Prerequisites: The ordinary prerequisite is an M.A. in English, though students from other fields with strong backgrounds in English literature will also receive consideration. Students with a B.A. seeking admission directly to the Ph.D. program still need to complete the M.A.
Program: The degree requires minimum of 24 hours of course work beyond the M.A., followed by the Doctoral Competency Exam, which has a written and an oral component. The Written Component takes the form a Competency Essay, written over the course of seven days, in response to a question based on the texts on the preparatory reading list and selected by the student from a set of choices developed by the examiners. The Oral Competency Examination Committee is comprised of the three faculty on the student's dissertation committee and two other faculty agreed upon by the student and the student's advisor in consultation with the graduate director and the department chair. The oral exam lasts two hours. The examination committee will ask the student about the competency essay, as well as texts on the preparatory reading list. Within one week following successful completion of the oral examination, the dissertation committee will meet with the student to discuss and give final approval to the prospectus. If the student performs acceptably, she/he achieves two goals simultaneously: passing the Doctoral Competency Exam, and having the dissertation prospectus approved by the dissertation committee. The student then files the (now approved) copy of the dissertation prospectus with the College of Arts & Sciences and proceeds to write the dissertation. Completed dissertations are assessed by the committee and are formally accepted after a public defense.
Language Requirement: Ph.D. candidates must display reading proficiency in one modern foreign language relevant to their research, and those concentrating in Medieval or Renaissance literature also need to demonstrate competence in either Latin or classical Greek. Information about fulfilling the language requirement may be found here.
Doctoral Reading Lists:
For more information you may contact Graduate Education at (314) 977-2240; Candidacy Advisor, Cherell Johnson (314) 977-3943.