skip to main content

Ph.D. in English


For comprehensive study of English literature and literary theory

The Doctor of Philosophy in English program at the University of Nevada, Reno offers students in the written word the opportunity to align their research with their own personal interests.

Three emphases are offered within this selective degree program: literature, rhetoric and composition and literature and environment. Students design their programs of study following departmental guidelines in consultation with their advisory committees, complete comprehensive examinations in their fields of specialization, and pursue original research resulting in a dissertation of publishable quality.

Requirements and Expectations

High proficiency in one foreign language (the equivalent of six semesters of college-level coursework), proficiency (the equivalent of four semesters) in two languages, or proficiency in one foreign language and in linguistics and language studies is required. Students in the program are strongly encouraged to participate in professional activities, including academic conferences.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must hold an M.A. in English or a closely related field with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Potential applicants without an M.A. in English should talk with the Director of Graduate Studies before applying to determine whether their graduate work is comparable to that expected.

The Ph.D. program is 73 credits beyond the B.A. Up to 24 credits from an M.A. may be approved to count towards the degree. One credit of comprehensive examination is required and is allowed to fulfill the required 31 credits of 700-level course work.

Apply for admission to the English Ph.D. program.


The Department of English offers three areas of emphasis within its Ph.D. program. Those emphases allow students to pursue research goals that align most closely with their personal interests.


The Ph.D. Literature emphasis is designed for people planning to pursue careers in scholarship and teaching at the college or university level. It is a rigorous but flexible emphasis in which individual programs of study are shaped through negotiation between the Ph.D. student and his or her advisory committee. Students in the program are strongly encouraged to participate in professional activities, including academic conferences.

Rhetoric and Composition

The Ph.D. Rhetoric and Composition emphasis is intended for students planning to pursue careers in scholarship, teaching, and program administration at the college or university level. The emphasis offers a core of work in rhetoric and writing theory, coupled with focused study in other fields of English language and literature, with possibilities for interdisciplinary study as well.

Students in the program are active in professional activities of various kinds, e.g., publishing, participating in conferences, and serving as interns in community agencies, educational institutions, or businesses.


Faculty in the Department of English are experts in topics such as rhetoric, environmental issues, Victorian literature, stylistics and science.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Liberal Arts

Phone (775) 784-6155
Fax (775) 784-1478
Location Ansari Business Building

Take the next step...