About this Program

The Ph.D. in English is an innovative program that integrates digital humanities, writing studies, literature, rhetoric, discourse, and cultural studies, offering opportunities for creative reinterpretation of these fields within the discipline of English. Students may pursue full- or part-time study through a combination of on-campus and distance learning courses. This program prepares students for academic careers, as well as other careers in which reading, writing, and critical inquiry figure prominently; the program also helps students professionalize within their current careers.

Program Highlights

  • There are three main concentrations: 1) Literary and Cultural Studies; 2) Rhetoric, Writing, and Discourse Studies; and 3) Technology and Media Studies. Students whose interests and scholarship recommend it may work with an advisor to assemble a 4) Student-created concentration that must be approved by the graduate program director.

  • Distance/Online Learning: Each year the English PhD program recruits and admits candidates who will take the program part-time and at a distance (mostly through WebEx). Students at a distance are required to meet the same admissions standards and have the same course requirements and program expectations as on-campus students. Students at a distance are expected to obtain the requisite software necessary to engage in synchronous video classes, access Blackboard, and otherwise participate as fully in class life as electronic means will allow. Students at a distance should visit the Online Student Orientation website.

  • Dynamic: It underscores the English’s interdisciplinarity. Students are invited to study the teaching of writing in view of technological and textual innovations; to examine cultural spaces as rhetorical ecologies; to consider literary archives as cultural effects; and more.

  • The Summer Doctoral Institute allows distance students to complete the program at the same pace as full-time students who attend on campus. It features a two-week on-campus residency that has students working intensively with one another and with faculty they customarily see on screens.

  • The Research Competency Requirement allows students to creatively establish their research methods by allowing foreign languages, statistical analysis, and technological expertise to complete it.

Degree Level
Degree Earned
Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Modes


Check out these ideas from ODU Career Development Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is a midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary

$77,660 Median Salary

Teach courses in English language and literature, including linguistics and comparative literature. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Writers and Authors

$72,120 Median Salary

Originate and prepare written material, such as scripts, stories, advertisements, and other material.

Public Relations Specialists

$67,990 Median Salary

Engage in promoting or creating an intended public image for individuals, groups, or organizations. May write or select material for release to various communications media.

Technical Writers

$74,440 Median Salary

Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.


What are the requirements to apply for English at ODU?
Students entering the Doctor of Philosophy program in English should meet the minimum university admission requirements Graduate Admission.
  • A completed master's degree (or its equivalent) in English or in an appropriate field from a regionally accredited institution of higher education

  • A minimum GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) overall for the master's degree

  • TOEFL scores if applicable

  • A 1500 word statement of the applicant's academic and professional goals and discussion of how the Ph.D. in English will contribute to the achievement of those goals

  • Three letters of reference from sources capable of commenting on the applicant's readiness for advanced graduate study in English

  • A writing sample of at least 15 double-spaced pages on on a topic related to the applicant's expertise


Estimated rates for the 2023-24 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

Virginia Resident
Cost Per-Credit $599
Technology Delivered Courses Outside Virginia and/or the United States
Cost Per-Credit $623
Cost Per-Credit $1,439

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending ODU. For more information visit University Student Financial aid


Our online program allows students to pace their progress through the degree in an affordable fashion while losing little time as they advance toward completion. The online per-credit cost is comparable to in-state tuition. All on-campus students enjoy five years of support in assistantships. Their work includes editorial assistant of a peer-reviewed journal and MediaCommons; administrative work supporting the directors of the Writing Program and the Writing Center; coordinating the use of the MPark, our department’s learning lab and maker space; research and teaching in upper-division writing and literature courses; and teaching in our general education program.


Ph.D. Graduate Program Director

NORFOLK, 23529