Jun 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

English (Ph.D.)

Program Overview

Our program offers challenging graduate seminars on British, American, and World literatures with a rigorous grounding in historical, theoretical, and philosophical frameworks and creative writing workshops in multiple genres with professional writers. Small in size, the graduate program emphasizes a solid foundation in literary studies that enables you to teach a wide range of literature and prepares you for study in your area of specialization. The degree offers excellent preparation for those who would like to pursue employment in academia or in any field that values critical thinking, strong writing skills, and research experience. Ph.D. students can choose to specialize in Literary Studies: Creative Writing or Literary Studies: Literary Criticism. Learn more at https://www.usd.edu/Academics/Graduate-Programs/English-PhD.

DELIVERY: On campus

Doctor of Philosophy, English

Major Area Coursework - 54-69 Credit Hours

Specialization: Literary Studies: Critical: 24 hours

  • Graduate courses in literature: at least five must be seminars (21 credit hours)
  • Additional selection from the criticism courses in the core (3 credit hours)**

Specialization: Literary Studies: Creative: 27 hours

  • Graduate courses in Creative Writing: at least three must be seminars (15 credit hours)
  • Course in applied theory for Creative Writing (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate courses in literature: at least two must be seminars (9 credit hours)


A minimum of 39 hours of coursework, excluding dissertation hours, must be completed. Other requirements include demonstration of proficiency in a foreign language, completion of comprehensive examinations, and an oral defense of the dissertation. Students should consult the departmental graduate student handbook for additional information.

*For students to achieve 54 hours with the Literary Studies Critical specialization, they will complete a minimum of 6 hours of electives, for students to achieve 54 hours with the Literary Studies Creative specialization, they will complete a minimum of 3 hours of electives.Other graduate courses, including Directed Research and Independent Study classes, may be included with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

**Critical specialization students who took a literary criticism or theory course in their MA program may be eligible for an exemption from this additional requirement. If approved by the Graduate Coordinator, another 3 credit hour course may be substituted to reach the required number of hours.

Note: 50% of the program of study must be taken at the 700-level

State Authorization- It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage. 

State Authorization


Department of English
605-658-6850 | english@usd.edu | usd.edu/english

Graduate Admissions
605-658-6140 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad