Student Handbook


This manual is based on the Graduate School's requirements for the Ph.D. degree.  It strives to clarify those rules and fill in the blanks where the Graduate School has left it to departments to do so.  Requirements may change during the course of your years in the program, and we will alert you whenever that happens.  But it is up to you to make sure that you consult the most recent version of the Handbook on the Graduate Studies website.  This is especially true of funding.  All descriptions of funding (above and beyond your contract) available to students from the Graduate Program in English depends on the availability of funds in the DGS budget, and the amount will vary from year to year.


In this manual, position titles have been used in place of names.  The names of the people currently serving in these positions are listed below.  Abbreviations that are commonly substituted for the full position title in departmental documents are also given here.

  • DGS = Director of Graduate Studies: Kathy Psomiades
  • DUS = Director of Undergraduate Studies: Aarthi Vadde
  • DGSA = Staff Assistant in the Graduate Studies Office (316 Allen):  Sandy Marks Valdes
  • FS = Financial Secretary for the English Department (302 Allen):  Lisa Olds

PH.D. In English


A. Course Requirements

Beginning in Fall 2023, all students are required to take English 890s History of Literary Criticism in the Fall semester of their first year.

During the course of your degree, you should expect to be exposed to

  • Materials from different centuries;
  • Texts not only from both the British and American national literatures but also from Anglophone literature;
  • A range of literary genres, media, and cultural studies;
  • At least one course other than History of Literary Criticism in which theory is the central subject.

Such diversified study should take place not simply in course work, but more comprehensively, across coursework including audited classes after prelim exams, exam fields, and teaching experiences.  Generally speaking, you will have 22 learning opportunities or “hits”: a minimum of 11 courses, 8 teaching opportunities, and 3 fields.  You may count your teaching apprenticeships and assistantships, as well as courses audited after your prelim exam, towards these “hits”.  Every student in our program is required to take History of Literary Criticism, at least one other course in which theory or one of its variants (Aesthetic theory, Critical Theory, Cultural Theory, History of Criticism, etc.) is the central subject, and to have at least one “hit” in six of the ten following categories:

  1. Medieval
  2. Renaissance
  3. 18th century British
  4. 19th century British: Romanticism or Victorian
  5. Pre-Civil War American
  6. Post-Civil War American
  7. 20th century and contemporary literatures: British, Irish, American, Post-colonial, Comparative
  8. Genre:  The Novel, Drama, Lyric Poetry, Epic or Romance
  9. Film, Video, New Technologies
  10. Literature in another language or Comparative Literature (with a non-Anglophone focus)

NOTE: These “hits” are to be seen as a checklist whose main purpose is to ensure genuine breadth and diversity of study as you complete your degree. If you already have an advanced degree in which many of these areas have been studied, or can supply sufficient evidence of preparation in these areas, the DGS may, at his or her discretion, remit one or more of these areas of study.  Up to 3 courses of the 11 required before your prelim exam may be remitted if you hold an MA degree from another institution.  This should be discussed with the DGS.

B. Registration

It is vital that you register every semester.  After you have completed all required coursework, you should register for “continuation only.”  Students who fail to register by the end of the semester and have not notified the DGS or the Coordinator of Student Records in the Graduate School’s Academic Affairs Office will be withdrawn from the program.  Such students may only be reinstated once, and they are responsible for paying the reinstatement fee, possibly a sizable continuation fee as well.

Should you decide to drop a course, do so before the drop/add period ends. Otherwise a W will appear on your transcript.

If awarded a summer research fellowship, you must register for “Continuation – Graduate School” for Summer Term 1.  Register for Summer Term 2 only if you are registering for a class.

The Graduate School will not necessarily approve your changing a graded course to an audit.  All such changes must be requested before the drop/add period ends and require a signed audit form (link to audit form here: .

C. Independent Studies

An independent study is an individualized course of study between one student and a professor.   The purpose of independent studies is to supplement, rather than compete with, regular course offerings.  All independent studies must be pre-approved by the DGS. Credit-bearing independent studies involve one student and one professor.    An English faculty member should not teach more than one English graduate student in a credit-bearing independent study in any given academic year.   An English grad student should not take more than one credit bearing independent study per academic year and not more than two total.  Both credit-bearing independent studies may not be with the same professor.

The following criteria must be met in order for the DGS to approve the independent study:

  1. As a general rule, only two independent studies may be used to count towards the 11 course requirement for the Ph.D. and/or towards the distribution requirements.
  2. The reading and writing requirements for an independent study must be at least equivalent to what would be required in a full graduate course.
  3. The independent study must meet a minimum of once every two weeks.
  4. The independent study should not duplicate English department course offerings that academic year.

To request approval for one of these special learning experiences, send your request to the DGS. Please include the following:

  • A title for the study,
  • The professor’s name
  •  The name of the student in the study
  • A detailed description of the reading and writing requirements of the independent study
  • A rationale from the student taking the independent study that both explains its place in your trajectory of study and indicates how it supplements rather than competes with course offerings for the current academic year.
  • An indication of whether you want to count the independent study or tutorial for course credit – remember only two independent studies can count towards the 11 course requirement of the Ph.D and they cannot both be with the same professor.

Once your request has been approved, you will receive a permission number for a particular course and section number.  When the end of drop/add approaches, the registrar will add your professor's name and the title of the study to your enrollment/transcript. 

Keep in mind that professors are limited to one independent study a year.  Three of these constitute a graduate course equivalent in their workload.  Please be sure the professor with whom you wish to study is willing and able to take on an independent study before making your request to the DGS.  If you choose to arrange an individualized learning experience, you are encouraged to study with an English professor; however, you may also arrange studies with professors in other departments.

