Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements


A Master's degree in the discipline is required. As our MA is not designed to be a terminal degree, applicants without a Master's degree should still choose the Ph.D. application when applying to the MA/Ph.D program. Because our MA/Ph.D. program is fully integrated, students entering at the MA level can progress internally and non-competitively to the Ph.D. program given satisfactory academic progress.

Degree Requirements

  • Coursework. Total of 65 graded credits of coursework required, up to 10 of which may be transferred in from another institution; may include all credits from an M.A. in English Language & Literature from UW

    • Students who entered the program Autumn 2018 or earlier:  Total of 75 graded credits of coursework required, up to 30 of which may be transferred in from another institution
  • 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.
  • Dissertation prospectus and dissertation.
  • Final Examination.

In accordance with the Graduate School's doctoral degree requirements, all work for the doctoral degree (including the dissertation defense) must be completed within ten years. This includes quarters spent on-leave or out of status as well as applicable work from the master’s degree from the UW.

If a student wishes to remain in student status beyond the ten-year limit, then they must submit a written statement to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) that explains why additional time is needed and provides a detailed timeline for completing the dissertation. If the student has a supervisory committee chair, the DGS will communicate with the chair about the request and respond to the student in a timely manner.

Additional Information

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