Ph.D. Requirements

In order to fulfill the basic requirements for the program, a student must:

1. Complete twelve courses—six courses with at least one grade of Honors and a maximum of one grade of Pass by July 15 following the first year; at least twelve courses with grades of Honors in at least four of these courses and not more than one Pass by July 15 following the second year. One of these twelve courses must be The Teaching of English (ENGL 990). Courses selected must include one course in at least three out of four designated historical periods: medieval, early-modern, eighteenth- and/or nineteenth-century, twentieth- and/or twenty-first-century. Students are also encouraged to take at least one seminar that adds geographic, linguistic, cultural, and/or methodological breadth to their course of study. Two courses out of twelve may be taken outside of the department. 

2. Satisfy the language requirement by the end of the second year. Two languages appropriate to the student’s field of specialization, each to be demonstrated by (a) passing a translation exam administered by a Yale language department, at the conclusion of a GSAS Summer Language for Reading course, or (for languages not tested elsewhere at Yale) by the English department; (b) passing an advanced literature course at Yale (graduate or upper-level undergraduate, with director of graduate studies [DGS] approval); or (c) passing both ENGL 500 and ENGL 501.

3. Pass the oral examination before or as early as possible in the fifth term of residence. The exam consists of questions on four topics, developed by the student in consultation with examiners and subject to approval by the DGS. (At least two topics will comprise works chosen from distinct, broadly defined periods of literary history. The other two topics may be organized around a genre, a mode, a theme, or a field of theory.)

4. Submit a dissertation prospectus, normally by January 15 of the third year.

5. Teach a minimum of two terms, since the English department considers teaching an integral part of graduate education. In practice, most students teach between four and six terms.

6. Submit a dissertation.

Upon completion of all predissertation requirements, including the prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. Admission to candidacy must take place by the end of the third year of study.

M.Phil. Requirements

Students who complete their doctoral coursework and oral examinations may opt in Year Three to pursue an M.Phil degree instead of the Ph.D. In place of the dissertation prospectus, students submit a proposal for a semester-long capstone research project of roughly fifty pages. Proposals are due at the end of the first or second semester of Year Three. Once proposals are approved, students are eligible for one semester of research fellowship, to be taken no later than the seventh semester, at the end of which they will submit their capstone projects and graduate from the program.

M.A. Requirements

M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program may receive the M.A. upon completion of seven courses with at least one grade of Honors and a maximum of one grade of Pass, and the passing of one foreign language, as described under Ph.D. Requirements, above.

Terminal Master’s Degree Program Students enrolled in the master’s degree program must complete either seven term courses or six term courses and a special project within the English department (one or two of these courses may be taken in other departments with approval of the DGS). There must be at least one grade of Honors, and there may not be more than one grade of Pass. Students must also demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language, as described under Ph.D. Requirements, above. Full-time students normally complete the program in one year.

Directed Reading Proposal Form (pdf)

Dissertation Chapter Conference Printable Form (pdf)

Dissertation Chapter Conference Webform