PhD Program Requirements


The PhD program requires 42 hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, including:

  • 18 hours of approved graduate-level coursework transferred in from a master’s program (only credits earned in the last six years will be considered)
  • 24 hours of coursework beyond the master’s degree (earned here or elsewhere)

Doctoral candidates will also complete 24 hours of dissertation research and two hours of teaching practicum (EN533/534). To be formally admitted to candidacy for the degree, students must pass EN 637: Workshop in Academic Writing, which is normally taken in the final year of coursework.

Doctoral candidates normally have a master’s degree to be considered for admission.

For information about the PhD program, including degree and course requirements, visit the UA Graduate Catalog here.

For specific course descriptions by semester, visit English Graduate Courses here.

Language Requirement

PhD students must demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language in one of two ways:

  • certification through the appropriate department of a “B” average or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate- or graduate-level study in a single foreign language, completed within five years of admission to the master’s program.
  • passing the foreign language reading examination prepared by the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. Students who are not native speakers of English may use their native language to fulfill this requirement.

Exam and Dissertation

After finishing coursework, the student must be formally admitted to candidacy for the degree. To meet this requirement, each student must pass a written preliminary examination, and engage with his or her dissertation committee in a one-hour conference concerning the dissertation prospectus.

Once the prospectus conference is completed, the student may proceed to the dissertation.

View our Exam and Dissertation page for information on the preliminary exam and dissertation prospectus.


Year one, incoming PhD students teach discussion sections attached to literature surveys taught by a professor. Year two, PhD students teach composition sections each semester (a 1-2 or 2-1 course load) and enroll in “EN 533/534: Teaching College English.” In advanced years, opportunities arise to teach other courses, including literature surveys.