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The Doctor of Philosophy in English is a limited enrolment program unique in Canada in its integration of literary studies with fields of study related to rhetoric and communication design. The program draws students from across Canada, and has a very strong rate of placement of graduates in high-quality academic and upper-level research positions.
The following is a brief summary of information about the program. Full program information and regulations are available in the Graduate Calendar.
Applications for all programs are due February 1, 2014. Applications to programs also serve as
applications for scholarships and teaching assistantships. A complete application package should be submitted online and include official transcripts/degree certificates; three letters of reference, at least two of which must be from academic sources. If English is not your first language, proof of competency in English is required. A score of at least 600 is required on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) [250 on the computerized version] with a score of 5.0 on the Test of Written English (TWE). (See, Academic Regulations - English Language Proficiency Certification for other acceptable tests of English).
Please describe, in 500 words or less, the program of study and research you intend pursue in your PhD. The proposal should include a description of your dissertation topic in which you tell us why the topic is important and original, how it complements existing research in English, and what kinds of methods and resources will be used in the research. Applications are completed digitally through OUAC and applicant Quest. The admissions committee meets in February, and decisions will be communicated to applicants in March or early April.
Eligible applicants will have a Master's degree of first-class standing in English, Rhetoric, or Professional Writing. Admission is for the fall term.
Students in the program will receive a minimum of $20,000 a year for four years, in a combination of teaching assistantships (including independent lecturing positions) and internal scholarships. Those with external funding will receive at least one teaching assistantship per year for four years. SSHRC doctoral fellowship and OGS award holders should note that the University presently offers a minimum of $10,000 on top of the award in the form of the President's Graduate Scholarship.
Candidates in the PhD program complete six term-length courses, at least one of which is designated Rhetoric and Communication Design and one of which is designated Literary Studies. Students may take one extra-departmental course, and one reading course (with the permission of the department). Here are the course listings.
At the end of their course work and prior to registration for dissertation credit, PhD candidates are required to sit three area examinations, two written and one oral. One written exam will be in a literary area, and one in a language area. One of the written exams will be in the student's primary area and the other in the secondary area; the primary area exam will be followed by an oral examination. PhD candidates must attempt all three area exams by the May sitting of the second year at the latest.
Here are the Area Exams listings.
Upon successful completion of the area examinations, candidates begin full-time work on their dissertations. Candidates must first prepare a dissertation proposal which includes a 3000-word description of the proposed research and a working bibliography of the primary and secondary texts that will serve as the source material for that research. These documents should be prepared in consultation with the supervisor and the other members of the candidate's supervisory committee.
When candidates feel their proposals are ready for review, they will meet formally with the supervisory committee, who will ask questions and offer further suggestions for improvement. At the conclusion of this meeting, the supervisory committee will file a report in which it will grade the proposal as either "Approved for submission to Graduate Committee", "Approved subject to minor revisions" (these can be approved by the supervisor alone once completed), "Referred for substantial revision", or "Rejected". Candidates whose proposals are rejected may, at the discretion of the supervisory committee, be permitted to submit a new proposal within a time period determined by the committee. Upon approval of the proposal, the documents will be submitted to the Graduate Committee of the department for approval.
The deadline for submission of the approved proposal to the Graduate Committee will normally be December 1st for the third year of registration in the PhD program, or six months after the completion of the area examinations. Candidates who fail one or more of their area examinations must first re-sit the relevant area examination or examinations before submitting the dissertation proposal. Failure to submit a dissertation proposal by the deadline will normally result in candidates losing their satisfactory standing in the doctoral program along with their internal funding. If the submitted dissertation proposal is deemed to be unsatisfactory by the Graduate Committee, candidates must revise and resubmit within a period to be determined by the Graduate Committee. Candidates who fail to submit a satisfactory proposal in the second attempt may be required to withdraw from the doctoral program.
All PhD candidates conduct original research and write a study on a topic approved by the supervisor and the dissertation committee. As with most dissertations in the humanities, the completed work will be between 250 and 400 pages long. After the thesis has been accepted by the department, it will be examined in an oral dissertation defence by a committee that includes experts from outside the department and University.
The language requirement must be fulfilled by the time the candidate's thesis topic has been approved.
Candidates may satisfy the requirement by either attaining or demonstrating:
Proof of competence may take any of four forms:
Students may include one extra-departmental graduate course in their degree
requirements, but this course must be approved by the graduate committee. For a course outside the University of Waterloo, the Ontario Visiting Graduate student (OVGS) form must be completed. For a course inside the University, the department’s graduate studies committee must approve. In either case, the department’s graduate office must be supplied with a syllabus in electronic form. The course must be approved before the beginning of the term in which it is scheduled to run.
Students may also take one directed reading course as part of their programs, in the event that no satisfactory regular course is available. Directed reading courses must be designed and submitted to the graduate committee by the instructor in consultation with the student, and the course outline (with rationale, reading list, assignments and schedule) must be approved by the graduate committee in the term prior to the one in which the course is to be run.