Curriculum Requirements

  1. Courses
    Ph.D. students must complete 54 credit hours (if entering with a B.A.) or 36 credit hours (if entering with an M.A.) of 600-level courses in literature and literary theory.
  2. Language Requirements
    A basic reading knowledge of two foreign languages or an advanced reading knowledge of one foreign language is required.
  3. Qualifying Examination
    All Ph.D. students are required to pass a qualifying examination.
    Students may not take the qualifying examination until they have:
    • completed the required Ph.D. coursework,
    • satisfied the foreign language requirement
    • enrolled for ENG 697.
  4. Dissertation
    Students may proceed with the dissertation after the dissertation committee has been appointed and the dissertation proposal has been accepted by the committee and approved by the department.
    The dissertation itself must be an investigation of a substantial critical or scholarly topic. A final oral defense of the dissertation is required.
    Further information on the department’s graduate programs is contained in the Guide to Graduate Study available from the Department of English and posted on the department Web site in the Graduate section.
    Students must complete their work within one year of the schedule set out in the Guide to Graduate Study.

Doctoral Concentration in Early Modern Studies

The Medieval and Early Modern Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures (Romance Studies, Spanish, and French). Graduate students will continue to be housed in any one of the three departments and must fulfill the requirements of their discipline. To qualify for the Concentration, students must successfully complete a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in medieval and/or early modern studies in one or both of the other two departments, substituting for courses within their department; and a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in medieval and/or early modern studies within their home department. Thus, for example, a student whose home department is English would need to take two courses in medieval and/or early modern studies in English and then either two courses in History or MLL or one course in History  and one course in MLL.  A list of courses for the academic year is posted regularly on the website of the Center for the Humanities.

Doctoral Concentration in Caribbean Studies

This is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures. Ph.D. students pursuing the doctoral concentration take a minimum of two Caribbean-focused courses (6 credit hours) within their home department, and a minimum of two Caribbean-focused courses (6 credit hours) outside of their department.


Students pursuing the doctoral concentration in Caribbean Studies must take as part of their required course credit hours a minimum of four Caribbean-focused courses (12 credit hours) as shown below.

A minimum of two courses (6 credits) selected from the following:

  • ENG 612 The Digital Caribbean
  • ENG 658: Studies in Transatlantic Literature
  • ENG 665: Studies in African American Literature
  • ENG 666: Caribbean Literature
  • ENG 667: Caribbean Popular Culture
  • ENG 668: Studies in Race and Diasporic Literatures
  • ENG 686: Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  • ENG 687: Studies in Literature and Culture since 1950
  • ENG 688: Studies in Latino/a Literatures and Cultures
  • ENG 689: Comparative Americas Studies 
  • ENG 695 Special Topics: Global Black Film

A minimum of two courses (6 credits) selected from the following:

  • FRE 727 Topics in French Caribbean Cultural Studies
  • FRE 775: Topics in Francophone Studies
  • MLL 721: Atlantic Crossings: Literature and Immigration in the Age of Globalization
  • MLL 727: Topics in Caribbean Cultural Studies 
  • SPA 727: Topics in Hispanic Caribbean Cultural Studies 
  • SPA 733: Topics in Colonial Literature
  • SPA 735: Topics in 19th Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature
  • SPA 736: Topics in 20th Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature
  • HIS 602: Africa and the African Diaspora
  •  HIS 602: Africa in Cuba / Cuba in Africa
  •  HIS 611: South Asians in the Caribbean and the United States
  • HIS 652: Race in Latin America
  • HIS 652: Travels through Latin America
  • HIS 654: Caribbean Religions: Healing and Power
  • HIS 654: Haiti in History
  • HIS 654: Caribbean Intellectual History and Social Movements
  • HIS 662: Slavery and Capitalism
  • HIS 669: Black Protest Thought
  • HIS 669: Rethinking African-American Culture
  • HIS 669: History of Global Slavery
  • HIS 697: Navigating New Worlds
  • HIS 708: Slavery in the Atlantic World
  •  HIS 708: Atlantic Histories
  •  HIS 716: Caribbean Field Prep 
  • HIS 717: Field Preparation in Modern Caribbean History
  • **Or other courses with advisor’s approval following these guidelines.**

For courses not listed as fulfilling requirements for the concentration, the student should reach out to the professor to obtain the following confirmation to get the course approved:

  1. at least 50% content of the course focuses on the Caribbean region 
  2. that the student’s papers for the class and/or the final project should focus on Caribbean studies.

Guidelines for one-time approval of a course with less than 50% of Caribbean content: If you are taking this course to meet the Caribbean Concentration requirements, you will need to supplement the readings for the course in consultation with the departmental Caribbean Concentration representative and your advisor so that it meets the reading requirement of 50% content in Caribbean studies (i.e. the additional readings include at least one Caribbean focused reading for 7 weeks or more of the course).  Your final project will also need to meet the requirement by focusing on a topic in the field of Caribbean Studies.


The Department of English works to provide its students with a thorough understanding of literatures written in English; to introduce them to a range of critical and theoretical methodologies; to provide them with the skills needed to establish their own scholarly expertise within an area of specialization; to prepare them for careers in scholarship and research within the academy; to train them for teaching in two- and four-year colleges and in research universities; where appropriate, to transfer and develop those research, communication, and presentation skills to non-academic settings; and to assist them in obtaining appropriate employment inside or outside higher education.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of literatures written in English and master methods of literary and cultural analysis.
  • Students will develop a capacity for professional development, enabling the graduate to contribute to a profession or field of study.
  • Students will demonstrate excellence in teaching undergraduate writing and literature courses.