The Ph.D. in English is conferred upon completion of 54 credit hours of course work following the B.A., a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Up to 24 credits may be transferred with the approval of the graduate director. Degree requirements include those for the M.A. in English with the following additions:
- Two research seminars (800-level courses) after completion of the M.A.
- Reading knowledge of a second foreign language, which may be demonstrated through course work or by a proficiency exam
Upon completion of course work, the Ph.D. student takes a comprehensive exam consisting of three parts: literature of an historical period; literary theory and the history of criticism; and an individualized field in which the dissertation is to be written. The dissertation, a substantial piece of original research, gives the doctoral program its capstone.