Colleges and Universities Offering a PhD in English Program

Doctoral degrees in English are for students who have a deep appreciation for literature and language. It takes between 20 and 80 course hours to earn a PhD in English, depending on whether or not a student holds a master's degree.

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Prospective students of PhD programs in English typically wish to gain a deeper understanding of literature and language and are required to submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a writing sample and GRE scores for admission. This program prepares students for professions as scholars or educators and allows them to start making contributions to scholarly publications as well as complete a dissertation.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • American Literature
  • British Literature

Top 10 English PhD Colleges

The list below contains details on the top-ranked schools that offer doctoral degree programs in English:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public $11,220 (In-state) $26,322 (Out-of-state)
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private $41,832
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private $45,729
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private $42,280
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private $43,450
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private $31,068
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private $38,700
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private $29,500
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Private $51,624
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private $47,590

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

University Selection Criteria

Individuals who are interested in earning a PhD in English should take note of the following considerations:

  • Holders of master's degrees can complete a PhD in 20-45 hours, whereas bachelor's degree holders may need to finish up to 85 hours of coursework.
  • Different schools may offer different concentrations while pursuing a PhD in English, including those in African-American literature, gender studies, Medieval studies and creative writing.
  • Most schools provide financial support, but there are some that offer a range of funding options that are geared towards students' goals. These include teaching fellowships, travel grants and funding for summer language study.

Most of the top universities that offer PhD programs in English are some of the most prestigious schools in the country and may thus have competitive admission requirements. Prospective students who have bachelor's degrees can be admitted to doctoral degree programs but will have more coursework than holders of master's degrees.

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