writing and beyond, and dedicated support for job searches in academia and beyond.   After completing required coursework, Ph.D. students work with their advisory committees to devise exam reading lists that will deepen their knowledge in their selected fields for both teaching and research purposes. Students then design a dissertation project that best suits their intellectual and professional goals – whether that project be a traditional textual dissertation, a born-digital project, or a creative or translation work with a critical introduction.     Students entering our Ph.D. program with a B.A. enjoy financial support through a teaching assistantship for six years. Students entering with an M.A. in English or Rhetoric and Composition are funded through a teaching assistantship for five years.  

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Program Requirements

Advisory committee.

All Ph.D. students are assigned a Major Advisor by the Director of Graduate Studies upon matriculation. Associate Advisors may be members of any University department. Students should discuss all courses and program policies with their Major Advisor.

Students may change Major or Associate advisors at any time (for example, when selecting an appropriate examination committee). Forms to change Advisory Committee members are available in the Graduate English Office and on the university's website for the Graduate School .

Plan of Study

The Plan of Study for the Ph.D. degree must be signed by all members of the Advisory Committee and submitted to the Graduate School when 18 credits of coursework have been completed. The Graduate School requires 15 credits of the mandatory research course GRAD 6950. These credits can be fulfilled within two to three semesters of continuous registration with a full Teaching Assistantship.

The Plan of Study must indicate which courses have been taken and are to be taken in fulfillment of requirements, how the language requirement has been or will be fulfilled, and what the dissertation topic will be. The Plan of Study must be on file with the Graduate School before the Dissertation Prospectus Colloquium takes place. Any changes–in courses submitted, language requirement plans–must be submitted to the Graduate School on a Request for Changes in Plan of Graduate Study form. All forms are available in the English Graduate Office and the Graduate School website .

Coursework Requirements and Policy on Incomplete Grades

Students entering with an MA are required to complete 25 credits of coursework and at least 15 credits of dissertation research. Students entering with a BA are required to complete 37 credits of coursework and at least 15 credits of dissertation research. Coursework credits include distribution requirements (described below) as well as two seminars taken in the first semester in support of the teaching assistantship: ENGL 5100, The Theory and Teaching of Writing (3 credits) and ENGL 5182, Practicum in the Teaching of Writing (1 credit).

Students who feel they have fulfilled any of the course requirements at another institution may petition the graduate program office to have those requirements waived at UConn.

MA/Ph.D. students who are continuing for the PhD have until the end of the third year of coursework to fulfill the distribution requirements.

Coursework is normally taken at Storrs. Transfer of up to six credits from another institution’s graduate program, or six credits from non-degree graduate coursework undertaken at UConn, may be accepted toward the MA or the Ph.D., provided that such credits are not used to earn a degree at another institution.

The Graduate Executive Committee recommends that students take no more than six credits of Independent Study. All Independent Studies must be requested through the Independent Study Form and approved by the Graduate Executive Committee.

Distribution Requirements

All graduate students (MA and PhD) are required to fulfill three distribution requirements:

  • a course in pre-1800 texts,
  • a course in post-1800 texts, and
  • a course in theory.

For MA students, these requirements ensure breadth of study to support common pathways beyond that degree, including secondary education and doctoral work. For PhD students, these seminars provide vital context for the deeper investigations required by PhD exams and the dissertation.

The 1800 pivot date of the chronological distribution requirements is not meant to signal an important shift in literary or cultural history but instead establishes a midpoint in common areas of study; in asking students to take coursework on either side of 1800, these distribution requirements ensure that students in earlier periods look forward to later developments in the field and that students in later periods trace the field backward.

Students can fulfill these requirements in the following ways:

  • Take a course that focuses entirely on the distribution requirement’s stated area of study. For example, a Milton seminar would fulfill the pre-1800 requirement, a twentieth-century literature course would fulfill the post-1800 requirement, and a lyric theory seminar would fulfill the theory seminar requirement. Often, these courses are offered under course designations (such as ENGL 5330: Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature or ENGL 6500: Seminar in Literary Theory) that make clear their ability to fulfill distribution requirements. However, at times courses listed under more general course designations can fulfill these requirements. Consult with the instructor of record and the Director of Graduate Studies if a course’s eligibility to fulfill a distribution requirement is unclear.
  • Take a transhistorical seminar or a seminar organized by a methodology or thematic concern and complete research and writing in the distribution requirement’s stated area of study. Seminars that span centuries (such as  Shakespeare on Screen) or those that focus on a methodology or theme (such as Disability Studies) can fulfill the pre- or post-1800 distribution requirement if the student completes the major writing assignment of the seminar focusing on texts or ideas from the relevant chronological period. For example, if a student enrolls in a Medical Humanities seminar, they can fulfill the pre-1800 requirement by focusing their work for the course on a pre-1800 text, such as Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year , even if the bulk of that seminar’s reading is post-1800. If they enroll in a seminar on adaptation of Arthurian texts, they can fulfill the pre-1800 requirement by completing work that draws substantially on Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur in theorizing modern retellings of that text. Please consult with the instructor of record to ensure that this type of work is possible if you plan on using a transhistorical, methodology-based, or thematic seminar to fulfill a distribution requirement.
  • Complete a teaching mentorship in the distribution requirement’s stated area of study.
  • Submit to the graduate office proof that you have completed a seminar in the distribution requirement’s stated area of study (unofficial transcripts and, if available, a syllabus) in the completion of a previous degree. Note that while coursework completed in the course of earning a previous degree can be used to fulfill English Department distribution requirements, those credits cannot count toward your UConn degree on your plan of study.

Note that some seminars can fulfill more than one distribution requirement. For example, a seminar in African American Literary Theory fulfills the theory distribution requirement and can, with relevant research writing, fulfill either the pre- or post-1800 requirement.

Students should email the graduate program administrator when they complete a distribution requirement to ensure that the graduate office keeps accurate records.

Policy on Incomplete Grades

The Graduate Executive Committee strongly discourages incompletes. However, the Committee recognizes that, at times, extenuating circumstances merit offering a student additional time beyond the semester to complete work for a seminar. In that case, the student should determine with the faculty member teaching the seminar a reasonable timeline for completing and submitting seminar work — ideally no more than one month. It is the student’s responsibility to remain in communication with their professor about outstanding work, especially if the student requires additional time.

According to the academic regulations of the Graduate School, if a student does not submit all work required to resolve an incomplete within 12 months following the end of the semester for which the grade was recorded, no credit will be allowed for the course. A limited extension of the incomplete beyond 12 months may be granted by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the instructor, but the Graduate School is not obligated to approve an extension if the instructor of the course is no longer at UConn.

If a student accumulates more than three incompletes on their transcript, they will be placed on probationary status by the Graduate Executive Committee and may be required to resolve those incompletes before being allowed to register for additional coursework. A student whose transcript includes four or more grades of incomplete may not be eligible for a teaching assistantship.

Language Requirement

Overview. As part of their graduate work, PhD students in English study at least one language other than English. In fulfilling the language requirement, students are not expected to achieve spoken or written fluency in another language. Instead, the goal of this requirement is to acquire reading knowledge . This requirement is in place to:

  • Enrich or expand students’ research and pedagogy in their area of specialization . Basic knowledge in another language enables and encourages students to seek out and explore primary texts and scholarship in languages other than English and thus to respond more fully to the critical conversations occurring in their areas of expertise.
  • Provide students with linguistic tools they will find valuable in a range of careers . English PhDs pursue careers in a wide array of contexts, including academia, nonprofits, publishing, secondary education, government institutions, libraries and archives, and museums — all pathways that could benefit from the expanded worldview, human connection, and research expertise that experience in languages provides. Moreover, anyone working in a teaching capacity, and who therefore is likely to encounter students from diverse linguistic backgrounds, benefits from an insider knowledge of the experience of reading and learning as a non-native speaker.
  • Challenge an anglocentric understanding of language in our discipline and culture at large. Our department values a diversity of voices and acknowledges that many languages and ways of speaking have been silenced through violence, both physical and cultural. We encourage our students to study languages other than English, in part, to resist a push for monolingualism in America and the cultural erasures that accompany it.

The methods students may use to fulfill this requirement are outlined below. While we require students engage only one language other than English, we recognize that those specializing in certain research areas might find acquiring additional language skills necessary for their research.

The Director of Graduate Studies recommends that all students, and especially those who are not entering the program with knowledge of a language other than English, discuss their plans regarding this requirement with their major advisor early in the program, preferably during their first semester. They should plan on fulfilling the requirement prior to completing coursework. At the latest, students should plan to complete the requirement before the submission of the dissertation prospectus. Please consult with the Director of Graduate Studies if any problem arises in completing this requirement according to that timeline.

Methods. In collaboration with their major advisor, students should determine which of the methods of fulfilling the language requirement described below best suits their course of study. For methods (1) through (3), students must have completed the courses or examination no more than five years prior to submitting their PhD plan of study for approval.

The options below are arranged from those that require no additional work to those that require the deepest investment. If a student anticipates that a language will be vital to their research, we encourage them to select a means for fulfilling the requirement that allows for substantial language study. Please note that students may choose to pursue the study of written languages (such as Spanish, German, Arabic, Mandarin, etc.), digital languages (such as Python), and gestural languages (ASL). The option to pursue any particular language will depend, in part, on resources (faculty, coursework) available at UConn and beyond.

  • The student may establish evidence of competence in the language through an official transcript stating that the undergraduate or a higher degree was earned with that language as the major or minor area of study.
  • The student may pass an examination set by a member of the university faculty (or, if approved by the advisory committee and the DGS, a faculty member at another college or university). The examiner may be a member of the English department — and the graduate office maintains a list of faculty qualified and willing to administer language exams — but may not be a member of the student’s advisory committee.The examination will include the translation into English of a passage approximately 400 to 500 words in length with the assistance of a dictionary. The examiner will choose the passage in collaboration with the student’s major advisor. The examination must be supervised and have a reasonable time limit. In the event that a student is studying a language not typically rendered in print/text form, such as American Sign Language (ASL), the examiner will provide an appropriate text that the student will translate into English. If the result is not successful, the exam may be repeated as many times as needed.Students pursuing this option can consult with their advisors and the graduate office for resources they can use to learn independently in preparation for the exam. To schedule a language exam, the student should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies. When the exam is finished, the examiner should send an email confirming the student’s successful completion of the exam to the graduate office, copying the student and their major advisor.
  • A PhD or MA reading examination in a language other than English passed at another graduate school may be accepted in transfer (subject to the above five-year limitation). The student should provide the graduate office evidence that they passed such an exam.
  • The student may pass both semesters of an approved one-year reading or beginning course in the language with grades equivalent to C or higher. The courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis, with a grade of Pass denoting a performance that meets the language requirement. Alternatively, the student may pass a course in a language other than English or in literature written in a language other than English at or above the 3000 level, provided that the reading for the course is required to be done in the language . Language courses taken concurrently with the graduate program at other institutions are eligible to fulfill the requirement as long as the student can provide evidence that they have taken the course and received a grade of C or higher.
  • The student can complete UConn’s Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation .
  • The student’s native language is a language other than English.

Ph.D. Exams

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations are based on two reading lists (details below), which are created in the final semester of coursework and must be approved by the Graduate Executive Committee. The Graduate Executive Committee recommends the following timeline for completing the Doctoral Examination and moving to the dissertation.

