The PhD Program is part of the Graduate Studies Program at SMU.

History Edit

SMU began enrolling students in a new PhD program in English in fall 2007. Our program offers students the chance to study and work with a distinguished faculty in a collegial environment.

Thus far, two classes have been enrolled:

In the fall of 2009, the PhD Class of 2015 will be joining the program.

Prerequisites Edit

SMU admits students to the PhD program who have the BA degree as well as a number of students who have received the MA degree.

Benefits Edit

All students admitted to the PhD program in English will receive fellowship support.

  • One-to-one student-faculty ratio, ensuring small seminars and ample options for tutorial studies.
  • Fellowships for all doctoral candidates for six full years at extraordinarily generous rates, followed by the opportunity for a seventh year as a Visiting Assistant Professor.
  • Medical benefits, tuition waivers, summer seminars in Taos, NM, and professional travel support for all doctoral Fellows.
  • Opportunities for doctoral Fellows to teach writing and literature classes, beginning in year two.
  • Dissertation-year support for all doctoral Fellows.
  • Close mentoring from matriculation to and beyond graduation.

Fellowships begin at over $25,000 per year, renewable annually for up to six years. Additional stipends and scholarships may be available through the SMU Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

The base package of Fellowship support includes:

  1. an annual stipend of over $25,000 (distributed monthly);
  2. medical benefits;
  3. full tuition waiver;
  4. $500 moving allowance;
  5. laptop computer;
  6. professional travel support, usually commencing in year four with successful completion of the Qualifying Exams;
  7. dissertation year as Research Fellow, with no teaching duties;
  8. possible seventh year as Visiting Assistant Professor of English, after completion of the Ph.D. (competitive basis).

Degree Requirements Edit

Course requirements Edit

  • 60 hours of courses, including classes, directed readings and dissertation hours. These must include:
    • A minimum of six 7000-level seminars.
    • variety of different literary fields, topics, and periods.
    • Core courses required of all students:
      • English 6310 (Advanced Literary Studies)
      • English 6311 (Survey of Literary Criticism)
      • English 6312 (Teaching Practicum)
      • A teaching workshop in the summer after the first year.
  • Students have the option of taking up to two courses outside the English Department, to explore interdisciplinary interests.

Language Requirement Edit

  • Proficiency in one foreign language relevant to the student’s course of study, to be tested by the second year in the program.
    • For certain dissertation topics, a second language may be required.

Exam Requirements Edit

  • Written exams in the summer before the fourth year of study.
  • Dissertation prospectus and an oral defense of the prospectus during the fall semester of the fourth year.
    • The MA degree will be awarded after completion of these requirements.

Teaching Requirement Edit

  • Two courses a year for four years beginnign in the second year.
  • Fellows who have completed their qualifying exams may teach literature courses.
  • Exempted from teaching responsibilities and course requirements during either fifth or sixth year.

Annual Review Edit

  • Inadequate degree progress may cause a student's Fellowship to be revoked after an annual review.
    • Any student who has demonstrated foreign language proficiency and achieves a GPA of 3.0 in 24 hours of course work during the first year of study but does not receive the positive recommendation of the advisory committee to continue on to PhD candidacy will be allowed to fulfill the requirements for the M.A. by enrolling in English 6398, 6399 and completing a thesis within the following 12 months.
    • Students who leave the PhD program after completing 30 hours and who have demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language will be allowed to take an exam in order to receive the MA degree.

Calendar (Six Year Program) Edit

Year One Edit


2 Proseminars/Seminars

4 Proseminars/Seminars

ENGL 6310: Advanced Literary Studies

ENGL 6311: Survey of Literary Criticism

No Teaching No Teaching

Year Two Edit


2 Proseminars/Seminars

2 Proseminars/Seminars

ENGL 6312: Teaching Practicum

Teach one section of ENGL 1301

Teach one section of ENGL 1302

Year Three Edit


2 Proseminars/Seminars

1 Proseminars/Seminars

ENGL 7398: Directed Readings

Teach one course

Teach one course

Year Four Edit


ENGL 7399: Directed Readings

ENGL 8398: Dissertation

Written exams by end of the semester

Complete dissertation prospectus, defend in oral exam

Teach one course

Teach one course

Year Five Edit


ENGL 8399: Dissertation

ENGL 8049: Full-time Graduate Status

Optional year off teaching, alternatively teach one course

Optional year off teaching, alternatively teach one course

Year Six Edit


ENGL 8049: Full-Time Graduate Status

ENGL 8049: Full-time Graduate Status

Dissertation and Job Search

Oral dissertation defense
Optional year off teaching, alternatively teach one course Optional year off teaching, alternatively teach one course

Sources Edit

  1. SMU English Department Graduate Programs. <>
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