D.  Interinstitutional Learning

You may register for courses at NC State and UNC at Chapel Hill.  To do this, you must complete an inter-institutional approval form and have it signed by the DGS.  These courses count for credit and towards hits. The form can be found here:

E.  Grades

The Graduate School requires a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0.  If you have any concerns about your grades, please consult the DGS.  Discussions between a student, their advisors, and the DGS about any possible concerns about performance would normally long precede any attempt by the Graduate School to withdraw a student on the basis of grades.

In the event of a medical emergency or other urgent situation, you may request an incomplete from the professor of the course in which you are enrolled.  Incompletes should be regarded as exceptional and extraordinary cases since they impede your ability to face the tasks of the next term and the demands of the program’s subsequent stages.  You are not allowed to sit for your prelim exam until you have completed 11 graded graduate courses.

All Incomplete grades will be eliminated from your transcript once the work for a course has been completed and reported to the Registrar’s Office.  (If work is not completed within one year, the Incomplete will remain.)

The Graduate School requires that all students enrolled in the program be reviewed each year.  ***If at any time, the faculty find that a student’s academic performance is not satisfactory to the University, the University reserves the right to request the withdrawal of that student.  It is incumbent on the DGS to share with the student in written form any faculty concerns that the student’s performance may not be satisfactory.***

A.  Annual Review of Progress before the Preliminary Exam

Before you take the Preliminary Examination, the DGS is responsible for monitoring your progress in the program.  You will have to fill out your Annual Report each year, in consultation with the DGS as well as the faculty member designated as your advisor.  The DGS collects and reviews reports from the faculty on your progress.  During your third year, the DGS will check to make sure that your diversified requirements are being met and that you are indeed qualified to take the Preliminary Examination

B.  Second Year Coursework Portfolio Review

At the end of the Fall semester of your second year, you will select three papers that you have written for coursework to make a portfolio.  You will write a brief reflective statement about the portfolio and select two faculty members—usually one of these will be your prospective committee chair and one a possible committee member—who, along with the DGS, will read the three papers and discuss them with you before the end of the Spring semester.  THIS IS NOT AN EXAM: it’s an opportunity to evaluate where you’ve been, where you want to go, and how to proceed forward. For students who matriculated in 22/23, this is optional, for those matriculating in 23/24 and later, it is required.

 C.  Annual Review of Progress after Successful Completion of the Preliminary Exam

Once you have passed your preliminary exam, you are responsible for your timely progress towards completion of the dissertation.  In consultation with your director, you will continue to fill out an Annual Report each year in which you specify how much of your dissertation you have written over the past year, how much remains to be done, and how you plan to progress toward the goal in the coming year.  The DGS is responsible for monitoring your reported progress and letting you and your director know your funding status.

D.  Completion Plan after Year Seven

 If a student does not defend their dissertation by the end of the seventh year in the program, the department and the Graduate School require the student to create and follow a Completion Plan with deliverables and due-by dates to govern the remainder of the student’s time in the program. The Completion Plan will be submitted to the Graduate School after being signed by the student, the student’s advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies. The DGSA has a template that students may use.   


The Graduate School has issued no across-the-board language requirement.  The Ph.D. Program in English requires students to demonstrate reading proficiency in one language other than English before taking the preliminary exam and preferably within the first two years of program. Department language requirements may vary from specialty to specialty, so you must consult with the faculty who serve or are likely to serve on your preliminary exam committee in determining which language or languages are appropriate.

"Reading proficiency" can be demonstrated in various ways:

  • A grade of "B" or better in a literature course conducted in the language at another college or university within two years of matriculating at Duke,
  • Successfully passing one of the intensive noncredit summer courses offered by Duke’s Languages for Reading Purposes program.
  • A grade of B or better in intermediate-level language study at Duke (Duke language departments typically offer a two-semester intermediate course sequence for which students would need to complete both semesters.  Some offer a single semester intensive intermediate course, which would also fulfill the requirement.)
  • Passing a translation exam in the language.  Setting up translation exams is the responsibility of the student who in consultation with their advisor must find an examiner and have that examiner approved by the DGS.  For the exam, the student will translate a passage of approximately 800-1000 words of critical or literary prose into English over the course of two hours.  Use of a dictionary is allowed.
  • Students working in DH can petition for permission to use coursework at Duke in a computer language to satisfy the language requirement.

Please consult the DGS before pursuing any of these listed options to make sure it satisfies the requirement.

If your research would benefit from it, and your native language or second language is not English, you can use that language to fulfill the language requirement through the translation exam option.  Your advisor and the DGS must both approve this requirement.   

An important part of your educational experience takes place outside of the classroom through lectures, job talks, and working groups sponsored by the English department and other programs in your areas of scholarly interest.  Participation in such activities serves an integral role in your education as a scholar and member of the broader academic community.  We expect you to take full advantage of these informal opportunities. 

Graduate students and graduate faculty are expected to familiarize themselves with and abide by the guidelines contained in the departmental graduate program handbook, which provides a detailed account of graduate program timelines, milestones, and procedures. Graduate students are expected to attend all fall and spring cohort meetings, as well as required meetings on other topics, and to use these meetings for further clarification about yearly milestones. Graduate faculty are expected to attend every yearly graduate assessment faculty meeting.

