The English program offers a Ph.D. in English which allows students to specialize in one of two tracks: Literature or Composition Studies. The aim of the Ph.D. program is to train students to be teachers and scholars in the fields of literature and language. During their work in the program, Ph.D. candidates in Literature will develop both general competence in literary study and specific areas of mastery. Candidates in Composition Studies will develop a primary area of specialization in Composition Studies and a secondary area of specialization in an area such as literature, critical theory, or linguistics.
The Ph.D. program combines the essential guidance and discipline of coursework with the equally essential freedom of independent study and research. To be admitted to the doctoral program, a student must hold an M.A. degree. Students choose between two areas: literature or composition studies. Students choosing either area must demonstrate basic proficiency in two languages or advanced proficiency in one. Basic proficiency may be demonstrated by passing a departmental examination or by receiving a grade of B or better in a fourth-semester college-level language course. Advanced proficiency is demonstrated by passing a rigorous departmental examination.
The doctoral program in literature is designed to train students to be teachers and scholars in the fields of literature and language. Students in this program will complete nine graduate courses of which four must be seminars. The other courses must be at the 800 or 900 levels and must include ENGL 910 Practicum in Teaching College Composition, ENGL 926 Seminar: Literary Theory, and the ungraded 2-credit course in Dissertation and Profession (ENGL 924 Professional Preparation). In addition, students must pass a general examination in English and American literature, a more specialized qualifying examination, and the final oral defense of their dissertation.
The program in composition studies is designed to train experts who are qualified to teach general courses in literature or linguistics in the teaching of composition. Students in composition studies will complete 10 graduate-level courses of which four must be seminars. The other courses must be at the 800 or 900 levels and include ENGL 910 Practicum in Teaching College Composition and ENGL 918 Research Methods in Composition. Students will take a combined general and qualifying examination that focuses both on the theory of composition and rhetoric, and on a secondary area of specialization. Their dissertation work will be on a topic in composition.
Ph.D. students normally hold assistantships and teach under supervision; such teaching is considered a vital part of the student's professional training.