Two Lit and Crit PhD students in a classroom

Admission to Candidacy

You are eligible to sit for the Candidacy Exam after completing 12-18 credits of coursework. Enrollment in coursework beyond the master's degree alone does not automatically constitute admission to the PhD program or to candidacy.

Candidacy Portfolio

The purpose of the portfolio is to provide faculty on the Candidacy Portfolio Evaluation Committee a means to evaluate your ability to successfully complete this program. In order to make this evaluation, members of the evaluation committee will examine samples of your academic writing contained in the portfolio, your grades, and your instructors' evaluations of you (from each course you have taken).

  • Demonstrates an ability to conceptualize, give insights, and use knowledge that is current in the field.
  • Orally, and in writing, demonstrates an ability to focus ideas and construct arguments.
  • Uses feedback constructively, works independently, and handles problems or conflicts in a professional manner.

Candidacy Portfolio Conference Paper

Evaluations of the CP Conference Paper will include considerations of whether the paper successfully:

  1. Represents a serious issue worth exploring in the field. For instance:

    • Presents a unique, novel position that is beyond the material reviewed. The central argument of the paper goes beyond the summary of the materials in the paper and what is common knowledge within the field.
    • Conceptualizes beyond what is currently known extending a line of research to the next logical step.
    • Brings fields into conversation that have traditionally been separated or engages new and emerging content.
  2. Engages current scholarship in the field on this issue. In this context, "reflects current scholarship" means current, academic peer-reviewed books and articles from the last 10 years in the field. It also includes seminal work in the field.

  3. Demonstrates the ability to focus ideas and construct arguments. Provides arguments that are clear and appropriately supported.

  4. Is appropriately written for a paper of this type (MLA formatting and referencing, observes specified page lengths, etc.).

Possible Outcomes of the Candidacy Review

  • Pass: You have met all of the criteria and may continue in the program.
  • Fail: You have not met one or more criteria or have not submitted the Candidacy Portfolio by the deadline. If you fail the Candidacy evaluation, you will not be allowed to continue the program.

Appeals: You may appeal a decision of Fail in writing to the L&C program director within two weeks of the date that the decision was sent out. Your appeal must reach the L&C program director no later than 4:00 p.m. on the date two weeks from the date the decision is sent to you. Appeals must be based on the reasons for the committee's decision given to you by the L&C program director.