For Faculty:

  1. Expectations of faculty around recruiting: graduate faculty are expected to attend annual recruiting events (and at a minimum, the annual recruiting lunch, dinner, or mixer).
  2. Expectations of faculty around communication: faculty who are not on leave are expected to respond to current graduate student emails within 4 business days, and are expected to provide timely feedback on exam lists, chapters, etc. (The precise timelines and methods of feedback for exam lists and the chapter meeting are described in the graduate program handbook; for subsequent chapters, the usual timeline for response should be 2-3 weeks after receipt of a draft.) Faculty going on leave are expected to communicate beforehand in written form (e.g., email) with graduate students with whom they are working a communication protocol, including how quickly the faculty member and graduate student will respond to emails, and how quickly the faculty member can respond to drafts. For all faculty, communication between faculty and graduate students should be conducted in professional language. All graduate faculty are expected to respond to all direct inquiries from graduate students in the department (even if only to respond that the faculty member cannot help).
  3. Expectations of faculty feedback on fellowship applications and job materials: for students in years 1 and 2, the faculty mentor is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on fellowship applications (e.g., Summer Research Fellowships) prior, as well as subsequently, to the initial submission of these documents to the DGS office; for students in years 3+, the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on fellowship applications (e.g., Summer Research, Graduate School, and external fellowships) prior to submission of these documents to the DGS office; in addition, for students in later years seeking jobs, the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on application materials prior to these being vetted by the departmental Placement Officer.
  4. Expectations of faculty feedback on articles/essays intended for publication: the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on drafts of articles/essays intended for publication.
  5. Expectations of faculty feedback on pedagogical materials (e.g., syllabi and assignments for Duke courses a graduate student will teach): the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on pedagogical materials. The dissertation director is also expected to observe the student’s teaching at least once over the course of the program, and to be prepared to write about their teaching for job, fellowship, or post-doc applications.
  6. Expectations of committee members, especially concerning expectations about dissertations, feedback on dissertation chapters, and writing of job letters: Each dissertation committee member (including the director) should clarify by the time of the chapter meeting expectations about the form of the dissertation (e.g., rough length of the dissertation; extent to which secondary literature should be cited; etc.). The dissertation director should be willing to read multiple drafts of chapters. Other committee members should be willing to read and comment on at least one draft of each chapter prior to receiving the final draft of the dissertation to be defended, should the dissertation director and graduate student wish committee members to do so. Committee members are expected to support a student’s professional development by supplying letters for fellowships, jobs, and other opportunities, provided that the committee member receives chapters from the student in a timely fashion (at least one month before a letter deadline). Every committee member who votes to pass the dissertation should be willing to write a letter of recommendation for the student.
  7. Expectations of full participation in the graduate program: the graduate program consists of multiple elements, including coursework, TAP-ing, TA-ing, preliminary exams, dissertation writing and completing milestones (including chapter meetings and dissertation defenses). Graduate faculty are expected to participate in all aspects of the program, including, for example, generally allowing students to TAP for undergraduate courses. The DGS will confer with faculty who do not participate fully in all aspects of the program, and may eventually turn to the processes outlined in #8 below if this method is not successful. All graduate faculty are expected to vote according to their own judgment at exams, chapter meetings, and dissertation defenses (rather than, for example, deferring to the dissertation chair’s judgement or wishes).
  8. Promoting good advising and mentoring: The ability to direct dissertations up to the departmental maximum is a privilege, not a right, and is dependent upon a faculty member adhering to the rules outlined in the departmental graduate student handbook and the expectations outlined in this document. The DGS/Chair and/or DGS and DGS Advisory Committee will document concerns and meet with faculty who do not adhere to these rules and expectations. In cases of serial overstepping of these rules and expectations, the DGS and Chair will reduce the number of dissertations a faculty member may direct (potentially to zero). In the case of any reduction of the maximum number of dissertations that a faculty member may direct, students currently being directed by a faculty member will be allowed to complete the program with that faculty member (unless the student wishes to find another dissertation director).

For Graduate Students:

  1. Expectations regarding students’ regular communication with advisers, prompt presentation of written work and other projects, updating of advisers (and committee, where appropriate) on research projects’ progress and timely communication of any impediments to progress, changes in circumstance or requests for support (e.g. letters of recommendation): The specific timelines for submitting exam lists and dissertation chapters, as well timelines for requesting various kinds of leaves (and notifying Duke and the department when a student is returning to the department) are outlined in the Graduate School website, departmental graduate student manual, or both. In more general terms, since faculty and departmental officers often require at least 4 business days to respond to questions or requests—and may require significantly more time to complete a request (e.g. up to one month, in the case of a letter of recommendation)—graduate students are expected to send communications that respect these timelines and time frames. Graduate students are expected to respond—if only by acknowledging receipt—to communications from faculty, departmental officers, and staff within that same time frame (4 business days). Graduate students who have completed preliminary exams are expected to check in with the exam/dissertation director at least once every month (unless otherwise specified by the director: but in no cases should communication happen less frequently than every two months). Communication between faculty and graduate students should be conducted in professional language.
  2. Expectations of attendance at departmental events: please see the section entitled “Expectations Regarding Information Opportunities for Learning & Professional Development” in the departmental graduate program handbook.
  3. Outline of students’ service obligations: Please see the section entitled “Pedagogy” in the departmental graduate program handbook, and confer as well with your graduate student and faculty mentors.
  4. Communicating with departmental officers (DUS, DGS, Chair) and staff: Graduate students are expected to treat departmental officers (DUS, DGS, Chair, Placement Officer) with the same respect accorded their advisors, with regard to attendance at required meetings, timely responses to emails and other communications, and acknowledgement that not all requests can be accommodated.
  5. Grievances: A graduate student who feels that any rule noted in the Graduate School or departmental graduate program handbooks, or any expectation outlined in the “Faculty” section of this document, has not been followed should first contact the DGS. Should the student feel these conversations have not resolved the problem, or does not feel comfortable contacting the DGS, the chair of the department can also be contacted. (Students should keep in mind that the chair is not charged by the Graduate School with the ability to make changes to, for example, committees, and so cannot necessarily resolve many problems. However, the chair can troubleshoot with students).

