Department of English

Graduate

PhD Program

Typical PhD Schedule

Year One

  • Fall Semester
    • 5-credit course
    • 5-credit course
    • 5-credit course
    • 1-credit ENG 500
  • Spring Semester
    • 5-credit course
    • 5-credit course
    • 5-credit course
  • Prepare course description for next year’s teaching for the Writing, Speaking, and Argument (WSA) Program; deadlines (usually January) and details are set by the WSA Program.
  • Early summer pedagogy training through WSA Program
  • Begin to plan for or, if you are ready this year, complete your Language Exam.

Year Two

  • Fall Semester
    • 5-credit course
    • 5-credit course
    • 5 credits for teaching and mentoring (ENG 571)
    • Teach one course through WSA Program
  • Spring Semester
    • 5-credit course
    • 5-credit course
    • 2 credits for teaching and mentoring (ENG 572)
    • 2-credit 591 for very preliminary exam list preparation
    • Teach one course through WSA Program
  • Complete Language Exam no later than the end of this academic year
  • Apply for third-year teaching through the WSA Program; deadlines (usually the end of the fall semester) and details are set by the WSA Program.
  • Consult the department’s Graduate Handbook (available online) for advice and information about the exam lists, including timetables for preparing and submitting the lists.

Year Three

  • Fall Semester
    • 15 credits for exam preparation (ENG 595)
    • Teach one course through WSA Program
  • Spring Semester
    • 15 credits for exam preparation (if needed) (ENG 595)
    • Teach one course through WSA Program
  • Students and their advisors very occasionally decide that there is a course in the third year of study in which it makes intellectual sense to enroll. This is allowed before the Field Exams are completed. In any one semester, just substitute a 5-credit course for 5 of the 15 ENG 595 credits above.
  • We encourage students to complete their Field Exams some time in the middle of the third year of study but absolutely no later than the end of this academic year. Students who do not complete their exams before the beginning of their fourth year of study will not be eligible for further teaching through the department. When they have completed the exams, their eligibility will be reconsidered. Teaching through the department includes summer school courses, TAing for English Department courses, departmental nominations for Dean’s Teaching Fellowships, and the departmental “top off” to WSA Program stipends. Students should consult their original letters of acceptance to the program for the possible consequences of not remaining “in good standing.”
  • Apply for fourth-year teaching through the WSA Program; deadlines (usually the end of the fall semester) and details are set by the WSA Program.

Year Four

  • Fall Semester
    • Dissertation Writing – Students generally register for ENG 997, receiving 0 credits but retaining their full-time status. See the English Department Graduate Secretary, to confirm you are registering properly.
    • Teach one course through WSA Program
  • Spring Semester
    • Dissertation Writing – Students generally register for ENG 997, receiving 0 credits but retaining their full-time status. See the English Department Graduate Secretary, to confirm you are registering properly.
    • Teach one course through WSA Program
  • The Dissertation Prospectus typically is filed within six months of completion of the Field Exams. The Dissertation Prospectus must be filed absolutely no later than the end of the fall semester of your fourth year.
  • Apply for Dean’s Teaching Fellowships and, if you are ready, Dean’s Dissertation Fellowships. Announcements with details arrive in the department by the end of the fall semester of your fourth year. Applications are due early in the spring semester. The department will nominate only students in good standing (timely completion of Language Exams and Field Exams, and Dissertation Prospectus on file).
  • Apply to teach in the WSA Program in your fifth year; deadlines (usually the end of the fall semester) and details are set by the WSA Program.
  • The department offers TA-ships (generally in large introductory survey courses) to a limited number of advanced students in good standing (timely completion of Language Exams and Field Exams, and Dissertation Prospectus on file). We will coordinate these assignments with the WSA Program.
  • See the department website for links that will help you to locate funding opportunities best suited to your work. Consult with your advisor to determine if you are well- positioned to apply for the external funding you have in mind and that it is, at your stage, a reasonable use of your energy. The dean’s office now stipulates that the department is allowed to nominate for a Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship only those students who have applied for (though not necessarily received) outside funding.
  • Consult with your dissertation advisor and committee members to determine if you are well-positioned to go on the job market in the fall of your fifth year. If so, you will want to begin to work on assembling your supporting materials (job letter, cv, abstract, letters of recommendation, writing samples, sample syllabi) by the end of the spring semester of your fourth year. The department will have two faculty dedicated to dissertation the following academic year. Because the job list first appears in September, and the earliest application deadlines are in early October, the faculty serving as dissertation officers will begin to consult with you at the end of this year.

