English (Literature), PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in literature program at ASU promotes the study of the production, distribution and reception of texts, of their linguistic, rhetorical and literary structures and functions, and of internal and external forces that create literature.

While catalog offerings reflect a chronological approach with emphasis on biography, history and aesthetic appreciation, content and methodology in these courses vary. Modes of inquiry include both traditional and recent critical approaches to literary studies; many courses explore issues relating to gender, class, race and ethnicity. This flexibility allows the juxtaposition of high cultural with low cultural texts and the traditional canon with neglected texts.

The program prepares students for entrance into the profession as both teachers and scholars.

Apply online.

All applications for admission to the program must be approved by the doctoral admissions committee in the Department of English and by the office Graduate Education. There are several requirements for admission, none of which will be arbitrarily disregarded, and the best applicants will meet or exceed all of these criteria. However, the admissions committee will consider the individual aspects of each application.

For details, please see the Department of English Application Process webpage.

The following items are required for admission:

  1. Undergraduate major. The Department of English requires an undergraduate major in English or its equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. Cumulative grade point average. The office Graduate Edcucation requires a GPA of 3.00 or better in the last two years of work leading to the bachelor's degree and the recommendation of the academic unit in which the applicant plans to study. In addition, the Department of English requires that applicants have at least a 3.50 GPA in all previous graduate work.
  3. Graduate Record Examination. The GRE general test is required. The GRE subject test (literature) is optional. Normally, students should achieve a score in the 85th percentile or higher on the verbal aptitude section. (institutional code = 4007).
  4. Letters of recommendation. Three letters of recommendation from professors familiar with the student’s performance are required. 
  5. Statement Purpose. Applicants must submit a well-considered, one to two-page, single spaced statement of purpose in which they explain how their experience and training have prepared them for the program, and their purpose for pursuing the Ph.D.
  6. Sample of scholarly work. Applicants must submit an academic writing sample relevant to the field.
  7. Vitae or résumé. Applicants should submit a professional vita that outlines educational background, relevant experience, honors, publications.
  8. Application for admission. An application fee is required.
  9. Official Transcripts. Official transcripts must be sent to ASU Graduate Education - Admissions office.
  10. International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the office Graduate Edcucation. Please refer to the English Proficiency Score requirements.

Joni Adamson - Environmental literature and film, critical environmental justice studies and ecocriticism, global indigenous studies, transnational american literature, cosmopolitics, american southwest literature and film, food justice/sovereignty, ethnobotanial knowledges and oral narratives.

Cajsa Baldini - 19th-century British literature and culture, European Romanticism, textual criticism, technological applications to the humanities.

Lee Bebout - Chicana/o studies, American Studies, critical race theory.

Dan Bivona - Victorian literature; history of the novel; theory; colonialism and culture; travel literature; Director of the CLAS Learning Community Institute.

Robert E. Bjork - Medieval English literature; modern Scandinavian literature; medical writing.

Ron Broglio - Criticism-History and Theory, Science and Literature, Art History + Museum Studies, Environmental Humanities, British Literature – Romantic.

Gregory Castle - Irish and British Literature, Literary and Cultural Theory.

Deborah Clarke - Twentieth century American fiction, Faulkner.

Paul Cook - 20th-century American literature, especially novel and shorter prose fiction.

Taylor Corse - Restoration and 18th-century literature; Classics and Literary translation.

Larry Ellis  - Native American Oral Traditions; American Folklore; Legend Studies; Tricksterism; Mixed Blood Identities in American Ethnic Literature; Western American Literature.

Steve Farmer - Nineteenth-Century British Literature.

Cora Fox - Renaissance; intertextuality, representations of emotion, the body, Elizabeth I, poetry, iconography, genre theory, cultural studies.

Melissa Free - Victorian literature and culture; twentieth-century British literature and culture; postcolonial studies; women, gender, and sexuality studies; genre studies.

Brian Goodman - US literature and culture, human rights, dissident literatures, and Jewish studies

David Hawkes - 17th Cen British Literature.

Christine Holbo - Nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature and culture; the novel and the theory of the novel, American and transatlantic; literature and the social sciences; the construction of everyday life; pragmatism as philosophy and aesthetics.

Elizabeth Horan - Comparative literature, especially between English and Spanish; literary theory; translation; poetry.

Bradley Irish - Tudor political and cultural history; emotions in early modern culture; Henrician literature and culture; Renaissance poetry, especially Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, and Spenser; the Elizabethan courtier poets; Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare; the revenge tragedy tradition;  the stoic tradition in Renaissance literature; early modern manuscript culture; paleography and archival research.

George Justice - Eighteenth-Century British literature, History of the Book/History of Publishing, Digital Humanities, Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Samuel Richardson, Samuel Johnson.

Neal A. Lester - African American literature, black women writers, African American folklore, popular cultural African American studies.

Joe Lockard - Nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature; African American literature; antislavery literature; Internet culture and theory; electronic English.

Devoney Looser - eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature, women's writings, the history of the novel, feminist studies, aging studies, and Jane Austen studies.

Mark S. Lussier - English literature, 1660-1850; William Blake; critical theory; science and literature.

Edward Mallot - postwar British literature, postcolonial studies, gender and sexuality studies, and contemporary global/Anglophone literature.

Heather Maring - Old and Middle English language and literature, oral tradition, and poetics.

Bruce Matsunaga - British Romanticism, media, and Digital Humanities.

Richard Newhauser - Middle English Literature, especially Chaucer and the Gawain-Poet; Moral Thought, especially in Latin and English; Intellectual History.

Henry Quintero - Indigenous Literature.

Simon Ortiz - Indigenous Literature.

Angelita Reyes - Comparative literature, vernacular architecture and material culture.

Bradley Ryner - Renaissance literature; Drama; New Economic Criticism.

Claudia Sadowski-Smith - Contemporary U.S. Literatures, Literatures of the Americas, Border Writing, Literatures of the Southwest, Cultural Studies.

Robert Sturges - Medieval literature, especially Chaucer; comparative literature; the Bible as literature; critical theory; gay/lesbian/queer studies.

Laura Tohe - Creative writing--poetry; Native American literature; Early American literature; Indigenous Women's Literature; Indigenous Poetry; Navajo Literature; Cultural Studies; and the Indian in Film and Video.

Jacqueline Wernimont - literary history, feminist digital media, histories of quantification, and technologies of commemoration.

Degree Offered

English (Literature), PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application Deadline

ONE deadline: January 15 for fall.

How to Apply

See the Application Procedures tab above.

Questions? Contact enggrad@asu.edu

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