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Prepare for Your Future with a Doctorate in Literature and Criticism

You want to hone your critical eye—to be a cultural thought leader and an advocate for positive change. IUP’s PhD in Literature and Criticism will prepare you for the board room, classroom, and many places in between.

You’ll become an expert researcher, a sharp cultural and historical analyst, and an effective communicator. Explore research areas such as:

  • British, US, and world literature
  • Emerging fields, including popular literature, video game studies, and digital literature
  • Film studies

Why Choose IUP for an English PhD?

The doctorate in literature and criticism program mixes traditional and innovative approaches to English studies. You’ll cultivate your interests and pursue research that’s enriched by our diverse community of PhD students across the US and around the world. You'll graduate prepared for a career path that aligns with your passions.

What You'll Learn

As a Literature and Criticism PhD candidate, you’ll learn to:

  • Conduct deep, sustained research to produce new knowledge.
  • Engage various audiences and the public in conversations and discussions about literature, film, and games.
  • Refine your scholarly writing, presentation skills, project management abilities, and diverse pedagogical approaches.
  • Use your research, analytical, and communication skills in a wide range of professional and community contexts.

Imagine Your Future

Graduates of the Literature and Criticism PhD program may go on to become:

  • Faculty at colleges, universities, and community colleges
  • Leaders at public humanities organizations, including libraries, museums, humanities councils, and think tanks
  • Content developers and managers
  • Scholarly and creative writers
  • Administrators in higher education
  • Researchers

Classes and Requirements

Whether you’re pursuing a new career, looking to advance in your current field, or embarking on a lifetime of research and scholarship, IUP's Literature and Criticism PhD program will help you get there.

To get a feel for what you’ll study as a PhD candidate, check out our recent course descriptions.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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At IUP, You’ll Gain More than a Degree

Immerse yourself in IUP's literature and criticism community to make new connections, expand your thinking, and engage with fellow scholars. Here are just a few ways to do this:


Learn more about the faculty you'll work with during your program.

The Latest News from Literature and Criticism

Joining the literature and criticism program means you’ll be part of our community of like-minded thinkers.

Read about faculty scholarship, student achievements, upcoming events, and exciting projects in our annual L&C Program Newsletter. Dive into the newsletter archives to read more.

Financing Your Degree

You have options for financial support in pursuing your doctoral degree at IUP.

  • Graduate assistantships can reduce your costs while providing hands-on work experience.
  • Research and travel grants are available to support your pursuits.
  • Competitive awards enhance your professional profile and résumé.
  • Federal work-study positions in the program (for eligible students) pay $15–$20/hour.

Admissions Requirements

Get information about application requirements, deadlines, and details for international students applying to the program. 

How to Apply


Get information about being a student in the Literature and Criticism/English, PhD program at IUP and other options within the program.