PhD in English

Deepen your knowledge of Anglophone literatures

The doctoral program is designed to prepare students to teach at the college level and conduct research in literature written in British, American and/or other Anglophone literatures. 

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Program Highlights

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.

Apply Your Knowledge

Students who complete the doctoral program at Marquette are prepared to work in higher education and also equipped to apply their skills in a variety of workplaces.

Credit and Course Work

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)

  • 6820 Studies in Modern Theory and Practice
  • 6965 Practicum in Teaching Writing (for TAs)


18 credits, 9 of which must be earned in courses at the 6000 level or above.

Dissertation Tutorial

Dissertation Tutorial 8830 (3 credits)

Dissertation Credits 

Dissertation Credits 8999 (12 credits)

Exams and Dissertation

Doctoral Qualifying Exam

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.


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.

Information and details around the qualifying exam and dissertation can be found on the English Department PhD website

Take the next step towards your future

  • Request Information
  • Admission Requirements
  • Application Details
  • Application Deadline
  • Financial Aid and Fellowships

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To be eligible for admission to the Graduate School at Marquette University, applicants must meet the following requirements:

A master of arts degree is required for admission to the doctoral program. Prospective applicants are expected to have adequate preparation in English and related subjects. 

Application Requirements

Read all application instructions prior to beginning an application.

  • A completed online application form and fee.
  • Transcripts:
    • Submit copies of all current and previous college/universities except Marquette1
  • At least two letters of recommendation (three are preferred)
  • A statement of purpose. The best personal statement summarizes your academic interests and achievements and your career goals. Emphasize strengths that may not otherwise be obvious from your application file
  • One or two writing samples reflecting the sort of work you would like to produce at Marquette
  • For international applicants only: TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency

1Upon admission, final official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, with certified English translations if original language is not English, must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

January 15: Application and application materials should be received to be considered for fall term admission.

Financial Aid

Merit-based aid (graduate assistantships/fellowships) is available. Teaching and research assistantships are available to candidates for both degrees on a competitive basis. Private scholarships may also be available. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be eligible to apply for need-based federal aid (loans) to help fund their educational expenses as well.