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. 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:
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/).
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, children’s literature, critical theory, film and media studies, and postcolonial studies. Our program in Comics Studies originated through our colleague Donald Ault, and several members are active in Digital Humanities. On campus our British Studies faculty frequently collaborate 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 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 (www.dloc.com).
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 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 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, 2020.
Prospective students may apply for admission for the fall semester only. We do not admit new graduate students in the spring or summer semesters.
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