Jun 24, 2018  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

English, Ph.D

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The Ph.D. Degree Program normally entails four years of study. The admission requirement is an M.A. with marks of at least A- in two of three courses. In recent years, successful candidates typically achieved an average of A (at least 85%) in their upper-level undergraduate and M.A. coursework. In the first year of the program, Ph.D. candidates will successfully complete three full-year graduate courses or their equivalent.

Program Requirements

The University regulations require that Ph.D. candidates take a Comprehensive Examination; in the English Department, this examination takes place in the second year of study. Eleven areas of study have been defined by the Department of English and Cultural Studies:

  1. Medieval Literature
  2. Early Modern English Literature
  3. Eighteenth-Century British Literature
  4. Nineteenth-Century British Literature
  5. Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature
  6. American Literature
  7. Canadian Literature
  8. Postcolonial Literature
  9. Critical Theory
  10. Cultural Studies
  11. Indigenous Literatures and Cultures

A Ph.D. candidate in English is required to take the Comprehensive Examination in the area, chosen from the above list, of her or his intended dissertation research. This will involve writing two papers, a Field Survey and a Topic Paper, and defending both in an Oral Examination. The Field Survey should show broad expertise in the wider field of knowledge the candidate’s research will engage. The Topic Paper describes how the candidate’s dissertation intervenes in that field and the particular contribution it will make. Both papers are to be researched and written concurrently by the candidate, are to be between 25 and 30 double-spaced pages in length, and are due no later than February 27 of the second year of study (i.e. at the beginning of the 5th term). The Oral Examination of both papers will follow within 10 days of submission. The candidate’s mark in the Comprehensive Examination will be calculated on the average of the grades for the Field Survey, the Topic Paper, and the Oral Examination.


In addition, each Ph.D. candidate is required to complete a set of bibliographic workshops from the end of April to the end of May during the second year of the program. The workshops are designed as problem-based learning whereby students engage in research into bibliographical issues relevant to their dissertation field. Students must attend all of the workshops in order to receive a passing grade.

These workshops are meant to complement two other sets of professionalization programs in the Department: 1) pedagogical instruction conducted in the teaching workshops offered at the beginning of each year for all teaching assistants, in preparation for supervised tutorial work throughout the program; 2) the Professionalization Workshops given each year on writing grant proposals, writing thesis proposals, publishing articles and giving conference papers, CVs, job applications and interviews.

Language Requirement

The Department also has a second-language requirement for the Ph.D. degree. Candidates who have not passed a full university course in a language other than English must complete such a course or pass a translation examination with the aid of a dictionary.

Scholarly Thesis

During the third and fourth year of the program, the candidate will write a scholarly thesis normally of between 200 and 250 pages (not including bibliography), and will defend it at an Oral Examination.

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