  • In consultation with the Advisory Committee, create exam lists in the spring semester of the final coursework year. While creating exam lists, discuss the timing and formatting of the Ph.D. exam (details below).
  • Submit exam lists and the PhD Exam List Approval Form  to the Graduate Office for approval by April 15.
  • Submit Plan of Study to the Graduate School in summer or early fall semester in the third year.
  • Take the Doctoral Examination no later than February 28th of the academic year following the completion of coursework. The Graduate Executive Committee recommends that students take exams in the late fall.
  • Submit dissertation prospectus and schedule the Prospectus Colloquium no later than April 1st of the academic year following the completion of coursework.

Creation and Submission of Examination Lists

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations are based on two reading lists, which provide the materials for three discrete exams: one addressing the first reading list, one addressing the second reading list, and a third which combines materials from both lists. For the purposes of the exams, each list designates a clearly defined and professionally recognizable field or subfield of scholarship (e.g., a literary-historical period such as the Renaissance, a transtemporal genre such as Drama, a critical tradition such as Feminism, an established body of literature such as Children’s Literature). The relationship between the two reading lists is to be determined by the advisory committee, with the understanding that the fields identified by each list are to complement one another (in terms of history, discipline, method, genre, or otherwise). When appropriate, students should discuss with their advisors ways to handle the challenges of representing multiple subfields and/or disciplines within the two-list structure

Traditionally, each list comprises approximately 60-75 works, including 75% primary works and 25% secondary works. A “secondary” work may refer to a book, essay, or group of essays including literary criticism, historical, or theoretical texts. Lists from students in certain fields may look slightly different. For example, lists in Rhetoric and Composition may contain entirely secondary texts, including articles and book chapters alongside book-length texts. Lists in fields such as Digital Humanities or Film Studies may include texts in a variety of modalities. Students in these fields should discuss with their advisors the best way to proceed. All lists should include no fewer than 60-75 works overall, of any genre or modality. Because each field is different, a student’s list should reflect the kind of texts (e.g., theoretical, multimodal, visual) that are important in that field. How each text “counts” on the Ph.D. exam list will be determined at the discretion of the student and their advisory committee, as the graduate office recognizes that length and complexity are not equivalent.

Generally speaking, excerpts are not permissible, though standard excerpts of exceedingly long or multi-volume works may be permitted with the approval of the advisory committee. In assembling selections of poems, essays, excerpts, etc., students should not use undergraduate-oriented anthologies such as the Norton or Bedford anthologies; instead, students should research and choose an authoritative scholarly edition that surveys adequately — for a Ph.D.-level exam — each author’s writings. The student’s reading lists should reflect both breadth and depth of reading, as well as a sense of the history of criticism throughout the fields and contemporary critical and theoretical approaches. There should be no overlap of works between reading lists. Selections of works should take into consideration both coverage of the field and preparation for the anticipated dissertation.

Reading lists are to be drawn up by the student in consultation with their advisory committee, beginning at the end of the fall semester of the final year of coursework. Students are encouraged, though not required, to meet with the advisory committee as a whole to discuss the creation of the lists. All items in each list should be numbered clearly, and lists should be arranged chronologically or in some other systematic fashion.

Each list should be accompanied by a brief rationale (no longer than 500 words), that explains its content. The purpose of the rationales is the following: (1) to identify a body of texts and its legibility as part of a professionally recognizable field or subfield; (2) to justify inclusions or exclusions that might seem idiosyncratic or which are, at least, not self-explanatory (e.g., including more drama than prose or poetry on a Renaissance list); (3) to indicate a methodological, theoretical, or other type of emphasis (e.g., a high number of gender studies-oriented secondary works).

You can find a sample examination list with correct formatting and marginal notes explaining its elements here.

The student is responsible for making copies of their lists and rationales and depositing them, along with the completed PhD Exam List Approval Form , in the Graduate English Office no later than April 15th of the final year of coursework. All reading lists will then be referred to the Graduate Executive Committee for approval. The Graduate Executive Committee will not approve lists that fail to meet the basic guidelines recommended above. Students whose ideas about the exams continue to change during the reading period may update their lists with the approval of their advisory committees.

Scheduling the Examination

After examination lists are approved, students in consultation with their advisory committees need to agree upon the timing and format of the exams (details below) as well as specific dates on which their exam is to be administered. Please complete the PhD Exam Scheduling Form which will be automatically routed to the Graduate English Office. If the student requires a space on campus to take the exam, arrangements should be made at this time. The deadline by which all students must take their Examination (including the exam conference) is February 28th of the fourth year for MA/Ph.D.s or the same date of the third year for Ph.D.s.

Understanding Ph.D. Examination Deadline and Time Limits

The Ph.D. examination was devised in part to facilitate students’ timely completion of the doctoral degree, and so the Graduate Executive Committee requires that students meet all official deadlines. Students incapable of meeting an examination deadline, for whatever reason, must apply for a time extension from the Director of Graduate Studies by submitting a typed request, signed by the student and their major advisor, ideally at least one month in advance of the deadline. The letter must state the specific reasons for the time delay and also designate the specific amount of extra time requested.

The Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Graduate Executive Committee, will determine an appropriate response to the request, which will be communicated to the candidate by the Director of Graduate Studies. The Committee’s response will specify new deadlines by which the exam should be taken.

Taking the Examination

The PhD exam consists of three parts. The first two exams (Field 1 and Field 2) test the student’s knowledge of works on each field list. The third exam (Synthesis) tests the student’s ability to combine material from both reading lists in the service of a comprehensive argument, ideally one informing future work on the dissertation.

The exam can take one of two formats:

  • Written exam: The student writes three essays (Field One, Field Two, and Synthesis). Each exam should include two questions, of which the student selects and answers one. This format requires an exam conference, but the student will know if they have passed the exam before that meeting. The exam conference is described below. It is ungraded.
  • Hybrid exam: The student writes two essays (Field One and Field Two). The Synthesis exam is a graded, two-hour oral examination, initiated by a 15- to 20-minute presentation from the student in which they outline three to four research questions that arose from their reading, dedicating approximately equal time to each. The remaining time is led by the student’s advisors as an oral synthesis exam; advisors might, for example, ask questions that lead a student to clarify, nuance, or expand upon the research questions outlined during their presentation. Note that this exam is separate from the field exams; the student’s presentation, and the advisory committee’s questions, should not replicate the inquiries from those previous exams. In addition to the two written exams and oral exam, this format requires an exam conference, but the student will know if they have passed the exam before that meeting. The exam conference is described below. It is ungraded.

Written exams should be allotted 24 hours for completion. The three exams can be spaced across any three dates within a period of one month, with approval of all members of the advisory committee. If a student is taking the exams on three consecutive days, they should receive all exam questions at once. If a student is taking the exams according to a more dispersed timeline, they should receive one set of questions at a time.

These formats are designed to provide graduate students and their advisory committees the flexibility to design a Ph.D. exam that is intellectually challenging and responsive to a student’s needs and goals. As students prepare reading lists for their exams, they should consult with their advisory committee to select a fitting exam format. In the course of these conversations, students and their committees should take into account matters of access (outlined below) as well as students’ caretaking responsibilities, their ability to secure a quiet space to take exams, and other relevant factors. If these factors require a change in the exam’s format not recognized above, or in the event of a disagreement, the student should consult with their major advisor and/or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Examination questions are to be drafted by the candidate’s committee and reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies, but the major advisor is responsible for assembling the exam. Candidates are not permitted to view the questions prior to the examination. The Graduate Office asks the major advisor to distribute questions for written exams upon the schedule determined by the student and their committee. The Graduate Administrator will assist in scheduling a space for the oral exam, if applicable.

The Graduate Executive Committee strongly recommends that all candidates consult their entire Advisory Committee about their understanding of the examination process and expectations for each part of it — ideally throughout their preparations but certainly early in the process of assembling the lists and at a later stage just prior to scheduling the examination.

The Graduate Executive Committee assumes that answers to written exams will be approximately 10-15 pages of double-spaced prose (with limited block quoting); that each essay will answer the question asked by the advisory committee, however creatively; that each essay will establish a clear argument and seek to back it up with textual evidence; and that each essay will be clearly written and appropriately revised. Pre-written essays are strictly forbidden. The candidate should pay attention to the question’s instructions regarding the number of texts they should use in their response and not consider a text in detail in more than one essay.

Access and Accommodations for Ph.D. Exams

The University of Connecticut is committed to achieving equal educational and employment opportunity and full participation for persons with disabilities. Graduate students who have questions about access or require further access measures in any element of the graduate program should contact the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), Wilbur Cross Building Room 204, (860) 486-2020, or visit the Center for Students with Disabilities website . Alternatively, students may register online with the CSD by logging into the student MyAccess portal .

The English Graduate Office advises students who would like to discuss matters related to access to consult with the Director of Graduate Studies, ideally during the creation of the exam lists. Access measures for Ph.D. exams may include, but are not limited to, extended time to complete the exam, the use of voice recognition programs and the extended time some programs require, or locating and scheduling space to take the exam.

The Examination Grade

Upon completion of the examination, students will receive a grade from their committee of “Pass,” or “Fail.” Major advisors should communicate this grade to their advisees as soon as possible and before the day set for the examination conference. Students who fail the examination will be required to meet with their advisory committee to determine an appropriate time and plan for retaking it. Students failing the examination twice will be dismissed from the program. Please Note: ABD status grants a salary increase and eligibility for a library study carrel.

The Examination Conference

Within two weeks of a student passing the Ph.D. examination, the advisory committee will meet with the student to discuss the examination. This examination conference is a mandatory, but not a graded, component of the examination. The purpose of the conference is twofold: to offer candidates a forum for a thorough discussion of their exam’s strengths and weaknesses and to help the student transition from the examination phase to the prospectus phase of the Ph.D.. To this end, the Graduate Executive Committee assumes that advisory committee members will divide time appropriately between offering feedback on each of the three exams and working collaboratively to establish a clear understanding of expectations, goals, deadlines for completion of the prospectus.

The Dissertation

In light of growing diversity in students’ motivations for attaining a PhD in English and professional opportunities available to humanities PhDs, the department supports and encourages dissertations in many forms. For example, the dissertation might take the form of a prototype for a book manuscript; a born-digital project or a project with some online or computational components; or a creative work or translation with a critical introduction.

​Students should consult with their advisory committee and, if necessary, the Director of Graduate Studies about the proposed format of their dissertation as early in their graduate career as is practical. During those conversations, students and their advisors should consider the format of the dissertation in relation to the students’ scholarly needs and professional goals, the expectations and standards of the profession or intellectual community the student plans to enter, and the resources the student will require to complete the proposed project, including time, funding, advising, and skills. The student, advisory committee, and Director of Graduate Studies will agree upon the form and scope of the dissertation through the submission, review, and approval of the prospectus.

Prospectus Colloquium

The Dissertation Prospectus Colloquium is an opportunity for the student to discuss the thesis topic in detail with the Advisory Committee. The colloquium should take place before the student begins writing the dissertation. The Advisory Committee expects to be presented with a Prospectus sufficiently far along in its development for a judgment to be made on its scholarly validity and potential as a fully developed dissertation. The student and Major Advisor should inform the Director of Graduate Studies at least one month in advance of the day and time of this event. Departmental Representatives need at least two weeks notice before the actual colloquium to read the prospectus. The readers are expected to attend the colloquium; however, it is not necessary that they do so. Comments from the readers can be given to the Major Advisor and student.

