September 5, 2017


University of Oklahoma

Department of English


Graduate Student Handbook

Ph.D. Program:

Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS)

Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy (CRL)

Director of Graduate Studies:

Daniela Garofalo
Office: Cate 1, Rm. 414

Phone: 405-325-6272

Graduate Programs Office:

Sara Day, Graduate Assistant
Office: Cate 2, Rm. 408

Phone: 405-325-0489



Table of Contents

I. Information for Prospective Ph.D. Students

II. Ph.D. Advisement

III. Ph.D. Credit Hours: Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS)

IV. Ph.D. Credit Hours: Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy (CRL)

V. Transfer Credits

VI. Ph.D. General Exams: LCS and CRL

VII. VI. Doctoral Dissertations for LCS and CRL

VIII. Ph.D. Program Teaching Requirement

IX. Ph.D. Foreign Language Requirement

X. Annual Evaluations

I. Information for Prospective Ph.D. Students

 A. Overview of the Ph.D. Program

The doctoral degree is awarded for excellence in research scholarship. It signifies the attainment of independently acquired and comprehensive learning attesting to general professional competence. The doctoral degree requires at least 90 post-baccalaureate hours, including both formal coursework and hours of research. All coursework applied to the doctoral degree must carry graduate credit. But students may petition to take one, 3 credit, course at the 4000 level.

All PhD students are expected to choose two research areas, one primary and one secondary, in which to focus their coursework and writing. Students will design these areas of study in close consultation with the chair of their committee. These areas of study may be selected from well-established fields of national literature and/or historical periods (e.g., British, American, Native American, post-colonial Anglophone, medieval, early modern, Eighteenth, Nineteenth or Twentieth century), Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy, theoretical approaches (feminism/gender studies, critical race/ethnicity studies, Marxism, poststructuralism), media studies (film, graphic novel), more recent areas of scholarly interest (transnational literatures, new kinds of interdisciplinary studies, digital humanities). The committee must consist of a committee chair, an outside member, and three other members of the graduate faculty.

Faculty are committed to preparing graduate students through preparation in coursework, mentoring, and professional development. Students have published their work in prominent journals and presented at national and local conferences. Teaching assistantships are competitive with peer institutions, and financial assistance for dissertation completion and conference travel is available through the department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate College. The department has been successful in helping students find tenure-track positions and other employment in the field. See our faculty by their areas of specialization here.

 B. Application and Admissions Procedures

 i. Admissions Requirements:

 a. Prospective graduate students must submit an application for admission and official transcripts to the Office of Admissions.
b. A $50 non-refundable application processing fee is required of all applicants for admission to the University of Oklahoma.
c. The English Department deadline for applying to the Graduate Program for the Fall term is January 5th. New students are not accepted into the graduate programs during the Spring or Summer terms.
d. To be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program, we require the following: GRE general scores [the code for the University of Oklahoma is 6879]; a Grade Point Average of 3.5 or better on a 4.00 scale in graduate work already completed; and an M.A. in English or in a closely related field. A student with a slightly lower G.P.A. may be considered if the application is otherwise very strong. Candidates are admitted on a competitive basis.
e. A Financial Aid Services packet, and information about eligibility for financial aid, can be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid at (405) 325-4521.

ii. Application Requirements (to be submitted with online application):
a. Three (3) Letters of Reference: On your online application, you will be asked to provide emails for three references who will be contacted by the University with a request for a letter of recommendation. Your recommenders should comment specifically upon (1) your qualifications as a graduate student (literary judgment, writing ability, originality, diligence) and, if you are applying for Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), (2) your qualifications as a prospective teacher (ability to organize, enthusiasm, responsibility, objectivity). If possible, referees should use the online reference system, but if they prefer, they may send hardcopy letters directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions (731 Elm Avenue, Room 318 Norman, OK 73019).
b. Official Transcripts: These should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions (731 Elm Avenue, Room 318 Norman, OK 73019). Unofficial transcripts may also be uploaded to your online application.
c. Statement of Goals in Graduate education, including reasons for the choice of Field of Specialization (250-500 words). Upload to your online application.
d. Critical Writing Sample: It should be no more than 25 pages, appropriate to program and area. (If applying to the Creative Writing program, you must submit a creative writing sample as well.) Uploaded to your online application.
e. G.R.E. Scores (General Test) are required for all M.A. and Ph.D. applicants. Official scores should be sent to Office of Graduate Admissions (731 Elm Avenue, Room 318 Norman, OK 73019). Unofficial scores can be entered on your online application.

