Why study English language and literature?

Because reading and writing shape the world.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

To be admitted to any of the department’s graduate degree tracks, a student must have a strong undergraduate record, particularly in the humanities. A grade-point average of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale normally is required. Applicants are expected to have some familiarity with British and American literary history and the work of the major writers in English. Most importantly, applicants for graduate work in literary studies and rhetoric-composition studies should be able to demonstrate, with writing samples, their ability to produce advanced analytical and interpretive scholarly writing. Similarly, creative writing applicants need to submit writing samples that demonstrate an advanced level of writing skills in their respective genres. Candidates for admission must submit Graduate Record Examination scores in support of their applications. For complete admission information, see the English department website.

All applicants must submit their graduate application online. All supplemental materials (transcripts, writing samples, letters of recommendation, etc.) may be attached electronically and submitted with the online application. Those who cannot submit supplemental materials electronically may mail them to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of English
Graduate Applications
1445 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 3001
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594

Ph.D. in English Degree Requirements

Students entering the program with the B.A. have, while being continuously enrolled, 10 years to complete the M.A. and Ph.D. combined. Students entering with the M.A. have 7 years to complete the Ph.D.; however, the expected time to degree is 6-7 years for the M.A. plus Ph.D., and 4-5 years for the Ph.D.

Ph.D. Requirements: Literature and Creative Writing

  1. At least 24 hours of credit in appropriate formal graduate courses beyond the M.A. or M.F.A. At least 15 hours (in addition to introduction to ENGL 800 if not taken for the M.A.) of this course work must be taken from among courses offered by the Department of English at the 700 level and above. ENGL 997 and ENGL 999 credits cannot be included among the 24 hours. Students may petition to take up to 6 hours outside the department.
  2. Required courses: ENGL 800 and 2 seminars (courses numbered 900 or above) offered by the Department of English at KU beyond the M.A. ENGL 998 does not fulfill this requirement. Students with master’s degrees earned elsewhere may be required by the director of graduate studies, acting on behalf of the graduate committee, to take additional course work.
  3. A reading knowledge of 1 of the following languages: French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Old English, or Spanish, and completion of the Responsible Scholarship and Research Skills requirement (usually fulfilled with ENGL 800).
  4. ENGL 999, Dissertation (at least 12 hours).
  5. A comprehensive examination, to be completed after satisfaction of formal course requirements. This examination, which has both written and oral components, consists of 3 areas of study.
  6. In the semester following the comprehensive examination, a 90-minute review of the dissertation proposal, which is to provide formal direction for the dissertation.
  7. At least 1 year of supervised quarter-time teaching for qualified candidates except for those who do not plan to undertake teaching careers or who have already had extensive teaching experience.
  8. A dissertation of substantial merit.
  9. Final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Ph.D. Requirements: Composition and Rhetoric, M.A. to Ph.D., standard track

  1. At least 24 hours of credit in appropriate formal graduate courses beyond the M.A. or M.F.A. At least 15 hours (in addition to introduction to ENGL 800 if not taken for the M.A.) of this course work must be taken from among courses offered by the Department of English at the 700 level and above. ENGL 997 and ENGL 999 credits cannot be included among the 24 hours. Students may petition to take up to 6 hours outside the department.
  2. An introduction to the field: either ENGL 800 or ENGL 780.
  3. 2 seminars (courses numbered 900 or above) offered by the Department of English at KU beyond the M.A., at least one of which should be in Rhetoric and Composition. ENGL 998 does not fulfill this requirement.
  4. A reading knowledge of 1 of the following languages: French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Old English, or Spanish, and completion of the Responsible Scholarship and Research Skills requirement (usually fulfilled with ENGL 800).
  5. ENGL 999, Dissertation (at least 12 hours).
  6. A comprehensive examination, to be completed after satisfaction of formal course requirements. This examination, which has both written and oral components, consists of three areas of study.
  7. In the semester following the comprehensive examination, a 90-minute review of the dissertation proposal, which is to provide formal direction for the dissertation.
  8. At least 1 year of supervised quarter-time teaching for qualified candidates except for those who do not plan to undertake teaching careers or who have already had extensive teaching experience.
  9. A dissertation of substantial merit.
  10. Final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Ph.D. Requirements: Composition and Rhetoric, B.A. to Ph.D. accelerated track

Each student admitted to the Ph.D. program in composition and rhetoric is assigned a graduate advisor from among the faculty in composition and rhetoric, who will help the student plan an initial course of study. After the first semester, students may ask other faculty members in the field to serve as their graduate advisors, depending on availability. The students and their graduate advisors together design and monitor a coherent program of study, individualized to serve each student’s goals within current expectations for a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric. As an interdisciplinary field, study in composition and rhetoric might involve work in other departments, programs, or schools as well as English, including, for example, communication studies, linguistics, education, psychology, American studies, women’s studies, or history.

Each student’s individualized program of study must meet the minimum requirements detailed below.

  1. At least 36 hours of credit in appropriate formal graduate courses beyond the B.A. At least 30 hours of this course work must be taken from among courses offered at the 700 level and above. ENGL 997 and ENGL 999 credit hours cannot be included among the 36 hours.
  2. Students in this specialization may take up to 12 hours outside the department without petition, with written approval by the students’ graduate advisors. Students may petition to take more hours outside the department, with the approval of their graduate advisors, and provided they can demonstrate how the courses fit within their programs of study.
  3. A course on methods, theory, and professionalism: Either ENGL 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in English or ENGL 780 Composition Studies
  4. A reading knowledge of one of the following languages: French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Old English, or Spanish, and completion of the Responsible Scholarship and Research Skills requirement (usually fulfilled with ENGL 800).
  5. At least 3 seminars (numbered 900 or above) offered by the Department of English at the University of Kansas, at least 2 of which should be in composition and rhetoric. ENGL 998 does not fulfill this requirement.
  6. ENGL 999 Dissertation (at least 12 hours).
  7. A comprehensive examination, to be completed after satisfaction of formal course requirements. This examination, which has both written and oral components, consists of 3 areas of study.
  8. In the semester following the comprehensive examination, a 90-minute review of the dissertation proposal, which is to provide formal direction for the dissertation.
  9. At least 1 year of supervised quarter-time teaching for qualified candidates except for those who do not plan to undertake teaching careers or who have already had extensive teaching experience.
  10. A dissertation of substantial merit.
  11. Final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.