Ph.D. in English

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The Ph.D. in English is a highly selective doctoral program at a top-ranked private research university that trains students for the academic profession of literary studies while building knowledge and skills relevant to a wide range of careers. As a student in our program, you will enjoy access to outstanding scholars working in a variety of fields and practicing diverse theoretical and methodological approaches.

Through our classes, individual student mentoring, and professionalization practicums, you will gain advanced training in the many facets of scholarship and professional life, including research methods, pedagogy, writing for publication, applying for funding, and the job search. Our faculty are committed to helping you develop your interests, voice, and skills as a researcher, writer, and teacher.

Logan Quigley

“I chose Notre Dame for my English Ph.D. because I wanted to land in a program with as much community support as possible. The stresses of graduate school are real, and it's important to be surrounded by supportive people who respect your needs, interests, and personal career goals. Notre Dame’s English Department is filled with faculty and administrators who truly care about setting their students up for success, whether that's on the academic job market or beyond. Throughout my dissertation process, I've been grateful to have a network of faculty and graduate students who are interested in supporting both my area of research and my personal goals.”

— Logan Quigley, Ph.D. May 2022

Academic Partnerships

Notre Dame is home to renowned centers and institutes that enrich doctoral study and help build interdisciplinary connections. As a student here you will have the opportunity to participate in projects and colloquia—and apply for additional research and conference support—from institutes including:

Arnaud Zimmern

“As an applicant many years ago, Notre Dame struck me as a place where graduate students were encouraged to find multiple intellectual homes outside their own departments, through centers and institutes that recognize not only the promise of graduate student's intellectual contributions but the precarity of those contributions if left unsupported. I'm happy to say the University delivered, rewarding me time and time again with some of the richest, most rigorous academic conversations and, to boot, the means to pursue the research questions that those conversations generated.”

— Arnaud Zimmern, Ph.D. May 2021. Now a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Philosophy and Science at Notre Dame

Graduate Minors

As a Ph.D. student in English you might also decide to pursue one of five graduate minors:

International Opportunities

Our Ph.D. program provides exciting opportunities to participate in an array of international opportunities, events, and partnerships. You might, for instance:

  • work with scholars in the UK or Germany as part of the “Global Dome” Ph.D. Summer Workshop in History and Literature;
  • live and teach at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway while conducting your own research;
  • participate in the Irish Seminar, joining scholars and students from other institutions for workshops in locations such as Dublin, Paris, or Buenos Aires;
  • participate in the International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH), a series of workshops that bring Notre Dame students together with faculty and students at Princeton and other major universities worldwide.

And, of course, you will have access to support from the department and a range of other university sources for research and conference travel.

Shinjini Chattopadhyay

“As an Irish grad minor, I participated in the Irish Seminar and traveled to Dublin and Kylemore Abbey where I had the wonderful opportunity of learning about Irish literature and culture from renowned international scholars. My participation in the Irish seminar was complemented with my engagement with INCH. For the INCH annual retreats, I traveled to Athens and Rome and got the opportunity to work with scholars and graduate students from various universities in the US and Europe. The international exposure generously provided by the program has significantly enriched my scholarship."

— Shinjini Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. January 2022. Now Assistant Professor of Global Anglophone Literatures at Berry College

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Have questions about the Ph.D. in English? Contact:

Susan Cannon Harris
Director of Graduate Studies
Professor of English

Blake Holman
Graduate Program Coordinator