 C. Funding Opportunities in the Ph.D. Program

i. Teaching Assistantships:
a. Teaching Assistantships with stipends of $14,608 are available on a competitive basis for up to five years at the Ph.D. level. Prospective students interested in teaching assistantship support should indicate that on the application. Two weeks before the beginning of the first semester, all students who receive teaching appointments will also participate in a workshop to help them prepare for their courses, covering topics such as reading assignments, writing assignments, paper grading, and classroom strategy. Students awarded graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) positions will typically teach one to two composition courses each semester under the supervision of the First Year Composition Office (FYC). After a student has completed coursework and passed the Ph.D. General Exams, dissertation research can be supported with a $1000 increase in the assistantship stipend for one year.

ii. Dissertation Fellowships:
a. Ph.D. students working on their dissertations are eligible to apply for a one-year dissertation fellowship, which will provide them financial support without any teaching duties. Students applying will need to demonstrate that substantial work on the dissertation is already completed, and that they have a clear plan for a writing schedule for the rest of the chapters. Students awarded fellowships will be expected not to take on any additional work responsibilities so that they can concentrate on research and writing.

iii. Teaching Release Opportunities:
a. Ph.D. students writing dissertations can apply for a one-course reduction in their teaching load for one semester, which is designed to allow them to concentrate more fully on their writing. The course reduction most often coincides with the period immediately before a student's dissertation defense, but the Graduate Committee will consider an alternate arrangement if applicants have a sound rationale for proposing it, such as a plan for completing archival research, etc. Students should apply for course release one or two semesters before the time they wish to take it. The Graduate Committee will evaluate applications with an eye toward students' degree of progress on the dissertation and the viability of their plan for a schedule of writing chapters.

iv. Post-Doctoral Appointments:

a. Students who have completed and defended their dissertation and are entering the job market may apply for a one-year post-doctoral appointment.

v. Rader Fellowship or Sutton Fellowship:

a. To be eligible for these fellowships, students accepted into the graduate program in English must be admissible to the Graduate College in full standing. There is no additional application process to be eligible for this award; all entering M.A. and Ph.D. students are automatically considered.

b. The two-year fellowship for Ph.D. candidates include:

1. Teaching or research assistantship:

of $18,000 for Ph.D. recipients per academic year, full tuition waiver (in-state and out-of-state), up to six hours of coursework for fall and spring semesters, basic health insurance subsidy, and travel funds for research or conferences.

2. Reduced teaching load:

an 8-course reduction for Ph.D. students over the duration of the fellowship.

vi. Rudolph C. Bambas Scholarship:

This is a $2000 scholarship awarded to a graduate student planning to specialize in Medieval or Early Modern Studies (MEMS).

vi. Other Opportunities for Financial Support: 
In addition to teaching assistantships, fellowships, and special stipends, there are other sources of financial support in the English Department associated with specialized professional training.

- Two Research Assistantships are available for working with the Director of First-Year composition, who administers a large university-wide Freshman Composition Program. This program also offers a summer workshop with a stipend to prepare Teaching Assistants for their first year of instruction.

- The Sutton Endowed Chair in English provides a Research Assistantship in Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

- World Literature Today, the prominent University of Oklahoma journal which administers the biannual Neustadt International Prize for Literature, offers two renewable one-year Assistantships for teaching and research related to the journal's mission.


II. Ph.D. Advisement 

A. Initial advisement should occur just prior to the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. In your admission letter you are informed of the name of the assigned faculty member from the Graduate Committee who will be your adviser for the first semester or year. As soon as possible, students should seek an advisor from among the faculty in their area of study. Until the student has found a permanent adviser, he or she should seek advisement from the assigned adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies.

B. During the first several weeks of the first semester in the program, new graduate students will meet collectively with the faculty and advanced students for an Orientation session and Q&A.

C. After the student has chosen a faculty member to serve as adviser, the adviser will thereafter help the student construct a coherent plan of study according to the regulations of the Graduate College and the structure of the Ph.D. program.

D. A plan of study will be prepared by the student and the Adviser, and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, before enrollment for the second semester.

