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PhD in English - University Suggestions

ParisKMParisKM Registered User Posts: 161 Junior Member
edited August 2007 in Graduate School
I'm currently researching English PhD programs and I was wondering if anyone else could provide me with some insight into specific universities that have strong programs in English (or even universities whose program you have been unsatisfied with).

Full funding (including summers) is a very important factor for me so any information or insight that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
Post edited by ParisKM on

Replies to: PhD in English - University Suggestions

  • juxtaposnjuxtaposn Registered User Posts: 446 Member
    Rank/School Average assessment score (5.0 = highest)

    1. Harvard University (MA) 4.9
    (tie) University of California–Berkeley 4.9
    (tie) Yale University (CT) 4.9
  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    Unless we know your intended field of subspecialization, we cannot advise. Graduate study is about your FIT with faculty subspecialties.
  • undecidedundecided Registered User Posts: 2,029 Senior Member
    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but since there are people on it, I'll try.

    I'm looking for medieval English programs. The US News ranking lumps it with Renaissance, and I am NOT looking for Renaissance programs, so it's a little difficult to get a starting place. I want Chaucer and his forebears, not Shakespeare.

    A program that focuses on literature in Old English/Middle English?

    (I have been doing the longhand, seeking individual schools and their faculty interest pages, but the process is VERY slow and VERY arduous and I'm likely to miss some hidden opportunities.)
  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member

    Yes, researching grad programs is an involved process. The best way to start might include looking at websites, but the surest path is to look to the literature. Whose scholarship do you most admire? Pick up a year or two of the issues of the Journal of Chaucer Studies (or whatever the name of that journal out of Ohio State is), and see who is publishing on what. Then, find out where they teach. If their university does not have a doctoral program, then find out where they did their PhD.

    And when you look at these programs, look for sufficient depth in your field of interest as well, paying special attention to METHODOLOGY as well as area.

    You should also look to programs noted for Medieval Studies across the disciplines. Those are easy to name:
    U Wisconsin
    Catholic University of America
    Notre Dame
    U Michigan
    UC Santa Barbara
    U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    University of Pennsylvania
    Ohio State U

    And off the top of my head, noting that I am NOT a medievalist (I just have a couple of friends who are), I'd suggest you take a look at the English departments in the following schools as well.
    U Texas Austin
    U Arizona
    U Oregon
    U Florida
    U Washington
    U New Mexico
  • UCLAriUCLAri Registered User Posts: 14,740 Senior Member
    Prof. X,

    I thought Berkeley and Chicago were halfway decent for medieval studies? Or am I off the mark?
  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    UCLAri is absolutely right. I was typing off the cuff, and neglected those two very fine programs.

    I also forgot to throw in Loyola U in Chicago. And probably quite a few more. :(

    Here's another thought, too: Go to the Dumbarton Oaks website, and see where recent fellows have studied.

    And perhaps the most important thing I neglected -- Talk To Your Professors! They will know where the best programs for YOU will be.
  • undecidedundecided Registered User Posts: 2,029 Senior Member
    I am more than well aware that 90% of this search is on me, if not more. I was just hoping for some place to start. My professors are terrific people and are definite help, but the programs they graduated from aren't a fit for me (though continuing grad studies at Berkeley, and with them, is worth pursuing).

    My one hesitation in seeking programs through Medieval Studies is that Medieval Studies includes, but does not focus on, the literature of Britain at the time. It is a good place to start finding faculty, though, so thank you for the list and the suggestion.

    At the moment, I am particularly looking at Berkeley and Stanford on the basis of their faculty. My problem is primarily that I am not the strongest candidate for those programs, and I'm looking for something a little less competitive that still has decent focus on my area of interest. It has been difficult for me to find a place to start with lesser-known colleges.

    I actually hadn't heard of Dumbarton Oaks at all. Thanks so much!
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    For a PhD (or actually a DPhil) in English language and literature, I suggest you apply to Oxford University in the UK. It is easier to be admitted to Oxford as an international student than to an Ivy school in the US (Harvard, Yale, Princeton) and an Oxford degree, at least for English, is far more prestigious (internationally speaking). However, you'll need to get a master's degree first before being eligible for admission as a DPhil student. More information may be found here .
  • UCLAriUCLAri Registered User Posts: 14,740 Senior Member

    I don't know that an Oxford degree is necessarily any more prestigious than a Harvard or Yale degree. I'd suspect that they're generally viewed as equal.
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    [UCLAri] I said "internationally speaking", meaning that outside the US , an Oxford degree in English is considered more prestigious than an Ivy one. Actually, generally speaking, US degrees in Humanities are usually not very highly regarded overseas compared to European ones. The opposite is true though in engineering, natural sciences and economics, i.e. US degrees in those areas are far more prestigious than comparable degrees from other countries.
  • UCLAriUCLAri Registered User Posts: 14,740 Senior Member

    I know what international means. And I've lived outside of the US. Just out of curiosity, where are you referring to when you say "internationally?"

    Another issue to consider highly is what you want with the degree. If it's a tenure track position in the US, then you almost certainly want a US degree.
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    I know what international means. And I've lived outside of the US. Just out of curiosity, where are you referring to when you say "internationally?"

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you don't know the meaning of "international".

    Answering your question, I was thinking mostly of (continental) Europe, Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, Britain. I can't really tell about Asia.
  • undecidedundecided Registered User Posts: 2,029 Senior Member
    One of my professors is earned her doctorate from Oxford. That is one of the options that I don't think is really open to me. Believe me, I'd love to, but I can't AFFORD to, and I can't justify personal loans in such astronomical amounts for a humanities degree.

    In any case, teaching is probably where I'm headed.
  • undecidedundecided Registered User Posts: 2,029 Senior Member
    A more specific question, then.

    Does anyone have experience with admissions to the English graduate programs? Perspective from any specialty and any college would be great, but I am especially interested in hearing from anyone who may have gone through the process for programs in northern California (Berkeley or Stanford included) and/or those who have done so looking for a medieval/Renaissance program.
  • AdamusAdamus Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    As these threads seem a little hard to come by, I suppose I'll pose my questions here as well. I am majoring in English undergrad and am (for the moment) particularly interested in Shakespeare, the Victorian/Romantic period and some French literature in translation (Dumas and Voltaire especially). I hope to refine these interests over the next year or two, but any knowledge of programs with faculty strong in these areas would greatly help the preliminary research.
This discussion has been closed.