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CGU’s PhD program in English prepares you for a lifetime of literature scholarship through rigorous coursework, research, and analysis in English and American literature, reinforced by scholarship in critical theory.

Distinguished by its close ties to other departments in CGU’s School of Arts & Humanities and by its strength in interdisciplinary and transnational analyses of literature, our program offers traditional, interdisciplinary, and customized tracks of study to help you develop the critical and analytical skills necessary to begin your career as a teacher, critic, and scholar. Small seminar-style classes and dedicated faculty promote a student-centered environment in which you are encouraged to explore and develop a solid foundation in the literature of America and Great Britain. You can take a conventional route and explore a single discipline or literature, or build a path that integrates disciplines and departments. You’ll also acquire research skills and area expertise as a doctoral student. In addition, the larger Claremont Colleges community is at your disposal through libraries, courses, faculties, guest speakers, and related literary events. Your advanced English study at Claremont Graduate University will give you the tools, knowledge, and scholarly experience to succeed in an academic or other professional career.

Program Highlights

Program at a Glance

72 units

4-7 years

*Actual completion times will vary and may be higher, depending on full- or part-time course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.

Fall | Spring


PhD in English

Featured Courses

ENG 420
The World Novel

Explores how the novel has moved and grown among countries, cultures, and continents for thousands of years, from ancient Greece to 20th-century Nigeria and Colombia.

ENG 467
U.S. Latino/a/x Literature & Culture

Takes an interdisciplinary approach to Latin/x literature and cultural production, exploring key themes such as hybrid identities, U.S. imperialism, and the Latinization of urban America.

ENG 370
Introduction to Literary Theory

Provides an overview of Textual Criticism, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, New Historicism, Gender Studies, Queer Theory, Critical Race Theory, Postmodernism, and Postcolonialism.

ENG 316
The Shakespeare Seminar

Examines a mix of plays from one of the world’s greatest writers, each representing Shakespeare’s history, comedy, tragedy, romance, and the so-called “problem” drama.

ENG 426
American Poetry From the Puritans to the Present

Focuses on the work of paired American poets ranging from the Puritans to the present, from Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor to Mark Strand and Louise Glück, and places these literary texts in historical context.

ENG 429
American Classics: 19th & 20th Century Fiction

Surveys a range of important American novels by such writers as Susanna Rowson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joan Didion, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison and others.


Core Courses

  • British literature before 1750
  • British literature after 1750
  • American literature before 1900
  • American literature after 1900
  • British or American literature of any period
  • Introduction to Literary Theory

Other Courses

  • Eleven electives*
  • One Transdisciplinary course

*Up to 24 units transfer credit from previous graduate work in English may be substituted for the elective coursework requirements.

Research Tools Requirement
Two research tools (pass 2 foreign language translation exams)

PhD Completion

  • PhD qualifying exams
  • Field Exam in English and American Literature
  • Dissertation proposal
  • Dissertation and oral defense
Faculty & Research
Extended Faculty

Sumangala Bhattacharya

Pitzer College

Research Interests

English and world literature

Myriam Chancy

Scripps College

Research Interests

African diaspora with specialization in its literature

Kevin Dettmar

Pomona College

Research Interests

British and Irish modernism, and contemporary popular music

Kimberly Drake

Scripps College

Research Interests

Protest writing and rhetoric, American literature and culture, Disability literature, Prison writing, Short story and experimental fiction writing, Punk rock literature and subcultures, Writing pedagogy, Feminist theory, disability theory, queer theory, theories of race and class

Warren Liu

Scripps College

Research Interests

Contemporary American literature; Asian American literature

Aaron Matz

Scripps College

Research Interests

British fiction, 1850-present, history of the novel in England and France, literature and morality, realism, satire, and theory of genre

James Morrison

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Film and literature

James H. Nichols

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Political Philosophy

Sarah Raff

Pomona College

Research Interests

18th- and 19th-Century British literature, History and theory of the European novel, Jane Austen

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Interdisciplinary Concentrations

As a student in the School of Arts & Humanities, you have the option of completing one of five interdisciplinary concentrations.

American Studies

The American Studies concentration takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of United States culture, society, civilization, and identity through the curricular lenses of history, literature, critical theory, and more.

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Early Modern Studies

The Early Modern Studies concentration undertakes interdisciplinary examination of history, culture, politics, and society within the transitional and transformative period that stretched between Medieval and modern societies, marked especially by the advent of print, Christian confessional war, and the rise of the modern state.

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Hemispheric & Transnational Studies

A comparative analysis of culture in the Americas, the concentration in Hemispheric & Transnational Studies explores how scholarship on the Atlantic, borderlands, and diaspora have reshaped U.S. American Studies, Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Studies, emphasizing the topics of empire, race, religion, and revolution.

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Media Studies

Situated at the bustling intersection of cultural studies, new media, critical theory, and popular culture, the burgeoning field of Media Studies examines the creative and critical practices of media consumers, producers, artists, and scholars, focusing on questions of representation, power, technology, politics, and economy.

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Museum Studies

The Museum Studies concentration investigates the history and political role of museums in society, the interpretation and display of a wide variety of cultural productions, and topics of special concern to museums as cultural organizations, using a multidisciplinary, practice-based approach to understand the historical development of this evolving field.

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These concentrations are available for students pursuing the following degree programs:

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Frank Frias

Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-3240