Literature Designated Emphasis


Graduate students may work toward a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree that notes a designated emphasis in literature on the graduation documents. Students wishing to pursue this option should consult with the chair of their respective Ph.D. program and are encouraged to apply in the first or second year of graduate study.


Graduate students in other programs may obtain a designated emphasis in literature on the Ph.D. degree by completing the following requirements:

Committee Composition and Departmental Approvals

The student must have a faculty graduate advisor from Literature, who serves both on the qualifying examination committee and the dissertation reading committee.

Course Requirements

The student must take four graduate courses in literature. With the approval of the literature advisor, one of the four required graduate courses may be an independent study.

Writing, Research and/or Teaching Requirements

The student must prepare a significant piece of writing in the area of literature, such as a substantial seminar paper or a chapter of the doctoral dissertation. The advisor from Literature, in consultation with the student, determines whether a particular piece of writing meets this requirement.

Designated Emphasis Application

When the above requirements have been fulfilled, the formal steps to obtain the Designated Emphasis in Literature are:

  • The student should complete a Designated Emphasis Application form, obtain the literature advisor's signature and submit the application with supporting documentation (copies of the Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Committee Nomination forms) to the Literature Department graduate program coordinator.

  • The Literature Department will notify the student and the home department of approval for the designated emphasis.