- Graduate Program Overview
- Master of Arts Program
- Doctor of Philosophy Program
- Graduate Student Resources
Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
The doctoral program is designed to prepare students to teach at the college level and conduct research in literature written in English. Key takeaways students will gain from our doctoral program are listed in the table below:
Ph.D. Program Highlights
Specifically, the program seeks to develop the following:
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.
Theory and Methods requirements (3-6 credits)
18 credits, 9 of which must be earned in courses at the 6000 level or above.
Dissertation Tutorial 8830 (3 credits)
Dissertation Credits 8999 (12 credits)
The Doctoral Qualifying Exam (DQE) consists of an oral examination in which three faculty examiners question the Ph.D. student about the primary and about the contextual/secondary fields of study. The primary field relates directly to a student's proposed dissertation topic, including both primary and secondary texts. The contextual or secondary field, which also encompasses both primary and secondary sources, is selected for its relevance to the primary field. Both grow out of work done in English 8830.
Purpose of DQE
The oral DQE provides students the opportunity to:
Once the exam is completed, the candidate should be ready to write the dissertation and complete it within 18-24 months.
Scheduling and preparation of exam
Students are expected to take the DQE in the semester following their completion of 8830. This means the DQE will typically take place fall semester of the third year. When students register for their DQE the faculty advisors should:
To accommodate the individualized exam format and to assist student progress through the program, Ph.D. qualifying exams are typically offered between September 30 and May 15, normally within two months of the student's request to take the exam.
Students may schedule their DQE if they have met the following requirements:
Evaluation of exam
The qualifying exam requires a vote of 3-0 or 2-1 to pass. To pass the DQE, students must demonstrate their readiness to write their dissertations by meeting the criteria on the following form, which is to be filled out by the director and submitted to the DGS:
To record the results of the DQE, the advisor/committee must complete the above assessment form, and in addition the following two forms, which likewise must be submitted to the DGS, so they can be processed and sent on to the Graduate School:
After the DQE has been graded and the results reported to the Graduate School, students are encouraged to review their performance with their field advisors.
The student should then submit the proposal materials to the graduate school, using the following form: Outline for Dissertation Form. This is also an appropriate time to submit to the graduate school the official form declaring the student's candidacy: Advancement to Candidacy Form.
A dissertation stands as the final requirement for the Ph.D. degree. It represents an original and substantive contribution to its field and grows out of sustained thought, research, consultation, and writing, typically taking 18-24 months to complete.
Selecting a dissertation topic
Students are encouraged to begin thinking about their dissertations as early as possible.
Writing the dissertation
When writing the dissertation, students follow the steps below so as to finish their dissertations in a timely fashion and in accordance with the Graduate School's Dissertation Directives.
Students select directors who are knowledgeable in students' chosen fields and who are people with whom students can have a comfortable and productive working relationship. Directors read early drafts of dissertation chapters, determine when chapters are ready to be given to other committee members, and conduct 2-hour oral dissertation defenses, including overseeing completion of required paperwork.
Students, in consultation with directors, set up dissertation committees consisting of the director and two faculty readers. Readers provide feedback on later drafts of dissertation chapters, consult with directors on a dissertation's readiness for defense, and participate in a 2-hour oral dissertation defense.
The dissertation outline should be written in English 8830 and approved in the DQE. The dissertation outline, which frequently undergoes revision in response to suggestions from the DQE and dissertation committees, should be submitted to the Graduate School no later than a couple months after the DQE has been passed. Although dissertations often diverge from particulars in the dissertation outline, the outline enables students to begin with clear arguments and methods that can serve as a reference for all subsequent efforts on the dissertation.
Successful and timely completion of the dissertation within 18-24 months depends on students' sustained work, including remaining in close consultation with directors. At least one formal communication per month is recommended, and more frequent meetings, phone calls, and email exchanges are helpful. In these communications, directors and students discuss students' reading, writing, and general progress. Directors may suggest or require certain avenues of inquiry, set deadlines, and read initial drafts of dissertation chapters. These initial drafts represent students' best current efforts; as such, they are crafted pieces of writing with complete citations, not hastily-composed or casual rough drafts. Directors read the initial drafts in a timely fashion and return them to students with suggestions for revision.
Directors may seek advice from two readers about initial drafts or wait until initial drafts have been revised. Although readers typically communicate formal responses to students through directors, students should feel free to call on the expertise of the readers at any time.
Schedule the Dissertation Defense
Once directors and committee members approve dissertations, public defenses may be scheduled.
Defending the dissertation
Students defend their dissertations in a two-hour oral exam.
Students plan to undertake their defenses no later than a month prior to graduation. Students are responsible for presenting each member of the committee with a clean copy of the final version in ample time to insure its reading before the scheduled date of the defense.
Students defend their dissertations by answering questions posed by committee members about the dissertations' claims, methods, and potential for publication. At the conclusion of defenses, committee members vote on whether to accept the dissertations. To pass, a dissertation must receive a vote of 3-0 or 2-1. Committees may pass a dissertation as is or require minor revisions before students submit final drafts to the Graduate School.
The committee will fill out a Dissertation Assessment Sheet, to be handed in to the departmental director of graduate studies, and a Graduate School Dissertation Checklist for submitting the final draft, available from the Graduate School. Directors fill out the Dissertation Approval Form.
Faculty and student responsibilities