Dissertation Chapter Advisory Conference

The Dissertation Chapter Advisory Conference is a non-graded opportunity for students to discuss with their advisory committees the strengths and weaknesses of a complete draft of a dissertation chapter. The conference is designed to serve three basic purposes: 1) to facilitate the transition of ABDs into the process of researching and writing the doctoral dissertation; 2) to encourage early communication between students and their committee members, and between primary and secondary advisors; 3) to encourage discussion of a future plan for the completion of the other dissertation chapters/parts. The Graduate Executive Committee requires every Ph.D. student to submit a complete draft of a chapter to the advisory committee, within 3 months but no later than 6 months after the date of the Dissertation Prospectus Colloquium. By “complete,” the Committee wishes to emphasize that the intellectual integrity of the submitted chapter must not be compromised by any omitted material (such as notes, bibliography, etc.), by significant stylistic weaknesses, grammatical errors, etc. After the Conference, students must turn into the Graduate office a First Chapter Conference Form , which must be signed by all advisory committee members.

Dissertation Defense

A dissertation defense is required of every student by the Graduate School. The student’s Advisory Committee and 2 Departmental Representatives are required to attend; members of the department and the University community are invited to attend. The defense is both an examination and a forum for the candidate to comment on the scope and significance of the research. As a result of the dissertation defense, the student’s Advisory Committee may require revisions and corrections to the dissertation. The student initiates scheduling of the Defense by consulting first with members of the Advisory Committee and the Graduate Office. At least five members of the faculty (including the members of the student’s Advisory Committee) must attend the defense. Only members of the Advisory Committee, however, may actually recommend passing or failing the student.

According to the Graduate School catalog, the dissertation should represent a significant contribution to ongoing research in the candidate’s field. While the Graduate School does not stipulate a minimum length for dissertations, the Graduate Executive Committee strongly suggests a minimum length of 60,000 words inclusive for a traditional dissertation in English (not a creative dissertation or a “born-digital” DH dissertation). The committee suggests this length as representing approximately 2/3 of the standard length of an academic monograph according to current publication practices. Students who wish to complete a creative dissertation, a “born-digital” dissertation, or a project in a format other than a collection of textual chapters should consult with their advisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students must schedule the dissertation defense with the Graduate Office and Advisory Committee at least three months ahead of time. Electronic copies of the dissertation should be distributed at least three weeks prior to the defense: to each Advisory Committee member and to department representatives. The student must also notify the UConn Events Calendar two weeks in advance. For further information, see this helpful guide from the Graduate School .

Annual Review of Progress toward Degree

Beginning in their first semester following the completion of coursework, Ph.D. students must annually report their progress by completing an Annual Review of Progress toward Degree , including a self-evaluation and a response from their major advisor. Neither evaluation need exceed 250 words. These evaluations are reviewed each spring semester by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in consultation with the Associate Director of Graduate Studies (ADGS). In the preparation for the review, students and their major advisors should consult with one another about the students’ achievements, progress, and any potential delays over the previous academic year. The review is due to the Graduate Office no later than April 1. Please see the form for submission instructions.

For students in the first year following the completion of coursework, satisfactory progress is measured by the student and major advisor in terms of their preparation for and writing of their PhD examinations. Subsequent reviews focus on the remaining milestones in the program, including the language requirement, the dissertation prospectus and colloquium, and progress toward the dissertation defense. Note that students can consult with their major advisors and/or the DGS to request extensions on deadlines, which are designed to help students complete their degree within funding .

For students who are ABD, the Review of Progress toward Degree  should focus on the dissertation. The self-evaluation from the student should record milestones achieved and set forth research and writing accomplished since the last evaluation as well as research and writing plans for the next twelve months.

If the student’s review raises concerns about their progress, the DGS will arrange a meeting with the student to devise a plan for moving forward.

Job Training and Professional Development

In the semester prior to submitting applications for a job, contact the Director of Graduate Studies to announce your intentions to go on the job market. The department runs annual meetings on CV and cover letter writing, teaching portfolio workshops, MLA and campus interviewing, etc. The Executive Committee recommends that Ph.D. students attend all of them.


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who can do phd in english

The Department of English at the University of Toronto offers two doctoral streams, the PhD program and the PhD U (“direct-entry”) program.

Admission to the doctoral streams is highly selective.

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The PhD program welcomes applications from our own English MA students and English MA students from other recognized institutions.

Candidates for admission to the PhD program must complete an MA in English at this or another university with a standing of A- or better and must satisfy the Department that they are capable of independent research at an advanced level.

The PhD program is designed for completion in five years ; it may extend, if necessary, to a maximum of six years.

PhD U (Direct-Entry) Program

The "direct-entry" PhD U program welcomes applications from exceptional students who have completed their undergraduate English BA degree but not an English MA, or who have completed an MA in a program related to but not in the field of English. (If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact the Associate Director, PhD , before applying.)

Please see the Application Information  page (under “Programs”) for further information about eligibility for the PhD U program, which involves an additional year of coursework and therefore tends to take an additional year to complete.

Upon registration, all doctoral candidates are assigned a mentor from the Department’s graduate faculty.

A thesis supervisor and supervisory committee are appointed at the end of Year 1 for students in the PhD program or the end of Year 2 for students in the PhD U program.

The Special Fields Examination is normally taken in March, April, or May of Year 2 in the program for PhD students or Year 3 in the program for PhD U students.

Program Requirements and Course Work

At the University of Toronto, the acronym FCE stands for “Full Course Equivalent.” A “full course” is weighted 1.0 FCE and meets for the full year (i.e., two terms or semesters). Almost all of our graduate courses in English , however, run for a single term and are thus called “half courses,” which are weighted 0.5 FCE. (“3.0 FCEs,” in other words, in practice means 6 single-term courses.)

The program requirements (except for ENG9900H) for the PhD are usually completed within the first two years of the program.

The minimum course requirements for the degree are as follows:

  • ENG9400H Essential Skills Workshop Series (0.25 FCE); taken in Year 1 of the program
  • ENG9900H Teaching Literature (0.5 FCE); students have the option of taking this required course in either Fall of Year 2 or Fall of Year 3
  • 3.0 additional FCEs in English, as approved by the department; the department strongly encourages students to complete these 3.0 additional FCEs in Year 1
  • Every student must complete at least 2.0 FCEs outside the chosen field of study over the course of their graduate training. The student is encouraged to combine these courses into a minor field. Graduate courses taken as part of the master's program may be counted in this connection, but the following courses may not be counted: ENG6999Y Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English , ENG9400H Essential Skills Workshop Series , ENG9900H Teaching Literature .

Language Requirement: PhD students must also demonstrate reading knowledge of French by May 31 of Year 3 of registration. With the permission of the department, another language (including Old English) may be substituted for French provided that this other language is required by the student's research area. The supervisory committee may require the student to qualify in other program-related languages as well.

In order to maintain good academic standing, and to continue in the PhD program, the student must complete each course with a grade of at least B and maintain an average grade of at least A–.

PhD students may take up to 1.0 FCE of coursework outside of the Graduate Program in English, with the approval of the Associate Director, PhD.  

Cross-listed courses (that is, courses taught by English graduate faculty in other units) and courses required for a collaborative specialization are equivalent to English courses and may be taken without special permission from the Department.

PhD U (Direct-Entry)

The program requirements (except for ENG9900H) for the PhD U are usually completed within the first three years of the program.

  • ENG6999Y Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English (1.0 FCE); taken in Year 1 of the program
  • ENG9400H Essential Skills Workshop Series (0.25 FCE); taken in Year 2
  • ENG9900H Teaching Literature (0.5 FCE); students have the option of taking this required course in either Fall of Year 3 or Fall of Year 4
  • 5.0 additional FCEs in English, as approved by the department. In Year 1, in addition to ENG6999Y the student must complete 2.0 FCEs. In addition to ENG9400H, students must then complete the remaining 3.0 FCEs by the end of Year 3. The department strongly encourages students to complete these 3.0 additional FCEs in Year 2.
  • Every student must complete at least 2.0 FCEs outside the chosen field of study. The student is encouraged to combine these courses into a minor field. Neither ENG6999Y Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English , ENG9400H Essential Skills Workshop Series , nor ENG9900H Teaching Literature  may be counted towards a minor field.

Language Requirement: PhD U students must also demonstrate reading knowledge of French by May 31 of Year 4 of registration. With the permission of the department, another language (including Old English) may be substituted for French provided that this other language is required by the student's research area. The supervisory committee may require the student to qualify in other program-related languages as well.

In order to maintain good academic standing, and to continue in the PhD U program, the student must complete each course with a grade of at least B and maintain an average grade of at least A–.

PhD U students may take up to 1.0 FCE of coursework outside of the Graduate Program in English, with the approval of the Associate Director, PhD.  

Thesis and Supervisory Committee Information

Along with the information provided under the headings below, please carefully consult these two important documents:

The Thesis Topic

Careful consideration in the process of choosing a thesis topic is critical for all doctoral candidates. Select a subject that excites your curiosity, engages your interest, and represents your current thinking and expertise. A thesis topic should emerge from coursework and intellectual growth during the first stages of the program.

Even candidates who enter the program with ideas about a thesis topic are advised to test them further against their own development, the current state of scholarship in the field, and available faculty and archival resources

Finding a Supervisor

The Graduate English faculty is extensive and extraordinarily wide-ranging. Students are advised to consider all potential supervisors from among faculty holding the rank of Associate or Full Professor.

Every PhD student is assigned a mentor, who is one source for information about potential thesis supervisors. Above all, coursework offers the chance to explore intellectual affinities with potential supervisors, and the Director and Associate Directors of the graduate program can offer useful advice.

Members of the Graduate Faculty are always willing to discuss thesis topics and supervision with candidates, and asking a faculty member to read and comment on a fellowship proposal is an excellent way to begin to gauge the potential of a supervisory relationship.

Students should initiate discussion of a thesis topic with potential supervisors early in the second term of the first year of the PhD program (or second year for direct-entry students).

Form A: Preliminary Thesis Proposal and Supervisory Committee Request List


After securing a thesis supervisor and developing a thesis topic in consultation with that supervisor, the student and supervisor work together to submit Form A to the Department by May 15 of the first year (or second year for PhD U students) .

As part of the process of completing Form A, the student should consult with four (or, at a minimum, three) additional members of the graduate faculty to gain further perspectives on the design and viability of the project. On the form, the student lists the names of the faculty members consulted and the names of up to four faculty members to be considered as potential members of the supervisory committee. (The names of the faculty consulted and the potential committee members are often, but may not necessarily be, the same.)

The Preliminary Thesis Proposal is a statement of approximately 1-2 single-spaced pages outlining the focus and approach of the proposed program of research. Successful proposals will be written in clear, concise prose. As its title suggests, the proposal is preliminary: the position paper component of the Special Fields Exam (at the end of the following year) will provide the opportunity for revision and expansion. Students should feel free, if it in fact reflects their current thinking, to adapt their Program of Study from a SSHRC or Plan of Study from a OGS proposal. As above, be sure that your Thesis Proposal reflects your current thinking, growth, and knowledge of the field.

Form B: Supervisory Committee and Special Fields Reading List

After Form A has been received, the Director and Associate Director, PhD, will determine the composition of the supervisory committee (usually the supervisor plus two additional members). Early in the summer, the candidate should then meet with the supervisory committee as a group to discuss the proposal, draw up an initial list of texts for the Special Fields Examination (see below), and develop a plan of work.

In late summer or early fall the student consults with the committee once again to complete Form B, which must be submitted to the Department by October 1 of the second year of the program (or third year for PhD U students) .

Please see below  for further information about the Special Fields Examination.

Thesis Supervision

It is critical to the success of the working relationship between supervisor and candidate to develop an initial agreement about the method and scope of the research, and to clarify the expectations of supervisor and candidate: about the kind and amount of advice that the candidate wants and the supervisor is able and willing to offer; about the involvement of the members of the supervisory committee; about the frequency, regularity and contents of consultations; about an appropriate time scheme for the completion of the thesis; and about the way draft work is to be submitted.

