Skip to content

Ph.D. in English

Ph.D. in English

The Ph.D. in English is designed for students wishing to teach in community or four-year colleges and universities. It stresses both substantive knowledge of the various divisions within the field of English and an extensive introduction to the profession, including classroom teaching, tutoring, and computer-assisted instruction. The degree requires that each candidate serve as a teaching assistant.



Areas of concentration:

  • Written Discourse: Theory and Practice concentrations
    • Composition and Rhetoric
    • Linguistics (TESOL, Humor, Computational)
  • Critical Literacy concentrations
    • American Literature
    • British Literature
    • Children’s Literature  
    • Film studies   

Visit our Graduate Catalog to learn more about the PhD in English degree plans.

Questions about the program? Contact Dr. Karen Roggenkamp ( our Ph.D. in English program coordinator who will serve as your academic advisor during your initial tenure in the program. Questions about courses? Visit our Course Catalog to see a list of current courses.


Generally, the Ph.D. in English is sought by those who wish to teach English on the college level; therefore, we require that you have teaching experience before you complete your degree. You may fulfill this requirement as a teaching assistant in our program for at least one academic year, or you may substitute teaching in another setting (such as at a community college, high school, or other academic institution) by making the request to the department in writing as part of your application to the program. If you cannot serve as a teaching assistant and have no teaching experience, you must consult with and make special application to the Director of Graduate English Studies to be considered for the doctoral program.

Residency Requirements

You must complete a residency. The purpose of the residency is to provide you with access to faculty mentoring and instruction. You may satisfy residency requirements in two ways:

I. You must teach as a teaching assistant for at least one academic year (carrying at least the minimum course load to maintain the assistantship) and must successfully complete Eng 675. As a teaching assistant, you will be mentored and observed in both the Writing Center and in your classroom. In addition you will be expected to observe others as they tutor and teach. You will be expected to participate in the annual conference English Graduates for Academic Development as well as encouraged to submit and present papers for presentation in regional and national conferences. You will be expected to attend meetings of Junto (the graduate student organization for professional development), held once a month during regular semesters. You will be expected to be advised and to maintain contact with the Graduate Director of English Studies periodically to make sure you are on track to complete your degree.


II. Without the one-year teaching assistantship and 675, you are required to take no fewer than four classes each academic year for two years, and you must do so by enrolling in both the fall and spring semesters as well as at least one summer session. At least one of those courses must focus on pedagogy.

In addition, if you do not serve as a teaching assistant, you must maintain a portfolio of “residency activities” that contribute to professional development in your area of focus for each academic year prior to the completion of the comprehensive exam. The portfolio should document that development; in particular, the portfolio should be prefaced by a brief (2-3 pages) reflective analysis of the activities for that year.

Examples include:

Conferences and workshops (attendance, participation, organization, etc.)

  • Lectures and presentations
  • Professional development activities
  • Departmental academic advisement
  • Development of multimedia resources
  • Participation in student organizations (e.g. Junto, Doctoral Students Association, EGAD, etc.)
  • Interaction with scholars via the Internet, email, etc.

The faculty will evaluate your portfolio as part of your annual review of academic progress. If professional development activities are judged inadequate, you will be informed within two weeks of the evaluation and asked to meet with the Director of Graduate English Studies to make a plan to enhance the portfolio to meet the faculty’s requests.


A comprehensive and in-depth Qualifying Examination, consisting of both written and oral portions, is required at or near the completion of course work and before beginning work on the dissertation.


  • Written in one's area of concentration under the direction of an advisor and two other committee members from the department, plus one member from another department.
  • Requires a written proposal and oral defense of the proposal before the committee. The proposal defense is open to the university community.
  • Requires a final oral defense after completion. The oral defense is open to the university community.


The Department reserves the right to suspend from the program any student, who in the judgment of a duly constituted departmental committee, would not meet the professional expectations of the field.



The Ph.D. in English can be completed face-to-face here in Commerce, TX with the option of completing up to 49% of the coursework online.
Our face-to-face courses typically meet one day a week in the evenings during the Monday-Thursday timeframe. Saturday courses are also occasionally available. 



As a prospective Ph.D. student, it is important to identify faculty that you are excited to work with and study under. Visit to access CVs and learn more about each of our renowned, nationally acclaimed faculty.



PRINTABLE APPLICATION CHECKLIST - Providing you step-by-step instructions on the application process.

Questions about admissions? Contact


  • Application
  • Application Fee $50 domestic/$75 international
  • Official Bachelor’s Transcripts
  • Four Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Goals
  • Writing Sample
  • GRE
  • Additional items required for international students

We strongly suggest that you complete the application process by the following deadlines:

  • Fall Application: Complete by May 15th
  • Spring Application: Complete by December 1st
  • Summer Application: Complete by April 15th



Check out our tuition estimator.

The average graduate student pursues 6sch (approximately two courses) each semester. Students can pursue one course or even three courses a semester, but students interested in more than three courses a semester should consult with their academic advisor beforehand.

The estimate may not include some fees, such as a $10 one-time Facility Fee (a state tax) and the Distance Education Fee for online courses. The Distance Education Fee is a $50 per credit hour. If a course is 3 hours, as most are, this will add $150 to your cost per online class.



Texas A&M University-Commerce is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), one of the six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.



Texas A&M University-Commerce was recently ranked as the 14th fastest growing university in the United States.

Our lovely campus is located in rural East Texas, only an hour away from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (the 4th largest urban conglomeration in the US).