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Doctor of Philosophy in English

SIU Student Paper

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in English prepares students to be advanced scholars and educators in the fields of literature and language: i.e., autonomous knowers, writers, and thinkers. Our program asks you to know, write, and think about a given topic independently. For that reason, it asks you to focus intensively on a single research project for a sustained period of time.

Our program prepares students for faculty positions, but also for work in a variety of other fields: public history, technical and professional writing, publishing (digital and traditional), arts and educational administration, grant writing and fundraising, and other forms of public humanities work.

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 Student Handbook

Program Details

Our PhD program is designed as a five-year program for full-time students. It does not prescribe a set list of courses or distribution requirements. Instead, you will develop a program of study in close consultation with a faculty advisor. The program’s structure allows for maximum flexibility in your coursework and the development of areas of research focus outside of traditional periodization.

Qualifying examinations cover one major and two minor areas as chosen in the consultation with your committee. Upon successful completion of the examinations, the you are advanced to candidacy, and proceeds directly to the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation. Once the dissertation is completed, you will present an oral defense of the dissertation before a committee, including any designated outside readers.

Applying for the Doctor of Philosophy in English Degree

You must apply formally for admission, even if you have earned a master’s degree at SIU. Admission to the Ph.D. in English program is decided by the Graduate Studies Committee, which makes its decision according to the following criteria:

  • An M.A. degree in English or its equivalent
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample

We will also consider the compatibility of your proposed area of focus with faculty expertise.

Contact Information

Ryan Netzley
Director of Graduate Studies
Faner 2276
1000 Faner Dr
Carbondale, IL 62901

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School of Literature, Writing, and Digital Humanities | College of Liberal Arts | 618-453-5321 |