The candidate meets with the supervisor and individual committee members according to the schedule they have established, but the candidate must meet with the full supervisory committee at least once every year in order to meet SGS registration requirements.

Please carefully consult the following SGS publications:

  • Supervision Guidelines
  • Graduate Supervision Guidelines — Faculty Edition
  • Graduate Supervision Guidelines — Student Edition
  • The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Centre for Graduate Mentorship and Supervision

Thesis Submission Guidelines and the Final Oral Examination

Special fields examination.

The Special Fields Examination both prepares students for teaching and scholarly work in a particular field and facilitates the transition to writing the doctoral thesis.

Accordingly, the Special Fields Reading List, which forms the basis for the examination, comprises between 80 and 100 texts, roughly two-thirds (55-65) in a major field and roughly one-third (25-35) in a minor field. Students construct their own lists in consultation with their supervisor and thesis committee.

The Special Fields Examination must be completed by the end of Year 2 (or Year 3 for direct-entry students) and will normally be taken in March, April, or May of that year.

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Cambridge is an outstanding place to work on Anglophone literature. Students and scholars benefit from world-class libraries, and from each other. The PhD cohort is diverse and large in number. No particular area or approach is preferred. Faculty members who act as supervisors and advisors for doctoral theses work on a great variety of topics and in varied ways. Proposals of all kinds are therefore welcome: on little-known as well as canonical authors; from innovative and interdisciplinary as well as from more traditional thematic, theoretical, cultural and literary-historical perspectives. Regular postgraduate training sessions offer guidance at every stage of the process - from first-year assessment to learning to teach to applying for jobs. In addition to the formal training, there are excellent opportunities for the sorts of enriching conversations and collaborations that emerge informally, between fellow PhDs, MPhils and Faculty members. Some of these take place under the auspices of the student-run Graduate Research Forum.  Regular Research Seminars focus on particular periods and fields (for instance, Medieval, Nineteenth Century, Postcolonial and Related Literatures); these combine internal and invited speakers, and encourage discussions and relationships between the entire research community.  The Faculty also puts on occasional conferences on all manner of topics; like the research seminars, many of the most successful and exciting ones are conceived of and run by PhD students.

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the  Postgraduate Open Day  page for more details.

See further the  Postgraduate Admissions Events  pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time, 4-7 years part-time, study mode : research, doctor of philosophy, faculty of english, course - related enquiries, application - related enquiries, course on department website, dates and deadlines:, michaelmas 2024 (closed).

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

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These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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Home  >  News & Articles  >  PhD in English: Courses, Fees, Syllabus, Eligibility, Top Colleges, Scope & Salary 2023

who can do phd in english

Abhishek Dogra

Updated on 18th August, 2023 , 10 min read

PhD in English: Courses, Fees, Syllabus, Eligibility, Top Colleges, Scope & Salary 2023

A PhD in English is a three to six-year doctorate program that focuses on technical writing in prose, poetry, theater, and fiction as well as translations, international literature, and ancient literature. There are several job prospects for English PhD candidates in India and overseas in the humanities, social sciences, and arts. Graduates can begin their careers as a lecturer, professors, school teachers, private tutors, education consultants, vice principals, program managers, English teachers, language trainers, proofreaders, or customer support associates, among other positions.

PhD in English students must have earned their Masters's degrees in order to enroll in a PhD English course. Before applying for admission to a PhD in English, an M.A. in English or an M.Phil. is required. They should receive at least 50% of the possible points in their exams. Additionally, several colleges and universities accept job applications for English research positions. These roles are typically referred to as research fellows. This may serve as yet another entry point for a PhD English course. There are PhD entry exams at some universities.

PhD in English: Course Highlights

Full Form

Doctor in Philosophy in English


3 to 5 years

Examination type

Annual, Subjective


M.Phil in English or M.A in Englis

Admission Process

Based on direct interviews of short-listed candidates

Course Fee

INR 2000 to 1.25 Lakh per year

Average Salary

INR 5 to 10 lakhs

Top Recruiting Companies

TATA Consultancy, Adobe, KPMG companies, HP, Lenovo, HCL, IBM, Indiatimes, Hindustan Times, Zee News, CNN, IBN7, Delhi University

Job Positions

Editorial Assistant for big publishing houses, Advertising agency copywriter, Author, Public relations Office

Why Pursue PhD in English?   

A PhD in English literature is a fantastic way to advance your abilities in critical thinking, cooperation, communication, independent research, and many other areas and discover more about your areas of interest, and get the skills you need to advance particular study topics significantly. 

Who should pursue PhD in English?

It's important to note that pursuing a PhD in English is a significant commitment, often requiring several years of research, academic writing, and critical analysis. Prospective PhD candidates should be passionate about their chosen area of study, dedicated to research, and have a strong desire to contribute to the academic and intellectual discourse within the field of English language and literature.

PhD in English: Duration

PhD in English is a three-year program. It deals to impart students with the required theoretical background and research skills where students research and comprehension of works published in the English language in various historical periods, from prehistoric times to the post-modern era.

PhD in English: Fees

Some of the top Colleges/Universities offering Ph.D , location, along with their fees are given below: 


INR 30,000


INR 70,000


INR 31,568


INR 6,000


INR 68,000

PhD in English: Eligibility

The minimum eligibility for PhD English Literature is a master's degree in the English language with a minimum of 55% aggregate in the discipline passed from a recognized university.

PhD in English Admission Process

The completion of a Masters-level degree is the primary qualification for admission to PhD English programs. An M.A. in the arts or an M.Phil. Students who are taking final exams may also apply to take the entrance test. Such students should be ready for the State Level Eligibility Tests (SLETs), the CSIR-NET, or the GATE entrance exams.

It's critical to keep in mind that passing results on these tests are a criterion for admission. Additionally, keep in mind that SLET results are only important for the state. However, GATE and CSIR-NET exam results are accepted at all Indian universities. Only a few Indian universities accept GATE scores, but all Indian institutes accept CSIR-NET scores.

PhD in English Entrance Examinations

There are several routes for a deserving student to gain admission to a PhD in English. In addition to the admission tests mentioned above, the relevant universities also hold university-level exams. Merit-based admissions are used by several universities.

PhD English: Important dates of Entrance Exams

Written below are the important dates for PhD in English entrance exam :

CSIR UGC NET (June Session)  2nd week of March – 2nd week of April 20233rd week of June 2023
December 29, 2022 – January 23, 2023February 21, 2023 – March 10, 2023
JNUEETo be AnnouncedTo be Announced

PhD in English: Syllabus

Deep reflection and social awareness are key components of a PhD in English course. The following domains make up the learning experiences for PhD students, though the names of the subjects may vary from university to university.

A detailed syllabus for the PhD The English course is provided in the table below. The presentation is thorough in the syllabus. Depending on the situation, individual universities may add additional sections.

: Nature and functions

Types of literary research

Error, evidence, and truth

Textual study and the search for the authoritative text

Problems of Authorship

Research Design

: necessity, methods and Utilization

Making Notes

Selecting and limiting the topic

Data collection: process, sources, types, and tools

Development of goals and theory (Meaning, Importance, Types, Sources, Characteristics, Forms,  Difficulties in Formulation, Testing).

Data collection: process, sources, types, and tools

Data: classification, tabulation, presentation, and analysis

Offering suggestions and recommendations

How to write a dissertation/ thesis?

What is a research paper? How to write a research paper?

Documentation Skills

Abbreviations from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (sixth edition).

A scholar and a critic: Vocations


Preparing at least two Research Papers one in each term.




: Language

ELT: an introduction (History, Place, Position, Problems, Prospects, and Future)

Language acquisition and language learning





Communicative Language Teaching

Computer aided language learning

English for academic purposes

English for specific purposes

Business English Communication: Business letter, Report Writing, E-Communication

: Theory of Translation

Translation: An Introduction.

Nature, meaning and its function.

Principles of correspondence

Theories of Translation

Art of translation

Sorts, process, issues and impediments of interpretation

Time: tense, mood and aspect

Concepts and notions

Idiom: from one culture to another

Transference, free rendering and transcreation

Translation and transliteration

Machine Translation

Translating literary, religious and scientific texts

Indian Literature in English Translation

Translation Theory: An Indian Perspective

: Books in Translation:

Patel, Pannalal: Endurance: A Droll Saga (Manvi Ni Bhavai) trans. Prof. V. Y. Kantak, Sahitya Akademi Publications.

Tagore, Rabindranath: Gitanjali, trans. William Radich, Penguin.

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot, Faber, and Faber.

Gandhi, M.K.:My Experiments with Truth (Satya na Prayogo) trans. Mahadevbhai Desai, Navjivan Press.



Students will learn to use computers in translation.




The research scholar will be required to write a dissertation on a topic to be selected in consultation with the faculty.

In consultation with the faculty, the research scholar has the option of translating a book from L1 into English that is at least 100 pages long, or the other way around. The researcher will discuss issues, problems, solutions, and other difficulties encountered while deciphering the work that is currently being done.

Ghosh, Amitav: The Shadow Lines, Mariner Books, 2005

Literature Without Borders

Bhagat, Chetan: One Night at the Call Center, Rupa, 2005.

Shakespeare, William: Hamlet, Penguin.

Computer orientation

Use of Language Learning Software to improve LSRW.

Computer-aided language learning and teaching.



PhD in English: Colleges in India

PhD in English: Colleges in Delhi

Phd in english: college comparison.

PhD in English at Loyal College vs PhD in English at Chandigarh University

OverviewEstablished in 1925, Loyola College has enjoyed autonomy since that year. This college offers UG, PG, and PhD programs in the humanities, the sciences, and business.The Punjab State Legislature passed an act on July 10, 2012, creating the university. It is recognized by University Grants Commission under Section 2(f) with the right to confer degrees as per Section 22(1) of the UGC Act, 1956
NIRF Ranking0627
Average FeesINR 6,000 per yearINR 70,000 per year
Average Salary PackageINR 3,50,000INR 4,00,000
Top RecruitersAmazon, GenMedic, IBS, Stratagem Solutions

Google, Amazon, VMWare, Dell, Deloitte, Sapient, HP, L&T infotech, HCL, Godrej, Everest, Apollo


PhD in English: Salary

A PhD holder's pay will vary depending on their subject and job. PhD in English jobs in India are available in both the public and private sectors.  The typical pay for new hires is between INR 3.5 and 5 LPA. Depending on your qualifications and expertise, it might rise to INR 6–12 LPA. The work scope will expand with experience and expertise. Additionally, government universities will pay professors INR 6 LPA in salaries.

Given below are the PhD in English jobs along with their respective salaries:

Content Writer

INR 4.5 – 5 LPA

Head of Department English

INR 10 – 12 LPA

Technical Writer

INR 6.5 – 8 LPA

Movie Critic

INR 3.8 – 4.5 LPA


INR 5.5 – 6 LPA

Translator Public Relations Office

INR 3.5 – 4 LPA

PhD in English: Job 

After earning a PhD in English, jobs in the creative and educating industries are available. Schools and colleges are the first significant locations where PhD in English-qualified scholars may apply for jobs because they are where English is taught the most. They have the option of beginning as Teacher Assistants and moving up to Department Head. Critics may work in the creative field if they have a PhD in cinematography or broadcast media certification. Like articles moderators, and critics. Publisher houses that check and edit books before they are eventually published may also have critics.

The types of work profiles that research scholars completing Ph.Ds in English you obtain are listed below. At this point, it's crucial to keep in mind that a PhD graduate may begin at entry-level or even nominal levels. The prospect doesn't become qualified for higher positions until after a few years of work experience. However, compared to graduates and postgraduates with master's degrees, this frequently happens more quickly.

