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English, Doctor of Philosophy

54 Credits
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Queens Campus


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at St. John’s University distinguishes itself through its integration of rigorous research and writing with pedagogical theory and practice. As a student in the program, you’ll combine advanced literary, cultural, and writing studies with preparation for teaching. You’ll work with our distinguished faculty members 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.

Watch a video about St. John's English, Doctor of Philosophy program.

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’ll proceed more gradually toward completing the requirements.

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.

Department Faculty

Please see a list of our English faculty.

Department Contact
Amy King, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English
St. John Hall, Room B-40
[email protected]


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.

We require that you submit evidence of acceptable scores for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test along with your application. The subject GRE Test is not required.

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.

Admissions Contact
Office of Graduate Admission
[email protected]


Career Outcomes

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.

Additional Information

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.

Loretta and Frank Kunkel Scholarship

The Loretta and Frank Kunkel Scholarship is a graduate endowment available to students in the M.A. and Ph.D. English programs. 

For more information, please see our Endowed Scholarships page. 

Program News

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