Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

English Ph.D.

English Language & Literature
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of English Language and Literature, 207 Lind Hall, 207 Church Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-625-3882; fax: 612-624-8228)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 63
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Over the past 20 years, the field of English studies has changed dramatically from a discipline concerned with studying the literary works produced by English speakers in Britain and the United States to encompass writings in English from around the globe. The concerns of literary scholars have broadened to include not only textual analyses but also cultural, social, political, and economic contexts. The field of literature itself now encompasses not only the traditional genres of poetry, prose (fiction and belles-lettres), and drama, but also extra-literary discourses: popular culture, film, television, legal documents, conduct books, and manifestos. The Department of English has been in the forefront of interdisciplinary projects, thanks to the efforts of a faculty committed to research in American studies, medieval studies, feminist studies, film studies, and cultural studies. At the same time, the department maintains the core concerns of the discipline—the traditional study of the literatures and languages in English—as well as develops writers for the present and future through the master of fine arts in creative writing degree. The department is engaged in two simultaneous projects: to preserve the core curriculum and to re-imagine its future shape. Course requirements for the PhD program are broadly defined, allowing the student to shape a personal program of study. The English program encourages and supports interdisciplinary work.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
A minimum of four courses in English, three of which must be at the upper division level, is required. The courses should be widely distributed.
Special Application Requirements:
Students with a bachelor's degree may apply either to the master's program or the doctoral program. An M.A. degree, but not an M.F.A. degree, can be gained en route to the Ph.D. degree. M.A. candidates who wish to continue their studies must formally apply for admission to the Ph.D. program. Required application materials include three letters of recommendation; a short essay explaining scholarly, professional, and personal goals and reason(s) for choosing the University of Minnesota; and a writing sample, such as a course paper. Candidates for all degrees are admitted fall semester only; all materials must be received by December 1st.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
    • General Test - Verbal Reasoning: 164
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 105
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 620
    • Total Score: 7.5
    • Final score: 88
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
27 to 33 credits are required in the major.
6 to 12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Language Requirement: Reading knowledge of two languages.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 4 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Course requirements for the PhD program are broadly defined, allowing students to shape a personal program of study.
Required Courses (6 Credits)
Take ENGL 5800 for 3 credits.
ENGL 5001 - Ph.D. Colloquium: Introduction to Literary Theory and Literary Studies in the Modern University (3.0 cr)
ENGL 5800 - Practicum in the Teaching of English (1.0-3.0 cr)
Emphasis Area (12 Credits)
Take exactly 12 credit(s) from the following:
· ENGL 5xxx
· ENGL 8xxx
Distribution Requirement (9 Credits)
Take exactly 9 credit(s) from the following:
1 course in 3 of the following areas, but NOT in the student’s area of emphasis.
· ENGL 5xxx
ENGL 8xxx
• Medieval • Early modern, to 1800 • 19th century • 20th and 21st century • Creative writing • Rhetoric, literacy, language • Criticism, theory
Outside Coursework (6 Credits)
Take at least 6 credits of coursework outside coursework.
Thesis Credits
Take exactly 24 credit(s) from the following:
· ENGL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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ENGL 5001 - Ph.D. Colloquium: Introduction to Literary Theory and Literary Studies in the Modern University
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Where and what is literary study vis-a-vis the history of the discipline, of the humanities, and of the university--all in the context of a graduate education. Literary theory focusing on key theoretical works that address the discipline, the humanities, and the university. Prerequisite: English grad student
ENGL 5800 - Practicum in the Teaching of English
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Discussion of and practice in recitation, lecture, small-groups, tutoring, individual conferences, and evaluation of writing/reading. Emphasizes theory informing effective course design/teaching for different disciplinary goals. Topics vary. See Class Schedule. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
ENGL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required