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Prospective PhD Students

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:

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:

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 StudiesJewish Studies, African American StudiesLatin American Studies , Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies, the Collective for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medicine and CultureCenter 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.

Program Specifics

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, 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.

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:

Peggy Lowenstein
Graduate Program Assistant
Department of English
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville, FL 32611-7310
(352) 294-2876