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English Ph.D. Online with Degree Overviews and Options

Learn about online options for English Ph.D. programs. Get an overview of hybrid program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

The nature of doctoral study typically prevents Ph.D. programs from being offered totally online. Like traditional programs, hybrid Ph.D. programs teach students advanced concepts and techniques for studying English but include both online and on-campus coursework.

Hybrid English doctoral programs permit students with time constraints to pursue advanced degrees. Online components can generally be completed at a student's discretion within a given time frame. Many classes in hybrid programs have students work together on online collaborative projects. Typical completion of this type of program is three years.

Graduate schools at both public and private universities require students to have a master's degree, usually in English or a related field, and in some cases professional experience is a factor in admission decisions.

Course Topics

English students pursuing hybrid doctoral degrees take similar courses in composition, literature and oral storytelling. Some candidates take courses in specific styles of English literature, such as African-American poetry or Colonial sermons. Students earning doctorates in English might also take courses in teaching English as a second language (ESL). Common courses include:

  • The art of criticism
  • The Romance era of English literature
  • Grammar in the English language
  • Literature of the Renaissance
  • Sexuality in English literature

Students earning doctorates in English generally choose a specific area of interest, such as literature or linguistics. Earning a hybrid doctoral degree in English requires candidates to produce a research dissertation. These are conducted under the watch of a faculty member who is assigned to monitor the progress of doctoral candidates. Students submit to written and oral examinations in order to qualify for graduation; these are most often completed in front of a professor or panel of advisors.


Career Information

Once students earn their Ph.D., they are prepared for careers in research, academics and communications. Many students with English doctorates eventually become professors.

Although fully online Ph.D. programs in English are not available, many universities offer hybrid programs that allow students to do a large amount of work at their own discretion. A Ph.D. in English can open the door for a career as a professor, researcher, writer or other options.

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