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English (PhD)

In our PhD program, you’ll pursue the most advanced, research-intensive degree our department offers. Courses, candidacy exams and a doctoral dissertation will prepare you for a range of humanities careers.

You’ll work with distinguished faculty in a department that has special strengths in medieval and early modern studies, Victorian literature, modernism, book and media studies, digital humanities and West Coast literatures.

We also offer an optional concentration in cultural, social and political thought (CSPT). Additional credentials are available through teaching, research assistantships and other program collaborations.

Expected length Project or thesis Course-based
5 years Yes No

Quick facts

Program options:
Doctorate
Study options:
Full-time study
Program delivery:
On-campus
Dynamic learning:
Co-op optional

Outcomes

Students in this program will:

  • evaluate and employ theoretical, methodological, material, generic, historical, and thematic approaches to literature, culture and media in English
  • conduct independent, original and publishable research
  • demonstrate advanced research skills, theoretical acumen and rhetorical ability
  • deploy practical, professional experience in teaching and course design
  • apply knowledge of the discipline of English in a variety of academic and professional contexts
  • evaluate the challenges of decolonization in academic and professional contexts
  • demonstrate practical and analytical skills needed for higher levels of employment in a variety of professions and institutions

Find a supervisor

You do not need to identify, or have the agreement of, a supervisor before applying to this program.

It’s a good idea to explore our faculty listings and consider who you might like to work with. You don’t need to have anything confirmed for your application.

When we review your application, we’ll consider who would be best to supervise your work, depending on your proposed research.

Adrienne Williams Boyarin

Professor Medieval literature

Alison Chapman, FRSC

Professor Nineteenth-century literature and culture, Victorian poetry, women's writing, Anglo-Italian studies, Digital Humanities.

Allan Mitchell

Professor Medieval Literature

Andrew Murray

Assistant Teaching Professor

Christopher Douglas

Professor Contemporary American Fiction; multiculturalism; postmodernism

Eric Miller

Associate Professor Poetry; the lyric essay; Friedrich Hoelderlin; Ann Radcliffe; Elizabeth Simcoe

Erin Ellerbeck

Associate Professor Renaissance literature; Shakespeare

Erin Kelly

Associate Professor & ATWP Director Rhetoric; Renaissance; Shakespeare; sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English drama

G. Kim Blank

Professor English Romantic poetry; cultural studies; theories of influence; university writing

Gary Kuchar

Professor Renaissance Literature; Seventeenth-Century Poetry and Prose; Intellectual History; Reformation Culture and Thought; Shakespeare; Literary/Critical Theory; Philosophy of Religion

Iain Higgins

Professor & Student Liaison Medieval English and Scottish literature; poetry; travel writing; utopian and dystopian fiction

James Dopp

Associate Professor Canadian literature; hockey

Janelle Jenstad

Professor Shakespeare; Renaissance drama; London studies; bibliographical and print culture; digital humanities

Jentery Sayers

Associate Professor Media studies; American literature; critical theory; interactive fiction; prototyping; praxis and pedagogy

Joseph Grossi

Professor & Acting Undergraduate Adviser Old and Middle English literature

Kim McLean-Fiander

Assistant Teaching Professor & AWR Adviser Academic writing, early modern literature, book history, women writers, digital humanities

Lincoln Shlensky

Associate Professor Cultural studies; Film and media studies; Postcolonialism; Caribbean literature; Jewish and Hebrew studies

Lisa Chalykoff

Associate Teaching Professor Canadian literature

Lisa Surridge

Professor Victorian fiction and culture; illustrated Victorian serial fiction; legal writing

Luke Carson

Associate Professor & Chair Modern and contemporary American poetry; aesthetic theory

Magdalena Kay

Professor Twentieth- and twenty-first-century British poetry; Irish poetry; Polish poetry; comparative literature; poetics

Mary Elizabeth Leighton

Professor Victorian Literature

Michael Nowlin

Professor 19th - and 20th-Century American literature

Misao Dean

Professor Early Canadian writing on animals and the natural world; the Canadian novel; representation; contemporary critical theory; feminisms

Monika Smith

Assistant Teaching Professor Academic and Technical Writing

Nancy Wright

Professor Shakespearean drama; seventeenth-century English poetry; literature and legal history; literature, religion and film.

