The Doctor of Philosophy in English program trains students to be successful scholars and teachers of literature and of writing and rhetoric. The program begins with an immersion in coursework, designed to introduce the discipline at a broad level and to lay the ground for avenues of individual research. The Comprehensive Exam solidifies the student’s grounding in three fields of study linked to that which the student intends to specialize. The dissertation, completed under the close supervision of both the dissertation director and the dissertation committee, is an original research project that stands as the student’s entry into the field of professional scholarship.
Graduates of Ph.D. in English program are able to:
- Employ primary and secondary materials to analyze critical debates and positionality within subfields of English.
- Demonstrate expertise in theories; methods; and social, cultural, and political histories of three subfields of English studies pertinent to the student’s plan of research and teaching.
- Formulate and defend original and critically significant arguments, communicating them effectively in genres relevant to English studies (e.g., research papers, conference presentations, digital projects).
- Design and conduct sustained, sophisticated, independent research to make a critical contribution to subfields within English studies by engaging in analytical thinking, investigating relationships between language and power, or critiquing inherited social structures and hierarchies within and beyond the field(s).
- Develop a foundational knowledge of current pedagogical and curricular frameworks for teaching college-level courses and apply these frameworks in their own classrooms or other teaching contexts.
In addition to the formal curriculum, the department offers a range of opportunities to introduce students to new scholarship in English, including the Barrs lecture series. We hold frequent workshops on various aspects of graduate study and professionalization, and students are involved in a plethora of hands-on research opportunities, including the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, and The Women Writers Project. Many students are also involved with 826 Boston, where they have gained experience in teaching and community engagement.
Type of Program