Year Five

  • Fall Semester
    • Dissertation Writing – Students generally register for ENG 999, receiving 0 credits but retaining their full-time status. See the English Department Graduate Secretary, to confirm you are registering properly.
    • We guarantee fifth-year support. Students generally will teach one course as part of that support, although not always through the WSA Program
  • Spring Semester
    • Dissertation Writing – Students generally register for ENG 999, receiving 0 credits but retaining their full-time status. See the English Department Graduate Secretary, to confirm you are registering properly.
    • We guarantee fifth-year support. Students generally will teach one course as part of that support, although not always through the WSA Program.
  • Fifth-year support is guaranteed but sixth-year support is not. Apply to teach in the WSA Program in your sixth year; deadlines (usually the end of the fall semester) and details are set by the WSA Program. Again, this is not a guaranteed source of sixth-year funding.
  • The department offers TA-ships (generally in large introductory survey courses) to a limited number of advanced students in good standing (timely completion of Language Exams and Field Exams, and Dissertation Prospectus on file). We will coordinate these assignments with the WSA Program.
  • The WSA Program and the department often are able to find ways to support sixth-year students, but with no guarantees, you will want to apply for outside fellowship support. See the department website for links that will help you to locate funding opportunities best suited to your work.
  • Apply for the Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship. The dean’s office now stipulates that the department is allowed to nominate for a Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship only those students who have applied for (though not necessarily received) outside funding.
  • In order to go on the job market in the fall of your sixth year, you will want to begin to work on assembling your supporting materials (job letter, cv, abstract, letters of recommendation, writing samples, sample syllabi) by the end of the Spring Semester of your fifth year. The department will have two faculty dedicated to dissertation the following academic year. Because the job list first appears in September, and the earliest application deadlines are in early October, the faculty serving as dissertation officers will begin to consult with you at the end of this year.

Year Six

  • Fall Semester
    • Dissertation Writing – Students generally register for ENG 999, receiving 0 credits but retaining their full-time status. See the English Department Graduate Secretary, to confirm you are registering properly.
    • We do not guarantee sixth-year support. Those students who do receive support generally teach one course through the WSA Program or the department.
  • Spring Semester
    • Dissertation Writing – Students generally register for ENG 999, receiving 0 credits but retaining their full-time status. See the English Department Graduate Secretary, to confirm you are registering properly.
    • We do not guarantee sixth-year support. Those students who do receive support generally teach one course through the WSA Program or the department.
  • You will want to apply for outside fellowship support for your seventh year. See the department website for links that will help you to locate funding opportunities best suited to your work.
  • In order to go on the job market in the fall of your seventh year, you will want to begin to work on assembling your supporting materials (job letter, cv, abstract, letters of recommendation, writing samples, sample syllabi) by the end of the spring semester of your sixth year. The department will have two faculty dedicated to dissertation the following academic year. Because the job list first appears in September, and the earliest application deadlines are in early October, the faculty serving as dissertation officers will begin to consult with you at the end of this year.

Students who arrive with an MA may elect to transfer in as many as 30 of their 60 required course credits. Students may elect to transfer fewer (or none) of their MA credits. Please bring a copy of your transcript when you apply for transfer approval from the Director of Graduate Study. All transfer credits must be approved no later than March 1 in the spring semester of your second year of study.

Transferring MA credits into our program might change your program of study, including the number and distribution of courses each year and the timing of your field exam. Students who enter the program with an MA may choose (but are not required) to take their qualifying exams as early as spring of their second year.

Policies for extra credit and courses