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Doctoral Program in English

Over a hundred students strong, the Ph.D. program affords students close professional contact with and guidance from a diverse graduate faculty distinguished in its commitment to both teaching and research.

All doctorates in English have a foundation in studies of British and American language and literature, thus Ph.D. students receive a broad education in the discipline that prepares them to teach effectively at any college level and provides the background for advanced research in their areas of particular expertise.

With the help of faculty mentors, students have the flexibility to fashion a course of study, comprehensive examinations, and dissertation research both in these concentrations and in specialized areas such as Critical Theory, Africana Literature, Southern Literary Studies, Feminist Theory and Criticism, and Children's Literature.

Resources & Links

Ph.D. Exam Areas

Ph.D. students choose four of the following areas for their comprehensive exams:

  • Africana Literature and Theory
  • American Literature to 1865 
  • American Literature from 1865 to 1945
  • American Literature from 1945 to the Present
  • British Literature of the Nineteenth Century
  • British Literature from c.1900 to the Present
  • Children’s Literature
  • Creative Writing Studies
  • Drama
  • English Literature to c.1500
  • English Literature of the Renaissance
  • English Literature of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century
  • Feminist Theory and Criticism
  • Folklore Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Literary Theory
  • Narrative Film
  • Open Topic
  • Rhetoric and Composition Studies
  • Southern Literary Studies
  • Speculative Fiction

Assistantships Available for Fall

For information and to open an application, visit the Graduate School's website.

Apply to the PhD in English Program

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Application Information

All application materials should be uploaded into the Graduate School Admissions website with your application.

Applicants to the doctoral program in English should normally possess an M.A., MFA, or equivalent degree in English or American literature or a closely allied field. Applicants must submit the following materials to the Graduate School.

Application Materials Required

  • online Graduate School application
  • assistantship and/or fellowship application (if applying for funding, downloadable on the Graduate School site)
  • undergraduate and graduate transcripts for all schools attended, testifying to solid academic preparation for advanced work
  • three letters of recommendation (preferably academic)
  • Statement of Purpose mentioning your chosen concentration (1-2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae with relevant academic and professional experience
  • Critical Writing Sample with academic works cited page (10-20 pages)
  • Graduate Assistantship Application (if applying for funding, found on Grad. School site)
  • Creative Writing Sample (15-20 pages) – for candidates interested in the Creative Writing concentration only. The genre of the piece should reflect your intended focus area; specify either fiction, poetry, drama, or creative non-fiction.
  • GRE scores are optional, but not required.

All materials must be submitted to the Graduate School.

Application Deadlines

Priority review for admissions and assistantship decisions for the fall semester are due by January 15.

Applications for admission and assistantships for the spring semester are due by November 1.

For those not seeking financial support, applications and supporting documents must be submitted at least 30 days before the beginning of the semester for which admission is sought, and at least 90 days for applications from foreign countries. The Graduate School will notify applicants of its decision after receiving all required credentials. The department will notify applicants of assistantship and fellowship decisions.


For more information or questions about the application, contact:

Incoming Students

Dr. Leah Orr
Griffin 228

Current Students

Dr. David Squires
Griffin Hall 353

Griffin Hall, Room 246 or 248
Phone: 337-482-6919