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The doctoral program is designed to prepare students to teach at the college level and conduct research in literature written in English. Specifically, the program seeks to develop the following:

  • A comprehensive and intensive knowledge of the literature, with specialization in one area (period, type, or author) of British or American Literature.
  • Knowledge of the textual, editorial, and critical problems and backgrounds of major texts and authors, together with a grounding in the principles of literary criticism.
  • Knowledge of the basic tools and methods of literary and linguistic research and training in their application.
  • Demonstration of this knowledge and ability in a number of advanced papers (ordinarily in graduate seminars), in the qualifying examination, and in a major dissertation evincing power of organization, significant exploration and discovery, and creative insight and imagination.
  • Knowledge of pedagogical problems and the literature thereof, and practical experience in the teaching of literature, rhetoric, and composition



Course-credit hours : The candidate for the Ph.D. degree must complete 54 hours of course work beyond the B.A., including 24 hours beyond the M.A. In addition, 12 hours of dissertation credit are required. During the student's first semester in the doctoral program, the student prepares a Doctoral Program Planning Form in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. The form lays out a schedule of course work designed to complete the distribution requirements and prepare for the qualifying exam and dissertation.



These can be satisfied with courses taken at the graduate or advanced undergraduate (upper-division) level. Courses taken elsewhere satisfy distribution requirements if they are equivalent to Marquette offerings.

  • Language and Linguistics. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6205, 5170, 5130, 5120, or 5110. ENGL 6200 or 6210 fulfill this requirement when their content is linguistic, e.g., Old English language or Middle English language.
  • Medieval Literature. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6210.
  • Shakespeare. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6220.
  • Renaissance Literature. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6215.
  • Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6300.
  • Nineteenth-Century British Literature. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6400.
  • American Literature before 1900. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6600.
  • Twentieth-Century British Literature. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6500.
  • Twentieth-Century American Literature. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 6700.
  • Study of Contemporary Literary Criticism. Normally fulfilled by ENGL 8282.
  • Where no graduate course is available to fulfill requirements, undergraduate courses (at the 5000 level) may be substituted. This option may be exercised no more than twice, and graduate courses should be preferred wherever possible. Consult Bulletin for offerings.

The following 8000-level courses are reserved for students in the doctoral program:

  • ENGL 8310: Advanced Study in British Literature
  • ENGL 8830: Dissertation Seminar
  • ENGL 8350: Advanced Study in American Literature
  • ENGL 8370: Advanced Study in Genre
  • ENGL 8932: Advanced Study in Selected Topics

Make sure to visit our Graduate School Doctoral Student Checklist to make sure you fulfill all of the requirements.



The department awards a Ph.D. degree after a student has demonstrated the ability to perform well in the prescribed courses, has passed a qualifying examination, and has written a dissertation. Graduate coursework in English provides the student with opportunities to develop in-depth knowledge of specific literary issues in the students' areas of concentration. The qualifying exam facilitates the student's efforts to refine one's knowledge of selected areas of literary studies and, more importantly, to develop independently, enhancing one's abilities to contextualize, analyze, and synthesize literary studies. The dissertation work foregrounds the student's abilities to present insightful, innovative work in a precisely defined sphere of literary studies. At the conclusion of doctoral studies, the student has acquired the skills to present coherent introductions to literary studies to new undergraduates, to offer engaging upper level courses in particular areas of interest, and to conduct sophisticated research suitable for publication and for dissemination in graduate studies.




The following forms are required by the Graduate School. Failure to complete any of them will prevent or forestall your graduation, so please be conscientious about obtaining appropriate signatures from faculty. All forms should be given to the department administrator who will copy them for your file and then route them to the Graduate School.

1. 1st semester, 1st year of PhD program

2. Upon completing the Dissertation Qualifying Exam:

3. Dissertation Defense Forms

4. Upon completion of the Dissertation


English Department

Marquette University, Marquette Hall 115 (campus map)
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-7179
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