Skip to main content

Ph.D. in British and American Literature

Building on a record of excellence in the student's M.A. preparation in the broad range of English and American literature, the Ph.D. student in literature should work toward increased sophistication in his/her scholarship. The Ph.D. student should continue to strengthen and deepen an understanding of three distinct but related areas of expertise, contributing toward a scholarly focus. At least one of these areas should be a historical period. A second field should be a related historical period, literary theory, or rhetoric, and the third field should be a specific individualized area of inquiry. The career of a Ph.D. student should be marked by increasing independence in thinking and writing about literature. Working toward these objectives advances the student's competence in writing the scholarly dissertation. The Ph.D. in Literature constitutes solid preparation for scholarly publication and expert undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • MA in English or MFA in Creative Writing
  • 3.5 GPA in graduate studies
  • Studies in one foreign language (Student can complete this requirement while in residence.)
  • GRE general test 

Fall Admission Application Deadline: January 15

Application Materials

Consult the UH Graduate School for detailed instructions for electronic submission of your application materials. The English Department requires the following materials:  

  • The online application and application fee.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Official academic transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended. As specified on the Graduate School website, one copy must also be mailed to the Graduate School.
  • The scores for the GRE general test.
  • The student’s statement of intent (1-2 pages).
  • A 15-25 page critical writing sample with bibliography.

Degree Requirements

  • 36 hours of coursework
  • Foreign language requirement: students must demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages or intensive knowledge of one foreign language.
  • 3 written comprehensive examinations
  • 1 oral comprehensive examination
  • Dissertation

Distribution of Coursework

  • 3 hours of Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English
  • 6 hours of bibliography, literary theory, or rhetoric. If students have taken a course in one of these areas for the M.A., this requirement will be waived, allowing the student an additional 3 hours of elective course work (but not a reduction in the total hours required).
  • 27 hours of literature, including:
    • 9 hours in early literature (British literature before 1800 and American literature before 1865)
    • 6 hours in later literature
    • 12 hours of elective courses, each contributing to the student's areas of expertise. Students should select each of these courses in consultation with the graduate advisor and his/her faculty mentors.

General Policies and Procedures

Program guidelines are available here.