MA/PhD Degree Requirements: Coursework

This page contains information about General Requirements, Grading, and Graduate Certificate Programs.

General Requirements

Requirements for students entering the program Autumn 2019 or later

  • Sixty-five (65) graduate-level graded credit hours, which may include all credits from an MA in English Language & Literature from UW
    • At least 35 credits must be earned from the UW Department of English (does not include Engl 570, 581, 584-587, 591, 597, 601, 700, 800)
    • Up to 10 credits may be transferred in from a graduate degree at another institution, upon approval from the Director of Graduate Studies
    • Any courses taken outside the the UW Department of English must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or the student's doctoral supervisory committee chair before they can be applied toward the doctoral coursework requirement
    • Courses at the 100, 200, or 300 level cannot be applied toward the doctoral coursework requirement; courses at the 400 level must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or the student's doctoral supervisory committee chair
  • Thirty (30) credit hours of dissertation credit (English 800)

Upon admission to the PhD program, the student's previous coursework is reviewed to determine the number of master's credits that will count toward the PhD.


Requirements for students who entered the program Autumn 2018 or earlier

Seventy-five (75) graded credit hours (including MA coursework), plus thirty (30) credit hours of dissertation credit (English 800) are required. Upon admission to the PhD program, the student's previous coursework is reviewed to determine the number of master's credits that will count toward the PhD.

What Counts (and Doesn't Count)

  • All 500-level English graduate seminars at the University of Washington count toward PhD credits (except Engl 570, 581, 584, 585, 586, 587, 591, 597).
  • 500-level Comparative Literature courses automatically count toward the 75 credits.
  • Up to 30 credits from a recent Master’s degree in English or another discipline at another institution may be applied toward the 75 credits, with the approval of the Graduate Director.
  • Credits from an MA, MFA, or MAT(ESOL) degree in English from the University of Washington may be counted toward the 75 credits, upon approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • More than 15 credits of English graduate independent studies (Engl 600) must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Up to 20 credits of 500-level coursework offered by departments other than English may count toward the 75 credits, upon approval of the Director of Graduate Studies or the PhD Exam Committee Chair.
  • Creative writing workshop credit, practicum or internship credit, and seminars in other departments (except Comparative Literature) unrelated to proposed graduate study do not count toward the 75 credits required for the PhD.
  • PhD reading list preparation taken as English 597 does not count as coursework.

Grading

While students are enrolled in coursework, grades are the primary mechanism for indicating to students how they are doing in the program. In the Department of English, grades for graduate seminar courses are generally limited to a range of 3.6 - 4.0, with the following breakdown:

  • 4.0 and 3.9: Indicate that a student is working successfully (or very successfully) at the level one would expect of someone at their stage of the program.
  • 3.8: Indicates that the work in some respects fell short of expectations, but not in a manner that raises larger concerns about the student’s capacity to do better work in the future.
  • 3.7: Indicates that the work fell short of expectations in ways that do or might raise concerns about the student’s aptitude for work in the field. 
  • 3.6: Indicates that the work fell short of expectations in ways that raise quite serious concerns about the student’s aptitude for work in the field. 

If a student receives a 3.6 or 3.7 in an English graduate seminar, they are encouraged to follow up with the instructor.

The UW Graduate School's Memo 19: Grading System for Graduate Students contains an explanation of other types of grades, including I - Incomplete, N - No grade, and S/NS - Satisfactory/Not-Satisfactory. If a grade has not been submitted, then an X will appear on the student's transcript.

NB: In order to monitor satisfactory academic progress, the English graduate advising staff and/or Director of Graduate Studies will review grades on an annual basis. Students should understand that no single grade by itself has a decisive impact; the advising staff and Director of Graduate Studies will review the student's full graduate transcript to determine whether a low grade is part of a larger pattern or simply an anomaly.

Graduate Certificate Programs

UW offers a number of interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Programs. Students are strongly encouraged  to pursue a certificate where relevant to the dissertation work and/or primary research/teaching interests. If a student chooses to complete a graduate certificate concurrently with their PhD, a maximum of 6 credits may be applied towards both programs (in accordance with the Graduate School's Memo 43: Graduate Certificates). However, this does not mean that students who elect to complete a certificate must therefore take additional classes, because the restriction on overlap pertains to credits.

In order to graduate with a PhD in English Language and Literature, students must accrue at least 95 credits (65 credits of coursework plus 30 credits of ENGL 800 - Dissertation). However, in practice, students also generally complete approximately 30 credits of English 597 (Directed Readings/Exam Preparation) and most will accumulate more than 30 credits of English 800.  In their final quarter of the PhD program, students who have completed a certificate will need to submit a degree audit to the Graduate School, identifying the courses that are applied to the degree, to the certificate, or shared between the two. At that time, if the student has completed a graduate certificate that is relevant to their research, they may apply up to 15 credits of ENGL 597 or ENGL 800 (if in excess of the required 30 credits) toward the 95 credits required for the English PhD. Thus, while all students must complete 65 credit hours of coursework, students completing a certificate may “apply” up to 15 of those credit hours to the certificate and make up the balance of the 95 credit applied to the PhD with English 597 or excess credits of English 800.

Questions about counting credits may be directed to the English graduate advising staff.