The annual progress report (APR) includes a section that goes only to the DGS Advisory Committee (and not to the dissertation director); this section can also be used to note and document problems observed by the student. Should the student prefer, this section can be sent only to the chair, or to the Trinity Graduate Dean. (The Trinity Graduate Dean is not part of the Graduate School.)

Should an issue not be resolved by these means, a student may request that the DGS take up the matter with the DGS advisory committee (or chair’s advisory committee minus the DGS, if the student does not feel comfortable taking the issue to the DGS advisory committee).

Students may also at any point file a grievance with the Graduate School, and the procedure for doing so is noted here:

A.  Purpose

Passing the preliminary exam qualifies you to move on to writing your dissertation.  Preparing for the exam should help you to become familiar with a range of literatures in your field and with the ways in which those literatures are composed, adjudicated, and modified in the critical fields that delineate them.  We understand "field" dynamically and interrogatively, as a process of assembling a body of texts and determining what questions to ask of them.  Thus, you should, as part of your qualifying exams, expect to play an active role in defining the fields in which you will be tested.  The preliminary exam also offers you a formal opportunity to think and converse about your chosen subject matter in a way that should prepare you for the hiring process, where you will have to talk with potential colleagues in adjacent fields.

As you begin the process of choosing your exam committee and constructing your exam lists, you may want to consult the graduate student generated list of Best Practices for Exams and Reading lists (

B.  Timing

The Graduate School requires you to schedule and take preliminary examinations before the end of the spring term of your third year in the program.  The Graduate School does not automatically grant extensions beyond this deadline.  After consultation with your director and members of the committee as a whole, if you decide that an extension is necessary and justified, you must have your director write a letter of appeal to the DGS, who may well want to consult with you further.  The DGS is responsible for recommending the extension to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Toward the end of your second year, you should form a preliminary exam committee consisting of at least four faculty, including three from your research field, of which at least two must be from the English department.  The majority of the committee members must be from Duke.  (Occasionally requests are granted to appoint persons not on the full-time graduate faculty – especially members of the graduate faculties of the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State.)  The DGS is responsible for recommending your committee to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, who approves and appoints the committee. This must all be done at least two months before the intended date for your exams.  Normally, the same committee will administer both the prelim and the Ph.D. exams.  But this same procedure must be followed in making any changes in your committee after the original committee has been appointed. 

C.  Forming a Committee

**Note**: No faculty member may direct more than eight dissertations at one time.  Hence, as you decide on the faculty members whom you will propose as your committee to the DGS, you should check with the DGS earlier rather than later that the faculty member whom you would like to propose as exam/dissertation director will in fact be able to serve that role on your committee.

To form a committee, it is probably best to begin by meeting with faculty in the areas that match your research interests and discussing with them the texts and critical issues that define your chosen field.  This should give you a good idea of what kind of work you will be doing under their direction.  You should also discuss with each prospective committee member the adjacent fields and other faculty that might make a strong committee for the field you are envisioning.  When you have a good sense of the committee with whom you want to work, you should talk it over with the faculty member you would like to have chair the committee.  If you have any questions about the composition of your committee, it would be a good idea to discuss the committee you envision with the DGS, who will ultimately have to recommend that committee to the Graduate School for approval.  At this point, you can either invite those faculty members to serve on your committee, or ask the DGS to do that for you.

When you are ready to begin the committee approval process, please send the DGS the following information, cc’ing the DGSA:

  • A brief description of your dissertation topic (2-3 sentences is fine)
  • Your major research area, with that term usually understood as a scholarly hiring field or subfield (rather than, for example, a methodology)
  • The names of your proposed committee members and a brief description of their field/expertise.  An explanation of how their expertise facilitates your dissertation project (a sentence or two is fine).
  • Which faculty on the committee represent your major research area? They should be more than half of your committee.
  • Who represents your minor research area(s)? The Graduate School requires that each committee have a member who is outside of the student’s direct field of expertise.  They call this person the Minor Area Representative (or MAR), a designation that may or may not have anything to do with the minor areas of your exam.  The MAR is usually the person whose work is farthest from your own field.                               

The chair of your committee coordinates the exam process.  He or she will not only provide questions for one or more sections of the exam but will also collect questions from the rest of the committee.  The chair is responsible for giving the exam questions to the DGS or DGSA no later than one business day before the exam is scheduled.  The chair of your exam committee should also meet with you to make sure you understand the format for the exam and the expectations of the committee who will be evaluating it. 

D.  Format and Scheduling

Prelim exams consist of two written examinations, one on the major and one on the two minor areas of concentration, followed by an oral exam. The DGSA is available to send exam questions only during normal business hours (8:30-4:30).  If for any reason you need to receive the exam at another time, you need the approval of your chair and their willingness to be responsible for getting the exam to you. 

Both written exams are “take-home” in nature and must be completed within one week of each other.  You will have 12 hours in which to complete each exam.  Before the exam deadline, send the exams to the DGSA via email as a Word attachment.  