Listed below is a table that shows a few of the job profiles after completion of the PhD in English.

Content Writer


Sites that rely on information are more likely to use this position. Experts in this field are becoming more and more sought-after.

Head of Department English

The English department's head of division oversees the faculty. They take care of the department's professors and raise the students' standards of instruction.

Technical Writer

For programming, medical, and literary fields, technical writers create and draft correspondences.

Movie Critic

A critique evaluates a movie's value. These might appear in movies, books, or broadcasts.

Copy Editor

This job role is popular in publishing houses. The appointee has to proofread and make write-ups error-free.

PhD in English: Future Scope

PhD English has very promising potential. Despite having a majority of Hindi speakers, English is used in nearly every industry. The most popular career options in India right now are working as a critic, penning publications, and reviewing books and movies.

1. PhD in Religious Studies

In this students probably read a few religious texts as an English major, and regardless of your affiliation (if any), you comprehend their significance. Actually, you don't have to be religious to pursue a PhD in religious studies. Studying religion entails studying ethics, convictions, societies, and individuals.

2. PhD in Linguistics

Language studies, also known as linguistics, cover all facets of language as well as the techniques used to study and model them. When reading a line of dialogue in literary fiction, did you notice how clear the dialect was

3.  PhD in History

Record, of course, is the study of the past. At the same, background helps us understand change and how the community we now live in came to be.

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again".– Maya Angelou.

A component of being a student of history is gaining the ability to sort through varied, usually conflicting interpretations. Your bachelor's degree in English will set you up for success.

4.  PhD in Media Studies

The works of writers give us direct access to what it means to be human in all its complexity and mystery, just like all other forms of art do. If you discovered that your favorite aspect of majoring in English was the art and literature you encountered, you might want to think about pursuing a PhD in something like Media Studies.

5.  PhD in Political Science

Political science and English may at first seem like odd bedfellows. But during your undergraduate studies, you already developed a solid foundation in critical reading and thinking, approached literary analysis through a variety of lenses, and identified the influences of culture, politics, and social issues scattered throughout a work.

Many great works contain references to political, economic, and their interactions. Understanding the historical and philosophical roots of political values is possible through the study of political science.

6. PhD in English

Predictably, a significant in English greatly aids in your preparation for an English Ph.D

A PhD in English provides students with the in-depth understanding of literary criticism they need to meet faculties around the world, from the earliest poetic developments in Old English to the most recent creative work currently being published. You can research literature from the Middle Ages, African American literature, or literature written during the American Revolution, depending on your area of expertise.

Your English bachelor's degree provided you with a large overview, but your PhD will enable you to focus on one area of expertise and develop it further.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a doctorate in english entail.

After earning a PhD in English, there are numerous career options. Writing, training, authorship, and public relations officers can all pursue careers that allow them to interact with people.

What is the average salary for a PhD in English?

The average salary for a Ph. D in an English career in India for the doctorates is around INR 7LPA.

What is the eligibility for PhD in English from IGNOU?

Students must have finished their Master's Degree from a University recognized by UGC.

How useful is a PhD in English?

A PhD in English Literature offers a great opportunity to gain valuable skills in critical analysis, communication, independent research, collaboration, and many more.

Is a Doctorate entrance exam required?

Entrance exams are the main factor in determining PhD admittance in 2023, but some universities also accept merit-based applications.

Can someone do PhD without a Master's?

The chances of being accepted into a PhD program are slim to none if candidate don't have the appropriate educational background in the field.

What is the duration of PhD in english course?

The duration of PhD course is between 3 to 5 years.

Does IGNOU offer PhD in English?

Yes, IGNOU offers PhD in English.

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PHd (Doctor of Philosophy) in English Top Colleges, Admission, Syllabus, Books, Jobs and Scope 2024

who can do phd in english

Sushil Pandey

Senior Content Specialist

A Ph.D. English qualification is conferred on research scholars after completing research, thesis and related coursework in the English language. Research scholars who proceed further for a Ph.D. English study various ways of analysing texts, and question literature to its depths. Students get training in a pedagogic manner.

Colleges focus on emphasising in the dialogue nature of reading, learning and writing in the subject of English. A research scholar can expect an academic and intellectual adventure when wading through the course of PhD English.The PhD English courses are up to 5 years in duration. This depends on the university offering the course. During the duration of the course, the students would be learning different theories, and texts in the different forms, dialects and sects of English language. The course confers a doctoral degree to the student after they complete the dissertation. Some universities offer credits for their work. Such credits need to be completed in each year, to be eligible to proceed further.

To be eligible for a Ph.D. English course, the student should have completed their Masters's degrees. M.A. in English is required to be completed before one can take admission to Ph.D. in English. They should gain at least 50% marks in their examinations. Some universities and colleges also open up job applications in research on English. Such positions are usually under the titles of Research Fellows. This could be yet another way to get started with a Ph.D. English course. Some universities have entrance examinations for Ph.D.

Table of Content

PhD English Course Highlights

Phd english: what is it about.

2.1   Why Study?

PhD English Admission Process

3.1   Eligibility

3.2   Entrance Examinations

PhD English Top Colleges

4.1   College Comparison

PhD English Syllabus

5.1   Recommended Books

  • Course Comparison
  • PhD English Job Prospects

7.1   Future Scope

The following table provides information about the top universities that provide PhD English language. We also present information related to admission, fees and placements and entrance examination considered valid for the particular university. The fees for the PhD English course varies across the universities in India. University of Mumbai has a fee of INR 2,500 per year. Students have to pay INR 10,000 for submission of synopsis. Thus in total for a PhD English through University of Mumbai , the student incurs INR 20,000 to 30,000. While some other institutes and universities have fees up to 1,20,000 INR per course.

The scope of work towards Research and development in the English language immensely increments with a PhD English degree. Thus the future prospects of a PhD English is in the domain of improving the language and helping the society at large to reduce jargon and appreciate the complexities of the language. Majorly, the focus will be on careers in writing, communication skills and decoding the complexities of age old literature.

PHD English Career Options

Journalism and media is an ever growing sector and has a high demand of PhD English scholars. One can begin their career from the position of editorial assistant for big publishing houses. Advertising agencies, becoming an advertising agency copywriter or a Public relations officer are some of the best positions to start a career after completing PhD English course.

Another exciting career but which would take time to pick up in growing is to become an author of their own books. Publishing your own books on scholastic subjects is also a good career option.

The starting salaries for students completing PhD English average around INR 31,500 per month. The higher side of the salaries can go up to INR 55,000 per month, while the lowest could be around INR 25,000 per month.

The University Grants Commission has created an integrated program which leads to a PhD English. There is a common entrance test for M.Phil - PhD English integrated program. The student will have to secure 50% marks in the conducted examination. In this course, the M.Phil will be of a 6 month duration instead of 1 year. Eligible students will then continue into PhD, while the rest will continue with the M.Phil course and reappear for the entrance examination.

The table below gives highlights about the PhD English course. Get to know eligibility, course fees, average salary and top recruiting companies for candidates completing PhD English courses.

Course Level Doctorate
Full-Form Doctor in Philosophy in English
Duration 3 to 5 years
Examination type Annual, Subjective
Eligibility M.A. in English or M.Phil. in English
Admission Process Based on direct interview of short-listed candidates.
Course Fee INR 2000 to 1.25 Lakh per year
Average Salary INR 4 to 8 lakhs
Top Recruiting Companies HCL, IBM, TATA Consultancy, Adobe, KPMG companies, HP, Lenovo, Indiatimes, Hindustan Times, Zee News, CNN, IBN7, Delhi University
Job Positions Editorial Assistant for big publishing houses, Advertising agency copywriter, Public relations Officer, Author
  • The PhD English course is the top most qualification that can be gained in the domain of English language.
  • The PhD English course helps to get high level positions where English is used as a primary language. A candidate completing this course gets to work in editorial positions, authorship, copy editors and higher positions where creativity is involved.
  • Students who pursue other courses related to Movie Critics, Motion picture editing etc are able to get higher responsibility jobs in the industry.
  • Although the start of the career may be similar to students starting their career after Bachelors and Masters, the vertical growth in the career is faster.
  • Content editing, authorship, motion picture editing and working as senior editors and head of department in English are some of the roles that are prominent after a PhD English course.

Why Study PhD English?

  • PhD English is the top most qualification in English language. The course is designed in such a way that it creates a universal standard in English studies
  • The course covers historical usage of English, analysis of current English knowledge relevant in the current social and economic objectives of the country.
  • The course brings in pedagogical roles like Educator, Content manager, Technical writers, literary and motion picture critics.
  • At the same time PhD English courses create a remarkable approach towards scholastic learning.
  • Students who enrol in this course have to register for thesis work. There is a lot of research and development in the usage of English and references to old works in English prose and poetry.

The basic eligibility criteria for gaining admission for PhD English courses is completion of the Masters level course. It could be M.A. in Arts or M.Phil. Students appearing for the final examinations can also apply for the entrance examination. Such students should prepare for the entrance examinations like GATE , CSIR-NET or the State Level Eligibility tests (SLETs).

It is important to remember that examination scores from these examinations are a mandatory requirement for admissions.

Also to remember is SLET scores are relevant only for the state. But examination scores of GATE and CSIR-NET are valid throughout all Indian universities. GATE score is accepted only by some Indian universities, while CSIR-NET score is accepted by all Indian universities.

The admission process for the PhD English course in India is usually straightforward.

Steps to apply for the course:

  • Complete Masters in Arts in English language or M.Phil.
  • Appear for entrance examination for the PhD entrance examination if required by the university and college.
  • Qualify for the All India National Eligibility Test for Lectureship, if required by the concerned university and college.
  • Fill up the admission forms raised by the respective university.
  • Attach relevant documents, mark sheets and certificates.
  • Fill up reservation quota details if any.
  • Appear for admission rounds as per instructions given out by the university.

PhD English: Eligibility

  • The candidate should have completed 10+2+3+2 of continuous study.
  • For taking admission in the PhD English program, the minimum eligibility is to have a Masters qualification in English language.
  • A Masters qualification can either be Masters of Arts in English language (M.A. English) or a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) .
  • Students who have completed the courses or are in their final year examinations are eligible to apply for the PhD English admission process.
  • Some universities may want a practical or work experience of a few years before one can apply for admission to the PhD courses.

PhD English Entrance Examinations

A meritorious student can get admission to PhD English in a number of ways.Apart from the above entrance exams, university level examinations are also conducted by respective universities. Some universities conduct admissions on the basis of merit.

Important dates of Entrance Exams

Examinations Registration Peiod Date of Examination
CSIR UGC NET (December Session)    To be Announced     To be Announced    
UGC NET (December Session)     To be Announced     To be Announced    
ICAR AICE JRF/SRF  To be Announced To be Announced

How to Prepare for PhD English Entrance Exams?

  • The entrance tests for PhD English courses are generally in Multiple Choice Questions - MCQ - pattern. The CSIR – NET   has 120 questions in 3 sections. The total marks that can be gained from the exam is 200. It has negative marking as well. The exam is conducted in English and Hindi languages.
  • The MCQ questions are based on various subjects relevant to the stream. The exams have negative marking in them and thus a good score can be gained only after correctly answering the questions.
  • Points to remember while attempting the examinations: The questions being asked in the examinations are not straight forward. They can be tricky. Thus it is very important to read the question twice or thrice before answering the question. It is very important to stay updated on the knowledge of the subject. There are a good number of questions which are based on the current updated knowledge and information.
  • Confirm the dates of the examinations and related concerns. Admit cards, admission rounds, entrance exam date and time of reporting are important to take note.
  • And most importantly, stay calm on the day of the exam. Stay grounded and do not get anxious about the exam.

