Students admitted to the Ph.D. in English at Kent State University typically have an MA degree. The PhD program is based on a curriculum that requires course work in one of two majors: Literary Traditions (the historical study of British, Irish, American, minority and ethnic literatures) or Literary Criticism and Theory (encompassing critical theory and textual studies). Students in both majors take required and elective course work across three related areas: literature, theory, and rhetoric and composition.
Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of course work, (3 hours of which may be "Research") pass two qualifying examinations, and defend a dissertation. All doctoral students must enroll in a 3-credit "Independent Study: The Dissertation Prospectus" in their final semester of coursework. All doctoral students must complete a foreign language requirement before taking qualifying examinations. Specific course selections for all students are determined in consultation with the student's Advisory Committee, comprised of three graduate faculty members.