The major exam is typically scheduled first. The format is usually to answer 2 or 3 questions from a choice of between 4 to 6 questions.  For the minor exam, the format is usually to answer 1 or 2 on each minor field (2-4 in total) from between 4 and 6 questions.  (Sample exam questions are available in the Graduate Studies Office.) 

Clear communication between supervisor, committee, and student about the template of the exam (e.g., how many questions, how many choices) and about expectations (e.g., balance of attention to breadth of knowledge in the field vs detailed attention to dissertation topic in both the questions and their answers; the level of polish that is desirable and how this should be balanced against length of answers; whether quotations are desirable, etc., etc.) is essential.

You should keep your exam answers to 20 double-spaced pages or less for each exam.  This is a maximum limit, not a minimal requirement.  For the minor exam answers, half of the total length should be devoted to each field. 

The oral exam must be taken within two weeks of the second written exam. Both the written and the oral examinations are administered by your major-field faculty advisor and at least three other faculty members.

E.  Defining Major and Minor Fields of Study

You are responsible for working up the three areas of study in consultation with your committee.  An initial version of these lists must be sent to the DGS office by the end of your second year.  You are strongly advised to consult with your committee chair and all other members of the examining committee on such matters as works to be read, the historical and intellectual grounds to be covered, and those other responsibilities faculty members may consider pertinent.  We would suggest that you meet with members of your committee 1) early in the prelim process for thorough discussion of the content of your lists as they develop, 2) during your period of study in order to discuss your reading (specific books, authors, genres, critical trends, etc., as appropriate), and 3) as the exam approaches in order to discuss such issues as potential types of questions (some supervisors ask you for a page-long list of the types of questions you hope to be asked, and discussing these can be very helpful), expectations for written and oral performance, exam format and template, etc. Areas of study are generally drawn from the following categories:

  1. major authors and works in the period, genre, or topic;
  2. major literary and critical debates and trends in the literature of the period, genre, or topic and in scholarly studies of the literature;
  3. the general history of the literary period;
  4. the development of key genres within the period;
  5. major bibliographical, historical, and critical tools for study in the period, genre, or topic;
  6. selected works of minor writers in the period, genre, or topic.
F.  Student Responsibilities
  1. Submit your committee to the DGS for approval at least two months before you’d like the DGSA to schedule the exam. 
  2. Beforehand, you might want to consult with the DGS to make sure that you understand the department’s requirements governing the formation of your committee, preparation for the exam, and how the exam itself will be administered and evaluated.  The DGS is responsible not only for recommending your committee to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School but also for recommending any changes you may make in the committee’s composition.  They too must be approved by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, who appoints the committee.
  3. Consult with your director and committee members to make sure you understand the expectations for their respective sections of the exam, as well as for its oral component. 
  4. Consult with the DGSA about the mechanisms of exam distribution and collection. 

ALL matriculating Ph.D. students in English at Duke University are required to complete 12 hours in RCR training. To accomplish this, each Ph.D. student must attend ONE of three Fall RCR Orientations AND should attend at least four (4) RCR Forums within the first three years of their program to meet the number of training hours required for the degree.  If you matriculated before Fall 2020, you would only need to complete three (3) RCR Forums in addition to the six credit forum that you took in August of your entry year.  Please see the Graduate School website at  for more information. 

The department offers the following professional development workshops on a yearly basis. These workshops do not count towards the course requirement for the PhD., but all students are encouraged to take them.

  1. Employment Colloquium
    Open to students in all years.  The colloquium offers 2 events per semester aimed at giving students a sense of the range of career possibilities open to students beyond the PHD.  These events may include Duke Career Services, as well as Duke PhD alumni now working in a variety of fields.  They may take the form of presentations, workshops, Q and A with possible employers. 
  2. Dissertation Workshop
    Open to students who have passed the preliminary exam, this workshop runs in Fall and seeks to provide support and community to students at all stages of dissertation writing. You can sign up for this workshop more than once, if you want to.
  3. Article Writing Workshop
    A workshop designed to help students turn a seminar paper, conference paper or dissertation chapter into a scholarly article.  This workshop normally runs in the Spring.  You can sign up for it more than once if you want to. 
  4. Jobs Workshop
     Primarily open to students on the Academic job market, this workshop is run every Fall by the department jobs officer.  Please see section XIII, Academic Jobs Placement, for more information.
A.  Topic and Committee

Based on the feedback you receive from your preliminary exams and in consultation with your director (and perhaps other faculty), you should formulate a dissertation topic in the months immediately following completion and the preliminary exam.  If appropriate to that topic, your preliminary exam committee will become your dissertation committee.  If there are changes in the direction of your research, you are free, again in consultation with your director, to change membership on the committee in line with your dissertation project.  You should also consult with the DGS, as he or she must recommend this committee to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School for approval.  This committee will not only assist you with researching and writing the dissertation but is also charged with determining the acceptability of that work and administering the final defense.  

B.  Dissertation Chapter Meeting

Within six months of passing preliminary exams, or by the end of the fourth year at the latest, you are required to have a chapter meeting with your committee.  Failure to observe this deadline may result in a determination that you are not making satisfactory progress toward the degree.  This meeting is intended to facilitate your early progress on your dissertation, to make the committee’s advice available to you early in the dissertation process, and to inform your committee about your dissertation plans well in advance of the completion of the thesis. If you would like the DGSA to schedule your meeting, please give him/her two months of advance time to schedule the meeting. Otherwise, the duty of scheduling lies with the student in consultation with his or her director.  The committee attendance requirements for the chapter meeting are identical to those for the preliminary exam and dissertation meetings, outlined in the Graduate School handbook.

