PhD in English

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Baccalaureate Field Applicants who intend to concentrate in English Studies must have an undergraduate major in English or the equivalent that includes a balanced program in English and American literature beyond the level of sophomore surveys. Applicants who intend to concentrate in Creative Writing may have an undergraduate major or a graduate degree in any field, if they show substantial evidence of ability to complete the work in literature required for the degree in English.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study and for all graduate work.
  • Tests Required GRE General.
  • Minimum English Competency Score
    • TOEFL 95, with minimum subscores of Reading 24, Listening 24, Speaking 24, and Writing 22 (iBT Internet-based); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (New Paper-Based—after August 2018); 600 (Institutional Testing Paper-Based—prior to August 2018), OR,
    • IELTS 7.0, with subscores of 6.5 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required, preferably from individuals acquainted with the applicant’s recent academic, professional, or creative work.
  • Statement of Purpose Required.
    • Domestic applicants must submit a statement of about 500 words presenting their reasons for wanting to take graduate work in English at UIC and the relationship of this advanced training to professional and other goals.
    • International applicants must submit a two- or three-page summary of their educational experience that emphasizes their work in English and American literature and language. They should conclude this summary with their reasons for wanting to do graduate work in the English department.
  • Other Requirements
    • Coversheet: All MA and PhD applicants must submit an Admissions Review Coversheet (.docx) with application materials.
    • Writing sample: All MA and PhD applicants must submit a sample of their written work.
      • Applicants for the English Studies concentration should submit a sample of no more than 20 pages appropriate to their proposed area of study.
      • Applicants for the Program for Writers should submit a sample of no more than 20 pages of material in genre of interest (at least five poems, one or more stories, a chapter from a novel, comparable work, etc.). Applicants for the Program for Writers may submit an optional critical writing sample of no more than 20 pages.
    • CV/Resume
  • Deadlines Application deadlines for this program are listed on the Graduate College website.

Additional information on the application process can be found on the Department of English website under "Admissions".

Degree Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate, 64 from the MA.
  • Course Work Credit toward the PhD is not given for any course in which the student receives a grade of less than B.
Course Title
Required Courses
Students take a total of 16 hours of required courses as follows:
Proseminar: Theory and Practice of Criticism
Select one of the following Bridge Series courses:
Theory, Rhetoric, and Aesthetics
British Literature and Culture
American Literature and Culture
Global and Multiethnic Literatures and Cultures
Media, Film, and Performance Studies
Language and Literacy
Discourse Analysis
Select two additional seminars from Discourse, Text, and Context and/or Theoretical Engagements:
Discourse, Text, and Context Series
Seminar in Old English
Seminar in Language and Rhetoric
Seminar in Medieval Studies
Seminar in Renaissance Studies
Seminar in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies
Seminar in British Romantic Studies
Seminar in Victorian Studies
Seminar in Modern and/or Contemporary Studies in English
Seminar in American Studies to 1865
Seminar in American Studies After 1865
Theoretical Engagements Series
The Past Decade
Seminar in Genres of Literature, Film, and Media
Seminar in Interdisciplinary English Studies
Seminar in Multiethnic and Transatlantic Cultures
Seminar in Theories of the Popular
Seminar in Visual Technologies
Seminar in Theoretical Sites
Seminar in Discourse, Culture, Mind
Seminar in Great Cities/Global Cultures
  • Creative Writing: Students in Creative Writing are also required to take three workshops (12 hours), not including translation and publishing workshops; students in fiction must take 8 hours in fiction workshops, students in poetry must take at least 8 hours in poetry workshops, and nonfiction writers must take 8 hours in nonfiction workshops.
  • Preliminary Examination Required; written and oral.
  • Dissertation Required. Students must have 32 hours of ENGL 599 to graduate, but no more than 32 hours will be applied to the degree.
    • Degree candidates in English Studies write dissertations involving innovative research in criticism, theory, rhetoric, and/or literary/cultural histories.
    • Candidates pursuing Creative Writing are expected to produce as a dissertation one of the following: a novel, a volume of short stories or poems, a play or group of plays, or a unified collection of essays.
  • Other Requirements
    • Language: Students must present evidence of advanced knowledge of a language other than English. See the English Department website for more information on completing the language requirement.
    • Teaching: Students lacking teaching experience must take ENGL 555 during their first year. All students must serve as teaching assistants for at least four semesters. All teaching assistants teach sections of ENGL 160 and ENGL 161. Teaching assistants are often assigned to other lower-level courses in English appropriate to their concentration.

Interdepartmental Concentrations

Students earning a graduate degree in this department may complement their courses by enrolling in select concentrations after consulting with their graduate advisor. Interdepartmental concentrations available for this degree include: