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PhD in English

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
  • Interdisciplinary inquiry is a fact of life in the English Department. You can tailor a course of study in Cultural and Gender Studies, Religion and Literature, the graphic novel and more.
  • You can pursue elective coursework in other CGU departments and schools and across the colleges of the Claremont University Consortium.
  • You can earn a PhD in English in conjunction with another degree program at CGU, such as an MA in Economics. You receive a diploma for each degree and “double count” some units from one program to the other to decrease your required total units.

Program At-a-glance

  • 72 units

    required units

  • PhD in English

    degree awarded

  • In Person


  • Spring, Fall

    program start

  • 4-7 years | full time*

    estimated completion time

Areas of Concentration

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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Gigi Audoma

Director of Recruitment for the School of Arts & Humanities


Where You Can Find Our Alumni


  • Portrait of David Luis-Brown

    David Luis-Brown

    Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and English
    Chair, Cultural Studies Department

    Research Interests

    Hemispheric Americas studies, Latino/a/x studies, Black diaspora studies, American literature and culture

  • Eric Bulson

    Eric Bulson

    Andrew W. Mellon All-Claremont Chair in the Humanities
    Professor of English
    Chair, English Department

    Research Interests

    James Joyce, Modernism, Critical theory, Media studies, World literature, Visual storytelling, British and Anglophone literature (1850–2000)

  • Mark Eaton

    Research Associate Professor of American Literature

    Research Interests

    American literature and culture, film studies, historical fiction, religious studies, religion and literature

  • Portrait of Lori Anne Ferrell

    Lori Anne Ferrell

    Dean, School of Arts & Humanities
    Director, Early Modern Studies Program
    Director, Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

    Research Interests

    English Renaissance and Reformation Literature; Early Modern British and European History; Reformation Studies, Protestantism, the Bible and English-language Culture; the Bible in America; William Shakespeare

  • Portrait of Wendy Martin

    Wendy Martin

    Professor of American Literature and American Studies

    Research Interests

    American literature and culture, American poetry, American studies, Women’s studies, Death and Dying in American Literature and Culture; Jazz in American Culture

  • Robert Hudspeth

    Research Professor of English

    Research Interests

    Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau

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


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

Application Guidelines

Requirements Summary

Item Description
Application Fee $80
Official Transcripts Yes
Letters of Recommendation 3
Statement of Purpose Yes
Resume Yes
Standardized Test Scores Optional
Other Requirements Writing sample, English proficiency exam

Key Dates and Deadlines

CGU operates on a priority deadline cycle and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit complete applications by the priority dates in order to assure maximum consideration for both admission and fellowships.

Spring 2024
Priority Deadline – November 1, 2023
Final Deadline (International) – November 15, 2023
Final Deadline (Domestic) – December 1, 2023
Classes begin – January 16, 2024

Fall 2024
Priority Deadline – February 1, 2024
Final Deadline (International) – July 5, 2024
Final Deadline (Domestic) – August 1, 2024
Classes begin – August 26, 2024

Review General Guidelines

Cost & Aid

Program 72 units
Tuition per unit* $2,020

*Based on 2023-2024 tuition rates.


$245 Student Fee
$150 Technology Fee
International Student Services Fee*: $661 fall semester, $776 spring semester
**Applies to all international students (F-1 visa only) who are registered in coursework, doctoral study, or continuous registration. The fee is assessed each fall and spring semester for annual ISO accident and sickness plans and administrative fees. Subject to change.

For estimates of room & board, books, etc., please download CGU’s Cost of Attendance 2022-2023 .

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