In preparation for the chapter meeting, you should submit the complete draft of a chapter, written in your best prose and accompanied by endnotes and a brief prospectus (two to three single-spaced typed pages or 1,200 – 1,600 words) of the dissertation as a whole. In addition, you should supply a short bibliography indicating the range of research anticipated for the completion of the dissertation. These materials should be submitted to your committee at least two weeks before the date of the chapter meeting.

This meeting is supposed to provide you with a candid and detailed assessment of the submitted materials and prospects for the dissertation, and each member of the committee is therefore responsible for providing you with extensive advice and feedback during the course of the meeting regarding what they expect from the completed dissertation.

C.  Application for Graduation

By applying for graduation, you inform the Graduate School that you are planning to graduate in a given semester. Log into DukeHub and select “Apply for Graduation” under the Forms and Requests tab.  An “Apply for Graduation” form filed for one semester does not carry over to the next semester. Thus, if you file in the fall and do not defend, you must file a new form in the spring. The “Apply for Graduation” form must be submitted at least one month prior to your dissertation defense and no later than February 1 for a May degree, June 14 for a September degree, and October 15 for a December degree.  Please check the current deadlines at the graduate school website, so you can be sure of your dates.

The dissertation director serves as your principal advisor but may request the second and third readers to read your work in progress. In any case, normally other committee members will read the final draft of the dissertation and give their comments to the director, who is responsible for helping you resolve any conflicting advice. The fourth reader usually does not read your work again until just prior to the dissertation defense.

D.  Committee Approval Form

Your committee in DukeHub must match the committee that will be present at your dissertation defense, or you will not be permitted to defend.  Changes in the committee members present at the dissertation defense must be made in consultation with your director and the DGS, who recommends such changes to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School for approval.  

E.  Advisor Letter and Defense Announcement

In addition to submitting your dissertation electronically, you are required to submit a Departmental Defense Announcement and an Advisor Letter to the Graduate School stating that your dissertation is complete and ready to defend. Your advisor should email the Advisor Letter to  The DGSA will submit the Defense Announcement to the Graduate School on your behalf.   

F.  UMI/ProQuest.

At least two weeks prior to your dissertation examination, you must submit your electronic dissertation to UMI/ProQuest. Use the following web address for the initial submission of your dissertation:  The initial submission of your dissertation to UMI/ProQuest is for the purpose of checking the format. You will have the opportunity to upload revisions of your dissertation after your dissertation defense. The information you provide at the initial submission will be forwarded first to a Graduate School administrator for approval. Before you begin the electronic submission process, please read the entirety of the Guide for the Electronic Submission of Dissertations:     

All dissertations must be submitted electronically.  All dissertations will be available through the Networked Digital Library for Theses and Dissertations.  Please take the time to go over the information about open access on the Graduate School Website with your dissertation chair. It can be found at Open access has implications for your use in the dissertation of material that you’ve already published in article form, and may have implications for future publication.  There are positive and negative aspects to open access, and which aspects impact you most depend upon your unique situation.  Your dissertation chair can help you think through your options.  You and your chair need to be in agreement on whether you will a) release your dissertation for open access, b) place an up to two year embargo on all publication, c) during the final part of those two years release the dissertation for “traditional publication” through DukeSpace, but renew the embargo on open access with the library for an additional 3 years.  After five years, all dissertations will be available on open access.  If you decide to go for an embargo, your chair needs to sign the form with which you request it. 

If in doubt about these regulations, you should consult the Coordinator of Academic Affairs in the Graduate School.

G.  Deadlines and Time Limits

You must make a completed draft available to the readers in ample time to allow a series of important deadlines to be met.  For a December 2023 degree, the Graduate School requires your draft dissertation to be submitted in ProQuest by November 13, 2023 (please check the Graduate School website: for specific dates and instructions, as they may be subject to change).  The final draft should include a bibliography, abstract, and title page.

The dissertation defense cannot take place until at least two weeks after submission of your initial electronic dissertation in ProQuest. November 27 is the last day you can defend during Fall Semester 2023. If, for example, you are submitting your initial dissertation on November 13 (the last day you can do so), your first three readers should have had a more or less completed draft of the dissertation in their hands no later than October 31 (and preferably earlier) in order for them to have a full month to read and comment upon it and to allow you to make changes. That is to say, readers 2 and 3 must be permitted at least one month for scrutiny of the completed dissertation in manuscript (completed but not in final form). Reader 4 must be permitted at least two weeks for scrutiny of the final draft of the dissertation. December 11 is the last day to submit your dissertation in its final form to ProQuest.  Please stay in close contact with your committee during this time to ensure they receive your work in adequate time. Before the dissertation is submitted to ProQuest, it must be tentatively approved by at least three members of the committee. Graduate School regulations stipulate that the doctoral dissertation should be submitted and accepted within two calendar years after the preliminary examination is passed. The deadline for submitting final copy may be extended two years beyond these first two years, but the department does not regard such an extension as routinely available. A request for an extension beyond four years will be rigorously reviewed and will be approved only in extraordinary circumstances. It requires the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School on the recommendation of the director of the dissertation and the DGS.

H.  Graduate School Appointment

After your initial dissertation submission to UMI/ProQuest, you will receive an email from a Graduate School staff member informing you of any formatting issues. When you receive an email from a Graduate School staff member, you may then sign up for an appointment with the individual from whom you received the email.

