Literature PhD Program Requirements

Students who have earned the Master of Arts degree from the literature program and passed the PhD Qualifying Exam must complete at least 45 units of 500-level or 600-level academic course work beyond the requirements for the MA.  At least 33 units of the 45 must be in regularly scheduled literature classes unless otherwise approved by the Program Director. Students who earned the MA degree in English elsewhere must complete a minimum of 30 units of course work; of these, at least 18 units must be in regularly scheduled literature classes, unless otherwise approved by the Program Director. 15 units of your MA course work will be transferred to the units required for your PhD, but coursework more than ten years old is not acceptable for meeting degree requirements. In addition, all students must satisfy the Foreign Language exam, pass the Comprehensive Preliminary Examination, complete 18 units of dissertation credit, and write a dissertation acceptable to the Department of English.

Foreign Language Requirement 

Students entering the program with an MA from elsewhere may satisfy the foreign language requirement for the PhD in one of three ways:

1.  By receiving the grade of Pass on the departmental translation test.

2.  By earning a grade of A in one senior-level literature course in the language.

3.  By earning a grade of A or S (not P)  in one of several graduate-level translation courses offered every spring.

Literature students who elect to take the departmental exam are limited to two attempts. Students who fail the exam a second time must then register for a graduate translation/reading course in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Italian automatically qualify as acceptable languages for the requirement; other languages must be approved by the Graduate Literature Program Director. The language requirement must be met before the student may take the comprehensive examination.

Language exams are administered at the beginning of each semester.  See the Program Assistant for details and sample exams.


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences