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Requirements for the Doctoral Degree in English
See also: EGSA's links to forms required for the PhD.
Application for admission to both the Graduate School and the doctoral program in English is made by securing and completing the proper forms from the Graduate School. An application form is available on the website of the Graduate School. Application must be made for the doctoral program in English even if the student is already enrolled in the Graduate School.
Direct admission to the doctoral program is possible under two conditions:
In all other cases, admission is contingent upon meeting the following requirements:
The departmental deadline for applications is January 15. We only admit graduate students to the fall semester of each academic year. Applications received after January 15 or incomplete applications will be automatically rejected. Please send all application materials to the Baylor Graduate School so they can file them in their online system; do not send any application materials to the Graduate Program Director. It is imperative that the applicant who wishes to receive an assistantship have all components of the application in at least by the date listed in the catalog, but preferably two weeks prior. The English graduate program has three types of assistantships available. These assistantships carry stipends and tuition coverage that are highly competitive with those offered by other universities. Inquiries should be made of the Graduate Program Director.
Completion of 42 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the M.A. degree constitutes the minimum requirement. Ten graduate seminars (30 hours) are required beyond the M.A. degree. Because emphasis lies upon the adequate preparation of the student, additional work may be required at the discretion of the Supervisory Committee or the Graduate Program Director. Twelve hours of the 42 total must be allocated for the dissertation. No correspondence work may be counted for graduate credit.
For one directly admitted to the doctoral program from the B.A. degree (see above), completion of 66 hours beyond the B.A. is required, with twelve hours of the total allocated for the dissertation. Eighteen graduate classes are required beyond the B.A. degree.
Transfer of no more than 6 semester hours from an accredited institution may be allowed (see Graduate Catalog for conditions).
An Advisor's Slip to be signed by the Graduate Program Director is required each semester for proper registration.
The following courses must be taken either during the undergraduate or graduate periods of study:
Four courses are required from one of the following categories. At least one course is required from each of the other three.
A seminar may be repeated if the content is on a different topic.
Although a minor is not required, one is possible. Nine (9) semester hours constitute a minor area of study. Both the major and minor may be and usually are taken within the department in the areas of either English or American literature. Minor courses and any other courses outside of the department may be taken up to 12 hours of graduate credit; these courses must be directly relevant to the student's area of study and must be approved by the chairperson of the Department of English or the Graduate Program Director and the chairperson(s) of the department(s) in which the outside courses are to be taken.
A reading knowledge of two languages in addition to English is required. At least one of these languages should be relevant to the student's dissertation or major area of emphasis. Completion of language requirements must be met before the preliminary examination is authorized. A language requirement may be satisfied by any of the five methods designated in the Graduate Catalog (see "Specific Degree Requirements: Doctoral Degrees"). Note: if option 1 is chosen, the course must have been taken no more than five years before the student was accepted into the Baylor graduate program.
The preliminary examination must be taken within one year of the completion of all course work, although it may be taken while the last semester of course work is in progress. Prior to scheduling the examination, it is recommended that the student determine an area of emphasis and a director for the dissertation. Under the advisement of the director, the student should consult on an individual basis with other members of the Graduate Faculty, who will also take responsibility for areas on the examination. The actual time for the exam will be determined by the student in consultation with the director, the other examiners, and the Graduate Program Administrative Assistant in the English Office. The preliminary examination must be completed at least one academic year prior to the conferring of the degree and six months prior to the final examination in defense of the dissertation.
The student's director and other examiners are responsible for administering and interpreting the results of the preliminary examination.
The preliminary examination will be constituted of three 3-hour parts, and will cover three areas chosen by the student with the advice and consent of the director and other examiners. The areas will be:
A. One area from those listed under "Specific Course Requirements," as the student's major area (3 hours) (Some options are: Old English, Middle English, Renaissance, Seventeenth Century, Restoration and Eighteenth Century, Romantic, Victorian, Modern British, Contemporary British, Colonial American Literature to 1800, Nineteenth Century American, Modern American, Contemporary American);
B. The historical areas, consisting of the following two 90-minute exams:
C. One open area: e.g., an interdisciplinary topic, a genre, a major author, critical theory, a special topic, rhetoric, or linguistics.
The student and the examiner in the major area will select approximately fifteen major works of significant length over which the student will be examined. For the open areas, the student will select twelve-to-fifteen works, again with the approval of the examiner. Each half of the historical area should have from six to eight works. Examiners will have the final say in approving the lists of works for their areas.
The examination will be taken over a period of eight working days (two consecutive work weeks). The exam is nine hours, three hours for the major area, ninety minutes for each half of the historical area, and three hours for the open area. The areas of the examination may be taken in any order.
The examination will be taken over a period of eight working days (two consecutive work weeks). The exam is nine hours, three hours for each part.
The order of procedure for the preliminary examination is as follows:
Within six months after successful completion of the preliminary examination. This committee includes:
In order to qualify for candidacy, the student must pass both the written examination and his/her prospectus review.
