Our PhD program is a “direct-admission” program that accepts students with either a Master’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree. We consider students with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English as well as students with advanced degrees in related subjects, including other literary studies, cultural anthropology, women’s studies, and creative writing.
Our doctoral program is known for rigor, innovation, and pushing disciplinary boundaries and objects of study. Students structure their coursework and exams around their research interests and dissertation projects rather than according to distribution requirements. This emphasis produces innovative dissertations and shortens time-to-degree.
Our research faculty are exceptionally productive and innovative scholars and mentors. According to recent data from Academic Analytics, the UF English faculty ranked first among all public AAU institutions in book publications–and fifth among all college and university English Departments.
In addition to offerings in the traditional literary periods, interdisciplinary areas of particular strength include film studies, media and technology studies, rhetoric and composition, cultural studies, literary theory, children’s literature and culture, gender studies, Victorian studies, and postcolonial studies. Faculty specialize in and combine their interest across the following area groups; these groups reflect core strengths of our program as well as faculty’s diverse research and teaching interests.
Click each heading below for more information on the areas of study:
Students specializing in African American/African Diaspora (AA/AD) literature and culture understand the intersection of history, literature, and cultural studies and how each affects our sociopolitical interactions in a global society. The rising interest in womanist thought (here and in academia as a whole) and critical race theory give our students an edge in all areas of academia. Students gain specific theoretical expertise, cultural and diversity competence, and an understanding of how class, race, ethnicity, and gender function in literature, film, and pop culture, as well as the sociocultural experience as modes (or central foci) of American acculturation. Students can merge their interests in AA/AD with other areas of emphasis in our program (for example, black girl magic, Afrofuturism and comics, womanist thought and creative writing, critical race theory and global blackness, digital and new media studies, diaspora studies, disability studies, etc.). Students can also enrich their study of AA/AD through electives in other programs or departments, including the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, public humanities projects (in partnership with the the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere), and oral history (in conjunction with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, https://oral.history.ufl.edu/).
We study American literature and culture in national, global, and hemispheric contexts. Our innovative, non-traditional curriculum has notable strengths in early to contemporary print culture, comics and visual culture, African American literature, children’s literature, cultural studies, indigenous studies, US empire studies, Asian-American studies, Latinx studies, disability studies, science studies, prison studies, labor and left studies, and gender studies (including womanism). Students in this area take advantage of resources across the UF campus, including History; Latin American Studies; Center for the Study of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; Museum Studies; College of the Arts; College of Education, and the UF Libraries Special Collections.
The British Literature and Culture Area Group brings historical depth, innovation, and collaboration to our graduate curriculum. With key strengths in Early Modern Culture, Victorian Studies, and post-1900 literature, our faculty also collaborate on dissertations about American studies, eighteenth-century literature and culture, children’s literature, critical theory, film and media studies, and postcolonial studies. Our program in Comics Studies originated through our late colleague Donald Ault, and several members are active in Digital Humanities. On campus our British Studies faculty frequently engage with the Center for European Studies; the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies; the College of the Arts; the Harn Museum of Art; UF Libraries; and Medical Humanities.
The Department has long been a leader in children’s literature studies, broadly construed, and faculty and graduate student research spans a wide range of topics and areas, from international and comparative children’s literature to the interdisplinary/multidisciplinary history and theory of children’s and young adult literature to the intersections of writing for the young with intellectual history, popular culture, transcultural media, and fanwork. Recent dissertations by PhD students in this area have taken up topics as diverse as Bengali children’s publishing, Harry Potter fandom, Cold War/atomic children’s literature, rape culture and YA fantasy, Puerto Rican children’s literature, American historical series fiction for girls, and multimedia Hindu mythological narratives. The children’s literature area is supported further by the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, which hosts talks and other events, and by UF’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, one of the largest such collections in the world. Students and faculty in the area are actively involved in national and international professional organizations and networks.
The Department of English has had a long history of being a national leader in the fields of theory and cultural studies, and students working in these areas will have opportunities to take courses from and study with some of our most distinguished faculty. Theory and cultural studies are at the foundation of our creative labors as readers, teachers, scholars, and intellectuals, and hence all of the areas of research and scholarship in the department. Rather than focusing exclusively on specific methods, practices, or traditions, the study of theory at UF cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries to produce a rigorous self-awareness and critical reflection upon the form of what we do when we read, listen to, look at, and talk about cultural texts, the latter understood in the most expansive sense possible, as well as the institutional contexts within which such labors take place. Comparative and interdisciplinary work in cultural studies likewise expands the range of practices and forms that we take up in our vocation as scholars, critics, and teachers to include not only diverse media and popular forms but also the practices of audiences and a diverse range of cultural and subcultural communities. Work in theory and cultural studies is supported by the Working Group for the Study of Critical Theory (SCT@UF), and a number of the graduate student directed reading groups, annual conferences, and online journals.