I.  The Dissertation Defense

The dissertation defense may take place no sooner than two weeks after the final copy of the dissertation has been approved in the Graduate School office. This oral examination is normally two hours long. All members of the dissertation committee must participate; all members of the committee will vote and sign the signature pages of the final dissertation copies. In some cases, you may be required by your committee to make minor changes or corrections to your dissertation. Upon successful completion of the dissertation defense, you have approximately thirty days to submit the final version to the grad school. After your defense, your committee must sign the Final Examination Certificate indicating that you have successfully defended your work. The card is generated in the Graduate School and will be released to you at your appointment, provided all of the necessary paperwork has been received.  Note:  If your defense is less than 30 days before the semester deadline for completion of requirements, you must adhere to the deadlines posted here:

After you defend, your committee members will vote on whether you passed or failed. Your chair and DGS will record the votes on your final examination certificate, sign it, and submit it to The Graduate School.

A candidate who fails the dissertation defense may be granted a re-examination only on the recommendation of the director of the dissertation and with the approval of the DGS and the Dean of the Graduate School. A re-examination may not occur any sooner than six months after the first examination. No third examination is permitted. See the regulations:

J.  Checklist for the Dissertation Defense
  • Make sure you have fulfilled your RCR requirements
  • Apply for graduation in DukeHub
  • Turn in your Committee Approval Form (if making a change to your committee)
  • Consult with the DGSA to schedule your defense and send your official defense announcement
  • Send your dissertation to your committee so that your committee has – according to Graduate School rules – ‘at least two weeks to read the dissertation prior to the defense.’ 
  • Your dissertation director sends an email to stating that you are ready to defend
  • Submit your dissertation electronically to UMI/ProQuest by the deadline.
  • The Grad School will contact you about any formatting issues and will set up a time to meet with you.
  • Meet with the Grad School representative to review any issues.  They will give you the Final Doctoral Examination Certificate to be signed by committee members at your defense.     
  • Make sure all bursar fees and fines are paid off
  • Consult with your director about the electronic publication embargo form and if necessary, get their signature on your embargo request.
K.  Final Submission

After Your Defense:

  • Submit Final Doctoral Examination Certificate to the Graduate School.
  • Submit one Dissertation Title Signature page with original signatures of each committee member to the Graduate School.
  • Submit one Abstract Title Signature page with original signatures of each committee member to the Graduate School.
  • Submit signed “Non-Exclusive Distribution License and Dissertation Availability Agreement.”
  • Within 30 days of your examination make the corrections required by the Graduate School and your Dissertation Committee. NOTE: If your exam is held less than 30 days before the semester deadline for completion of requirements, you must adhere to the semester deadline. If you need a period of time longer than 30 days for making changes in the thesis/dissertation, have your Director of Graduate Studies make a request for an extension of time stating the reasons for the delay and specifying at what date the thesis/dissertation will be submitted.
  • If, at the end of the semester or term, you cannot meet the submission deadline, you will be required to register for the ensuing semester in which you will receive your degree.
  • Submit the revised PDF file to UMI/ProQuest.
  • You will receive notification when the Graduate School has accepted your dissertation and you have been cleared for the Ph.D. degree.

Pedagogical training is a central element of earning a PhD from Duke English.  You will follow a carefully designed sequence of required teacher-training experiences, which includes unique opportunities to work with faculty in the classroom, participate in the Thompson Writing Program, and design your own first year literature seminar.

Pedagogy Requirements:

  1. Two semesters of pedagogy training as a teaching apprentice in the first four semesters of the program
  2. At least one semester working for the Thompson Writing Program as an Instructor or Consultant
  3. At least one semester serving as an instructor of record for the English Department
  4. 2 to 4 semesters serving as a Teaching Assistant

The pedagogical plan is as follows:       

Trajectory:  Years 1-6
First Year
  • Fall:  Take 3 courses and do no teaching
  • Spring:  Take 3 courses and do a teaching apprenticeship (in two of the next three terms)
Second Year
  • Fall:  Take 3 courses and do a teaching apprenticeship (if applicable)
  • Spring:  Take 2 courses and do a teaching apprenticeship (if applicable)

Third Year

  • Fall & Spring:  Audit courses (optional) and have a teaching assignment each term (teaching assistant, W101 course/Writing Studio)
  • Spring:  Preliminary exams taken by the end of year

Fourth Year

  •  Fall:  Chapter meeting
  • Fall & Spring:  Teach a Eng. 90S course in one term and act as a teaching assistant in the other

Fifth Year

      Fall & Spring: Teaching assistant assignment in each term

Sixth Year

Funding is not guaranteed. Most students have been funded for this year with Graduate School, external (Ford, Mellon, etc.) or departmental fellowships.

The average time for completion of degree is six years. 

A.  Teaching Apprenticeships (TAPs)

During the course of your study here, you are required to do two teaching apprenticeships.  These are intended to afford you with an opportunity to work closely with a mentor of your choice:  in one course your mentor should be in your field of study (however you have defined that at that stage), while in the other course you should venture outside your field.  The teaching apprenticeships are NOT “service work” – grading, substituting, etc. – but pedagogical and mentoring opportunities for you.  Your faculty mentors will meet with you regularly to discuss issues of pedagogy such as course design, classroom dynamics, grading, writing (not merely as a means of assessment but as a component of any class's intellectual work), and the particular problems and opportunities of certain specialties.  You should have the opportunity to teach some class meetings and to review students’ written work in consultation with faculty.  The idea is that you are not “taking a class” with your particular mentor but having a chance to concentrate more specifically on pedagogical techniques. There are no compulsory written assignments for an apprenticeship, but you will receive audit credit for the class (you should register for it as an audit: get a signed audit form from the instructor in order to do this) and the experience counts towards the “diversified field requirements.”  As in any class you might audit, you are expected to buy your own textbooks.