Nicholas Bradley

Associate Professor & Honours Program Adviser Canadian literature, American literature, literatures of the West Coast

Nicole Shukin

Associate Professor Theories of biopower; politics of nature and animals; cultures of globalization

Raymond Siemens

Distinguished Professor Renaissance literature; textual culture; editorial theory; Humanities Computing

Rebecca Gagan

Associate Teaching Professor Romanticism; Pedagogy; Academic Writing; Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Community-Engaged Learning

Rebecca Halliday

Assistant Teaching Professor& Professional Communication Adviser communication studies; fashion studies; media studies; performance studies; digital media and mediatization; social media; influencers; AI; fashion and streetwear; affect theory; material culture; immaterial labour; popular culture; corporate communication; crisis communication

Richard Pickard

Assistant Teaching Professor Environmental humanities; composition; 18th C. poetry; BC writing; professional and technical writing

Richard van Oort

Professor Shakespeare; literary theory; generative anthropology; literature and anthropology

Samuel Wong

Assistant Teaching Professor

Shamma Boyarin

Assistant Professor Medieval Hebrew and Arabic literature; the Bible and literature

Sheila Rabillard

Associate Professor Modern drama and theatre criticism

Stephen Ross

Professor & Graduate Adviser Modernism; theory; the novel; literature and theory of climate change

Suzan Last

Associate Teaching Professor Academic and technical writing; curriculum development

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Application deadlines

September entry – apply by January 15
September entry – apply by January 15

Admission requirements

Program specific requirements

  • Applicants normally hold an MA (or equivalent) in English or a related discipline with a minimum average of A- in previous graduate courses.
  • Preference is given to those who demonstrate strong preparation across a range of English literature, literary theory, and/or research methods. Previous academic experience with a language other than English is desirable.
  • Unofficial transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended. (If you are offered admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts.)
  • Names and emails of two academic references. They will be sent assessment forms directly.
  • A statement of intent: two single-spaced typed pages. Indicate your field of study and specific area(s) of research interest. Note the most important aspects of your preparation/training. Describe a current research plan that will lead to and include a doctoral dissertation and explain why UVic is suited to this plan. (CSPT applicants should be sure to highlight preparation and research suitable to the CSPT program.)
  • A 10–15-page double-spaced typed essay demonstrating strong academic writing and advanced literary and/or critical abilities.
  • A curriculum vitae. This should include details of your educational background, any relevant training, employment experience (academic or otherwise), awards and honours (academic or otherwise), publications (academic or otherwise), and any experience with leadership, teaching, and/or conference presentation.
  • Canadian applicants are expected to apply for SSHRC doctoral awards.

Program specific requirements

  • Applicants normally hold an MA (or equivalent) in English or a related discipline with a minimum average of A- in previous graduate courses.
  • Preference is given to those who demonstrate strong preparation across a range of English literature, literary theory, and/or research methods. Previous academic experience with a language other than English is desirable.
  • Unofficial transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended. (If you are offered admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts.)
  • Names and emails of two academic references. They will be sent assessment forms directly.
  • A statement of intent: two single-spaced typed pages. Indicate your field of study and specific area(s) of research interest. Note the most important aspects of your preparation/training. Describe a current research plan that will lead to and include a doctoral dissertation and explain why UVic is suited to this plan. (CSPT applicants should be sure to highlight preparation and research suitable to the CSPT program.)
  • A 10–15-page double-spaced typed essay demonstrating strong academic writing and advanced literary and/or critical abilities.
  • A curriculum vitae. This should include details of your educational background, any relevant training, employment experience (academic or otherwise), awards and honours (academic or otherwise), publications (academic or otherwise), and any experience with leadership, teaching, and/or conference presentation.
  • GRE scores are not required.

Completion requirements

View the minimum course requirements for this program.
View the minimum course requirements for this program.

Funding & aid

Tuition & fees

Estimated minimum program cost*

* Based on an average program length. For a per term fee breakdown view the tuition fee estimator.

Estimated values determined by the tuition fee estimator shall not be binding to the University of Victoria.

Ready to apply?

You can start your online application to UVic by creating a new profile or using an existing one.

Apply now    How to apply

Faculties & departments

Need help?

Contact Deborah Ogilvie at englgradsec@uvic.ca or 250-721-6331.

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