Torso of a person writing in a journal

About the Program

Whether you aspire to teach in academia or transfer your advanced writing skills to another field, a PhD in English from Case Western Reserve University will prepare you to succeed. Here, you can expand your foundational knowledge of English literature through interdisciplinary studies, independent research endeavors and creative projects. Our department provides the opportunities and amenities of a nationally renowned research university, with the feel and intimacy of a small liberal arts college. 

You’ll also benefit from professional development and dedicated mentorship when you join our outstanding writing community. Our faculty members have published acclaimed books and won awards including the Fulbright and the Guggenheim—proving they have the credentials needed to coach you to achieve your goals.

What to Expect

Our program's distinctive emphasis on multiple forms of writing allows you to pursue literary and scholarly work that combines intellectual rigor with creativity and develop projects that reach new audiences. Thanks to our small size, you and your cohort members in the PhD program can devise customized sequences as you prepare for a diverse and multi-disciplinary market.

You’ll also be challenged to develop unique areas of study with your dissertation—joining a network of alumni who have explored everything from the language of dress in late-19th-century fiction to the history of computers and composition. For those with existing creative practice and an interest in scholarly work, you can opt to complete a creative dissertation with a rigorous critical apparatus.

Additionally, our weekly department colloquium grants you the opportunity to interact with top scholars, creative writers, editors and journalists. We also encourage you to travel to archives and conferences to contribute to a well-rounded education.

Mentoring and Teaching
In the Department of English, we understand the value mentorship provides. That’s why we ensure all PhD students have access to a program director and mentor who helps oversee their writing and research. When you enroll, you will be able to hand select a mentor who will guide you through developing your dissertation. We also offer extensive support to those preparing for both academic and non-academic job markets, including workshops on job materials and mock interviews.

As a graduate teaching assistant (TA) in our program, you will be exposed to the widest possible range of pedagogical styles and practices. The valuable teaching experience you will gain as a TA will be vital as you begin to design and run classes on your own. Paired with individual mentoring, graduate TAs are integrated into the writing program faculty, where they actively participate in workshops, seminars and other training sessions.

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Beyond the Classroom

Established in 2011, the English Graduate Student Association is a student-run organization whose members support and advocate for students in the English graduate program. The association's main goal is to provide sustained support for current and prospective graduate students in all aspects of graduate life—including but not limited to coursework, PhD qualifying exams, dissertation writing, professional development and pedagogy. 

By the Numbers



Admission Requirements

Candidates for graduate work in English should present an undergraduate major in English or a minimum of 18 semester hours of English (or its equivalent) beyond the first-year level. 

Details about our application process are available on our website.  

We accept applications for a fall semester start only. The deadline to be considered for teaching assistantships is Jan. 15.

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