[ skip to content ]

Toggle Mobile Menu

Prospective Students

More Information about this image

English header

Student Guide

The sample timelines below represent the typical paces that students progress through the English PhD Program. Many students will likely be on one of these paces, while a few may take an additional semester or year.

Please note: Once a student has passed candidacy examinations, she/he need only take 1 hour of dissertation credit to be classified as a full-time student with a university D4 form (Doctoral Candidates 1-Hour Full-time Notification). The program requires 9 hours of dissertation; therefore, the table below reflect an apportionment of those hours over the likely amount of time required to write a dissertation.

SAMPLE TIMELINE

Year

Full-time

Part-time (CW 2-years)

Part-time (CW 3-years)

Year 1

Fall

Spring

Summer

9 hrs

9 hrs

6 hrs

6 hrs

6 hrs

3 hrs

3 hrs

6 hrs

Year 2

Fall

Spring

Summer

9 hrs

9 hrs

6 hrs

6 hrs

6 hrs

3 hrs

3 hrs

6 hrs

Year 3

Fall

Spring

Summer

3 hrs Diss Seminar (with Candidacy Exam)

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

3 hrs Diss Seminar (with Candidacy Exam)

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

3 hrs

3 hrs

6 hrs

Year 4

Fall

Spring

Summer

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

3 hrs Diss Seminar (with Candidacy Exam)

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

Year 5

Fall

Spring

Summer

1-9 Dissertation hrs

Oral Defense/Graduate

1-9 Dissertation hrs

Oral Defense/Graduate

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

1-9 Dissertation hrs

Year 6-8

Fall

Spring

1-9 Dissertation hrs

Oral Defense/Graduate

The information below is meant to provide an overview of the types of financial aid available to graduate students at ODU. For more detailed information, please visit the ODU Financial Aid Office Website.

Assistantships and Fellowships

Full-time students are eligible to apply for assistantships and fellowships funded by the College of Arts and Letters and the University. Assistantships involve dedication of work (teaching or aiding a professor with administration, for example) in exchange for a stipend. Fellowships provide stipend support without requiring work outside of class responsibilities. Fellowship and assistantship money also come with tuition remission. Part-time students may be eligible for other work on campus, paid at a per-hour rate, and should consult the GPD for opportunities.

Student Loans

Graduate students typically rely on Federal loan programs, graduate assistantships (teaching / research), tuition unfunded scholarships, work-study programs, fellowships, scholarships and/or work outside the University to finance graduate school. Students must be admitted as degree-seeking and enrolled at least half-time in a graduate program at the master's and doctoral levels to receive up to $20,500 in Federal Direct Stafford Loans per year. Eligible graduate students may apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Travel Grants

The Pegasus Travel Grant has been re-instated for the 2016-2017 academic. These awards are to support PhD student's travelto conferences at which they are presenting. There will be 3 awards of $300; one award each will be given for conferences that occur during this fall semester, the spring semester, and the summer semester.

Graduate Fellowships for Dissertations

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships for Minorities

Doctoral fellowships are offered in order to increase the presence of underrepresented minorities on college and university faculties. Open to citizens of the US engaged in a teaching and research career or planning such a career, and who have not earned a PhD or ScD degree in any field. Awards will be made in research-based programs in the behavioral and social sciences, humanities, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, life sciences, and education.

For more information visit the Ford Foundation webpage.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships are to assist graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences (1) in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. This program aims to encourage timely completion of the PhD.

For more information visit the Mellon/ACLS webpage.

Each year the English PhD program recruits and admits candidates who will take the program part-time and at a distance (mostly through Zoom). 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.

All part-time students, distance or on-campus, must attend two Summer Doctoral Institutes (SDIs), the Norfolk campus portion of which is two weeks (usually sometime between July 10 - July 25). Distance and other part-time students should, therefore, plan their programs in such a way that they participate in a summer institute two of their first three or four years in the program. Students have the option of participating in SDI during the summer after the spring in which they are accepted and before the fall in which they are admitted; the student will need to speak to the GPD about moving up the start date of their entrance into the program. See more detailed information on the SDI page.



FAQ's

How do I apply?

