Students admitted to the PhD after completing an MA must complete 24 hours of coursework.  All PhD students must complete English 506: Professional Communication, Theory and Practice; and English 487: Literary and Critical Theory (or another theory course). Those who have not completed the equivalent of English 400: Composition and the Teaching of Writing in the course of MA work must complete that essential training as soon as possible. There are no distribution requirements for doctoral coursework.

PhD students complete a minimum of 18 credits of dissertation research in addition to a Qualifying Examination. Doctoral students admitted with prior MA degrees typically take Exams in the spring semester of their second year. Working with an advisory committee, students prepare a list of approximately 75 works in two or three areas of concentration. They also prepare four research questions in these areas, from which the committee will select two for submission after a 72-hour period. (Examination answers to all four questions may be drafted in advance of the 72-hour period between receipt of the assignment of questions and the submission of the completed exam.) The written exam is followed by an oral examination. Both portions of the Qualifying Examination must be passed in order for students to Advance to Candidacy.

All doctoral students must demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language, normally by completing an upper-division (200-level) undergraduate course in the language at CWRU with a grade of “B” or better. Non-native speakers of English are exempt from this requirement; students who have completed a minor or major in a foreign language in the course of undergraduate study, or who have completed a comparable foreign language requirement as part of prior graduate study, may petition to have the prior work satisfy the language requirement.

No later than the semester following successful completion of Qualifying Exams, a dissertation prospectus must be accepted by the dissertation committee. The student should complete and defend the dissertation within six semesters following the acceptance of the prospectus.