PhD Program in English

Candidates for the PhD must have a strong first-class MA degree or its equivalent. Competition for entry into the PhD program is keen; successful applicants typically have excellent records. The PhD program usually consists of three full graduate courses (or an equivalent combination of full and half courses), qualifying examinations, and a dissertation.

During the first two years of the PhD program, students are expected to complete their course work and their Field Examinations. The Secondary Field examination is taken in May of the first year and the Primary Field examination in May of the second. After completion of the Primary Field examination, students proceed directly to researching and writing the dissertation; the program requires submission of a sample chapter within 6 months, putting doctoral candidates in an excellent position to complete the dissertation by the end of their fourth year in the program.

Doctoral students and recent graduates from the Department of English and Writing Studies have been successful in winning postdoctoral fellowships, and many have exemplary publishing records. A number of graduates in recent years have had their revised dissertations published by prestigious academic presses. Graduates of the Ph.D. program have been hired in tenure-track positions at such universities as Alberta, Bishop's, Brock, Carleton, Guelph, McMaster, Memorial, New Brunswick, Ottawa, Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier and Windsor. See Graduate Development for more information.

To view the PhD Regulations in full, please click here.

PhD Program Overview

The PhD program consists of seven basic elements:

  • 3.0 full year graduate courses (or equivalent in one-term courses)
  • Qualifying Exams (May of first and second year)
  • PhD Prospectus (June of second year)
  • Sample Chapter (second/third year)
  • Language Requirement (by end of third year)
  • Dissertation (see Thesis Regulations & Procedures)
  • Dissertation Defense (see section 8.4.4 of the SGPS Thesis Regulations)