PHD English (Literature)

ASU's English department boasts an internationally recognized faculty with expertise across historical, geographic and theoretical boundaries. This doctoral program, with a flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum, a strong mentoring program, and a variety of internships and professional development opportunities, prepares you for entry into academia as well as a variety of careers.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD English (Literature)

The PhD program in English with a concentration in literature trains students in the various methodologies, pedagogies and areas of inquiry that constitute literary and cultural studies.

With a diverse and accomplished faculty, the program offers opportunities for specialization in traditional areas of literary criticism, cultural analysis and theory, as well as various fields of interdisciplinary study.

A doctorate in literature equips students with a range of highly sought-after skills and competencies: research and analysis of complex material, communication in written and oral modes, collaboration, independence and self-motivation, creativity and adaptability.

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

A student with an appropriate master's degree must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of approved graduate work, which includes 12 credit hours of dissertation, provided the student's master's degree is accepted by the supervisory committee and the academic unit. Research hours may be used toward coursework in consultation with the advisor.

A student without an appropriate master's degree must complete 84 credit hours of work at ASU. At the advisor's discretion, students may include up to 12 credit hours of appropriate, graduate-level coursework undertaken at another university and not previously counted toward any other degree.

Specifically required are six credit hours in theory courses and ENG 501 Approaches to Research. Students must complete eight graduate courses in any of the following categories:

  • cultural studies
  • ethnic studies
  • gender studies
  • genre
  • history and structure of the English language
  • literature 1500-1660
  • literature 1660-1900
  • literature since 1900
  • literature to 1500
  • postcolonial or anglophone literatures

Students must take at least five graduate seminars at the 600 level en route to the doctorate, at least three of which must be taken in the doctoral program. Up to 12 credit hours taken outside the department may be counted toward the degree. Students should consult with their supervisory committees when choosing electives.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00= "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00= "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. resume or curriculum vitae
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. academic writing sample relevant to the field
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency. Students should see the Department of English website for specific details about English proficiency requirements.

The well-considered, one- to two-page, single-spaced statement of purpose should explain how the applicant's experience and training have prepared them for the program as well as the purpose for pursuing the doctorate. Applicants applying for funding must also submit a statement of teaching philosophy. Students should see the Department of English website for specific details.

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Program Contact Information

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