The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at St. John’s distinguishes itself through its integration of rigorous research and writing with pedagogical theory and practice.
Earn a Ph.D. in English at St. John's University in New York City!
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at St. John’s distinguishes itself through its integration of rigorous research and writing with pedagogical theory and practice. As a student in the program, you combine advanced literary, cultural, and writing studies with preparation for teaching. You work with our distinguished faculty to explore traditional and emerging fields of literature, cultural studies, critical theory, and composition and rhetoric, while gaining experience teaching undergraduate courses in writing and literature.
The Ph.D. is the highest degree offered by the Department of English.
The program is designed for both full-time graduate students and professional educators, administrators, and writers who wish to complete a doctoral degree part-time. Pursuing full-time study, you can complete the Ph.D. in about five to six years: two years of coursework, followed by approximately three or four years completing the oral comprehensive exams and dissertation while teaching. As a part-time student, you proceed more gradually toward completing the requirements.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional for this program.
For additional information about the Ph.D. program and the Department of English, please follow our department’s blog, which features course descriptions, faculty profiles, upcoming events, departmental publications, departmental forms, and listings for available jobs and internships.
View a list of our English faculty.
Amy M. King, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English
St. John Hall, Room B-40
To apply to the Ph.D. in English, you must submit official transcripts showing conferral of your bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 24 credits in English or American literature. You must also possess at least a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the undergraduate level, with a 3.5 or better in English courses.
You must submit three letters of recommendation, two of which come from an academic reference and attest to your work as a student. You must also submit a recent sample of written work, as well as a personal statement detailing your professional goals.
Applicants who apply with an M.A. or M.F.A. in English may receive up to 18 credits of advanced standing, with approval from the graduate director and the Dean’s office. For additional information, please consult the Graduate Bulletin.
Applicants who submit materials before February 1 for fall admission will be given priority consideration for funding offers.
General Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional for this program.
Office of Graduate Admission
The Ph.D. degree requires 48 credits of coursework and six credits of dissertation preparation. As a Ph.D. student in English, you must take the following two foundational courses:
The program’s flexibility and varied course offerings allow you to select the remaining 42 coursework credits on your own, in consultation with an advisor. In order to satisfy the residency requirement, you must complete 24 credits of coursework within your first two years of study, at which time you’ll meet with the program director to plan your additional progress toward the degree. Upon successful completion of your coursework, you’ll select a committee of three faculty members within the department with whom you’ll assemble a reading list of approximately 25 books and critical essays for each of three oral examination areas. You’ll then undergo an oral comprehensive examination administered by your committee, which will allow you to demonstrate your mastery in these areas, as well as to begin preliminary research for your dissertation. After successfully completing the comprehensive examination, you will register for ENG 975 (Dissertation Research Seminar) for each semester of dissertation preparation, during which you’ll apply your knowledge of English, advanced research skills, and critical thinking skills to an original problem in contemporary scholarship, criticism, pedagogy, or the profession in general. Your completed dissertation must be defended orally before your committee and approved by the Dean.
In order to graduate with the Ph.D., you must also demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by passing a department-administered translation exam, or by earning a B (3.0) or better grade in an advanced college-level language course.
The Ph.D. program at St. John’s will prepare you as a teacher-scholar of English ready for positions in teaching intensive institutions such as community colleges, state regional universities, and liberal arts colleges. The broad training you’ll receive across the sub-disciplines of literary studies, creative writing, and writing studies will also position you for careers in media and communication, publishing, technical writing, writing center administration, and other emerging fields.
Students in the Ph.D. English program benefit from a faculty of engaged, active scholars with diverse research interests. Our professors work to guide students toward the successful defense of their dissertations and help them land the faculty positions or writing center administrative positions they desire.
For additional information about the oral examination, the dissertation process, and the work of our faculty members, current students, and alumni, please visit our blog.
The Loretta and Frank Kunkel Scholarship is a graduate endowment available to students in the M.A. and Ph.D. English programs.
The University offers competitive doctoral fellowships and both academic and non-academic graduate assistantships. You can find more information about these positions on the Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships page.
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Get your English degree in New York City with St. John’s University!
The Master of Arts (M.A.) in English at St. John’s offers broad and intensive engagement with literary, cultural, and writing studies.
The combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in English and Business Administration offers highly-motivated students the opportunity to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years of full-time study.
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Bonjour! French is the second most frequently taught foreign language in the world (after English). It is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. Learning French opens up many opportunities for students in fields like international business, education, translation, and the arts.
Completion of a minor in French requires 15 credits of the following courses chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor.
Bienvenue! Studying French at St John's University provides students with the opportunity to acquire a command of the French language!
For highly-motivated students, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) program in French and Library and Information Science.
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Study Italian in New York City at St. John’s University!
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For highly-motivated students, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) program in Italian and Library and Information Science. The program allows you to complete your undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years of full-time study, with internships available at the graduate level.
wɛlkəm The Linguistics minor trains students in the principles of grammatical analysis. It serves as an excellent complement to majors in English, Government and Politics, Philosophy, Theology, and modern languages. Students in the minor must complete 18 credits of the following courses, chosen in consultation with an advisor.
Γειά σας The Greek language has been hugely influential in the development of western culture and civilization. Today, Greek is one of the main languages of the European Union. The study of Modern Greek language and culture provides students with the key to understanding the importance of the Hellenic tradition in European intellectual development.
Привет – Privet! Russian is the sixth most spoken language in the world and is an important language for such diverse fields as business, journalism, science, technology, mathematics, literature, music, ballet, cinema, and theater. Russian is considered a strategic language by the United States government, which provides scholarships for studying the language and employment for those fluent in the language.
Bienvenidos! Students pursuing a Spanish minor learn writing and speaking skills in the language, as well as important aspects of Spanish civilization (art, literature, history, culture, and politics). This knowledge opens doors for students in the fields of education, business, politics, journalism, translation, and the arts.
The Spanish minor requires students to complete 15 credits of the following, chosen under departmental supervision.
More than half of New York speaks Spanish and the United States's second-largest Spanish-speaking population after Mexico. A wide variety of career fields – including business, education, medicine, and journalism – seek candidates with Spanish language skills. For this reason, a major or minor in Spanish opens up many opportunities for you once you graduate.
The combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Spanish offers highly-motivated students the opportunity to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years of full-time study.
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The combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Spanish and Business Administration offers highly-motivated students the opportunity to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years of full-time study.
For highly-motivated students, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) program in Spanish and Library and Information Science.
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers a 21-credit minor sequence in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
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