III. Ph.D. Credit Hours: 

Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS)

i. There are two course requirements for all students in the LCS concentration; the rest of your courses are electives. Therefore, to create a coherent program of study, students should meet regularly with the Chair of their advisory committee. Your electives should be selected in close consultation with your Chair. The Graduate Liaison is also available for all advising and answering questions before and after you select a Chair.
ii. A doctoral student must declare a primary and a secondary area chosen from the specialties available among the faculty. With the approval of your advisory committee, a student may choose Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy (C/R/L) as a secondary area. A student's advisory committee may also allow a student to develop a related secondary area in a discipline other than English (such as history, philosophy, art history, music history, etc.), with appropriate graduate level coursework in another department. Your advisory committee will be constituted by four members from within the department (including your Chair) and one member from outside the department.
iii. Required Courses:
a. One course (3 hours) in Literary Criticism and Theory:
This course must be at the 5000 or 6000 level, and it must be a course different from the one taken for the M.A. If a Ph.D. student has not taken the equivalent of our Literary Criticism (ENGL 5313) course at the M.A. level, then that course should be used to fulfill this requirement. No directed readings are allowed to fulfill this criterion.
b. One course (3 hours) in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy:
This course can be ENGL 5113 (Teaching College Composition and Literature) if not used for the M.A. program.

iv. Elective Courses:

Six courses (18 hours) in the Concentration at the 5000 or 6000 level.

If you and the Chair of your committee decide there are good reasons for taking a 4000 level course within the English department, a graduate course outside the department, or a directed reading within or outside the department, you may petition the Graduate Committee to take such classes. All petitions must be accompanied by a letter or email of support from the Chair of your committee. If a student wishes to develop a secondary area in a discipline other than English (e.g., history), then the advisory committee may require him or her to take two 5000 level courses (6 hours), as well as additional graduate courses, outside of the department. (NB: only three (3) directed readings in total within the English department count towards a Ph.D., unless the student wishes to petition to the Graduate Committee to take more than this number of directed readings.)
v. In the semester before General Exams:

All students must fill out an Advisory Conference Report and file it with the Graduate College. Please consult the Graduate College Bulletin for more information about filing the ACR.

vi. Total Credit Hours

a. Required and Elective Courses: 24 hours
b. Credit for Directed Readings for General Examination: 6 hours
c. Total credit for Ph.D. in LCS: maximum of 90 hours beyond the B.A.

IV. Ph.D. Credit Hours: 

Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy (CRL)

i. A doctoral student in CRL must declare a primary area and a secondary area of interest. Your advisory committee will be constituted of four members from within the department (including your Chair) and one member from outside the department.
ii. Required Courses:
a. One Research Methods course in Composition/Rhetoric/Literacy (3 hours)
b. One 6000 level Research Seminar in CRL (3 hours)
c. Three other courses in CRL: must include two 5000 level courses in History of Composition or in Rhetorical Theory. These three courses cannot be CRL courses taken for the M.A. and must be other than the required methods and research seminars (9 hours).
d. Two courses in secondary area (must be 5000 or 6000 level; no directed readings can fulfill these courses) (6 hours).
iii. Elective Courses:
a. One elective course (3 hours):
1. This course may be in CRL, Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS), or in disciplines outside English. They must be directly relevant to the student's preparation for doctoral research and must be approved by the Chair of your committee.
2. If you and the Chair of your committee decide there are good reasons for taking a 4000 level course within the English department, a graduate course outside the department, or a directed reading within or outside the department, you may petition the Graduate Committee to take such classes. All petitions must be accompanied by a letter or email of support from the Chair of your committee. (NB: only three directed readings in total within the English department count towards a Ph.D., unless, as mentioned above, the student wishes to petition to the Graduate Committee to take more than this number of directed readings.)
iv. In the semester before General Exams, all students must fill out an Advisory Conference Report and file it with the Graduate College. Please consult the Graduate College Bulletin for more information about filing the ACR. (A link to the Bulletin is provided at the end of this handbook.)
v. Total Credit Hours

a. Required and Elective Classes: 24 hours
b. Credit for Directed Readings for General Examination: 3 hours
c. Total credit for Ph.D. in CRL: maximum of 90 hours beyond the B.A.


V. Transfer Credits

The Ph.D. degree requires 57 hours beyond the 33 hours of the M.A., or 90 hours beyond the B.A. For the Ph.D. degree, a student may transfer up to six (6) credit hours of coursework done at other institutions; the transfer must be approved by his or her Advisory Committee as well as the Director of Graduate Studies. In addition, the Director of Graduate Studies may request transcripts, syllabi, and/or other course materials before approving these transfers.

