Ph.D. Degree

The Graduate Program in Literature is a doctoral program, which means that all students enrolled prepare for the Ph.D. degree. The program does not grant M.A. degrees along the way. The typical time to completion for the doctoral program is 6 full years.

Requirements for the Ph.D.

Additional Course Guidelines

Undergraduate-level Courses - There are no restrictions on the number of undergraduate courses a student may take outside the Literature Program during his or her graduate career. The approval of the DGS must be sought in such cases, and in any case Graduate School Regulations only allow 2 such courses to count toward the fulfillment of coursework requirements. Undergraduate Literature courses, however, do not give credits toward the Ph.D. in Literature. In general undergraduate courses tend to be limited to relevant language courses.

Independent Studies - Students can take up to three independent studies over the course of their careers. Students have to complete the “Independent Study Notification Form” every time they take an independent study and it must be signed by the DGS. Supplies of these forms are kept in the DGS Assistant’s office.

Inter-institutional Courses - The Registrar requires students to follow a special procedure when they register for courses at other Triangle universities (UNC, NCCU, NCSU). Forms and information are available at the Registrar's Office. You’ll need approval from Lit’s DGS & the professor of the course.

Typical Degree Timeline

Year of Study Progress Milestones
By the end of the 1st year

You should:

  • have at least a tentative proposal of the teaching field,
  • begin planning what five courses will count for the teaching field,
  • have at least a tentative list of four professors to ask to serve on exam committee, and
  • have completed or have a plan for completing departmental requirements 
By the end of the 2nd year

You should:

  • have completed all coursework,
  • have reached agreement with four professors to serve on exam committee, one as chair, and
  • have begun to formulate reading lists for the two fields of the exam: teaching field and dissertation field
By the end of the 3rd year You should have completed the preliminary exams.
By the end of the 4th year You should have completed the Chapter Workshop, presenting a sample chapter and a prospectus for the dissertation to the committee.
By the end of the 5th year You will spend this year writing the dissertation.
By the end of the 6th year You should be ready to defend the dissertation by the end of the year.