English Literary Studies

The University of Iowa

Ph.D. On Campus
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The English Literary Studies PhD program at The University of Iowa is designed as preparation for the teaching, publishing, and administrative service required of a career in academia.


The PhD in English Literary Studies from The University of Iowa requires a minimum of 72 semester hours of graduate credit, a comprehensive examination, dissertation, and dissertation examination. 

Key Features

  • With the exception of the Introduction to Graduate Study course for PhD students, no specific course or sequence of courses is required of students. 
  • Instead, all students are encouraged to design a program that combines the breadth they will need to teach survey courses with the focus that will enable them to make significant scholarly contributions to their areas of specialization even before they complete the degree.  

Programme Structure

  • In planning your course of study, it is important to remember that in the past decade economic constraints have led many colleges and universities to seek broadly trained, critically informed job candidates who are prepared to teach and publish in amply defined fields of study.  
  • All doctoral candidates are strongly advised to gain teaching experience, preferably in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Rhetoric and in GE CLAS Core literature courses.

Key information

Start dates & application deadlines




72 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA Your GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a number that indicates how well or how high you scored in your courses on average. Usually a GPA scales between 1.0 and 4.0, however different countries and universities can have different grading systems.

English requirements

TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at designated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).

Other requirements

General requirements

  • Your unofficial academic records/transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. If you are formally admitted, you will need to submit official records/transcripts prior to entering the program.  
  • Three letters of recommendation. 
  • A brief statement of purpose (1-2 pages) explaining your intellectual interests, qualifications, and reasons for choosing Iowa’s MA or PhD program.
  • Official TOEFL scores for non-native speakers of English.
  • A writing sample.  The sample should be your best critical or scholarly writing, originally written for a class, with the original instructor’s comments included (if available, not mandatory). Because of the number of applications we receive, we ask applicants to submit only one paper, of moderate length (10-25 pages).
  • CV/Resume.

Tuition Fee


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Fresh content

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Check the official programme website for potential updates.

English Literary Studies
The University of Iowa


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