English (Ph.D.) Program Details

Degree Requirements

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Dissertation 
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   African American literature
    ❱   American literature
    ❱   British literature
    ❱   Caribbean literature
    ❱   Comparative studies
    ❱   Literary theory and criticism

Research Resources 

Graduate students in the program will not have to travel far to access the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC). The Center is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for documenting the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. Located just steps from Locke Hall, where graduate courses are offered, MSRC makes available a wide range of research resources chronicling the black experience. Graduate student researchers also have quick access to the Library of Congress, located just ten minutes from Howard University's campus. Students can also draw on extensive archival collections across the Consortium.

Research Areas & Interests 

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Constructions of race in literature 
  • Intersectionality and queer theory 
  • Digital humanities and citizenship in the public sphere
  • Celebrity life narratives as ideologically affective spaces
  • Postcolonial issues of diaspora and globalization
  • The rhetoric of health and medicine
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Tropes of disease, disfigurement, and disassociation in contemporary African American literature
  • Representations of womanhood and Neo-anticolonialism in 21st-century literature

Program of Study* 


*Includes 6 credit hrs of Required Introductory Courses and 27 credit hrs of Reading Courses. 

Required Introductory Courses (6 CR)

ENGG 200  Research Methods

ENGG 201  Scholarship: Critical Methods

Reading Courses (27 CR)

British Literature** (9 CR)

**Students must take three courses (9 credits total) in British Literature; one course (3 credits) from each of the three periods in British Literature listed below.

Period I: Early Modern British Literature

ENGG  211/212  English Renaissance Literature I/II 

ENGG  220/221  Restoration Literature I/II

Period II: 18th-and 19th-Century British Literature

ENGG  223/224   18th- and-19th-Century British Literature I/II

Period II: 20th-and 21st-Century British Literature

ENGG  228/229   20th and 21st-Century British Literature I/II

American Literature  (6 CR)

ENGG  233/234   American Literature I/II

African American Literature (6 CR)

ENGG  248/249   African American Literature I/II

Caribbean Literature (6 CR)

ENGL 231/232  Caribbean Literature I/II


  • One study course in a major field (3 CR)
  • One elective course in a major field (3 CR)
  • Five additional electives (15 CR)


Research seminars or additional elective credits in place of research seminar courses 


*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.