Credits and Courses

The main field of study for the Ph.D. in English is the literature and language of the English-speaking Caribbean; complementary fields are studies in literary genres and language and linguistics. ENGL 6488, “The Literature, Language, and Culture of the English-speaking Caribbean,” is required of all entering students regardless of their specialization in literature or linguistics.

Program Requirements beyond the M.A. (prior to November 18, 2015)

Number of Courses CoursesTotal Credits
5 Core English courses: (at the 8000 level) 15
2 English Language or Literature courses in English: two at the 6000 level (6410, 6486, or 6489 for linguistics students, and 6045, 6469, or 6475 for literature students), or any 8000 level courses in English. 6
3 Electives in English (at the 6000 and/or 8000 levels) 9
2 Free Electives: (at the 6000, 7000, or/and 8000 levels) 6
Research Seminar 0
Writing of Doctoral Critical Essays 0
Dissertation I 0
Dissertation II 0
Total credits 36

Program Requirements for the revised Ph.D. (as of November 18, 2015) 

Number of courses Courses Total credits
1 ENGL 6488 3
5 8000-level Seminars in Caribbean: five (5) at the 8000 level in area (Lit or Ling) of specialization 15
1 One Caribbean specific 6000-level course in other concentration (6410, 6486, or 6489 for Linguistics students and 6045, 6469, or 6475 for Literature students) 3
3 Electives in English: Three (3) at the 6000 and/or 8000 levels 9*
2 Free electives: two (2) at the 6000, 7000, and/or 8000 levels 6
1 Research Seminar (ENGL 8099) 0
1 Writing of Doctoral Critical Essays (Comprehensive exams) 0
1 Dissertation I 0
1 Dissertation II 0
Total credits 36

*6 of the 9 credits for Electives may come from the two required 6000-level courses in area of specialization (ENGL 6410, ENGL 6486, ENGL 6489 for Literature and ENGL  6045,  ENGL 6469,  ENGL  6475 for  Linguistics). See item 4 under “Requirements for Graduation.”

It is advisable that new Ph.D. students focus on courses in their own area (literature or linguistics) during their first semester of studies. The course required in the other specialization should be taken from the list of Caribbean specific 6000-level courses; however, in special cases, students may take an 8000-level course to fulfill this requirement with the Professor’s approval.

A student may take up to 6 credits of Free Electives in the other specialization (linguistics or literature) or in any other department or field such as Comparative Literature, History, Hispanic Studies, Linguistics, etc.  Students should consult their advisors when electing to take courses outside the department.

Independent Studies (ENGL 8045)

Guidelines for students

Students who would like to focus on a topic not covered by any existing (or regularly offered) course in the Doctoral degree program in English can propose a 3-credit independent study to pursue their interests. Students can take a maximum of two independent study courses during their tenure in the graduate program.

Only students who have completed a full-time semester of graduate studies with at least a 3.0 average and show independence in research skills can request an independent study.

Students who are interested in pursuing an independent study should:

  • Conceptualize a clear, focused idea for a course of study.
  • Meet the professor whose expertise is in this area of study to discuss the possibility of scheduling an independent study.
  • Submit to the professor a proposal for the study which includes:

A. a statement of purpose with a clear justification for the independent  study

B. a detailed description of the proposed course of study

C. a reading list

D. a working bibliography

E. a tentative schedule of readings and consultations

  • Revise the proposal according to the critiques of the supervising professor.
  •  Submit the proposal to the Graduate PhD Committee for official approval by the dates published by the Graduate Coordinator during the semester prior to the independent study.
  • Register for the independent study with the approval of the Graduate PhD Committee.

Should the Graduate PhD Committee request revisions, the student should make these revisions as soon as possible and resubmit the proposal for reconsideration. Late revisions may result in an independent study being postponed to the following semester.

Guidelines for professors

  1. The student must initiate the proposal for an independent study.
  2. The area proposed by student must be the professor’s area of expertise.
  3. The professor can have only one student in an independent study course.
  4. The professor can have only one independent course per semester.

In most cases, an independent study will result in a seminar paper submitted to the supervising professor for evaluation. Depending on the content of the course, alternative forms of evaluation can be proposed. The student (in consultation with the professor) should clearly include this in the course proposal.

Research Seminar (INGL 8099)

For the Research Seminar, students prepare a position paper which is submitted at the end of the semester, along with an annotated bibliography related to their primary area of study and unannotated bibliographies for their two secondary areas of study. Once accepted and graded (PB, PN, PS), the position paper will be put in the student’s file and will count as the pre-approved primary essay when the student subsequently takes English 8890 (Comprehensive Exam course).

The annotated bibliography will be turned in at the end of the semester in which the student takes 8099. The range will be from 30 to 60 annotated sources for both literature and linguistics students. The number of sources will be decided in consultation with the student’s advisor and will depend on the student’s area of research.

Guidelines for position paper in Linguistics

Guidelines for sequence from 8099 to 8890 in Linguistics

Guidelines for Literature 8099 position paper

Comprehensive Examinations (INGL 8890)

For the Comprehensive Examinations, the student will work on the two secondary areas only, taking a sit-down exam on these two areas at the end of the semester. (Exact dates are announced each semester.) For more information, see Comprehensive Examination page.

This represents a change from the previous practice and is effective as of February 24, 2012. Students who are currently enrolled in 8099 can follow these new guidelines.

Note: The comprehensive exam can only be taken twice. That is to say, if a student fails the first time, he or she has only one opportunity to retake it.


Dissertation course (INGL 8891-8892)

Guidelines for linguistics PhD proposal

Guidelines for literature PhD proposal