Texas Tech University

PhD in English

PhD in English - Literature

Specialization in Literature

The Ph.D. program in English permits students to prepare broadly across traditional divisions of period, geography, and genre but demands also that students conduct specialized research at the highest level of intellectual engagement. The goal of this twofold approach to doctoral studies is to prepare students simultaneously to teach in multiple areas and to produce scholarship in their area of concentration. Doctoral students must be prepared to challenge the discipline and themselves, and to produce intellectual work worthy of the most outstanding journals and conferences in the field.

Students pursuing the Ph.D. in English studies may concentrate in virtually any literary subject, period, or genre, from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf and from the history of the British novel to contemporary world drama.

Areas of Study

Early British Literature

The study of early British literature in the Department of English at Texas Tech includes those literatures written in the British Isles until approximately 1700. Faculty are experts in Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, and Early Modern drama, poetry, and prose, with particular interests in writers such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. Areas of expertise include medievalism, film, medieval romance, authorship studies, feminist perspectives, manuscript studies, and book history.

To read more, visit Early British Literature.

Later British Literature

The study of later British literature in the Department of English at Texas Tech includes those literatures written in England and its colonies and former colonies since 1700. Faculty are experts in eighteenth-century, Romantic, Victorian, modern, and post-modern literature, with particular interests in gender theory, women writers, gothic drama, history of the novel, twentieth-century poetry, book history, and literature and science.

To read more, visit Later British Literature.

American Literature

Marked by the transnational turn in literary studies in the late twentieth century, American literary studies today has undergone a critical reconfiguration, moving from the locus of the Americas and through the transoceanic movements that encompass the evolution of the Atlantic commercial circuit, the formation of the Black Atlantic, and the reimagining of Asia Pacific. Not only has the "New England mind" been reconsidered in relation to "the darker side of Western modernity" and indigenous experiences, but the South, the West, the Southwest, and the American Pacific have also been re-examined in light of critical regionalism, borderland discourse, environmental justice, and critiques of American exceptionalism.

To read more, visit American Literature.

Comparative Literature, Globalization, and Translation (CLGT)

CLGT offers students the opportunity to cultivate a wide range of literary interrelations including but not limited to the following: trans-Atlantic studies, trans-Pacific studies, global South studies, hemispheric studies, migration studies, gender studies, studies in religion, Vietnam War studies, translation studies, urban studies, and new media studies. In these concentrations, the aim is not only to move beyond the national framework of literary studies but also to engage global networks of aesthetic, social, cultural, and economic interactions. Moreover, students profit from our faculty specializations by extending literary studies to cultural communication in different artistic forms and literary genres.

To read more, visit CLGT.

Creative Writing

The Ph.D. with specialization in Creative Writing is an extraordinarily flexible and important degree: it asks you to practice your craft as a writer and to become a scholar of literature, providing you with the expertise and credentials to pursue a career as a faculty member in any English department in the country.

To read more, visit Creative Writing.


The PhD with specialization in Linguistics is distinguished for its faculty's expertise in a variety of areas, including phonology, syntax, morphology, sociolinguistics (especially American English dialects), linguistics and literature, and the history of English. The program allows you to deepen your grasp of linguistic work with a variety of languages, including American English, Old and Middle English, Korean, and Japanese. Because the study of language and linguistics is a multi-disciplinary field, our program is supported with faculty whose interests in these areas come from the English Department, as well as many other departments and colleges across campus.

To read more, visit Linguistics.

Book History and Digital Humanities

Book History examines the creation, production, distribution, and reception of “texts,” from oral, written, and printed texts to contemporary forms of visual and digital media. Book history examines the social, cultural, economic, and political history of different types of "texts," considering the various actors in their creation, production, circulation, and reception.

To read more, visit Book History and Digital Humanities.

Film and Media Studies

Film & Media Studies (FMS) offers an innovative and interdisciplinary field of specialization for graduate students earning a doctorate or master's degree in English. Working closely with faculty, you can tailor your degree to fit your interests and professional objectives. Our curriculum fosters critical engagement with aesthetics, cultural and historical knowledge of cinematic forms, and the multiple literacies engaged in reading silent and sound moving-image texts.

To read more, visit Film and Media Studies.

Literature, Social Justice, and Environment (LSJE)

The Literature, Social Justice, and Environment (LSJE) initiative in the Department of English centers upon the most important developments in the study of the natural environment in literature.  Issues of race, regionalism, and social justice have been embedded in environmental literature from its beginnings. Most of us know Thoreau wrote Walden but sometimes forget he also wrote “Civil Disobedience.” Edward Abbey's MA thesis examined the moral implications of political violence. John Muir not only helped convince Theodore Roosevelt to found the National Park system but also wrote about the forced removal of Yosemite's Native American inhabitants in order to turn the valley into our first wilderness park--a park which would then adopt the image of the "Indian Brave" to grace its front entrance. More recently, Carolyn Merchant has written on the connections between slavery and soil degradation in the American south. Gloria Anzaldúa's metaphor of the borderlands originates in the geographic and psycho-social space of the U.S.-Mexico political boundary. Cherríe Moraga writes about the everyday experience of the environment for queer women of color and defines environment as home, work, food, and body.

To read more, visit LSJE.


The application deadline for students wishing to begin a PhD in English is January 11.

Application fees for onsite programs in Lubbock have been waived (email the Grad Advisor for a voucher code.) 

Apply Now


Dr. Julie Nelson Couch
Director of Graduate Studies