PhD Program

Students in the PhD program undertake the most advanced, research-intensive degree offered by the Department of English. The program consists of courses, candidacy exams, and a doctoral dissertation, and it aims to prepare students for a variety of humanities careers (for recent job placements, see here). The degree is normally completed in 5 years.

Students will find distinguished faculty with expertise in a variety of fields to guide their studies, though our Department has special strengths in medieval and early modern studies, Victorian literature, modernism, book and media studies, and literatures of the West Coast. Guidance and collaborative opportunities for research and credentials are also available through the Faculty of Humanities, the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT) program, the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE) Certificate program, the Digital Scholarship Commons, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), and University Archives and Special Collections. Opportunities to work with faculty on major research projects through Research Assistantships are regularly available.

The PhD Program is highly competitive. Incoming students normally have an MA in English or a related discipline, first-class grades, and a record of clear academic potential. All applicants are expected to articulate a research plan in their application statement and demonstrate top-tier writing abilities in their submitted writing sample(s). Canadian applicants are expected to apply for SSHRC doctoral awards.

Learning Outcomes:

  • 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

We fund all incoming PhD students (see information here) and provide our PhD students with significant teaching opportunities to prepare them for academic careers.

PhD Concentration in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT)

PhD students in the Department of English may pursue a concentration in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT). The CSPT program provides interdisciplinary coursework and candidacy training with a focus on critical theory and intellectual exploration of contemporary issues. It hosts a small cohort of committed students from across the humanities and social sciences who want to use theory to understand contemporary social and political phenomena.

PhD students who enroll in the CSPT concentration do half of their coursework in CSPT-designated courses, complete one of their candidacy exams as a CSPT exam, and write a dissertation with a substantial theoretical component. Their supervisor(s) and members of their examination and supervisory committees are normally CSPT-affiliated faculty.

For more information on the PhD Concentration in CSPT, visit the CSPT website and contact the .