The Graduate Program: The Ph.D. and M.A. in English

Graduate Degrees Offered:

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English


Master of Arts (M.A.) in English


The Ph.D. in English

  Areas of Concentration

  ·         British and American Literature and Literary Theory

·         Language and Professional Writing (Creative, Media and Technical)

·         Multicultural and Gender Studies

·         Creative Writing

·         Screenwriting and Visual Storytelling


The doctorate in the English Program prepares graduates for careers in teaching, research, and professional writing. Students will be exposed to and develop skills in quality research, critical analysis, and teaching and instructional methods. This last feature, unique to the program, is structured around a course sequence covering different aspects of university-level teaching. Graduates of the program will be expected to make significant contributions to the advancement of the knowledge of English through research and practical experience and to disseminate such knowledge through their teaching. Specifically, graduates of the program are expected to demonstrate the following:

·         Ability to speak and write with perception about literature and literary theory; Competence in multicultural and gender studies;

·         Expertise in producing selected forms of technical, creative, or screenwriting; Competence in research;

·         Ability to develop instructional material and to demonstrate excellence in teaching at the college level; and,

·         General capacity to contribute to intellectual developments in their respective fields.

These goals will be achieved through a combination of courses in literary and cultural studies, writing, professional development, instructional techniques, research methods, and in the production of a written dissertation.

Requirements for the Ph.D. in English:

The student must complete at least 57 semester hours of graduate level course work, acquire a knowledge of one foreign language, pass written and oral doctoral examinations, and produce an appropriate dissertation.

Ph.D. students must complete the following:

  1.       Complete 57 Credits of coursework

  2.        Satisfy the foreign language requirement in one of three ways:

  a)The student may take two 200- or above level language classes here at Morgan, in concurrent semesters, earning passing grades in both. S/he must register for these classes through Dr. Garrison if s/he decides on this option. These courses do NOT count as graduate credit.

b)The student may pass a foreign language exam, which is administered by the Foreign Language Department here at MSU. S/he must register for the exam in the Foreign Language Department.

c) The student may have passed a similar Exam or Graduate Language class at another institution and can provide official documentation of the successful completion of the exam or class.

In addition, the Ph.D. student must do the following:


1.       Form a Ph.D. Committee: A Ph.D. candidate must form a committee of three faculty members: one chair and two readers, who guide the student through the writing process and grade all the students’ dissertation writing. The student/candidate Contract must be signed and deposited with the Graduate Director.


2.      Develop Ph.D. Comprehensive Reading Lists: Each student, in conjunction with his or her committee forms TWO reading lists of about 75 texts each, which serve as the basis of both the comprehensive exams and the primary research for the dissertation. The Reading List Contract must be signed by both and deposited with the Graduate Director.


3.       Pass Comprehensive Exams:   the student registers with the English department to take the Ph.D. comprehensive exam after completing all coursework.  The exam is created and graded by the student's dissertation chair and committee.


4.      Write and Defend the Prospectus: The student writes the prospectus for the dissertation, under the guidance of the committee. When the committee feels the prospectus is ready, the student and committee arrange a defense date with the Graduate Director. The student passes or fails the prospectus defense. If the Prospectus passes, the student moves on to writing the full dissertation.


5.      Write, Defend, and Deposit the dissertation. The student writes the dissertation, under the committee's guidance. When the committee and student feel the dissertation is ready, they arrange a defense date with the Graduate Director. The student passes or fails the defense. If the student passes, s/he must then prepare the manuscript according to School of Graduate Studies protocols and deposit with the School of Graduate Studies by the SGS deadline.


The M.A. Program:

Areas of Concentration:

·         Literature and Language

·         Creative Writing

·         Screenwriting and Visual Storytelling

This program is designed for students who contemplate pursuing graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree, for those who are preparing for a career in secondary school teaching or in creative writing and screenwriting, and for those seeking a foundation for later Ph.D. degree work.

For additional information, please contact the English Department directly at (443) 885-3165, or the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Dr. Joy Myree-Mainor, at, 202-C Holmes Hall, Morgan State University.