Upon completion of residence requirements, language requirements, the preliminary examination, and the prospectus review, the student should make application for admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree. To do this, the student and director must fill out the Record of Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form that should be secured from and returned to the Graduate Program Administrative Assistant. Approval of this application is necessary before the student is recognized as a candidate for a doctoral degree. Application must be made no later than five months prior to the date on which the degree is to be conferred. Admission to candidacy presupposes a minimum of 3.0 (B) average for formal coursework initiated in the Graduate School.
Prior to the conferral of the degree, the candidate generally will have had teaching experience in both composition and literature. This teaching may be done either at Baylor or at another college or university.
The Graduate Faculty expects all graduate students pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy degree to take part in the entire spectrum of professional activities: teaching, service to the department and/or to the University, attending conferences, presenting papers at conferences, and submitting essays for publication.
Job talks are an essential component of the increasingly competitive process of applying for an academic post. In order to prepare for these and other public speaking responsibilities, every student must give a presentation to be evaluated by a Graduate Faculty member. This presentation is a requirement for degree conferral. The students should present the faculty member with the Public Speaking Form prior to the event. The faculty member should complete the form and submit it to the Graduate Program Director, discussing the results with the student. The goal of this discussion should be the development of public speaking skills as a preparation for professional duties.
Students have a variety of opportunities to meet the public speaking requirement. The 20th Century, the 19th Century, and the Medieval and Renaissance Research Seminars usually set aside meetings at the end of each semester for graduate students to share their scholarship. A student may also present at a conference attended by his/her evaluator or give a practice job talk. Teaching and in-class presentations, however, do not count towards this requirement.
The student will present an acceptable dissertation in the field of his/her major study area. The dissertation must give evidence that the student has pursued a program of research, the results of which reveal both superior stylistic and research competence, and offer a significant contribution to knowledge. The standard for a dissertation in English has always been book-length; anything below about 225 pages will be insubstantial compared to other dissertations, while anything over 350 pages may suggest an inability to focus on a topic sufficiently and may also take too long to write. The dissertation director should ensure that the student adheres to these page requirements; moreover, the Graduate Program Director will not approve dissertations that fall substantially outside this page range. Work on the dissertation should begin in the preliminary state as early in the academic career as possible, but formally it should begin when the student has completed the preliminary examination. At this time the Dissertation Committee will work closely with the student in approving the topic and directing the research to its conclusion. A prospectus must be approved by the Dissertation Committee, with copies sent to the Graduate Program Director and the Chair of the department. For the formal requirements regarding the dissertation, including the deadlines for the submission of the manuscript, the technical requirements of the manuscript (see the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook; Macintosh Palatino 12 point font or IBM Palisade 12 point font is required), the abstract, binding and microfilming costs, and research course requirements, see the Graduate School Guidelines available in the English Office. Students are reminded that the MLA Handbook was not designed to guide the construction of a dissertation; therefore the Graduate School specifications regarding preliminary pages, chapter format, and other dissertation-specific characteristics must be used in conjunction with the MLA guidelines.
A final oral examination in defense of the dissertation is required. The candidate, with the approval of the Dissertation Committee, is responsible for arranging the final examination, coordinating its time with the Graduate Program Administrative Assistant and the Graduate School, and bringing all required materials to the examination. The Announcement of Doctoral Oral Examination form specifying the date of the defense must be filled out and sent to the Graduate School at least ten days prior to the defense: see the Graduate Program Administrative Assistant. At this defense there must be a minimum of five examiners: the Dissertation Committee and two other Graduate Faculty members from inside the department. A sixth Graduate Faculty member from inside the department is permitted, but not required. The director of the dissertation must take the Results of Oral Examination form to the defense and have the members present sign it at the conclusion of the defense.
The student files for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which the student anticipates degree completion. Filing is completed at the Graduate School. The student must have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 to be eligible to file.
The maximum time limit allowed is eight years from the date that the student is admitted and begins the doctoral program. The student may petition for an extension of time provided there are extraordinary circumstances. The maximum time permissible may not exceed nine years.
Of particular concern to the English faculty is the writing of its graduate students. Toward that end every graduate class will not only require writing, but will expect a high level of performance from its students.
The departmental guidelines for Ph.D. candidates provide the following general statement about the dissertation prospectus:
Within six months after successful completion of the preliminary examination, and with the counsel of her/his Dissertation Committee, the candidate will prepare a formal prospectus of 10-15 pages along with an accompanying bibliography. This prospectus, and the literary, methodological, generic, or other critical questions surrounding the candidate's topic, will provide the subject for a formal prospectus review.
Graduate faculty offer the following guidelines to help Ph.D. candidates prepare a prospectus.
The successful prospectus will include many, if not all, of the following:
You may divide your prospectus into sections or construct a holistic prospectus--that is, one that appears as a continuous essay without any sections. (See the Graduate Program Administrative Assistant in the English office for examples of previously approved prospectuses.)
You may wish to consider the advice offered by Robert L. Peters in Getting What You Came For (New York: Farrar, 1992) and by David Madsen in Successful Dissertations and Theses (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1983). These two reference works expertly expand upon the guidelines presented here.
A standard prospectus review consists of a fifteen-minute presentation concisely articulating the thesis. Then, the Dissertation Committee and up to three Graduate Faculty members from within and without the department will, in the remaining 45 minutes, question the Ph.D. candidate on her/his dissertation prospectus.
Revised: Fall, 2013