PhD Degree Requirements


  • 18 approved graduate seminars (equivalent of two courses per quarter for three years). Six of these seminars must be in required areas: 
    • Introduction to Graduate Studies 
    • Introduction to Theory 
    • Pre-1500 
    • Renaissance 
    • 1660-1800, British or American 
    • 19th century, British or American 
  • The twelve remaining seminars may be distributed among any areas, but must be determined by a program of study to be approved prior to the second year of study by the student’s Faculty Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies 
  • Foreign Language Requirement. Doctoral students must demonstrate reading competence in two foreign languages or high proficiency in one. 
  • Teaching. Doctoral candidates must have experience as classroom teachers in the department before they receive the degree. 
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50 in graduate course work. 
  • Residency requirement of nine approved graduate seminars taken in the University of Oregon Department of English. 

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination (CE) is designed to enable PhD students to develop their knowledge and understanding of works in 2-3 areas of scholarship. The exam, which has a written and an oral component, should enable them to deepen reading and thinking begun in their seminars, to become acquainted with wider conversations among scholars in their areas of interest, and to discover what ideas emerge when they juxtapose readings from different theoretical schools, historical periods, literary movements, genres, forms of media, or other areas of focus. As they build reading lists with the help of advisor and committee members, students should choose areas of concentration they anticipate will be key to their dissertations. The final list of 130-150 works, approved by the three members of the exam committee, will be due in Week Two of Spring term before the academic year the student will take the CE.

The Dissertation 

After passing the PhD Major Field Examination, the student prepares a twenty-page dissertation prospectus under the guidance of their dissertation advisor. When the prospectus is approved by the dissertation committee and the Director of Graduate Studies, the student officially advances to “candidacy” (becomes a PhD candidate) and is ready to write the dissertation. This is a substantial work of scholarship on a single subject, based on original research, which contributes substantially to knowledge in the field. Upon completion, the PhD candidate must undergo a formal, public dissertation defense. This is an oral examination in which the student fields questions from the committee about the subject, methodology, research findings, and knowledge of the field. 

Apply to the English PhD Program 

Students who want to pursue a PhD at the University of Oregon should apply directly for a PhD. The number of places in the PhD program is limited, and admission is competitive. 

Graduate Admissions

Graduate Coordinator

​​​​​Kathy Furrer,
Phone: 541-346-1501
Fall Term:

  • Mon: Working Remotely (available by email)  
  • Tuesday-Friday: 8:30-Noon/1-3:30pm