English (Literature), PhD
ASU's English department boasts an internationally recognized faculty with expertise across historical, geographic and theoretical boundaries. This doctoral program, with a flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum, a strong mentoring program, and a variety of internships and professional development opportunities, prepares you for entry into academia as well as a variety of careers.
Degree Awarded: English (Literature), PhD
The PhD program in English with a concentration in literature trains students in various methodologies, pedagogies and areas of inquiry that constitute literary and cultural studies.
With a diverse and distinguished faculty, the program offers opportunities for specialization in traditional areas of literary criticism, cultural analysis and theory, as well as various fields of interdisciplinary study.
A doctorate in literature equips students with a range of highly sought-after skills and competencies: research and analysis of complex material, communication in written and oral modes, collaboration, independence and self-motivation, creativity and adaptability.
The PhD in English (literature) at ASU is a premier graduate program in the U.S. with strong interdisciplinary ties and faculty links to research centers on campus and in the state, including the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, the Institute for Humanities Research, and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. With these resources and a strong mentorship program at their fingertips, our graduates are prepared for a wide array of professional opportunities including careers in college teaching, research, writing, editing, higher education, and humanities-related organizations.
Jonathan Hope, Director
Sheila Luna, Program Manager
Doctoral Procedures and Timeline
Courses and electives
Approaches to Research (3 credits / one class): Students must take the core class ENG 501 Approaches to Research.
Theory (6 credits / two courses): Appropriate courses for filling this requirement must be in the area of the history of criticism, literary theory, rhetorical theory, linguistic theory or cultural theory. Examples of courses which meet this requirement, if the specific topic is appropriate, include the following: ENG 502, 503, 504, 550, 551, 552, 554, 556, 602, 604, 651, LIN 510, 516, 517; however, an equivalent or more advanced course in linguistic, rhetorical or literary theory would also be acceptable.
Additional Required Courses (24 credits / 8 classes): Students must complete eight graduate courses in any of the following categories: cultural studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, genre, history and structure of the English language, literature to 1500, literature 1500-1660, literature 1660-1900, literature since 1900, postcolonial or anglophone literatures.
A minimum of five courses counted toward the PhD, which may include those listed above, must be taken at the 600-level (three of which must be taken in the doctoral program at ASU). Students wishing to take courses outside of the department may count up to 12 credit hours toward the degree. These courses may also fulfill some of the above degree requirements. Students should consult with an advisor or their committee chair when choosing electives.
Language Requirement: PhD students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the dissertation committee. The language requirement must be completed before the student is eligible to take the doctoral exams. This requirement may be met by
- Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language.
- Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
- Demonstrating native-speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
- Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent.
- Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
- Having fulfilled a foreign language requirement towards a previously awarded master’s degree that has been completed within five years of the semester for which the student has been admitted to the doctoral program. This foreign language must be in a language approved by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee.
- For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.
PhD Examinations: Essay, oral exam, colloquy on the dissertation prospectus.
Dissertation: Students must take 12 credit hours of ENG 799.
Miscellaneous: Students may take research (ENG 792) for the purpose of working independently in preparation for the doctoral examination. This is an alternative to be elected by the student at the discretion and with the approval of the advisor and supervisory committee and can count towards course work. Satisfactory completion of ENG 792 is indicated by the grade of "Y." Individual interim segments of ENG 792 will be graded "Z" (course in progress), and changed to "Y" (successful completion) after the dissertation defense. No conventional letter grades are awarded for ENG 792 or 799.
The Graduate College also requires that students be enrolled every semester, excluding summer sessions, until they have completed all requirements for the degree. Continuous enrollment may be satisfied by registration for one hour of ENG 799, or, in cases where dissertation or other credit hours are not needed, Continuous Registration (ENG 595 or 795). If students wish to interrupt their programs of study for one or more semesters, they may apply for a leave of absence, not to exceed one year. Failure to enroll or obtain leave status for the semesters in which they are not enrolled will result in dismissal from the program.
Doctoral Supervisory Committee
The doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of three members from the graduate faculty selected at the time the student files a program of study. In consultation with the director of the Ph.D. program, the student will select the committee chair, who also serves as the student's advisor. Once a graduate faculty member has agreed to serve as the student's chair, the student and chair will then consult before recommending two other members to the director of the doctoral program. Ideally another member of the supervisory committee in addition to the chair should be in the area of specialization. It is the responsibility of each student to form a supervisory committee very early in the program so that the chair and members of the committee may be involved in shaping the course of study, for example, in determining such matters as the choice of foreign language(s) and in specifying courses that will be required for the student's particular area of concentration.
Important Notice to Current International Students
In order for international students to maintain good standing for their VISAs, they must take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester (i.e., 3 classes), 6 credits (2 classes) should be face-to-face classes.
At a Glance: program details
- Location: Tempe campus
- Second Language Requirement: Yes
A student with an appropriate master's degree must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of approved graduate work, which includes 12 credit hours of dissertation, provided the student's master's degree is accepted by the supervisory committee and the academic unit. Research hours may be used toward coursework in consultation with the advisor.
A student without an appropriate master's degree must complete 84 credit hours of work at ASU. At the advisor's discretion, students may include up to 12 credit hours of appropriate, graduate-level coursework undertaken at another university and not previously counted toward any other degree.
Specifically required are six credit hours in theory courses and ENG 501 Approaches to Research. Students must complete eight graduate courses in any of the following categories:
- cultural studies
- ethnic studies
- gender studies
- history and structure of the English language
- literature 1500-1660
- literature 1660-1900
- literature since 1900
- literature to 1500
- postcolonial or anglophone literatures
Students must take at least five graduate seminars at the 600 level en route to the doctorate, at least three of which must be taken in the doctoral program. Up to 12 credit hours taken outside the department may be counted toward the degree. Students should consult with their supervisory committees when choosing electives.
Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00= "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00= "A") in an applicable master's degree program.
All applicants must submit:
- graduate admission application and application fee
- official transcripts
- statement of purpose
- resume or curriculum vitae
- three letters of recommendation
- academic writing sample relevant to the field
- proof of English proficiency
Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency. Students should refer to the Department of English website for specific details about English proficiency requirements.
The well-considered, one- to two-page, single-spaced statement of purpose should explain how the applicant's experience and training have prepared them for the program as well as the purpose for pursuing the doctorate. Applicants applying for funding must also submit a statement of teaching philosophy. Students should see the Department of English website for specific details.
Graduates are prepared for careers in higher education and other fields that value this expertise. Sectors employing high numbers of arts and humanities graduates include: information and communication, financial and insurance, public administration and defense, arts and entertainment, and education.
Career examples include:
- art director
- criminal investigator or special agent
- intelligence analyst
- market research analyst
- museum curator, educator or exhibit designer
- political analyst
- public relations specialist or manager
- technical writer
Next Steps to attend ASU
With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs. https://mystudyabroad.asu.edu
Program Contact Information
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