Applications are accepted for entrance in fall semester only. Late applicants not applying for financial assistance may be considered, but only if openings remain after the first round of decisions on those who submitted on time. Applicants residing in other countries should mail materials well in advance. All required forms and documents should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Applications packets are available online at the Office of Graduate Admissions website. The following should be complete and delivered to the PhD program along with the appropriate application forms:

  1. a 1500-word statement of the applicant's academic and professional goals and discussion of how the PhD in English will contribute to the achievement of those goals;
  2. three letters of reference from sources capable of commenting on the applicant's readiness for advanced graduate study in English;
  3. a writing sample of 15 to 20 double-spaced pages on a topic related to the applicant's expertise (we prefer a single piece of writing but will accept two shorter pieces that total 20 pages).

The PhD program's decisions on admission are final. The program determines the size of each year's cohort based upon faculty and course availability, the quality of the pool, and externally generated factors, such as finances. Currently, a typical entering class might be 10-12 persons, but the actual number of admitted students depends on a variety of factors. Decisions on admission will be based on academic merit and quality of match between student-declared interests and the program, but the program reserves the right to allocate a certain number of slots for part-time and full-time students as well as slots for particular fields, and to take those factors into account when selecting applicants for admission.


Learn more about the program
Apply Now

What are the admission requirements?

Admission standards include the following, which are required, unless otherwise stated:

  1. A completed master's degree (or its equivalent) in English or in an appropriate field (such as rhetoric, composition, English education, communications, journalism, linguistics, science, or technology) from a regionally accredited institution of higher education;
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) overall for the master's degree;
  3. For students whose first language is not English, a current score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 600 on the paper version, 250 on the computer-based version, or 80 on the iBT version.

Note: Students without at least some significant background in an English-related field are encouraged to take master's level coursework in English before applying.

What kind of references will help my application stand out?

The best reference writers provide a letter (in addition to the reference form) in which they outline how they know a candidate, the kind of work that the candidate has produced or exhibited under their supervision, and the details of that work that indicate the candidate is ready and able to engage in the rigors of a doctoral program. Such references ideally would come from professors or work supervisors who have an opportunity to evaluate a candidate's written or digital work; occasionally, peer colleagues can provide similar information. Although character is often a part of an overall reference, character references alone do not give us the fullest picture of a candidate's appropriateness. For candidates who have been away from school or a work environment in which text production is crucial may wish to enroll in graduate English courses ahead of applying for the PhD in order to update credentials and to seek potential references.

Is there a minimum requirement for grades and board scores when applying?

The established minimum grade point average for a candidate's master's degree work is 3.5. Candidates who apply with a GPA less than 3.5 will only be considered in unusual circumstances. Although we do not have a stated minimum GRE, we hope to see candidates score 75% or above on the verbal and written portions of the exam. Similar quantitative scores are recommended for students whose research may require statistical analysis. Our practice is to consider the whole application, including writing samples and references, and look for students with the best combination of positive indicators for success.

Is there a foreign language requirement?

Because the PhD is a research degree, all students are expected to present evidence of mastery of a basic research competency over and above the usual English or related-field course work. This is most readily achieved through demonstration of expertise in a foreign language. However, the program also offers other options. Please see the Graduate Catalog Page for more information.

What are the enrollment requirements?

Students should stay registered continuously for every major academic term (fall, spring) during their enrollment in the program; however, a student may take time off during the pre-candidacy period without penalty, provided all other guidelines are met (see university Graduate Catalog). However, once past the candidacy exams, a student (by university rules) must stay continuously enrolled for every major academic term (including summer terms) or be dismissed from the program. The doctoral program must be completed within eight years of entry into PhD coursework.

How do I become a distance student?

Distance students apply the same way as prospective on-campus students. Once accepted, a distance student must establish a link with the Norfolk campus via home-installed equipment that allows for two-way video or make arrangements to attend video classes at a designated Old Dominion University distance site, usually found at one of several Virginia community college campuses. Because most of our distance courses are live, distance students should calculate the time differential, if any, to determine if they can meet classes that begin at 4:20 or 7:10 p.m. Eastern time.