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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 45 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.


PhD requirements (for students entering with an MA degree in ENGL)

Students may transfer up to 12 hours of credit from their MA coursework with approval from the Director of Graduate Studies. Students must complete 24 credit hours of coursework beyond the MA degree. A maximum of 2 ENGL courses (6 credits) may be at the 5000 level.  After their successful completion of 8830 and the Dissertation Qualifying Exam, students must also complete 12 dissertation credits.

PhD requirements (for students entering without prior MA degree in ENGL)

Students will be eligible to earn an MA degree after they complete 30 credits of this program. After the first 30 credits, they will need to complete an additional 15 credits of courses (including 8830) plus 12 dissertation credits. The requirements break down as follows:


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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