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The doctoral program is designed to prepare students to teach at the college level and conduct research in literature written in English. Specifically, the program seeks to develop the following:

  • A comprehensive and intensive knowledge of the literature, with specialization in one area (period, type, or author) of British or American Literature.
  • Knowledge of the textual, editorial, and critical problems and backgrounds of major texts and authors, together with a grounding in the principles of literary criticism.
  • Knowledge of the basic tools and methods of literary and linguistic research and training in their application.
  • Demonstration of this knowledge and ability in a number of advanced papers (ordinarily in graduate seminars), in the qualifying examination, and in a major dissertation evincing power of organization, significant exploration and discovery, and creative insight and imagination.
  • Knowledge of pedagogical problems and the literature thereof, and practical experience in the teaching of literature, rhetoric, and composition



Course-credit hours : The candidate for the Ph.D. degree must complete 54 hours of course work beyond the B.A., including 24 hours beyond the M.A. In addition, 12 hours of dissertation credit are required. During the student's first semester in the doctoral program, the student prepares a Doctoral Program Planning Form in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. The form lays out a schedule of course work designed to complete the distribution requirements and prepare for the qualifying exam and dissertation.


Of the 6 courses constituting the period distribution requirements, two can be fulfilled with courses taken at the MA level. The student should, during the first-semester advising session with the DGS, determine which of the period distributions have already been fulfilled by previous coursework. The two courses should be selected by their equivalency of coverage with the corresponding period requirements, and by the greater importance of other courses to the student’s field of concentration. 

1. Period Distribution requirements (18 credits; 12 credits with waivers from previous coursework):

2. Theory and Methods requirements (3-6 credits)

3. Electives (3-6 credits, depending on whether 6840 is required)

4. Dissertation Tutorial 8830 (3 credits)

5. Dissertation Credits 8999 (12 credits)



The department awards a Ph.D. degree after a student has demonstrated the ability to perform well in the prescribed courses, has passed a qualifying examination, and has written a dissertation. Graduate coursework in English provides the student with opportunities to develop in-depth knowledge of specific literary issues in the students' areas of concentration. The qualifying exam facilitates the student's efforts to refine one's knowledge of selected areas of literary studies and, more importantly, to develop independently, enhancing one's abilities to contextualize, analyze, and synthesize literary studies. The dissertation work foregrounds the student's abilities to present insightful, innovative work in a precisely defined sphere of literary studies. At the conclusion of doctoral studies, the student has acquired the skills to present coherent introductions to literary studies to new undergraduates, to offer engaging upper level courses in particular areas of interest, and to conduct sophisticated research suitable for publication and for dissemination in graduate studies.




English Department

Marquette University, Marquette Hall 115 (campus map)
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-7179
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