VI. Ph.D. General Exams: LCS and CRL

A. The General Examination is the culmination of the student's coursework and his or her general preparation for doctoral work, before admission to doctoral candidacy. The examination should therefore test:
i. the overall knowledge of his or her chosen Primary and Secondary Fields which the student has acquired through coursework and independent preparation;
ii. his or her skills as a researcher, scholar, and critic in Literary and Cultural Studies or Composition/Rhetoric/Literacy.
B. The student's overall knowledge of his or her chosen Primary and Secondary Fields should be tested for its historical, generic, thematic, and critical depth and breadth.
C. The General Examination should be designed, administered, and evaluated by the student's committee. The fifth committee member (the outside member) may or may not be involved, along with the first four members, in setting and reading the written component; however, all five members must be present for the oral component. The General Examination will have a written component and an oral component. The Examination should preferably be taken in the semester immediately after the one in which coursework is completed, and no later than the third semester after completion of coursework. The written and oral components must be completed in the same semester. For more information on general examinations and deadlines, please consult the Graduate College Bulletin on the Graduate College’s website.
D. Students must file their Advisory Conference Report (ACR) with the Graduate College in the semester before they sit for the General Exams; they must also file the General Exam Application for the Doctoral Dissertation at least ten days before the written portion of the exams. The forms and deadlines can be found on the Graduate College’s website.
E. Written Component:
i. The written component will have two parts:

a. Part One, based on reading list of at least 50 items in the Primary Area;

b. Part Two, based on reading list of at least 30 items in the Secondary Area;

c. Both parts may also call for at least 25 items in criticism and theory.
ii. Doctoral candidates draft three (3) exam questions for the Primary Area and two (2) questions for the Secondary Area and submit them to their Committee. These questions should exhaust the materials on the reading lists, but they need not necessarily "cover" the whole list. Students will still be responsible for texts not discussed in the written exams during their orals. Students should consult her/his committee for their expectations and requirements for what reading lists and exam questions should look like, how they should be formatted, and how long exam responses should be.
iii. When the Committee approves the final version of the questions, the exam must be taken no more than 30 days later. The Committee will choose one question from each set of exam questions (from Primary and Secondary Areas) for the exam. The two parts of the written component will be presented to the student at 8am on a workday morning and the written answers to their questions shall be returned to the Graduate Office at or before 5pm on a workday four consecutive days following the day the exam was received (for a total of 5 consecutive days).

Ph.D. General Exam Schedule

Receive exam at 8:00 AM on:

Turn in exam by 5:00 PM on:







F. Oral Component
i. The oral component should be about 2 hours long and should focus on the reading lists for the Primary and Secondary Fields. The oral component will provide an opportunity for both the student and the Committee to review, analyze, contextualize, and supplement the written component. Students should expect to be questioned on items from their reading lists not alluded to in the written component of the exam. Ability to demonstrate to the Committee familiarity and comprehension of the works on the reading lists is expected for the successful completion of the oral component. For more information on the oral component, including on the timeline of when it must be completed after taking the exam, please consult the Graduate College Bulletin.
ii. While a student is preparing for the General Examination, he or she must register for Directed Readings credit with the Chair of his or her committee (a maximum 6 credit hours is allowed for this purpose).

iii. The General Examination should be graded Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction. Only two attempts will be allowed, with a maximum interval of two semesters between them.

VII. Doctoral Dissertations for LCS and CRL

A. Preferably in the semester immediately after that in which the General Examination has been passed (and no more than two semesters after), the student should constitute a Doctoral Dissertation Committee. In most cases, the Dissertation Committee will be the same as the Advisory Committee; if the Committee is reconstituted, it must have the same structure as the Advisory Committee (i.e., there must still be five members, one of which must come from outside of the department), and the change must be approved by the Graduate College.

B. Dissertation Proposal: After passing the General Examination, a student must present a dissertation proposal in writing to his or her Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Proposal should contain:

i. a substantive, cogent overview of the proposed topic and research;

ii. a clear chapter outline, with chapter titles and summaries;

iii. a thoroughly researched comprehensive bibliography on the topic.

C. The student must meet formally with the entire Dissertation Committee and obtain its approval of the proposal. If a student fails to present and receive approval for a Dissertation Proposal within two semesters after passing the General Examination, he or she may be placed on academic probation.

D. Starting the semester after successfully completing the General Examination, a student may register for Dissertation Research credit hours with the chair of his or her Dissertation Committee.

