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Ph.D. in English, Literature, and Criticism

The Literature and Criticism Program’s Doctor of Philosophy in English is designed for present or future teachers at the college or university level. It features both a regular academic-year program and a very active summer program for established teachers who wish to complete their degrees in the summers only. The program develops students’ abilities to examine literature critically, to teach literature effectively, and to make professional contributions in the field.

Courses emphasize the role of theory in understanding literature, and students are asked to apply theory to their teaching and research in the concluding Advanced Seminars. The Traditional Literature courses reinforce the student’s understanding of historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts. The Special Literatures section mirrors the acceptance of new works in the canon. The focus on scholarly skills in the seminars and the mentoring relationships with professors assure that students will acquire a professional competence in literature and critical theory.

Early in the program, each doctoral student chooses or is assigned a faculty mentor to provide guidance and advice on becoming professionally active. The main components of the program are course work, a candidacy examination (taken approximately midway in the course work), proof of language proficiency, and the completion of a research skills requirement, comprehensive examinations, and the dissertation.

Admission Criteria

The Literature Program has rolling admissions throughout the year. Please note that applications are not encouraged from students who are not already employed in teaching English or who do not have prior teaching experience. Because of the limited opportunity for gaining teaching experience on campus, student classroom teaching experience as part of the degree program cannot be guaranteed.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 30 hours of course work (excluding the dissertation and, for certain students, the prerequisite ENGL 674 Bibliographical Methods in English) is required beyond the M.A.

Two core courses (6 cr.)

ENGL 955 The History and Theory of Criticism 3 cr.
ENGL 956 Literary Theory for the Teacher and Scholarly Writer 3 cr.

Six courses may be elected from all 700-level courses in literature (18 cr.)

(At least two courses must be in Traditional Literatures)

ENGL 861 Topics in American Literature Before 1870 3 cr.
ENGL 862 Topics in American Literature Since 1870 3 cr.
ENGL 863 Topics in British Literature Before 1660 3 cr.
ENGL 864 Topics in British Literature Since 1660 3 cr.
ENGL 865 Topics in Literature as Genre 3 cr.
ENGL 866 Topics in Comparative Literature 3 cr.

(At least one course must be in Special Literatures)

ENGL 871 Topics in Postmodern Literature 3 cr.
ENGL 872 Topics in Women’s Literature 3 cr.
ENGL 873 Topics in American or British Minority Literature 3 cr.

Two Advanced Seminars (6 cr.)

ENGL 983 Seminar: Literary Theory Applied to Major American Author or Theme 3 cr.
ENGL 984 Seminar: Literary Theory Applied to British Author or Theme 3 cr.
ENGL 985 Seminar: Comparative Literary Theory Applied to Traditional and Special Literature 3 cr.

Total 30 cr.

The program director may permit students with particular programmatic needs to take up to six of the 30 hours in a closely related field such as rhetoric and linguistics, history, or philosophy.

After completing 12 to 18 hours of course work, the student must take a generalist literary essay examination for admission to candidacy and permission to take further elective courses and seminars. Candidacy depends upon satisfactory completion of this exam and the fulfillment of a 3.5 grade point average.

Following the completion of the 30 hours of course work, students take written comprehensive examinations in three areas (literary theory and practice as applied to a general list of authors and texts, a broadly defined area of literature, and a narrowly focused field of study), together with an oral defense of the written exams. In addition, the program requires reading ability in a foreign language and the completion of a research skills requirement (either proficiency in a second foreign language or an additional six hours of graduate course work in a field related to a student’s research needs). The final program requirement is the successful defense of a dissertation, including registration for twelve dissertation credits. Further and more detailed information about the program is available in the Program Handbook, which may be obtained from the Office of the Director, Graduate Studies in Literature and Criticism, 111 Leonard Hall, 421 North Walk, IUP, Indiana, PA 15705-1015. Phone: 724-357-2263; fax: 724-357-3056.

  • School of Graduate Studies and Research
  • Stright Hall, Room 101
    210 South Tenth Street
    Indiana, PA 15705-1048
  • Phone: 724-357-2222
  • Fax: 724-357-4862
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Summer: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.