Doctor of Philosophy in English and the Teaching of English

The Doctor of Philosophy in English and the Teaching of English prepares students for teaching careers in English at colleges and universities.

The program emphasizes the study of English and American literature, course work in content-specific pedagogy, and supervised teaching internships. Students also undertake directed, specialized research in a required dissertation.

Admission Requirements

For full consideration for admission and financial aid, applications for fall admission must arrive by the deadline. See program website for updated program deadlines. Applicants must apply to and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, applicants for classified admission and/or financial aid must submit the following materials:

  1. Undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  2. An M.A. in English (or appropriate related field) with an accumulative grade point average of 3.5 in M.A.-level English courses.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from professors who can comment on the student’s recent academic work.
  4. A writing sample (about 10-20 pages).
  5. A brief statement (about 500 words) describing the applicant’s academic background, reasons for applying to the program, research interests, and professional goals.
  6. Optional: GRE general test scores may be submitted for consideration, but are not required for admission.

The Graduate Committee in consultation with the department Chair evaluates these materials to determine admission to the program. Priority will be given to experienced, successful teachers. 

General Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in English requires a minimum of 39 semester credits beyond the M.A.

A course completed as part of a student’s M.A. program may be approved by the Graduate Director to satisfy a particular requirement of the Ph.D. program, up to a maximum of 9 credits; however, the substitution of coursework does not waive the minimum credit requirement for the Ph.D. program.

With the approval of the Graduate Director, students may transfer up to 9 credits of coursework beyond the M.A. from other institutions.

Students must maintain a 3.5 grade point average to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. Three grades below B- during the entire program will automatically disqualify a student.

Graduate students must follow the policy on incomplete grades as it is listed in the Idaho State University Graduate Catalog. Teaching assistantships and Ph.D. fellowships will not be renewed for students with incomplete grades on their transcripts. 

Special Requirements

  1. Student must complete at least 27 of the required 39 credits at the 6600 level or higher.
  2. Students must complete two supervised teaching internships. The student must submit a detailed proposal for each internship to the Graduate Committee for approval prior to the semester of the internship. The proposal must be endorsed by the member of the graduate faculty who has agreed to supervise the internship. An unacceptable Ph.D. internship will have the same consequences as a course grade of C.
  3. Students will write a dissertation with a section exploring the implications of the research for the student’s teaching of English. This dissertation project will be designed in consultation with a member of the English graduate faculty, who will serve as chair of the dissertation committee. The dissertation committee shall consist of three members of the graduate faculty, at least two of whom are English graduate faculty. In consultation with the dissertation director, the student is responsible for assembling the dissertation committee. The dissertation proposal must be approved by all members of the student’s dissertation committee and then submitted, with the comprehensive exam lists attached, to the Graduate Director for review, according to the guidelines in the English Graduate Handbook. A Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR) will be appointed after review of the proposal and exam lists.
  4. Students must present a colloquium on the topic of the dissertation research, given in the last semester of their degree work, which will allow them to obtain experience in presenting the results of their research to their peers.  

Course Work

Required Core Course
ENGL 6612Introduction to Graduate Studies in English3
Pre- and Post-1800 Literature Component
A 6600-level seminar focusing on pre-1800 literature3
A 6600-level seminar focusing on post-1800 literature3
Linguistics Component
One course in linguistics, TESOL, or the history of the English language, chosen from the following group:3
Varieties of American English
Studies in Grammar
Special Topics in Linguistics
Old English
History of the English Language
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Introduction to Linguistics
Theory of Second Language Acquisition
TESL Methodology
Seminar in Linguistics
Teaching Component
A minimum of 12 semester credits, fulfilling the following requirements:
ENGL 6631Seminar in Teaching Writing3
ENGL 7700Supervised Teaching Internship3
An additional seminar in the teaching of English, approved by the department3
An additional supervised teaching experience, chosen from EITHER of the following:3
Supervised Teaching Internship
Practicum in Second Language Teaching
Students take 15 additional credits of electives (chosen in consultation with their advisor) that will contribute to knowledge and skills necessary for their dissertation topics and professional goals. Elective courses exclude independent study, dissertation and exam preparation, and dissertation courses.15
Total Credits39

Course Work Limitations 

A maximum of 6 semester credits taken outside of ENGL-prefixed courses may be counted toward degree requirements, with the approval of the Graduate Director.

Comprehensive Examination

Students are eligible to take the comprehensive exam after completing 36 credits beyond the M.A. Students must take the exam before defending the dissertation.

The comprehensive examination is both written and oral. The examination tests the student in the general areas listed below, but the student in consultation with his/her dissertation committee will design the specific subjects and reading lists on which he/she will be tested. The exam lists must be approved by all members of the student’s dissertation committee and then submitted, along with the dissertation proposal, to the Graduate Director for review, according to the guidelines in the English Graduate Handbook.

The exam areas are:

a. The student’s dissertation area

b. A broader field or literary period

c. An area in the teaching of English

The examining committee will consist of the three-member dissertation committee. In order to ensure that the examining committee has sufficient expertise to test the student in all three exam areas, the dissertation committee chair may propose to substitute a member of the dissertation committee with another member of the graduate faculty, so long as two members of the examining committee are English graduate faculty. The substitution must be approved by the Graduate Director.

The comprehensive examination may be repeated only once, and must be retaken within 12 months.

Language Requirement

As the process of learning and working in a language other than one’s own allows students to better understand the relationships among language, cultural expression, and cultural context, and consequently to bring more comparative approaches to their work in English studies, graduate students in English must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in one language other than English, either modern or ancient, before the program of study is complete. Here “intermediate proficiency” is defined as completing the second sophomore-level (2200-level) course in a language other than English, with a grade of B or better, or its equivalent.

Students may satisfy this requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. By passing four semesters of coursework in a language other than English with an average grade of B, either during the course of study for the graduate degree or with an interval of no longer than five years between the completion of the last language course and the beginning of graduate study in English at Idaho State University.
  2. By passing the CLEP exam and earning credit for a 2200 course or by passing a language test from an approved site such as the BYU Foreign Language Achievement Testing Service (FLATS).
  3. By having completed an undergraduate major or minor in a language other than English, as verified by a college transcript.
  4. By having satisfied a language requirement as part of having completed an MA in English or a related field with an interval of no longer than FIVE years between the completion of the last language course and the beginning of graduate study in English at Idaho State University.
  5. By taking 6 credits beyond the normal 3 credits of required Linguistics coursework. These 6 credits, which do not count toward the degree requirements for the PhD, must include: a. ENGL 5586: Old English AND ENGL 5587: History of the English Language OR b. Either of the above courses plus one additional course in linguistics (see the list of courses that fulfill the Linguistics Requirement for options).
  6. By having a first language other than English.