E. Credit Hours for Dissertation:

i. The student must enroll in a minimum of 2 credit hours (5 if receiving tuition waivers for a qualifying GA position) of Dissertation Research with their Dissertation Chair each semester until successful defense of the Dissertation. Enrollment during the Summer term is not required unless the student is actively working on the dissertation during the summer, or plans to hold their defense during the summer.

ii. The total number of Dissertation Research hours to be completed will be the amount required to reach 90 total credit hours after the BA, once all coursework is completed. (Example: An LCS student who enters the doctoral program with a 30-credit hour MA will complete 21 hours of required courses, 3 of electives, and 3 of Directed Reading, for a total of 57 hours of coursework. This student would need 33 total hours of Dissertation Research to complete the degree.)

iii. As long as enrollment minimums are met, Dissertation Research hours may be distributed among the semesters that the student is writing the dissertation at their discretion, up to 12 hours per semester. Most students choose to divide the hours evenly, according to the semester they intend to defend, to avoid large spikes in credit hours (and fees).


VIII. Ph.D. Program Teaching Requirement

A. Each Ph.D. student is required to have a one-year teaching experience as part of the doctoral degree. Each academic year, the Graduate Committee will determine the specific ways in which particular students will be able to fulfill the teaching requirement, depending on the Department's resources and needs. This teaching experience may include teaching as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) or as an adjunct, as well as working as a grader in the Department, or as a tutor in the Writing Center. Since this teaching does not carry credit hours, we will not "transfer" teaching experience from other institutions for this requirement. Typically, however, most Ph.D. students will teach two (2) sections of composition courses under the First Year Composition (FYC) program each semester.

B. All Ph.D. students therefore must take the Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy (CRL) teaching course (ENGL 5113) for a credit of three (3) hours, and they must acquire teaching experience, as determined by the Graduate Committee, for at least one academic year (the credit for the CRL teaching course will be counted in the 57 hours for the Ph.D.).

NOTE: If a Ph.D. student has received an M.A. from our Department, and has been a teaching assistant while doing that degree, he or she need not repeat the teaching course, and they may use the earlier teaching experience to fulfill the Ph.D. teaching requirement.


IX. Ph.D. Foreign Language Requirement

A. The purpose of the language requirement is to enable students to enter an international community of scholars and to work with primary texts and scholarship across national and linguistic boundaries. The department therefore strongly encourages students to exceed the minimum level of proficiency required by the department.
B. In addition, different areas of concentration may require proficiency in more than one language. Therefore, students in both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs must consult with the Chair or provisional Chair of their committee by the second semester of their course work to decide if proficiency beyond the department’s minimum is required.
C. Native speakers of a language other than English or students with a B.A., M.A., or Ph.D. in a language other than English meet the minimum language requirement by default. However, such students should nonetheless consult with the Chair of their committee to decide what is necessary for their areas of concentration.
D. Students should seek to establish minimum proficiency as early in their program as they can. Minimum proficiency is defined in this manner:
i. One year in a language besides English with a grade of “B” or better (6- 10 credits);

ii. Passing grade on a translation exam as administered by Modern Languages, Literature, and Linguistics, Classics, or Anthropology

iii. One class in a graduate-level reading class (3 credits).
E. The department accepts course work from outside OU. Students must provide official transcripts or appropriate documentation. Translation exams must be taken at OU.
F. All students must provide proof of proficiency to the Graduate Director. Ideally, students should provide proof in the second semester of study. At the latest, Ph.D. students must do so when filling out the Advisory Conference Report prior to General Exams.


VII. Annual Evaluations

A. Each graduate student will be evaluated formally and collectively at the end of each academic year during a meeting of the faculty. The annual evaluation of each current graduate student will be an occasion for a careful (re)assessment of his or her scholastic progress, accomplishments, and prospects of continuation in the program. Students are evaluated upon their timely progress in the program and the quality of their work.

B. If a student's annual evaluation indicates that he or she is not making satisfactory progress in the program, the Graduate Committee will review the case and make an appropriate recommendation, such as further advisement, probation, etc.

C. Early on in the spring semester, students will submit to their Adviser the filled out Progress Report, sent through email by Sara Day (Graduate Assistant), with the required information for that academic year. The Adviser will submit a written evaluation for the student's report based on a review of the student's grades and performance in courses. During the Spring semester, in the Graduate Progress Report meeting of the full graduate faculty, each student’s performance is discussed and the faculty will deem the student’s progress acceptable or unacceptable. If a student receives two consecutive unacceptable progress report evaluations, the student’s continuation in the program becomes tenuous.

Please consult the Graduate College Bulletin for further info for doctoral students.