Dec 05, 2023  
2016-2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, Ph.D.

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CIP Code: 8306 (231302-01)

The English Ph.D. program is designed to provide the student with a broad knowledge of the field and a high degree of specialization in the major area. While making a comprehensive study of English and American language and literature, the student should discover an area of special interest. Advanced work in that area should lead to the dissertation topic. The student may pursue concentrations in (1) Creative Writing, (2) Folklore, (3) Linguistics, or (4) Rhetoric. The special requirements for these areas are available from the Department of English.


A student may enter the program directly from the baccalaureate (see Admissions under M.A. program), but it is strongly advised that the M.A. degree be completed as part of the program. In addition to GRE scores (General Test), three letters of recommendation, and transcripts, applicants must submit a critical writing sample (10-20 pages), a statement of purpose, and a curriculum vitae. Students applying to the Creative Writing Concentration need to submit as well a creative writing sample (10-20 pages),

Course Requirements

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit (including a minimum of 24 hours for dissertation), exclusive of the research methods course, above the baccalaureate.
  2. A minimum of 48 of these hours must be in courses at the 400(G), 500, and 600 levels in the following areas of study:
  Area  1: British Literature to ca. 1500
Area  2: British Literature of the Renaissance
Area  3: British Literature of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century
Area  4: British Literature, Romantic and Victorian
Area  5: British Literature from ca. 1890 to the Present
Area  6: American Literature to ca. 1900
Area  7: American Literature from ca. 1900 to the Present
Area  8: Literary Theory
Area  9: Rhetoric
Area 10: Linguistics
Area 11: Open Topic/Major Genre (e.g., Fiction, Drama, Poetry)
Area 12: Folklore

Students are urged to plan early and continuously, with the help of graduate advisors and the Graduate Coordinator, for adequate course work before their written examinations.

  1. Students must take at least one course numbered 500 or above in any four areas numbered 1 through 7 above.
  2. All students must complete at least 21 post-M.A. credit hours of course work in this department by the semester before the General Comprehensive Examination (see below) is scheduled.
  3. Students must complete ENGL 596 Research Methods , or an approved equivalent, and ENGL 500 Professional Colloquium .
  4. Students must complete 6 hours from any of the following courses:

Language Requirement

In addition to a command of English, the student must demonstrate reading proficiency in two other languages or fluency in one other. Typically, Ph.D. students in English satisfy the language requirement with reading proficiency in two languages, one of which must be French or German; the other may be Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Russian, Greek, French, or German. If a student opts for fluency in one language, however, it must be French, German, or Spanish.

Reading proficiency in a language may be established in one of the following ways:

  1. satisfactory completion of an appropriate language requirement in an M.A. or other post-baccalaureate program;
  2. presentation of evidence of having completed, within the past six years prior to entering the English graduate program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the second semester, sophomore-level college course in an approved language with a grade no lower than C; the course work may of course be taken while the student is attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette;
  3. successful completion of a reading proficiency examination designed and administered by appropriate faculty in the Department of Modern Languages or;
  4. presentation of a satisfactory score on the Graduate School Foreign Language Test administered by the Educational Testing Service.

Fluency in French, German, or Spanish may be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  1. passing a special test designed and administered by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Modern Languages Department; or
  2. passing with a grade of B or better 9 semester hours in the target language at the junior or senior (300-400) level, or 6 hours at the graduate (500-600) level within the last five years prior to entering the graduate program in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. These courses may be taken while the student is attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

General Comprehensive Examination

After completing all work except the dissertation, every student, regardless of the Ph.D. concentration, will be tested by the English Graduate Faculty in four areas of study elected by the student. The examinations will include one five-hour written examination in a primary area and one five-hour written examination in each of three secondary areas. After passing the written examinations, and before the end of that semester in which they were successfully completed, the candidate’s committee shall schedule an oral examination in the student’s primary area of study. Note: (1) Students must take two of their four examinations in Areas 1 through 7. (2) Students whose primary exam is in British Literature of any period (Areas 1 through 5) must take at least one secondary written exam in American literature (Areas 6 or 7); and those whose primary exam is in American literature (Areas 6 or 7) must take at least one secondary written examination in British Literature (Areas 1 through 5); students whose primary exam is in Literary Theory, Folklore or Open Topics/Major Genre (Areas 8, 10, and 11) must take one secondary exam in British Literature (Areas 1 through 5) and one in American literature (Areas 6 or 7). (3) Students electing the Creative Writing, Linguistics or Rhetoric concentrations should see the regulations governing their examinations available from the Department of English.

On the basis of performance on these examinations, the student will be (1) passed unconditionally, (2) required to take further examinations, or (3) dropped from the Ph.D. program. Any student dropped from the program may appeal to the English Graduate Committee for reconsideration. A student who passes unconditionally may be awarded a pass “with distinction” if the primary exam is independently passed with distinction by two readers, if all secondary exams have received at least a grade of pass, and if five of the eight readers independently pass the exams with distinction.


As soon as possible after beginning graduate study, a Ph.D. student should elect a field of specialization and, in consultation with a specialist in that field, select some problem for investigation. In the semester following successful completion of the General Comprehensive Examination, the student should submit a prospectus for the dissertation. The candidate should begin this step early enough to allow for its approval by mid-October when examinations were completed the previous spring or mid-March when examinations were completed the previous fall. The Chair of the student’s dissertation committee, in consultation with other committee members, will then recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student’s dissertation committee be approved. This committee will direct the candidate through the final stages of the program. The dissertation may be a work of literary or linguistic scholarship on a single subject, a literary biography, a work concerned with the history of ideas or American or English studies. Creative writing students submit an original work of literature with supporting critical/theoretical commentary. The dissertation should meet the minimum standards for publication. The specific requirements for Creative Writing, Folklore, Linguistics or Rhetoric concentrations are available from the Department of English.

Final Oral Examination

When the dissertation has been completed and approved by the dissertation committee, the committee will conduct a final oral examination of the candidate. The examination will be devoted to a defense of the dissertation and to related matters.

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