May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin

English (Literature) PhD


The English PhD with a literature emphasis allows students to develop their literary criticism and scholarly interests, culminating in a dissertation of literary analysis. With a dedicated Graduate Faculty across all primary fields of literary studies, the program allows graduate students to either specialize in one of these fields or pursue broad preparation as a generalist. Our graduate programs pay particular attention to professional development, including scholarly and creative publishing. With its dual emphases in literature and creative writing, the English program offers students a uniquely hybrid experience in which emerging writers and critics study alongside one another and work with specialists in both fields, preparing students for creative, academic, and professional careers.


Campus: Hattiesburg

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants for regular admission to the PhD program usually have a GPA of 3.5 in all (undergraduate and graduate) English courses and will typically have completed a B.A. and/or an M.A. in English. The PhD with an emphasis in literature offers direct admission to the doctoral program from the B.A. For specific details, see program requirements below. Application materials include transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a curriculum vitae, and a substantial writing sample. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.

Conditional admission is sometimes possible for applicants who do not meet all the criteria for regular admission. To remove conditional status, students must meet the Graduate School requirements described in the Admission Requirements and Procedures section of this Bulletin, and they must satisfy all additional requirements stipulated by the school.

Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply

See Admission Requirements and Procedures  for other admission requirements. The English graduate programs do not require GRE or other standardized exam results.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies

Students must complete one research tool: either proficiency  in one foreign language OR six graduate hours of coursework in an allied field of study approved by their advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator.

500-level classes count towards a degree only with the approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator or the Dean of the Graduate School; at least 6 hours (2 courses) must be at the 700-level.

Students must take ENG 690 - Practicum in the Theory and Teaching of Composition if they hold an assistantship that includes teaching as one of their duties.

Students must successfully complete a Doctoral Qualifying Examination in August, after the first year of study. The exam may be retaken once, in the following December. Students who fail the exam twice will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program.

Students must successfully complete a Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam.

Students must write a dissertation, a substantial project embodying the result of significant and original research on a subject chosen by the candidate and approved by the student’s Doctoral Committee.

A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.

See General Degree Requirements  and General Academic Information  for other requirements and policies.

Course Requirements (45 or 63 hours)

MA to PhD

Students who are admitted to the PhD program who already have an MA must complete a minimum of 45 hours:

  • ENG 640 - Critical Reading and Methods in English  (3 hours)
  • ENG 641 - Advanced Research and Methods in English (3 hours)
  • Non-Creative Writing English courses (27-30 hours): within these courses, student must fulfill the following requirements:
    • 1 early literature course (American literature to 1865 OR British literature to 1800)
    • 1 course in British literature 
    • 1 course in Aritish literature 
    • 1 course designated non-traditional
    • 1 literary theory course or 1 course designated theory-rich
    • Note: a single course may fulfill up to 2 of the above requirements 
  • ENG 898 - Dissertation  (9-12 hours)

BA to PhD

Students who are admitted to the Ph.D. without an M.A. must complete a minimum of 63 hours: