Program of Study

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Notes Pertaining to Courses

Students may apply to the director of graduate studies for permission to take courses offered

Additional Information

All students are encouraged to attend departmental events, such as guest lectures and conferences, and participate in professional development workshops.

In the fall of their second year, students present a paper to an audience of graduate students and faculty at the Second-Year Symposium.

Teaching Requirements and Preparation

Teaching is a core requirement of the PhD program in English and is integral to the professional development of all graduate students. To qualify for ABD status, all doctoral students must satisfy the department's requirements for training in teaching. Training in teaching takes place through assistantships in the department and the pedagogical course.

Teaching assignments vary according to the pedagogical needs of the individual student, the curricular needs of the department, and enrollments. The university reserves the right to change these assignments as necessary.

Residence Requirement

The minimum residence requirement is three years.

Language Requirement

The language requirement reflects the department’s belief that it is important for scholars in the humanities not to be monolingual. The requirement asks students to advance their knowledge of at least one language other than English as part of their graduate studies unless they have already made the study of languages a significant part of their education in the past. Students may fulfill this requirement in the following ways:

Please note language classes do not count toward the required number of classes for the PhD.

Students must have completed the language requirement no later than the end of the third year in order to take the field exam.

Field Examination

The field portfolio and exam demonstrate expertise in a significant scholarly field and equip students for future contributions to the humanities. All students are required to take a year-long, credit/no-credit proseminar in their third year which will prepare them for the field exam. The proseminar is in addition to the 12-course requirement. No later than May 15 of the third year, students must turn in a portfolio and pass an oral examination. The portfolio must contain

The portfolio must be turned in to the examining committee at least one week before the exam.

This examination is taken no later than the fifteenth of May during the third year and must be passed by the unanimous vote of the committee members. At the discretion of the examiners, students taking the field exam may be asked to retake one portion of their exam and/or revise one or more items in the portfolio. If a student is asked to retake a portion of the exam or revise the portfolio, the time frame for the second examination will be set by the examiners in consultation with the student. 

Doctoral Project / Dissertation Prospectus Conference

Students should meet with their prospectus committees after successful completion of the field exam to discuss the prospectus. The prospectus is intended to be an initial exploration of the doctoral project and is typically around 20 pages. No later than October 1 of the fourth year, students must hold a prospectus conference, which both first and second readers will attend. The prospectus must be signed by both readers. The prospectus should explain and justify the project’s topics, audiences, genres, media, and platforms and give evidence of the student’s preparation to complete this project.

Dissertation / Doctoral Project

The dissertation or doctoral project is the culmination of a student's studies and should make a substantive and original, primarily written, contribution to a designated field. Doctoral projects might consist of a book-length manuscript of scholarship, or a portfolio comprised of one or more of the following: a suite of linked essays, comprehensively researched creative nonfiction, a critical edition, a digital archive, or additional options of equivalent proportion. The portfolio should have a substantial analytical component. Its conception should be coherent, its organization should be compelling, and its design should indicate the desired impact on intended audiences. Where relevant, the project should satisfy prevailing professional ethical standards. The genre, medium, and platform of the doctoral project should be appropriate to its goals. The doctoral project will be evaluated by a dissertation committee comprised of two department members and an external evaluator with relevant expertise. The student will defend the doctoral project at a final oral examination. 

Annual Status and Funding Review and Probation

Being an active student in any given year does not guarantee future enrollment in the program. Continued enrollment in the doctoral program in English is subject to the department’s annual May student review process where the progress of graduate students, particularly first- and second-year students, is discussed by the department faculty. Using suitable academic progress (see below) as its guide, the department will determine if a student continues in the program, is put on probation, or is recommended for termination from the program. Continued enrollment is also subject to the Graduate School’s status and funding review process.

Because a career in the academy requires success as a scholar and teacher, service on administrative committees, and collegial participation in the life of the academy, suitable academic progress is judged principally by three criteria: grades, citizenship, and timely completion of work.

Students placed on probation will be informed of that decision by letter and should feel free to meet with the DGS and their advisor to discuss it. Students who are put on probation are required to meet with the DGS and to submit to the DGS a written plan to return to good standing--which might include completing missing work, meeting certain deadlines, and participating more robustly in the life of the department. Failure to return to good standing within one academic year will normally lead to recommendation for termination in the subsequent end-of-year meeting.

Students who do not establish candidacy according to the deadlines noted in each section above will be placed on probation automatically and may become ineligible for funding. Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory academic progress during the probationary year will be withdrawn from the program. Failure to pass the field exam or defend the dissertation prospectus by the required deadlines may result in the student's being recommended for termination from the program.

Completion of Degree

Students entering the PhD program with a BA must earn the degree within eight years. Students entering the PhD program with an MA must earn the degree within seven years. A student requesting an extension must demonstrate significant progress toward completing the dissertation by submitting a prospectus (or equivalent, including a chapter outline) and at least one chapter to the student's adviser. If the student's adviser agrees to support the requested extension, the adviser will refer the case to the graduate committee for approval.