Doctor of Philosophy | Department of English | SIU

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Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in English prepares students to be advanced scholars and educators in the fields of literature and language: i.e., autonomous knowers, writers, and thinkers. The PhD asks you to know, write, and think about a given topic independently. For that reason, it asks you to focus intensively on a single research project for a sustained period of time. The PhD prepares students for faculty positions, but also for work in a variety of other fields: public history, technical and professional writing, publishing (digital and traditional), arts and educational administration, grant writing and fundraising, and other forms of public humanities work.

The PhD program at SIUC is designed as a five-year program for full-time students. It does not prescribe a set list of courses or distribution requirements. Instead, a doctoral student develops her program of study in close consultation with a faculty advisor. The program’s structure allows for maximum flexibility in a student’s coursework and the development of areas of research focus outside of traditional periodization.

Qualifying examinations cover one major and two minor areas as chosen by the student in consultation with his or her committee. Upon successful completion of the examinations, the student is advanced to candidacy, and proceeds directly to the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation. Once the dissertation is completed, the student will present an oral defense of the dissertation before a committee, including any designated outside readers.