Dec 05, 2023
The Doctor of Philosophy in English is designed to meet the needs of future scholars and writers, particularly those who intend to teach at undergraduate institutions. The program requires all candidates to have broad knowledge of English and American literature, acquaintance with non-traditional literature, practical and/or theoretical background in the teaching of English, and a specialization in one or more of the discipline’s fields—literature, English language, creative writing, and pedagogy. Whatever their specialization, all candidates will receive essential experience in scholarship, teaching, and writing in the profession, and will develop the breadth required of teachers in relatively small English departments.
Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examinations, both the General Test and the Subject Test in Literature in English, and forward their scores to the Department of English.
On admission, students should consult with the advisor at the earliest opportunity concerning their program of study.
For more detailed information and for an application form, see the department’s pages at the following URL: www.wmich.edu/english/grad.html.
A small number of doctoral fellowships are awarded each year, together with a number of doctoral teaching assistantships.
Candidates entering with an MA or an MFA are credited with 30 hours (or more if their transcripts warrant it). Those entering directly from a baccalaureate program will be expected to complete the courses designated as “prerequisites” as early as possible in their studies.
1. Prerequisites (equivalent courses from other institutions are accepted) - Hours: 12
a. For candidates in literature, language, or pedagogy:
Literary Criticism; Introduction to Graduate Studies; The Nature of Poetry; and an approved English language course.
b. For candidates in creative writing:
Literary Criticism; an approved course in modern literary forms; a genre-specific course; an approved English language course.
2. Distribution requirement - Hours: 18
Six graduate level courses from the following list of areas, selected so that no two contiguous periods are skipped. Candidates in creative writing must choose Contemporary Literature as one area.
American literature before 1865
American literature 1865-1945
British literature to 1500
Renaissance British literature (through Milton)
Restoration and 18th-century British literature
Nineteenth-century British literature
Modern British literature
3. Non-traditional literature - Hours: 3
At least one course in literature in English by an ethnic minority group, by post-colonial writers, or by other groups not traditionally included in the canon.
4. Teaching component - Hours: 6
Six hours of credit elected from courses or practica in the teaching of composition, literature, English language, or creative writing.
5. Area of specialization - Hours: 12
At least 12 credit hours in an area (or for creative writing students, a genre) chosen in preparation for the dissertation. The areas include the periods listed in the Distribution Requirement as well as English Language, and the Theory and Practice of Teaching English at the college level.
6. Cognate or support area - Hours: 6 to 9
An optional area to complement the specialization. May include courses from other departments.
7. Candidacy Examination
After satisfying the distribution requirement, students will take four three-hour written examinations over their chosen areas, including an exercise in practical criticism. These examinations should be completed within three years of admission. May be repeated once.
8. Foreign Language Requirement
Students must demonstrate by examination or by completion of two 4000-level courses basic reading competence in at least one foreign language.
9. Doctoral Readings and Oral Examination - Hours: 3 to 6
Near the completion of course work and before beginning the dissertation, students will take the following course, a course of readings designed by the candidate in conjunction with a faculty supervisor.
An oral examination over the chosen books will follow.
10. Dissertation - Hours: 15
The dissertation is to be a book-length manuscript of scholarship, criticism, research, or creative writing comprised of either a single piece of work or a coherent collection of shorter pieces that are methodologically, structurally, or thematically related.