Entrance Exams

How to get admission to a top Phd English college?

Admissions in India for Top PhD English colleges is a straightforward process.

  • Maintain a good performance record while pursuing M.A English or M.Phil. courses.
  • Appear for examinations like GATE, NET and university specific examinations.
  • Keep knowledge related to general subjects, English prose and poetry.
  • Keep a watch on the previous year cut off marks in the entrance examinations.
  • Through the last year of your masters course, dedicate a whole year for the preparation of exams for PhD English.
  • Try to give mock tests, papers available online or in your college library.
  • Short list the colleges you would want to take admission into. Keep in mind, not all states have top colleges in PhD English. Thus, be prepared to relocate.
  • Keep in mind your future goal. A PhD English from different colleges will give varied scope after completion of PhD.
  • Since you would be spending up to 5 years in PhD English, keep a watch on side courses that can be done along, to help boost your career options.

The table below gives a list of top colleges in India , where one can take admission for PhD English. Find details related to fees, admission process, accreditation and location for these colleges:

Institutes Location Accreditation Annual Fees
Chennai NAAC INR 6,000
Bangalore NAAC, UGC INR 35,000
Chandigarh AICTE, AIU, NAAC, UGC INR 85,000
Chennai AICTE, NAAC INR 5,000
Jaipur AICTE, AIU, BCI, PCI, UGC INR 1,41,000
Jaipur NAAC, UGC INR 1,44,500
Kolkata NAAC, UGC INR 14,500
Bhubaneshwar AICTE, BCI,DCI, INC, MCI INR 75,000
Kanpur UGC INR 64,050
Bhuvaneshwar AICTE INR 31,568

PhD English College Comparison

The table below gives a comparison between the Loyola College and Presidency College of Chennai. Both of them provide PhD English courses.

Find out the difference between them in key areas.

Parameters Loyola College Presidency College
Overview Loyola college was established in 1925 and has been granted autonomous status since 1978. This college provides UG, PG and Doctoral courses in Arts, Sciences and Commerce. Presidency college was established in 1840. It provides UG, PG and doctoral courses in Arts, Science and Commerce.
NIRF Ranking 06 05
Location Chennai Chennai
Average Fees INR 6,000 per year INR 5,000 per year
Average Salary Package INR 3,50,000 INR 4,00,000
Top Recruiting Companies Amazon, GenMedic, IBS, Stratagem Solutions TCS, Infosys, Adobe

PHD English College Comparison: Annual Fees & Salary

Source: College Websites

A PhD English course is about deep introspection and societal awareness. While the names of the subjects could change from university to university, PhD students learn through the following domains.

The table below gives a detailed syllabus of the PhD English course. The syllabus is a comprehensive presentation. Individual universities may add some more sections as may be applicable.

Paper I: Research Methodology (Theory)
Research: Nature and functions Types of literary research
Error, evidence and truth Textual study and the search for authoritative text
Problems of Authorship Search for Origins
Literature review: necessity, methods and utilization Research Design
Selecting and limiting the topic Making Notes
Development of goals and theory (Meaning – Importance – Types –Sources – Characteristics –Forms – Difficulties in Formulation-Testing). Data collection: process, sources, types and tools
Data: classification, tabulation, presentation and analysis Offering suggestions and recommendations
How to write a dissertation/ thesis? What is a research paper? How to write a research paper?
Documentation Skills Abbreviations from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (sixth edition).
A scholar and a critic: Vocations
Practical Work
Preparing a Research Proposal in first term. Preparing at least two Research Papers one in each term.
Learn to use libraries and online sources for research. Students will visit British library, INFLIBNET and at least two university libraries and prepare a project.
Paper II: English Language and Literature (Theory)
Part A Language ELT: an introduction (History, Place, Position, Problems, Prospects and Future)
Language acquisition and language learning Listening
Speaking Reading
Writing Communicative Language Teaching
Computer aided language learning English for academic purposes
English for specific purposes Business English Communication: Business letter, Report Writing, E Communication
Basic concepts of Language Testing and assessment Teaching Literature
Paper III Translation: Theory
Part A Theory of Translation Translation: An Introduction.
Nature, meaning and its function. Principles of correspondence
Theories of Translation Art of translation
Sorts, process, issues and impediments of interpretation Time: tense, mood and aspect
Concepts and notions Idiom: from one culture to another
Transference, free rendering and transcreation Translation and transliteration
Machine Translation Translating literary, religious and scientific texts
Indian Literature in English Translation Translation Theory: An Indian Perspective
Part B: Books in Translation: Patel, Pannalal: Endurance: A Droll Saga (Manvi Ni Bhavai) trans. Prof. V. Y. Kantak, Sahitya Akademi Publications.
Tagore, Rabindranath: Gitanjali, trans. William Radich, Penguin. Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot, Faber and Faber.
Gandhi, M.K.:My Experiments with Truth (Satya na Prayogo) trans. Mahadevbhai Desai, Navjivan Press.
Practical Work
Interpretation of least 30 pages from English to L1 or the other way around. Students will learn to use computers in translation.
Translation of at least two oral discourses from English into L1 and vice versa. Audio CD and recording will be used for the same.
Paper IV: Dissertation
The research scholar will be required to write a dissertation on a topic to be selected in consultation with the faculty. The research scholar can opt for translating a book containing not less than 100 pages from L1 into English or vice versa in consultation with the faculty. The researcher will describe, prepare and talk about issues, issues, arrangements, and so forth confronted amid deciphering the work in forward.
Ghosh, Amitav: The Shadow Lines, Mariner Books, 2005 Literature Without Borders
Bhagat, Chetan: One Night at the Call Center, Rupa, 2005. Shakespeare, William: Hamlet, Penguin.
Practical Work
Computer orientation Use of Language Learning Software to improve LSRW.
Computer aided language learning and teaching.

The first year starts with Research Methodology which is a theoretical approach to the subject. Further, the student gets to prepare their research proposal for their PhD. They would also focus on elective subjects at 500 level and participate in pedagogy based seminars.

In the further years, there is a focus on advanced theories. Students are expected to take up independent studies while logistically assisting their professors with UG courses.

PhD English Recommended Books

The following is the list of Indian Authors in English literature:

Name of the book Author
Malgudi Days R.K Narayan
Untouchable Mulk Raj Anand
Train to Pakistan Khushwant Singh
The Room on the Roof Ruskin Bond

The following is the list of international Authors in English literature:

Name of the book Author
The Tragical Historie of Hamlet William Shakespeare
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Songs of Innocence and of Experience William Blake
David Copperfield Charles Dickens

PhD English Course Comparison

  • PhD English vs PhD English Literature

PhD English literature is a niche course and is offered only by a few universities and colleges in India. PhD English is available at most of the universities.

Below table gives a comparison between both the courses.

Parameters PhD English PhD English Literature
Full form Doctor in Philosophy in English Doctor in Philosophy in English Literature
Domain English language all applications like literature, filmography, broadcast media English Literature only
Degree Type Doctorate Doctorate
Admission Process Based on entrance examinations and direct interviews Direct interview of shortlisted candidates
Course Fee INR 2,000 to 5 lakhs INR 12,000 to 1,25,000
Average starting salary INR 4 to 8 lakhs per annum INR 5 to 8 lakhs per annum
Top recruiting companies HCL, IBM, TATA Consultancy, Adobe, KPMG companies, HP, Lenovo, Indiatimes, Hindustan Times, Zee News, CNN, IBN7, Delhi University Adobe, Penguin Random House, Hachette India, Balaji Motion Pictures, Reliance Big Entertainment

PHD English Course Comparison: Average Fees & Salary Package

PhD English Job Prospects and Career Options

The jobs available after completion of PhD English are related to teaching institutions and creative sectors.

Being the first most places of learning English, schools, colleges are the first areas of importance where PhD English qualified scholars can apply for jobs. They can start with Teacher Assistants and progress to become Head of Departments.

Those PhD holders who have certification in Cinematography or broadcast media can work in the creativity sector as Critics. Critics are like moderators of content.

Critics can also be in publisher houses who would check and moderate books before getting finally published.

PhD English Job Profiles

Following table gives the types of Job profiles that can be gained by research scholars completing PhD English. It is important to remember at this juncture, that a PhD pass out would start at a nominal level or even at entry levels. It is only after a few years of work experience that the candidate becomes eligible for higher positions. But this is usually at a faster rate as compared to Graduates and Post graduates with Masters qualifications.

Given below is a table which shows few of the job profiles after completion of PhD English.

Job Profile Job Description Average Annual Salary
Head of Department English The Head of Department for English department takes care of the teachers in the department. They look after the teachers in the department and improve the teaching standards for the students. INR 12,94,509
Movie Critic A critic assesses the quality of a motion picture. These could be in films, print and broadcast media. INR 4,65,378
Content Writer This job role is popular among content based websites. The need for experts in this domain is rising and growing popular. INR 5,00,849
Copy Editor This job role is popular in publishing houses. The appointee has to proofread and make write ups error free. INR 6,19,322
Technical Writer Technical writer creates and drafts correspondences for programming, scientific and literary domains. INR 8,12,993

The following graph gives an idea about the salaries of various job profiles and the average annual salaries offered for the same.

PHD English Salary Trends

Source: Salary Expert

A PhD doctor possesses exceptional analytical and observation skills. Such skills are absolutely required towards the growth of the language, improving the usage by the locales. It also helps to create people who would focus on improving the social produce of a community.

Some of the private companies that engage PhD English scholars are:

  • TATA Consultancy
  • Eros Entertainment

Even the government sector looks for scholars of high qualifications.

They are required by government companies like:

  • Doordarshan
  • Press Information Bureau
  • Bureau of Outreach & Communication
  • Publications Division
  • Office of the Registrar of Newspapers for India
  • Central Board of Film Certification
  • Films Division
  • Directorate of Film Festivals
  • Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC)

PhD English Future Scope

The future of PhD English is very bright. Although being a Hindi dominant country, English is used in almost every possible sector and domain. Working as critics, writing books, critic for novels and motion pictures are the current career aspects in India.

Technical writers and certified translators are the need of today in every sector of industry.

Ques. What is the scope of PhD English?

Ans. There is a wide scope of opportunities after completing PhD English. Career options in the field of literature writing, teaching, authorship and public relations officers open up to connect with people.

Ques. Would it be worth doing a PhD English?

Ans. If the meaning of worth is the qualification, then definitely a PhD has the highest worth of study in the language of English. If the worth being searched for is in the career options, then the meaning could differ. A research scholar starts as an assistant for an editor or may start as an information officer. Now even graduate students would get these positions and the salaries may not be hugely different than that of a graduate student.

But if a PhD scholar grows in their career, accepts various challenges, then further growth and benefit of PhD is visible.

Ques. Are there international opportunities for candidates with PhD English?

Ans. Candidates with PhD English would have a lot of scope. Although everyone learns English language, there are only a few works which are done in English language. But English speaking countries would present a lot of opportunities for PhD English language scholars. When we say international opportunities, these mean going abroad to work for a foreign company, or may also mean to work from within India for the international company.

Ques. Can I get admission to Ph.D. after completing B.A.?

Ans. In India, PhD can be pursued only after completing Masters in a relevant subject. Thus a Masters degree is necessary with a focus on English literature.

Ques. Is there a Dual degree option available?

