College of Arts & Sciences English

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Degree Requirements & Options

The Ph.D. program is built around the English Department's seminar offerings in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and in creative writing, and is supplemented by independent study courses. You may pursue a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on:
  • Literary scholarship and criticism (Literary Studies: Critical
  • Creative writing (Literary Studies: Creative)

Within these specializations, you'll construct your own plan of study to reflect your interests. The selective nature and small size of the Ph.D. program ensure you'll receive the attention and guidance you need.

All students take written and oral comprehensive exams as well as present an oral defense of their dissertation. Reading proficiency in a language other than English is necessary for graduation.

Course Descriptions


Full-time, Part-time & Summer Study

Most doctoral students in the English Department pursue their studies full-time while participating in the Teaching Assistant program. They can expect to complete their degrees in about four years.

The Ph.D. program is designed to accommodate part-time as well as full-time students. Graduate seminars meet once a week and are scheduled in the late afternoon or evening to allow students with work or family responsibilities to attend. At least one graduate seminar is offered each summer. Ph.D. students usually begin their studies in September, but may choose a different time with the department's permission.


See our Graduate School website for Requirements and Application information.  To receive all necessary application forms, please Request our Application Packet.

Helpful Links

ContactUs  For answers to individual questions and for assistance in applying
Skip Willman, Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Phone: (605) 677-5229  Fax: (605) 677-5298