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Doctorate in English

The English Department grants one doctoral degree, the Ph.D. in English. As a student, you may emphasize your courses, exams, and dissertations in a variety of areas, including Literature, Literary Theory and Criticism, Screen Studies, Rhetoric and Writing Studies, Linguistics, and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). You may also choose an interdisciplinary emphasis. In consultation with your advisory committee, you will devise an individualized curriculum that reflects your own intellectual interests and professional goals.


  • Coursework: 35-40 credit hours
  • Dissertation: 30 credit hours max

Click to learn more about our program requirements.


Member of several national organizations

including the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies (NCAIS), the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), and the Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium (CRS).


The Department of English is formed by nationally and internationally recognized faculty. Our program is further distinguished by the fact that English faculty edit field-leading journals with the assistance of advanced graduate students. These journals include: Milton Quarterly, American Indian Quarterly, Journal of Linguistic Geography and The Cimarron Review amongst others. Our graduate students regularly publish and present scholarly and creative works in journals and at conferences across the country and around the world.


Meet our Departmental Faculty


Admissions Requirements

  • Transcripts
  • M.A. or M.S. appropriate to intended doctoral emphasis from accredited institution (minimum GPA of 3.5 in all graduate work)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Written statement identifying specific program and proposed area of emphasis (poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction), reasons for undertaking studies, relevant experience and future publication and/or work plans (approximately 250 words)
  • Writing sample: creative writing - short fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript (about 25 pages), 10 poems, or an appropriate excerpt of a longer genre
  • Writing sample: All other areas - 10- to 20-page document recently written in a graduate seminar in English or a related area of study
  • Students who have either a general M.A. in English or an M.A. in English with an option in TESL from OSU and who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in English at OSU must request that the English Graduate Office submit an admissions dossier to the Admissions Committee. The dossier will include:
    • Copies of the M.A. Qualifying Examination or the M.A./TESL exam (the questions, student responses and readers’ reports)
    • All end-of-semester evaluations by faculty who have taught the applicants in graduate courses.

* If the Admissions Committee decides to admit such students to the Ph.D. program, they are admitted fully and do not have to take the First-Year Ph.D. Exam. However, OSU students who complete the M.A. degree with an option in Technical Writing and who wish to pursue the Ph.D. in English at OSU must, for admission purposes, follow the procedures for students with M.A. degrees from other institutions. Admission to the M.A. program at OSU does not guarantee subsequent admission to the Ph.D. program. 


Test Scores:

  • GRE not required
  • International applicants who aren't native English speakers must submit one of the following:
    • TOEFL iBT minimum scores of 26 for reading, 26 for writing, and 100 for total
    • IELTS minimum scores of 7.0 on reading, writing, and total

* Please note that the Department of English's requirements for demonstration of English language proficiency are more stringent than those of the Graduate College.

* The Department of English requires standardized academic English proficiency test scores for all graduate program applicants who are non-native speakers of English, regardless of whether they have received previous degrees from U.S. institutions or any other English-speaking country’s institutions.


Application Deadlines:

  • January 1 (priority placement for fall admission)
  • March 1 (fall admission)
  • October 15 (spring admission)

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Cost & Assistance

The Department of English employs a large number of graduate teaching assistants each year. They instruct their own courses, work in the OSU Writing Center, and receive mentoring and pedagogical training. Assistantships and tuition waivers are available to the majority of our graduate students. Travel funding opportunities are available on a competitive basis to support conference presentations and archival research. Scholarships are also available to recognize outstanding work.


Applications received prior to the fall admission priority placement deadline of Jan. 1 are given first consideration for assistantships and financial incentives. Students admitted in spring are typically not eligible for departmental funding, including assistantships, until the following fall semester.



Assistantships and Scholarships

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