The Feminisms, Genders & Sexualities area group brings diversity to our graduate curriculum through our courses, research, and community work. We are especially strong in feminist and womanist theories, masculinity studies, Queer studies, LGBT literary and cultural studies (eighteenth century to contemporary), popular culture, and women’s writing. Several faculty are affiliated with UF’s Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research. FGS faculty also collaborate with African American Studies, Latin American Studies, the Center for European Studies, and Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. Our faculty have served on the editorial boards of Feminist Studies and Contemporary Women’s Writing.
Please visit the Film & Media Studies Homepage for more information.
The postcolonial area group dynamically combines the study of literature, film, rhetoric and digital media with theoretical, social, and political analyses addressing past and present forms of colonialism. Our strengths in African, Caribbean, Latin American and Latinx, South Asian and US and British empire studies attract a diverse group of students. We have a vibrant intellectual culture with annual symposia and an ongoing study group. We foster interdisciplinary links with the Center for African Studies, The Center for Latin American Studies, and the digital library of the Caribbean.
In addition to offerings in the traditional literary periods, interdisciplinary areas of particular strength include film studies, media and technology studies, rhetoric and composition, cultural studies, literary theory, children’s literature and culture, gender studies, Victorian studies, and postcolonial studies.
Our graduate students comprise a lively community of scholars, artists, and teachers-in-training. They bring to the Department a wide variety of life experiences, and come from all over the United States and Canada, as well as Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Our community of graduate students pursue their passions and actively contribute to the intellectual and creative life of the department through reading groups, working groups, conferences, and journals. Current graduate-student led groups include:
- The Digital Assembly, for the study of Digital Technologies and other media forms
- The English Graduate Organization
- The Film Studies Graduate Group
- The Graduate Comics Organization
- ImageTexT, a journal of interdisciplinary comics studies
- The Imagining Climate Change Initiative
- The Marxist Reading Group
- The Science Fiction Working Group
- Sequentials, a journal of visual scholarship in comics form
- Subtropics literary journal
- TRACE: an innovation initiative linking writing studies, digital media studies, and ecocriticism
- The TV Reading Group
Our graduate students can also take advantage of the University of Florida’s strengths and resources in a variety of areas of interest, including African Studies, Jewish Studies, African American Studies, Latin American Studies , Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies, the Collective for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medicine and Culture, Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, and more. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries is one of the largest scholarly libraries in the Southeast and holds a number of important collections in areas of relevance to students in English; for example, The Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, part of the George A. Smathers Special Collections, contains more than 130,000 books and periodicals published in the U.S. and Great Britain from the mid-1600s to the present.
Our program prepares students for research and publication within their fields of specialization. Partnering with the University Writing Program, our graduates teach courses in English, composition, rhetoric, new media studies, tech writing, and gain experience designing their own classes and teaching with technology. We place students in research universities, state and community colleges, and small liberal arts colleges. While the majority of our doctoral students have careers in teaching, others work in alternative fields like library studies, instructional design and technology, academic and labor advocacy, and other careers.
To see Recent PhD Student Placements, click here.
Students who enter the program with a Master’s degree in English are required to take seven department seminars. They then take their qualifying examinations and write their dissertation; they receive four years of funding through teaching and research assistantships (along with a full tuition waiver).
Students who enter with a Bachelor’s degree take 12 department seminars; then take their qualifying examinations and write their dissertation.They receive six years of funding through teaching and research assistantships (along with a full tuition waiver). Students entering with a Bachelor’s degree may choose to complete a M.A. degree (with thesis) in their second year of the program, although it is not required in this direct BA to PhD program.
The Department offers funding in the form of fellowships and/or teaching assistantships to all students in our PhD program. (The base nine-month stipend for PhD students in 2018 and 2019 was $17,000, plus potential fellowship awards for select students.) All incoming and current students will be considered for every kind of available funding based on the evidence of achievement shown by their academic record, personal statement, writing sample, and letters of recommendation. The Kirkland fellowship and the McKnight awards require additional steps at the time of application.
For more information on funding, click here.
We provide exceptional teacher training and significant opportunities for students to teach in their areas of expertise.
For more on teaching, click here.
The deadline for application to the PhD program is January 15, 2021.
Prospective students may apply for admission for the fall semester only. We do not admit new graduate students in the spring or summer semesters.
Temporary Emergency GRE Waiver
Due to current admission examination testing difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UF Graduate School is waiving the GRE requirement for applicants seeking Fall 2021 admission. This is a temporary emergency waiver only.
The PhD program is residency-based; you cannot earn the degree online. A significant majority of our doctorates complete their degrees in four to six years of doctoral work.
For more on Admissions, including information for International Applicants, click here.
For Advice on Crafting a strong application, click here.
For Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
For further information about the PhD programs, contact:
Graduate Program Assistant
Department of English
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville, FL 32611-7310
or the Graduate Coordinator of the PhD Program
Dr. Jodi Schorb
Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Department of English
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-7310
Office (call or leave messages during business hours, 9-5pm EST only): (352) 294-2875