Ans. The University Grants commission has created an integrated course with M.Phil-PhD In this course the M.Phil. is shortened for 6 months duration. The student needs to give an entrance examination after 6 months in the course. Those who gain 55% in the examination will be able to move forward into PhD while the rest will continue with M.Phil.

Ques. What is better for a career; B.A., M.A., M.Phil or PhD English?

Ans. India is a multilingual country with Hindi being the national language. An education in languages is considered to be the utmost important. A graduate student with a B.A. qualification can get jobs in various functional levels. They can take up positions in public relations or even teaching in primary schools. Doing M.A. or M.Phil. opens up opportunities in the secondary and professional course levels in career. When a student goes for PhD there are various opportunities which open up in research, development and growth of the language. Thus a PhD would not necessarily help in government jobs. The salary levels of Masters and PhD holders are almost comparable. But if the PhD scholar aims for a career in English speaking countries, then it would definitely be meritorious.

Ques. What research topics are relevant for PhD English?

Ans. Some of the research topics that can be sought for are:

  • Origins of English language
  • Early Modern English - Influence of Industrial Revolution
  • Challenges of learning English as a second language
  • The prominent contributors and writers in English Literature
  • The political, economical and sociological effects of English literature in our day to day life.

Ques. How is life after completing PhD English?

Ans. A PhD scholar gets a qualification of Doctor in Philosophy. A PhD scholar is considered as the top most expert in the English language. Jobs in India are available with publisher houses, colleges. Jobs outside India have a brighter scope. A PhD is the top most education qualification being conferred on to successful students.

Ques. What is the registration process for PhD courses at various universities?

Ans. While each university has their own rules for giving admissions, they are governed by the UGC. UGC has laid out requirements for Masters qualification and an entrance test to be conducted. Some universities also consider the score of NET to take admissions in PhD in English. The course has a specified layout of curriculum for 3 to 5 years duration. This includes the academic part, research and development of the Thesis part and teaching part.

Ques. What is a Critics job in the production domain?

Ans. A Critic is a person responsible to assess and rate motion pictures. Critics are required for print and broadcast media. PhD English when covering film studies, news coverage and cinematography with a 4 year certification are able to work in specific roles with a high salary pay scale.

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20 Reviews found

Insight of my college

my class has been taught by two amazing professors Dr. Neha Soi and Dr. Jasmine Anand. We were taught research methodology by Dr.Jasmine Anand. she has helped us not only in our academics but also taught us to grow and broad our vision as a researcher. Her inclusive method of teaching helped us understand the journey which we have started. She is extremely caring when it comes to her students and is always ready to help in any form. Apart from being an exceptional mentor, she taught us things which cannot e found in any book. She has helped us to see the bigger picture, to get prepared for the experiences or struggles we will go through as a researcher. She has a very professional and disciplined aproach regarding our curriculum which taught us to value discipline and have a well structured approach towards things. We enjoyed and learnt a lot from her.

Campus Life :

The campus has a very active social life. There are lot of events and extracurricular activities offered on campus. Students are given lot of options to join different clubs to pursue different passions. We have a centrally air conditioned library where students can study as well as explore wide range of books. Research scholar have their own room available to them. Each student is given their own personal locker and there are computers to access their materials.

Journeying Through Research

In our batch there are six research scholars, pursuing research in different fields within english literature. The faculty-to-student ratio is two is to six, which makes the learning expereince more personalized, inviting diverstity in opinions and interactive sessions. Our professors, Dr. Neha Soi and Dr. Jasmine Anand are two versatile professionals, who are not only wonderful teachers but are also great research experts. Dr. Anand taught us research methodology. Her unique teaching style was characterised by a balance between theorteical knowledge and practical know how of research, which is imperative in enriching our research acumen. The concepts taught by both professors, were aptly substantiated by useful examples that simplfied the argument and made it easy to understand. Their pedagogy style promoted application based knowlege, to make us analyse literature more critically.

Course Curriculum Overview :

Our course curriculum is in sync with the critical thought making it more interesting than mundane. It encompasses various theories, catering to various fields of human research that makes it inter-discplinary in nature. The applicaiton based approach of the curriculum makes it more relevant to research as it can be applied in the critical analysis of real world problems.

Mangalayatan University, Aligarh though a PhD Scholar's lens

I am part time PhD scholar. My department is well equipped and faculty members are also very supportive. Hostel facility is good. Students from different parts of the country stay here and study. When I went there for first presentation, I really liked the social atmosphere.

I wanted to pursue PhD from the university which has good grade from NAAC. My priority was Part Time phd course and Mangalayatan University, Aligarh offered that course. Faculty members are well qualified and knowledgeable.

Internships Opportunities :

There is a Good Internship opportunities for students with a stipend. The Reputed companies will offer better placement for the students who get top marks or rank in their courses. Projects will be given according to the curriculum, and students' performance will be noted. Further clarifications should be done based on their outcomes and tasks. Faculties help the students and excel them to perform well in their next projects.

Loan/ Scholarship Provisions :

For a Ph.D., one has to pay Rs.16500 initially, and for the next year, it would be around 13,000 and continues to the upcoming year too. There is a state scholarship for the scholars who enrolled in Ph.D. They will get financial assistance or a stipend of Rs.5000 per month. Getting a job is easier once the scholar completes his /her course.

My period in Stella

The institution has clubs for music, dance, elocution, and debate and students take part in these events throughout the year when intra-college and inter-college is organized. The institution has a great and updated library with almost all journals available. The class rooms are equipped with smartboards and speakers. Sports and extracurricular activities do happen. The National Cadet Corps is the best in the institution. The dance club is run by students.

Initially, when I joined in 2014 the research fee was 11000 for one year. Later the institution increased it to 18000rs. The research study is for 3 years and extended to another 2 and a bonus of 1 year. JRF is a scholarship a research-based candidate can avail of. Also, there is various financial assistance provided based on one's religion as it's a catholic institution. I used to teach and avail a stipend during my years on campus.

Research scholar at osmania university

I will choose this course for the job .in our college the faculty is very well. the qualified faculty will award a Ph.D. we will write the exam only once time we will get the best masks. this is totally about our college.

Fee payment mode scholarship the scholarship name is Mahatma Jyothi papule scholarship. No hike in fee normal fee ranges to poor people also facility to join in our collage Hostel and Mess also available in our college

A quick view of Ph.D English at Amity University Noida

Ph.D. English helps you become eligible for academic teaching. It is the highest qualification in India. The faculty of the English department is very fine and knowledgeable. They also address individual issues very efficiently. Each Ph.D. scholar gets an individual guide whom they can approach whenever required. The exams are conducted only at the end of the coursework of 1st semester. The exams are conducted efficiently and students are made to prepare for them well in advance.

Placement Experience :

Ph.D. scholars in their 3rd semesters are allowed to teach on the campus. They are paid from rs.350-1250 per class depending on their department. After the completion, of course, they also can offer you a permanent teaching job at their campus. The salary would be between 50k to 1lakh per month. I would want to teach on the campus after the completion of my degree.

My college life

I love this course because I decided this course before 12 th class the college faculties are very good quality the teacher teaching method are very good the all teachers help poor students the all teachers love every student of college the all teachers are very interested in study the all teachers have many experiences and very qualifications

The college campus situation was very good quality, college campus are big and beautiful the many groups of social work oraganised by students the many students play many game in this campus the college library are very big and all books are available in this

Awesome and Superb experience in PhD in English

I want to become Assistant Professor so I have opted for the Ph.D. program. Also, I have a keen interest in the field of literature so it is a good opportunity for me. The faculty members in the dept. of English of GLA University are very supportive and enthusiastic. They continuously push their students to do better and helps them to excel in their field of interest. Although GLA is a technical institution, it is equally good for the students who are interested in the subject of English. They run master's as well as doctorate programs in English literature, language, and linguistics. All the faculty members are Ph.D. holders or NET qualified and they are very professional in their work. From time to time assignments are given to the students which will enhance their academic skills. In the doctorate program, a student has to clear a coursework exam which is held after 6 months from the commencement of the course.

There are many student-centric clubs in every department. These clubs promote extracurricular activity among students and also, gave them the opportunity to participate in various literary events held on campus. There is a central library on the campus as well as a departmental library in every department. The collection of books are high and updated. Also, in the pandemic era, the university has provided an online library to students. A significant feature of GLA University, all the classrooms, teachers-room, staff rooms or libraries are air-conditioned. The department of English organizes Brij Literature Festival every year and there are many college events organize by every department. Literio and Poetry club are the clubs that are run by the dept. of English and it organizes many events like Kathyogita, painting competition, dance competition, poetry competition, skit program, etc.

Student's Review On Indira Gandhi National Open University - [IGNOU], New Delhi

The course structure was very intresting it never gave us bored or steal our focus out to study.This is the best college for cultural festivals many celebrities were the student of this college and start there journay from here some of them are Legendry Gazal Singer Jagjit Singh Ji,International Aasker award wiiner song singer and bollywoods famous singer Sukhwinder Singh.Punjabi Raj Gayak Hansraj Hans and so many on.

Overall this college is very good and full fill all the modern requirements of the students yes som whar strictness is there but I think that is required.Yes, many scholarship programs are there for poor students and for toppers too and yes Bank can also provide you the study loan to study in this college

Good college

The faculty of the college is outstanding and also very supportive and interacting. They help the students in every possible way and find new ways so that the students can learn not just reading or listening but watching and understand me

There are various clubs and associations in the Institution and students can join them according to their interest and they can enhance their skills and even showcase them through various competitions conducted by the institution

Conducting research in english

The time that is provided by the college to complete the course of PhD in English is for three years. Students have to submit their research work in these three years without fail. However, extra allowance is given in case students are unable to finish the research or have to resubmit the research work.

It is necessary for courses such as mine to have a relaxation period so that the pressure does not become too much for the students. It is also the responsibility of the college to take care of their students in different possible ways even through arranging events and activities.

Parth's Review On Trivandrum University College, Thiruvananthapuram

Admission :.

I had completed my Master's degree in Science when I enrolled for Ph.D. here, but I always wanted to do something in English, anything. There was an entrance test that I had to give, and I passed, so that's how I ended up here, which is a good thing.

The faculty members were very nice and kind. Generally when you like a subject and the teacher isn't good, you lose interest in the subject. But I had my interest in this course intact as our professors used easy tricks to teach us.

Proud to be part of such great Instution

Selection to phd is generally done on the basis of their performance in the written test and personal interview. Candidates must be qualified from a recognized institute to apply.The selection process is designed to test the aptitude of the candidate towards the course for which the application has been received. This includes research methodology, and subject specific knowledge relevant to the course

University have very big campus which I liked very much, there is big library which is well maintained and library have all the reference books available. College have digital library to ease the learning process for the students.

PhD in English in Maulana Azad university

Course curriculum designed to fill all the needs of future doctors. The whole curriculum focuses on four skills of a language, teaching approaches, research methodologies, learning techniques, speaking and Oral sessions, creative writing and more. All of this is a passport document to your exams. Indeed, exams would not be hard, only unless you read all the materials and prepare yourself mentally. Then, you will pass easily.

Alumni/Alumna :

Seniors here are our model, they are too much supportive especially at times of exams. We are always keeping asking them about all the details regarding studies, researches and writing techniques, and they are all the time giving us instructions to improve our skills. Definitely, in other colleges you might find students ragging and fighting all the time. But, it is not the case here, because they are tolerant and educated.

