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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- An application form must be submitted via the Grad Rebel Gateway portal.
Official college and/or university transcripts must be mailed directly to the Graduate College at UNLV:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-1017
- Official GRE scores from ETS should be directed to institution code 4861; do not enter a department code.
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 email@example.com or mailed to:
Department of English
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-5011
- Jan. 15
- Deadline for applications for admission to the Ph.D. program in the fall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-895-4366; or the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Kelly J. Mays.
For information regarding accreditation at UNLV, please head over to Academic Program Accreditations.
- 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.
Post-Master’s Literature Track
Creative Dissertation Track
The Department of English in partnership with the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute and the Black Mountain Institute Ph.D. Fellows program offers a three-year course of studies leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a Creative Dissertation. Studies for the Ph.D. center around English and American Literature, also with possibilities for directed reading in Comparative Literature, and are designed to prepare students for careers in professional writing and the teaching of English and Creative Writing at the university or college level, as well as for careers in editing and publishing. The program includes course work in English and Creative Writing, a Qualifying Examination, and a Creative Dissertation, typically an original collection of short stories, a novel, a collection of literary nonfiction essays or book- length work of literary nonfiction, or a collection of poems.
For more information about the Creative Writing program, see: https://www.unlv.edu/english/academic-programs/mfa-creative-writing.
Funding: all admitted Ph.D. with Creative Dissertation students are offered $26,500 per yer for three years, funded by a combination of the Graduate Assistantship and Black Mountain Institute Fellowship. Duties for this funding require 20 hours per week, usually fulfilled by a combination of teaching and editorial work on English Department or Black Mountain Institute publications.
Please note: Two new Ph.D. BMI Fellows are admitted each year, in alternating genres. Our current admissions schedule is to admit students for entering classes as follows: Literary Nonfiction – 2019, 2021; Fiction – 2019, 2020; Poetry – 2020, 2021.
Applications for a genre not in the admissions rotation will be returned.
- Students will write a book-length, publishable work of fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry.
- Students will develop literary and theoretical knowledge at the Ph.D. level, and writing skills that prepare them for university, college, and community college teaching careers.
- Students will develop professional writing skills that prepare them for a career in writing professionally by selling works to magazines, book publishers, and websites.
Creative Writing Ph.D.s can go on to careers in:
- A person with a Ph.D. in English with Creative Dissertation is prepared for a career in academia, and can pursue teaching at universities, colleges, or community colleges.
- The UNLV and Black Mountain Ph.D. Fellows are offered opportunities to gain valuable professional experience by working on three literary magazines: Witness, Interim and The Believer. This experience prepares them to pursue careers in magazine editing, with publishing houses, with online publishers, or in copy editing and copy writing.
- Public Relations, Media, Communications and Advertising
- P-R and advertising agencies, as well as media companies of all kinds, need employees with strong writing and communications skills.
- Business, Management, and Beyond
- In the broadest possible sense, Ph.D. in English with Creative Dissertation graduates can do anything. Graduates can go on to careers in management, in nonprofit organizations, in human resources, sales, politics, civil service, and institutional analysis―the possibilities are endless.