Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program may be completed within five years of the B.A., generally within three years after the M.A., or within four years for those entering with an M.A. from another school.


A Master's degree in the discipline is required. Applicants without a Master's degree must apply to the M.A. program first and indicate the Ph.D. as their final degree goal. Because our M.A./Ph.D. program is fully integrated, students entering at the M.A. level can progress internally and non-competitively to the Ph.D. program given satisfactory academic progress.

Degree Requirements

  • 75 course credits. Includes M.A. credits; up to 30 credits may be transferable from a recent M.A. taken elsewhere.
  • Language Requirement. Evidence of ability to make scholarly use of at least one language other than modern English taken no more than five years before Ph.D. examinations, presented by a grade of 3.0 or better in:
  1. a 3.0 or higher in the final course of a second-year college-level course sequence (or more advanced), taken within three years prior to entrance; or
  2. approved professional verification of native-speaker reading ability in another language;
  3. a passing score on a language exam administered by the University of Washington Office of Educational Assessment.
  4. completion of Advanced Old English language and literature (Engl 513) with a grade of 3.0 or better;
  5. comparable alternatives, e.g., study abroad or summer immersion program (approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

The Ph.D. Supervisory Committee may set an additional language requirement if this is judged necessary for the particular specialization. All credits earned in fulfilling the language requirement by coursework at the 100-400-lvel are in addition to the graduate credits required for the degree.

  • Ph.D. Examinations. Written examinations, a course syllabus, and an oral, comprehensive General Examination, based on reading lists prepared under the guidance of the student's Ph.D. Supervisory Committee. The student plays an active role in selecting this Committee and its Chair. There is flexibility in defining the exam areas to meet individual interests, with these categories:
  1. Major Period
  2. Second Area or Special Topic
  3. Theory, Methodology, or Approach


  1. First approach to study in language and rhetoric
  2. Second approach to study in language and rhetoric
  3. Special topic or third approach to study in language and rhetoric
  • Dissertation prospectus and dissertation.
  • Final Examination.

Additional Information

Staff in the English Graduate Office are available to answer questions concerning admission and program requirements.