The Ph.D. program in English at UCI is the #1 department for literary and critical theory nationally (US News and World Report). The research and teaching of department faculty represents and cuts across a range of fields, historical periods, and methodological approaches. Our graduates have gone on to faculty positions at a range of nationally ranked colleges and universities, including, in recent years, the University of Michigan, Tulane, Rice, Clemson, BYU, and Connecticut College.
Many of our Ph.D. faculty and students participate jointly in collaborative, interdisciplinary research clusters and reading groups. Some groups currently active include The Center for Early Cultures, the Culture and Capital Center, Medieval Devysings, Poetics | History | Theory, the Queer Theory Reading Group, and the Rhetoric Reading Group. Our Ph.D. program allows students to customize their study and research around their own intellectual interests. Students can also take seminars in other programs and departments, and can receive interdisciplinary certificates in Asian American studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Critical Theory, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies, Medical Humanities, Rhetoric and Composition, and Visual Studies
All admitted students receive a multi-year funding package, including a range of teaching opportunities. Students may enter the graduate program in English with either a B.A. or an M.A. In either case, the first two years are spent taking courses, completing the language requirement, and writing the M.A. paper. In the third year, students select two or three fields of study for their qualifying exams - exam lists are developed by the student in consultation with their advisor and are intended to help the student build expertise and confidence toward a future dissertation. After successfully completing the qualifying examination, students write a dissertation under the supervision of a three-person dissertation committee, which they select.
Applicants for graduate degrees in English must submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Ordinarily, students are not admitted to the English program unless they plan to continue, and are qualified to continue, to the Ph.D. Students are admitted to the M.F.A. program chiefly on the basis of submitted creative work.
Specific requirements for the graduate degrees will be established by consultation between members of the faculty and the candidate. First-year graduate students or candidates for the Master of Fine Arts in English (fiction/poetry) plan a program with an assigned advisor; candidates for the Ph.D. plan with an advisor and three-person committee. At the time of the M.A. examination, the Graduate Committee evaluates the student’s graduate career up to that point and offers advice about future prospects. Candidates for literary degrees are also encouraged to study philosophy, history, foreign languages and literatures, and the fine arts.
Only in exceptional circumstances will students be permitted to undertake programs of less than six full courses during the academic year. The normal expectation is enrollment in three courses each quarter; Teaching Assistants take two courses in addition to earning credit for University Teaching. Students who are not teaching should be able to complete course work in two years. The Ph.D. qualifying examination should be taken within a couple of quarters after courses are finished. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. in English is seven years.
The program for the Ph.D. in English requires about two years of full-time enrollment in regular courses beyond the B.A.; proficiency in the reading of one acceptable foreign language, modern or classical; satisfactory performance on designated examinations; and the dissertation.
The languages acceptable depends upon the nature of the student’s program as determined by the student’s advisors. Reading competence in this language must be established in the first year of residence. Competence in the language required for the Ph.D. is verified through examination.
Upon completion of course work the student is examined in three areas: (1) a primary field; (2) a secondary field; and (3) theory and/or criticism.
Upon satisfactorily completing this Qualifying Examination, the student is admitted to candidacy for the degree. As soon after completion of the Qualifying Examination as is practical, the student presents a dissertation prospectus for the approval of the doctoral committee. After submitting a full dissertation to their committee members, students will be required to pass an oral dissertation defense with their doctoral committee prior to filing the dissertation and graduating. All work for the Ph.D. degree must be in courses limited to graduate students. The normative time for advancement to candidacy is four years. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is seven years, and the maximum time permitted is nine years.
The Murray Krieger Fellowship in Literary Theory is intended for an outstanding entering graduate student who is pursuing the Ph.D. in English or Comparative Literature and who demonstrates a primary interest in theory as theory relates to literary texts. A range of other fellowships is also available to students in the Department.
Emphasis in Creative Nonfiction
Students admitted to the emphasis in Creative Nonfiction must meet all course, language, and examination requirements for the Ph.D. in English. Their course work must include: 1) three writing workshops in nonfiction; 2) three courses in nonfictional literature or rhetoric; and 3) if needed for the projected dissertation, one course outside the Department.
Students must also conduct a dissertation defense.