Doctor of Philosophy Program Guide: Reading Lists

  • Reading lists should be compiled in the fourth year of graduate study (third year for post-master’s students), and ideally they are approved by the end of the fourth year (third year for post-master’s students).
  • Reading lists must be approved at least six weeks before requesting the scheduling of Ph.D. Exams.

Under the direction of their Ph.D. Exam Committee, doctoral students construct three reading lists and take written and oral examinations in one of two tracks:

Literature and Culture Track

Language and Rhetoric Track

Sample reading lists are available in the English Graduate Office. Students define their areas and compile their lists in consultation with all regular committee members.

  • All exam lists should have titles that accurately reflect their contents.
  • The length of lists will vary depending on the topic and other circumstances. Forty to sixty entries per list is common, but final determination rests with the chair and the committee members.
  • A list could represent the minimal material necessary for an instructor to learn before responsibly teaching a survey course on the topic or in the field.
  • By the time that they receive formal approval, all exam lists must begin with rationales that concisely (500 words or less) account for why the examinee has chosen a particular set of texts.