Doctor of Philosophy Program

The aim of the Ph.D. program in English Literature is to prepare students to be productive scholars, intelligent critics of literature, and competent academics.

Candidates for admission must fulfill the requirements specified in the regulations of the Institute for Graduate Studies in Social Sciences. Candidates are required to take a written and an oral exam to prove their grasp of the field. The suggested reading list of primary texts can be found in the link below:


The program requires the successful completion of 25 credits, followed in turn by a qualifying examination, the formal proposal, the writing of a dissertation and its defense.

The student chooses three areas of concentration, building upon his/her master’s background, and then focuses upon a field of interest which may be a historical period, a genre, or literary theory and criticism. The qualifying examination tests knowledge in-depth of the areas of concentration and also awareness of the methods of critical interpretation. Each student submits a dissertation in a form approved by his/her dissertation director and by a committee appointed by the department.

The major areas of concentration are Medieval Literature, Renaissance Literature, 17th and 18th Century Literature, Romantic and Victorian Literature, Modern English Literature, and Theory of Criticism.

Each student must take one course in three of these areas followed by two special study courses or doctoral seminars in his/her area of special interest designed to give an early focus to his/her work on the dissertation.

A final public oral examination is given after the candidate’s dissertation has been read and approved. The following topics are to be covered in the examination: a justification of the subject treated and the methods chosen, an account of any new contributions made. The student must develop and answer a series of questions growing out of subjects presented in the dissertation.