Feb 28, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English Major, PhD


A student must successfully complete a program of study, normally six full semesters as outlined below, approved by the candidate’s committee or the Director of Graduate Studies in English.

Course work

At least 54 credit hours beyond the BA (of which at least 30 credit hours must be beyond the MA) to include at least 21 credit hours at the 600-level; at least 15 credit hours at the 500-level or above (only 3 credit hours of ENGL 593  may be applied toward the MA and 6 after the MA); a 3 credit hour course in teaching composition, ENGL 505 ; and 15 additional credit hours at the 500- or 600-level.

Up to 6 of these additional credit hours may be taken in some cognate field or fields such as history, philosophy, or French. These courses must be drawn from those approved for graduate credit. All other course work must be in the English Department. In this course work, students must normally maintain a 3.5 GPA.


Twenty-four credit hours of dissertation research are required. These represent the research for and writing of the dissertation. The research and dissertation will be directed by a faculty member of the department and approved by a doctoral committee of three or four other faculty members.

Language Requirement

A language requirement met in one of the following ways.

  • Two languages approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in English. The requirement for each language may be fulfilled by (a) completion of FREN 302 or GERM 332 with a grade of B or better; (b) completion at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, of any two courses on the 300-level or above in the foreign language or literature with at least a grade of B in each course; (c) passing of the regular PhD foreign language examination as currently administered at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 
  • One modern language approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in English. This requirement must be fulfilled by a passing grade on the language examination given by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and completion of two courses given in the foreign language at the 400-level or above, at least one course to be at the 500- or 600-level. A minimum grade of B must be received in each course. 
  • One modern language approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in English and intensive study of the English language. This requirement must be fulfilled by completion of (a), (b), or (c) for one foreign language; and completion of 6 credit hours in English language courses with grades of B or better, at least 3 of which must be from ENGL 508  or ENGL 509  History of the English Language (offered in alternate years only). For the other 3 credit hours, the student may either complete the history of the language sequence or choose one other course in language taught in the Department of English at the 500- or 600-level and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in English. These courses will not count toward the minimum number of courses for the PhD, and anyone electing this language option may not take the comprehensive examination in linguistics.


  • A first-year review conducted at the end of the first year of PhD course work. 
  • A comprehensive examination which may be divided as the department directs (see the English Department Graduate Studies web pages). The comprehensive examination is given twice a year, normally in February and September. Before a student may take it, he/she must have completed all required course work. A student must also have met all requirements for foreign languages before beginning the first part of the examination.

Dissertation Defense

A one-hour examination on the dissertation and other related areas is required.

Residence Requirement

Two consecutive semesters as a full-time student are required. For students not on teaching assistantships, full-time consists of 9 or more credit hours of course work and/or dissertation credit hours each semester. For students on assistantships, full-time consists of at least 6 credit hours of courses and/or dissertation credit hours and 3 credit hours of teaching each semester.