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English Ph.D. Program

Concentrations

Admissions & Requirements

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in English is designated primarily as professional preparation for scholars and teachers of literature, creative writing, and rhetoric/composition. The program at Ohio University offers students the opportunity to concentrate in one of the three areas of English studies:

  • Literary History
  • Creative Writing
  • Rhetoric and Composition

While the Ohio University program requires students to concentrate in an area, it also asks them to explore other areas and to seek the common concerns that unite them. Accordingly, the program includes general requirements, as well as specific requirements within each of the concentrations. In all concentrations student work culminates with a dissertation.

Time to Degree: Completion of the program generally requires five years, but full-time students who are not teaching assistants may complete the program in less time.

Career Opportunities

The Ph.D. in English provides professional training for teachers, scholars, and creative writers. Most graduates pursue employment as faculty at universities and colleges. The department offers counseling and practical support in important areas of job search, planning, preparation of application letters and other application materials, and interview techniques.

Concentrations

Literary History: Doctoral students in this concentration aspire to a comprehensive knowledge of literature through a systematic historical, theoretical, and critical course of study. They develop techniques and skills in scholarly research, theoretical reflection, and careful reading of texts.

Creative Writing: Doctoral students in creative writing specialize in one genre (poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction), while also taking workshops in at least one other genre. Students also study literature to discover and articulate connections between the achievements of particular authors and literary traditions and their own creative work. 

Rhetoric and Composition: Doctoral students in rhetoric and composition study the history and tradition of the discipline and the theories that underlie the teaching of writing.

Program Mission

The Ph.D. in English provides professional training for teachers, scholars, and literary artists. The program at Ohio University offers students the opportunity to concentrate in one of the three areas of English studies literary history, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition. While our program requires students to concentrate in an area, it also asks them to explore other areas and to seek the common concerns that unite them. Accordingly, the program includes general requirements, as well as specific requirements within each of the concentrations.

Program Learning Objectives

The Ph.D. program in English will:

  • Introduce students to the professional conversation in English studies in various fields and to texts from diverse eras and cultures, with the intention of provoking and supporting intellectual curiosity.
  • Guide students in the development of an individual specialization within the broader field of English studies and require them to read widely within that specialization (genre, historical period, tradition, etc.), including both primary and secondary texts.
  • Provide students opportunity for frequent and extensive writing and for the development of the skills to produce publishable work in various lengths and forms, including a book-length manuscript as their dissertation.
  • Introduce students to the theory and practice of the teaching of writing, at various levels and in various contexts, and offer students practice at teaching within their specific concentration (creative writing, literature, or rhetoric/composition) and guidance in the development of their individual pedagogy.
  • Prepare students to enter the academic job market and obtain faculty positions that require teaching, publication, and service or to pursue other professions that require knowledge of language and/or literature and skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing.

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