To be confident

After completing masters degree with first position entrance exam held after selection in entrance exam seats alloted to candidate after the entrance exam 6 monthly course work classes to be attended a descriptive exam for research methodology and computer awareness after passing course work exam DRC 1 and DRC2 for choosen a topic of your interests held Then after DRCs a RDC for selection and rejection of your choosed topic synopsis are submitted in RDC and select reject of your topic and RdC committee decided allotment of research topic letter or give a second chance for revised synopsis for completion of desired topic allotment of RDC letter after the letter your research work starts.It's a lengthy processes some times interest are down day by day and you stop any time your work is not done as you decided at starting of course so if the structure will be changed and course work will be skipped or shorter than good

Course is mainly based on our own interests topic since 2015 I am connected and doing my research on my topic After completing masters degree with first position then entrance exam held then after 6 months course work then DRC 2 nd DRC then RDC allotment of research topic or choosen for completion of PhD

Shakthi Vendhan's Review On Anna University - [AU], Chennai

The university tops in the state. The job opportunities for the students are provided well by the university. The MNC companies' first target would be this university. Internships are also provided for the learners. But the stipend is limited only to few students and not for everyone.

Took the enterance test which had elements such as MCQ, detailed answers and presented the research proposals and got selected in the merit list. Later the dissertation idea was well decided and it was presented in front of the doctoral committee members and got it approved.

There is a huge list of fellowships and schemes for doctoral students in this renowned university. Any national or international fellowship can be utilized here. Additionally there is a provision of state govt fellowship schemes. In case of doctoral degree there is no loan facility.

Every department of JU has its separate alumni network. Every year they met in a special occasion called "Samonnoy". They exchange their thoughts and feelings. Both alumnis and current students organize this event every year and decorate with various live performances.

Gurpal Singh Rana

Gurpal Singh Rana's Review On Lovely Professional University - [LPU], Jalandhar

Exam structure :.

University focuses on multiple dimensions of learning where they have structured around the concepts of Lecture, Tutorials, Practicals, capstone Projects, Internships, Entrepreneurial programs and industrial apprenticeships. Exams follow a continuous formative assessment followed by Mid Term and End Term summative assessment. Timetable of a student across the campus runs into a schedule of 25-30 hours of teaching load.

Faculty is an excellent product mix having wide range of experience plus qualification of a doctorate. They would always make classes very lively and interesting and in all it was always an enriching experience for me. Behaviourally as well as ethically teachers observed high amount of ethics in all forms of interactions with the students and will properly guide before and after every evaluation component.

Oliva Roy

Precious Moments

As I am a student of English Literature, so there's no provision of campusing for us. Although UGC and the institute provide fellowships for the research scholars, which is about rs.25000 per month along with a contingency of Rs.10000 per annum.

There are, at present, four professors in the department. All of them are highly qualified. Apart from their educational qualification, they are very cordial and friendly with all of the students. They always guide us and co-operate with us.

Ph.D. (Economics)

Ph.d. (history), m.phil. (english), ph.d. (hindi), ph.d. (sociology), ph.d. (business management), master of science [ms], ph.d. (mathematics), ph.d. (physics), ph.d. (zoology), ph.d. (english) colleges in india.

IIT Kanpur - Indian Institute of Technology - [IITK]

IIT Kanpur - Indian Institute of Technology - [IITK]

National Law University - [NLU]

National Law University - [NLU]

Amity University

Amity University

Jamia Millia Islamia University-[JMI]

Jamia Millia Islamia University-[JMI]

Chandigarh University - [CU]

Chandigarh University - [CU]

Banaras Hindu University - [BHU]

Banaras Hindu University - [BHU]

Anna University - [AU]

Anna University - [AU]

Amity University


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PhD Application Support

UChicagoGRAD supports current master’s students and recent master’s alumni in applying for PhD and professional school programs. Our career advisors have successfully coached hundreds of students from all disciplines through the PhD application process. Drawing upon their own experience and years of advising expertise, UChicagoGRAD advisors understand what it takes to craft a strong application.

A successful PhD application includes, but is not limited to, the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal History Statement
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Writing Sample (for select fields)
  • Letters of Recommendation

Want to learn more about the PhD application process? Review the GRAD Guide to PhD Program Applications . Want to review your application materials and discuss your strategy in a one-on-one advising appointment?  Make an advising appointment  via GRAD Gargoyle .

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International applicants whose native language is not English are required to provide proof of English proficiency for admission to degree, certificate, non-degree, and teacher license graduate programs in  one  of the following ways:

The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars (OGSPS) accepts the following TOEFL English proficiency test scores: TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test), TOEFL iBT Home Edition, TOEFL iBT Paper Edition, and TOEFL Essentials † . To learn more about these test options visit www.toefl.org .

Minimum TOEFL Scores Required by the OGSPS for Admission


(Internet-based, Home Edition, Paper Edition, Paper-Delivered*)

TOEFL Essentials













Minimum Overall Required for Admission



Note: Some graduate programs require higher minimum scores than those listed above. Please review the English proficiency requirements for your specific program of interest here .

To be valid for admission, TOEFL test scores must be no more than two years old at the time the recommendation for admission is received at the OGSPS.

Purdue University must receive official TOEFL scores directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS). For more information about transmitting test scores, visit  www.toefl.org .

Your application must be submitted and paid for official test scores to match to your application. Score reports are sent to Purdue University electronically, approximately 10 to 15 days after your test date. Once your score report has been sent, it may take an additional 2 to 3 weeks or longer for your application checklist to update and show received.

Purdue Institution Codes

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  • Purdue University Fort Wayne – 1336

† Essentials Test: The TOEFL Essentials requirements of the OGSPS are not accepted by all graduate programs. Please review the English proficiency requirements for your specific program of interest here .

‡ iBT (Test Center and Home Edition): In addition to required iBT minimum scores for writing, speaking, listening, and reading, the OGSPS also requires a minimum overall iBT score that is higher than the minimums for the four area tests combined. Applicants must meet or exceed each of the five scores for admission to the OGSPS.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars (OGSPS) accepts IELTS (Academic Module) English proficiency test scores. For more information about these testing options, visit  www.IELTS.org

Minimum IELTS Scores Required by the OGSPS for Admission











Minimum Overall Required for Admission


To be valid for admission, IELTS test scores must be no more than two years old at the time the recommendation for admission is received at the OGSPS.

Official IELTS test scores can be uploaded to your applicant status portal after application submission under IELTS Score Report, sent electronically to the Purdue University Office of International Admissions, or the hard copy score report can be mailed directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars (OGSPS) accepts the Duolingo English test. To learn more about this test option visit https://englishtest.duolingo.com/applicants.  

Minimum Duolingo English Test Score Required by the OGSPS for Admission is a total score of 115 and 115 on each subscore.

To be valid for admission, Duolingo test scores must be no more than two years old at the time the recommendation for admission is received by the OGSPS.

Please request to have your results submitted to:  Purdue University Graduate Office .

The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars (OGSPS) accepts results showing that a student has satisfied the English proficiency exit requirements of one of the intensive English language programs listed below.

Intensive English Language Programs and Exit Requirements A ccepted by the OGSPS for Admission


Exit Requirement

Achieve a minimum of 80% (Level 4 examination) and pass an Exit Test (consisting of speaking and writing components).

Pass all classes with grades of at least B (82%) and pass the PIE Proficiency Exit Test at the Level 7 prior to July 1, 2024.

(Fort Wayne Campus Applicants Only)

Complete 12 weeks of study using curricular materials written at the native speaker level (~360 hours classroom instruction in speaking, listening, reading, writing); complete extensive research paper using standard research protocols in a monitored setting; pass Michigan English Language Institute College English Test (MELICET) and Listening Comprehension Test (LCT) standards; pass speaking and writing evaluation.

Successful completion of the intensive English language program must be certified, in writing, by the intensive English program faculty to the Office of Graduate Admissions at West Lafayette or the equivalent office at the regional campuses before applicants using this method of establishing English proficiency may be admitted to the OGSPS.

The certificate of completion can be uploaded to the online application status portal (after submission) under Miscellaneous Supporting Documents, sent electronically to the Office of International Education, or the hard copy certificate can be mailed directly to the Purdue Fort Wayne Office of Graduate Studies.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars will routinely waive the English Proficiency testing requirements for applicants who have received a baccalaureate degree or graduate or professional degree, within the last 36 months  prior to the time of recommendation for admission , from a school where English is the primary language of instruction in a country/location where English is the native language. Note: Some graduate programs may still require a test of English proficiency for admission; please confirm the acceptance of this waiver with your department.

If you are admitted under this waiver and are still finishing your degree, you must satisfactorily complete your degree and submit a final official transcript showing that this degree has been awarded BEFORE the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) can produce your US immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019) or before you can enroll in courses at Purdue University.

Official English-speaking countries/locations, in addition to the U.S., include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Christmas Island
  • Cook Islands
  • Isle of Man
  • New Zealand
  • Norfolk Island
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Vincent and Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom

Routine waivers of English proficiency requirements are granted to current Purdue University undergraduate degree, graduate degree, certificate, non-degree, and teacher license students. In order to obtain the English Proficiency waiver, the student must have:

  • Previously met Purdue English proficiency requirements (via one of the options listed above); and
  • are being recommended for admission to a Purdue graduate degree-seeking, non-degree, teacher’s license, or graduate certificate program within three consecutive sessions of their last Purdue University registration.
  • Application Deadlines
  • Application Fee
  • Application Fee - Foreign Currency
  • Documents Required by Country
  • GRE Requirements
  • Recommendation Letters
  • Academic Statement of Purpose
  • Personal History Statement
  • Submitting Transcripts
  • Technical Help Questions
  • Testing Information

Mechanical Engineering

  • Graduate study in Mechanical Engineering
  • Ph.D. programs

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering prepares students for careers in research and academia. Our collaborative faculty are investigating a diverse range of research areas like additive manufacturing, air quality, cellular biomechanics, computational design, DNA origami, energy conversion and storage, nanoscale manufacturing, soft robotics, transdermal drug delivery, transport phenomena, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Interested? Visit our research pages for more information, including faculty areas of expertise and research videos.

  • Other Ph.D. programs

I’d like more information.

View the  degree requirements  in the handbook.

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering

Students typically complete the Ph.D. degree requirements in three to five years. Early in the program, students focus on course-work that enhances their knowledge as they prepare to conduct research.

Within one year, students must pass the departmental qualifying exam, an oral exam that tests research skills and knowledge of a core mechanical engineering subject area.

Student research forms the core of the Ph.D. program. Research involves active student-directed inquiry into an engineering problem, culminating in a written thesis and oral defense.

Ph.D. Financial Support

The majority of full-time Ph.D. students accepted through the standard application process receive fellowships that cover full tuition, the technology fee, and a stipend for living expenses for up to five years, as long as sufficient progress is made toward degree completion. These awards are sufficient to cover all expenses for the year (including summers). Students are required to pay for health insurance, the transportation fee, the activity fee, books, and course supplies. Off-campus housing is available within walking distance of campus. At least one year of residency is required for the Ph.D. We offer two ways to enter the Ph.D. program.

Ph.D. student Edgar Mendoza in the lab.

Advanced entry Ph.D.

The advanced entry Ph.D. is for students with an M.S. in an engineering discipline or equivalent field.

Direct Ph.D.

The direct Ph.D. is for students entering the program with a B.S. in an engineering discipline or equivalent field.

For a comprehensive overview of the programs, including degree requirements, please consult the most recent handbook

Ph.D. candidate Remesh Shrestha, co-advised by Professors Sheng Shen and Maarten de Boer, explains his research to create polymer nanowires that have high thermal conductivity:

Other Ph.D. programs and partnerships

Apply here (by these deadlines).

For spring 2023

For fall 2022

The application for fall entry opens in October.

More information

Ph.D. employment stats

Ph.D. enrollment and completion stats [pdf]


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