Recommendations for Graduate Study in English

1. Courses:

  • Literary Theory

At least one course from each of the following fields:

  • Medieval Literature
  • Renaissance (Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century) Literature
  • Shakespeare
  • Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century British Literature
  • Twentieth-Century British Literature
  • American Literature
  • Ethnic American Literature
  • Postcolonial Literature

2. A directed study or, better, an honors thesis in an area which you plan to study in graduate school.

3. Reading knowledge of at least one language and preferably two (including Latin if you wish to study pre-1900 literature). One of the best graduate programs requires that candidates pass reading examinations in one ancient and two modern languages; many of the finest programs require one ancient and one modern language. Most graduate programs require that two language exams be passed within the first two years.

4. A concentration of work in a field which bears on your interests in English literature: philosophy, history, psychology, literature in another language, art history, and so on.

5. Tutoring. Working as a Writing Tutor gives you a chance to experience teaching.  If you do not enjoy teaching, you should not seek a Ph.D. in English under most circumstances.