Aug 13, 2022  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2009-2011 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2009-2011 [Archived Catalog]

English Ph.D.

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Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. in English is designed primarily as professional preparation for scholars and teachers of literature, creative writing, and rhetoric/composition. It includes required and elective coursework, a series of examinations, and completion and defense of a dissertation.

Admission. You must apply for admission to the Office of Graduate Studies. Applications are downloadable or can be filled out online at To apply you need also to submit complete undergraduate and graduate transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies, along with your GRE scores (general test only). To the Director of Graduate Studies in English you need to submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. At the top of the statement of purpose indicate which concentration you are applying for (literature, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition), and creative writers should further specify a genre: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction.

To apply, you should collect letters of recommendation from three professors with whom you have studied on the undergraduate level, and send them to the Graduate Director in English, along with a statement of purpose and a writing sample. For potential creative writing students, the writing sample should be a portfolio of poems, a manuscript of short fiction or a selection of creative nonfiction of 10-15 pages. All other applicants should submit a critical essay of the same length.

Admission deadline is January 15 for the following fall quarter, and this is the only annual admissions period. The English Department does not admit student in the winter or spring quarters.

Ph.D. Requirements. To earn a Ph.D. in English, you must fulfill the following requirements:

1. M.A. requirements. If your M.A. program did not include the following requirements or their equivalents, you must fulfill them as part your doctoral program: ENG 593 Bibliography and Methods; ENG 591 and 591A Teaching College English I and II; ENG 503 English Language; and ENG 536 Critical Theory I.

2. Literary History: general course requirements. Two doctoral seminars in your area of specialization; three doctoral seminars in literature outside of your area of specialization; one doctoral seminar in critical theory; one doctoral seminar in rhetoric and composition and one doctoral seminar in creative writing or two seminars in either of those areas.

3. Creative Writing: general course requirements. Two doctoral seminars in your area of specialization; two doctoral seminars in literature outside your specialization; one doctoral seminar in form and theory of your genre; and one seminar in rhetoric and composition. You are also required to take four workshops in the first four years of your program, including one in a genre that is not your primary one, and a fifth workshop in your fifth year as part of your preparation for the creative dissertation.

4. Rhetoric and Composition: general course requirements. Two doctoral seminars in literature; one doctoral seminar in critical theory; one doctoral seminar in creative writing; and nine doctoral seminars in rhetoric and composition.

5. Professional preparation. You are required to take ENG 777 Colloquium on the Profession of English during all quarters of coursework.

6. Foreign language requirement. Before being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., you must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language by the Princeton exam or by a translation exam or translation project administered by the Department of Modern Languages.

7. Exam requirement. Ph.D. area exams begin in the fall of your fourth year in the program and consist of three parts, which vary according to your concentration. The reading lists for the examination are drawn up by you in consultation with your examination committee.

8. Dissertation and defense. The main criterion for the dissertation is quality rather than quantity. You are encouraged to plan a dissertation that is original, significant, and ideally, publishable. The defense of your dissertation is public, and includes your presentation of aspects of your dissertation, oral examination by your committee, and questions by attendees from the audience.

Supervised Teaching. All doctoral students holding assistantships are expected to teach as part of their professional training. Ohio University has a wide variety of undergraduate English courses to be staffed, and consequently, graduate assistants receive considerable experience in teaching different courses; as a doctoral student you will have the opportunity to teach at least four or five different upper and lower division courses in composition, literature, and creative writing before the end of your program. Although you will receive supervision and assistance in planning and teaching these courses, you are primarily responsible for their planning and teaching and, unless you happen to be assisting in a large lecture class, will be the teacher of record.

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