Ph.D. in Literature
Students gain advanced knowledge of literature from the British Middle Ages and colonial America to global/postcolonial and U.S. contemporary, as well as knowledge of literary theory, literary analysis, and interdisciplinary methods. The course of study balances coverage of national literary traditions with innovative methods and topics such as literature and science; literature and environment; translation; gender and sexuality studies; and race studies. Students graduate with the qualitative and quantitative skills necessary for professional research and teaching in English, or demonstrated skill in creative writing for careers as professional writers. There is an option to complete an MA in literature, but it is not a stand-alone program.
- Ph.D. Program Requirements
Degree requirements for the Ph.D. program (links to more details) include 50 units of coursework with at least 44 units taken for a letter grade, proficiency in one foreign language proficiency before degree conferral, preliminary and qualifying examinations, and a dissertation. In addition, there are also opportunities for students to pursue a Designated Emphasis and gain teaching experience.
13 Total Graduate Courses (50 units; 11 courses must be taken for a grade)
Additionally, students who enter the Ph.D. program without a MA degree may request instructions for completing the optional MA en route to the Ph.D. degree.
- Foreign Language Requirement
The English Ph.D. requires a reading knowledge of one foreign language before completing the degree; it is not an admissions requirement. This could be satisfied through previous or current coursework or an exam. Any of the following demonstrates proficiency:
Completion within the past eight years of 3 semester-length, or 4 quarter-length courses in a foreign language at the undergraduate level. Students must earn a passing grade, but courses may be taken on a pass/no pass basis.
Students may take the Placement Test offered by the UC Davis Language Center, testing out of the language at the intermediate level.
A Pass in the language exam offered in the English Department at the beginning of Fall or Spring quarter each year.
- Breadth Requirement
- Electives Requirement
The electives requirement can be fulfilled by actual offered seminars inside or outside the English Department. Five elective courses will satisfy degree requirements. UWP 390 is acceptable as one of the electives. Also, be aware 299s are ungraded but still count towards overall units. With the approval of the Graduate Adviser, students may also enroll in a graduate class at another University of California campus through the Intercampus Exchange Program.
- Course Waiver and Course Relief
- Designated Emphasis
Graduate students may participate in a Designated Emphasis (DE), a specialization that might include a new method of inquiry or an important field of application which is related to two or more existing Ph.D. programs.
The DE is awarded in conjunction with the Ph.D. degree and is signified by a transcript notation; for example, “Ph.D. in Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Native American Studies.”
- Preliminary Examination
Introduction to Graduate Studies (ENL200)
Survey of Literary Theory (CRI200A or CRI200C)
Four of five Breadth Requirements
Four of five Elective Requirements
One foreign language at the intermediate level or all course work toward the intensive level except the graduate course with a paper written in the foreign language
- Disability Studies
- Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities
- Film Studies
- Media Technologies
- Performance Studies
- Postcolonial Theory
- Queer Feminisms
- Race and Ethnicity Studies
- Science and Literature
- Science Fiction
In the event that the student does not pass the exam, the exam chair will report the decision to the Graduate Adviser, who will work with the committee to decide whether the student should be given a chance to retake the exam (no less than six months later) or whether the student should be dismissed from the program. The Graduate Adviser will report this final decision to the student within 72 hours of the exam’s conclusion.
- Qualifying Examination
The Qualifying Examination happens as early as the spring of the third year and should be taken no later than the spring of the fourth year. The reading list for this exam, which is conducted orally, is constructed by the student in consultation with his or her three-person dissertation committee. When making their lists, students may consult the standard lists for preliminary exams available on the department's Box site. If the student has elected a designated emphasis (DE), materials from that field should also be incorporated into the Qualifying Exam reading list.
Qualifying Examination Committee
The student, in consultation with his/her Prospectus Adviser and, if needed, the Graduate Adviser, nominates four faculty to serve on the Qualifying Examination Committee:
- the three proposed Dissertation Committee members
- one member must be from outside the English graduate program (this may be a member of the Dissertation Committee).
It is still possible to petition graduate studies for an additional (fifth) examiner by including an explanation with the QE application.
These nominations are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy. The QE Committee is responsible for administering the QE. Neither the “Prospectus Adviser” nor the Dissertation Director (in many, though not all, cases these will be same) may be the chair of the QE Committee.
Students doing a designated emphasis (DE) must include one faculty member affiliated with the DE on both their qualifying and dissertation committee. DE paperwork must be approved before the QE application is submitted.
Graduate Studies prefers to receive all relevant paperwork 60 days prior to the exam, but there is not a firm deadline. By the end of the second week of the quarter, a student intends to take the Qualifying Exam, graduate students should file and submit (1) the “Qualifying Examination Application” form to Graduate Studies, (2) Prospectus sign off sheet (signed by all members of the committee) and (3) the Prospectus and Reading list. If a student is taking the Qualifying Exam early in the quarter, they must remember to submit these documents at last 8 weeks before the exam.
The bibliography of the prospectus will normally overlap substantially with the Qualifying Exam reading list. The exam will focus on the Prospectus and the Qualifying Exam reading list.
Upon successful completion of the examinations, the student receives an Application for Advancement to Candidacy form. After completely filled out with the required signatures, and the candidacy fee is paid either at the Cashier’s Office or online, the Graduate Program Coordinator must submit these to Graduate Studies.
- Exam Accommodations
If you are disabled, you are entitled to accommodations for all requirements of the program you’re enrolled in, a process formally handled by the Student Disability Center. We recommend starting the process of coordinating with the SDC early in your graduate school journey, as it can take time for the Center to process information. We will work with the SDC to implement your accommodations for your exams. Please indicate your need for accommodations to us as soon as possible, so we can include the Center in our exam scheduling process. Please notify us by the fourth week of the quarter in which you intend to sit the exam.
The dissertation must be an original work of scholarship and/or interpretation. It may be critical, bibliographical, historical, or biographical in its subject. Students work with a dissertation director and consult with two official readers as well as with other faculty knowledgeable about the project. The dissertation committee must app. Additional details.