"My PhD studies at UD provided a solid background in literature and honed my critical skills for my own writing."
~ Catherine Carter
"I made lifelong friends and I got my butt kicked intellectually. I’m eternally grateful for both."
~ Alexander Long
"The friendship and support of my mentors helped me to grow tremendously as a writer."
~ Erinn Batykefer
"I become an Assistant Editor in less than two years with my English degree."
~ Rachel A. Gearhart
"I use my English degree to advocate for my clients. The program helped me become a better writer & thinker."
~ Mary Akhimien
"I honed my writing & research on diverse issues of the human condition, focusing on ethics and civic justice."
~ Brian Byrd
"An education in the humanities helps to render the world into a language that is profound, mysterious & complex."
~ Rachel Eliza Griffiths
"My internships & editorial work at UD prepared me for a challenging but ever-rewarding career as a reporter."
~ Wallace McKelvey
"My job demands perfection when it comes to grammar, accuracy and objectivity, and it needs to happen fast."
~ Matt O'Donnell
"I found my passion for counseling students and helping them stay on track to attend college."
~ Sara Linton
"I got a great job teaching 9th grade English and film studies and will soon pursue my master's degree."
~ Kelly Emery
"Taking a variety of English courses allowed me to master and teach the modes of discourse to my own students."
~ Danielle Allen
"I secured my job prior to graduation at a UD teacher job fair. "
~ Melissa Paparozzi
"My professors helped me develop a compassionate teaching style and establish professional connections."
~ Staci Edwards
"I attribute much of my success to the English Education program at Delaware."
~ Samantha Draper
The PhD degree is designed to bring students with generalist preparation into specialized work in a significant area of British, American, and Anglophone literary and cultural studies and/or theory. Students are prepared to teach at the university level and to publish their research with reputable journals and presses.
All PhD students will be funded on a five-year Teaching Assistantship contingent upon successful completion of required coursework, the examinations, and satisfactory teaching. After successful completion of the Specialty exam and Dissertation Proposal, students enter candidacy. If funding permits, in the Fall term of the fourth year students will receive a semester long fellowship with no teaching.
When their Teaching Assistantship expires, students may continue to teach for the department on an S-contract. Contingent upon good teaching, students are eligible for a 2/2 teaching assignment in year six. The department cannot guarantee teaching past the sixth year of the PhD.
See a flow chart of the PhD degree here.
The PhD requires eight courses (24 credit hours). At least one of these courses must be in British and one in American literature. A reasonable balance between 600- and 800-level courses should be maintained, and students are welcome to take courses in other departments and programs with the approval of the Graduate Director. Courses numbered below 600 do not count toward the degree.
MA transfers may be required to take ENGL600 (Introduction to Graduate Study in English) and ENGL684 (Introduction to Literary Theory) if they have not had such courses. MA transfers who are Teaching Assistants are required to take ENGL688 (Teaching Composition) unless this requirement is waived by the Director of Writing. These required courses are in addition to the eight courses required for the PhD.
All PhD students are required to demonstrate either (1) an ability to read and work in two languages other than English; (2) an advanced ability to read and work in one language other than English; or (3) the acquisition of a skill or body of knowledge important to the student's dissertation topic. For the methods of examination under option 1, see "Language Requirement" section for the MA degree (above). For option 2, students must pass a graduate course in their chosen language with a grade of B or better.
Option 3 may take many forms, such as relevant work experience, volunteer service, or coursework at the University of Delaware or elsewhere directly related to the dissertation. Some possible topics might include paleography, statistical analysis, and print technology. Because the skills requirement will vary depending upon the student's research specialization, the graduate committee must approve proposals for a skills requirement. Should a student wish to satisfy the skills requirement through past work or volunteer experience, the department will require a contemporary demonstration of the skill, such as a seminar length paper, a formal presentation, or workshop, as a condition of approval. Students will be required to submit a formal proposal to the graduate committee explaining precisely how their skill or body of knowledge will contribute to their scholarly, intellectual, and professional development. A supporting statement from the dissertation adviser should accompany the proposal.
The language/skills requirement must be fulfilled in order for a PhD student to move to candidacy status.
Students continuing in the PhD program after successful completion of the MA at UD will have their teaching reviewed in the Fall of the third year of the PhD. Students who have received their MA from another institution will be reviewed on the MA student cycle in the Spring of the first year and the Fall of the second year and then again in the Fall of the third year. The first two reviews will be conducted by the Director of Composition.
The third and most comprehensive review, which all PhD students will complete in the Fall of the third year, will be conducted by the Director of Composition and the Director of Graduate Studies and will include a portfolio review, class observation, and a survey of teaching evaluations. Any student whose teaching is deemed unsatisfactory as a result of this review will not be funded for the last two years of the Teaching Assistantship.
The Teaching Portfolio
One of the unique strengths that each of our graduate students enjoys on the job market is the depth and diversity of their teaching portfolios. Rather than serving as a grader or an assistant to a professor's class, the courses that our graduate students teach are emphatically their own: they design the syllabi, choose the reading lists, set the calendar, create the assignments, and do the grading.
We also guarantee each graduate student the opportunity to teach at least one literature class related to the student's area of specialization. In order to prepare students for teaching in the literature classroom, we require that they complete a Graduate Apprenticeship in Teaching Literature. This involves "shadowing" a faculty mentor for a semester in a literature course, from syllabus design to the end of the semester. Among the literature courses that our students have taught are survey courses in British and American Literature, Introduction to Shakespeare, Biblical and Classical Literature, and Approaches to Literature.
Each student must submit a teaching portfolio as part of the PhD teaching review. This portfolio will include:
Specialty ExaminationAll students are required to pass a Specialty Examination consisting of two parts: (1) a 20-page bibliographical essay; and (2) a 90-minute oral field examination. The Specialty Examination must be taken prior to the start of the fourth semester of PhD work. The student must submit the bibliographical essay for approval by the examiners no later than December 1st of the academic year in which the exam will be taken. Any student who is not prepared to take the specialty exam within this time period must petition the Graduate Director in writing for an extension. Any student who fails to take the specialty exam within the extension period will be recommended for dismissal from the program. See Appendix F for a description of the exam format.
Once the dissertation director and the second reader have approved the student's proposal, they should signify their approval by signing and dating the final draft. The student will submit the signed draft to the Director of Graduate Studies, who will furnish copies to the other members of the Graduate Committee for their review. The final deadline for submission of a dissertation proposal to the Graduate Committee is April 15.
In the event the proposal does not receive Graduate Committee approval, the Director of Graduate Studies will write a memorandum to the director, with copies to the student and the second reader, explaining the reason for the negative decision. The Committee may also request modification of the proposal, in which case the Director of Graduate Studies will notify the director, the student, and the second reader in the same manner, explaining the specific nature of the modifications needed. If the student elects to change the topic or if the topic does not receive approval by the Graduate Committee, the student may submit either a new or a revised proposal following these same procedures.
The Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the dissertation director, will appoint third and fourth readers of the dissertation, the last of whom, as outside examiner, is not a member of the Department of English. All dissertations must conform to the UDThesis Styles as regulated by the University of Delaware Office of Graduate and Professional Education.
Upon completing the dissertation, and in accordance with the university requirements, students will conduct a defense. The dissertation defense will be a 90-120 minute discussion with the student's committee members of the major methodological, conceptual, literary historical, and formal questions addressed by the project. The defense will be open to the public.
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