Doctor of Philosophy - English

The Ph.D. program in English is a highly specialized program designed to train students for careers in teaching at the college or university level and to develop in them a capacity for research, original thought, and writing that ordinarily accompanies such careers. The doctoral program in focused on literary study although a concentration of six credits may be earned in composition studies. Within the first three semesters of course work the student chooses three areas in which to specialize: (1) a chronological period, (2) a literary genre, and (3) either an additional chronological period, a major author chosen from outside the chronological period and approved by the student’s advisory committee, or a special topic approved by the student’s advisory committee. All subsequent course work is devoted to developing a high degree of professional competence and knowledge in the three chosen areas of specialization. Such knowledge is tested in a qualifying examination and is also the basis upon which the student writes a doctoral dissertation.

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must possess an MA in English from a regionally accredited institution with at least 21 credits in British and American literature courses on the graduate transcript and a graduate GPA of 3.50 or better.
  2. Applicants must submit the following:
    • A letter of application, addressed to the Graduate Committee, that states the applicant’s reasons for wanting to enter the graduate program in English at UNLV and the intended area(s) of specialization
    • One official set of transcripts from all colleges or universities attended (mailed directly to the Graduate College) and one unofficial set (uploaded through the Grad Rebel Gateway or mailed directly to the English Department)
    • Two or three writing samples totaling at least 30 pages of literary criticism, history, or analysis that offer substantial evidence of the applicant’s ability to do work at the doctoral level
    • Three letters of recommendation from professors of English that specifically address the applicant’s ability to complete the PhD in English
    • Official scores on the Verbal portion of the General Test and the Literature in English Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination (official GRE results should be directed to institution code 4861; applicants should not enter a department code). Applicants are encouraged to self-report GRE scores in addition to requesting an official report from ETS.
  3. All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Admission requirements and complete program requirements can be found by following the links to the College of Liberal Arts and then to English in the Graduate Catalog.

Application Process

  1. An application form must be submitted via the Grad Rebel Gateway portal.
  2. Official college and/or university transcripts must be mailed directly to the Graduate College at UNLV:

    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Graduate College
    FDH 352
    Box 451017
    4505 S. Maryland Parkway
    Las Vegas, NV 89154-1017

  3. Official GRE scores from ETS should be directed to institution code 4861; do not enter a department code.
  4. Unofficial transcripts and all other supporting materials (statement of purpose, writing sample, letters of recommendation, self-reported GRE scores) should be uploaded through the Grad Rebel Gateway, which is the preferred method for quickly completing and processing an application. Alternatively, supporting materials may be submitted via email to or mailed to:

    Graduate Admissions
    Department of English
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Box 455011
    4505 S. Maryland Parkway
    Las Vegas, NV 89154-5011

Application Deadlines

Nov. 1
Deadline for applications for admission to the Ph.D. program in the spring.
Jan. 15
Deadline for applications for admission to the Ph.D. program in the fall.

Graduate Assistantships

All program applicants are eligible to apply for Graduate Assistantship (GA) funding. The current GA stipend for Ph.D. student in English is set at $17,500. Details of the duties and substantial benefits a Graduate Assistantship includes and how to apply can be found on the GA page on the Graduate College website. The application deadlines for Graduate Assistantships are the same as for the program itself: November 1 and January 15. GA applications must be submitted through the Grad Rebel Gateway.

Still have questions about the English Department’s Ph.D. program? Feel free to contact the English Department Graduate Program Office (Beverly Rogers Literature and Law Building – RLL 255) at or 702-895-4366; or the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Kelly J. Mays.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will develop a capability for professional research, critical thinking, and publishable writing.
  • Students will develop expertise in a chronological period, a literary genre, and an additional period, major author, or special topic.
  • Students will demonstrate a reading knowledge of two languages other than English or proficiency in one.

Graduate Catalog

The graduate catalog is the official repository of the graduate program requirements, and Graduate College policies.

Visit Graduate Catalog

Representative Syllabi


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