Note:  Any teaching apprenticeships with faculty outside the English Department must be approved by the DGS.  Please make sure that any outside faculty receive a copy of our guidelines for teaching apprenticeships:   Faculty are asked to be aware of whether their teaching apprentice is in her/his first or second apprenticeship, as well as how many other courses s/he is taking, and to adjust the workload accordingly. Guidelines on mentoring and workload are can be found here:   Please inform the DGS of any issues that arise.

Faculty mentors are expected to write a one page written report on the apprenticeship to be included in your teaching dossier.  These reports are given to the DGS office at the end of each apprenticeship.

B.  Teaching Assistants (TAs)

Following successful completion of your apprenticeships, you will be ready to participate in the Writing Studio, serve as a teaching assistant, and/or teach in the Thompson Writing Program.

Teaching assistants are expected to assist faculty in planning the course syllabus, to teach some class sessions, and to assist with grading student work. TAs can be asked to grade, collect materials and make them available, lead occasional discussions, and work with students in office hours, etc. You are not eligible to receive audit credit for courses in which you serve as an assistant (but they can count toward the “diversified field requirements” nonetheless).  If you are required to obtain books to use for one of these classes, the professor you assist should order desk copies.

The Graduate School lists the following responsibilities for TAs and Instructors of Record on their website at

“A critical obligation of TA or IOR training is that the graduate student diligently performs all of the duties that are involved in the role. By accepting the assignment, the student commits to adequate preparation for teaching, punctual attendance of all scheduled class meetings and office-hours, timely and conscientious evaluation of student work, and prompt communication to students, faculty, or university administrators of any concerns, as appropriate to their nature. Teaching assistants or IORs must make arrangements for alternative teaching coverage or rescheduling if they are unable to attend a scheduled meeting or perform a duty.

Any TA or IOR who fails to fulfill the assigned duties for the teaching role may be relieved of duties, and teaching stipend support may be removed. Moreover, as teaching is a core part of the academic requirements of many graduate programs, failing to meet the obligations of the role may have serious implications for a student’s academic status.

All graduate students involved in teaching must bear in mind that they must uphold the Duke Community Standard at all times. They should be mindful that using a position of authority for illicit gain, including sexual favors, is expressly prohibited. They must conduct themselves honorably and avoid potential conflicts of interest. For example, graduate student TAs must review their class roster(s) and disclose to the course instructor of record any reasonably perceived conflicts of interest involving students in the class, including any romantic or business relationships. Similarly, graduate student IORs must similarly disclose to the appropriate Director of Graduate Studies.

All graduate TAs and graduate IORs are mandatory reporters for any disclosures of sexual misconduct they receive in their capacity as a TA/IOR. As such, they are required to report such disclosures to the Office of Student Conduct: prevention-and-response.

The professional development of graduate students as teachers is considered part of their doctoral training. For this reason, the university has strict guidelines on how much teaching any graduate students may do so as to ensure that they retain sufficient time for other equally important components of their doctoral education. The required instructional duties of a TA or IOR must be limited to no more than 20 hours per week averaged over the semester in which the course occurs.” (In the English department, TAships tend to average more like 12-15 hours a week.)

C.  Thompson Writing Program (TWP)

In your third year, you will teach or serve as a consultant in the Thompson Writing Program for one semester. 

The Thompson Writing Program is staffed by post-doctoral faculty who teach the majority of Writing 101: Academic Writing classes – the only class at Duke that every first-year undergraduate student takes. The TWP also houses the Writing Studio, which offers one-on-one consultations in writing for members of the Duke community.  The TWP hires a select number of Graduate Student Consultants (GSCs) in the Writing Studio and Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) of Writing 101 annually, with the goal of providing pedagogical preparation in approaches to teaching writing.  For English Ph.D. students, the experience of working with the TWP is an essential part of training.

In the spring of your second year, the TWP will invite applications for Writing 101 and Writing Studio positions.  Since third-year funding is in part dependent upon these TWP positions, you must submit an application for these positions. The TWP will then interview and offer positions to students.  You may indicate preferences for GSC or GSI, though either option will be beneficial and final decisions are contingent on staffing needs of the TWP.

Writing 101 instructors are responsible for teaching classes that meet either two or three days per week. The time commitment for this work--including class preparation, responding to student writing, and student conferences--averages approximately 18 hours per week. All GSIs must attend a pedagogical training seminar and work with the TWP’s Associate Director for First-Year Writing.  Additional support will be provided through class visits, group meetings, and faculty meetings.

Consultants in the Writing Studio meet with undergraduate and graduate students to provide individual writing instruction and guidance.  These meetings take place in the TWP’s East Campus location or in one of the satellite facilities at either Lilly or Perkins library.  First-time consultants must attend a four-day preparation workshop in late August, and attend regular staff meetings throughout the semester. Consultants are expected to work approximately 14 hours per week.

D.  Pedagogy Workshop

In the third year, you will participate in a workshop on pedagogy in preparation for teaching an English course as an Instructor of record.  Students in the workshop sign up for English 996, Teaching College English, a spring semester credit/no credit course that can be used to meet the requirements for the Graduate School’s Certificate in College Teaching.  Topics might range from syllabus design, to grading, to classroom technology.  The workshop will be convened by a senior student in the program.  Students will need to participate in 5 out of 5 meetings of the workshop as preparation for teaching a 90S course in year 4.  Those who do not meet the attendance requirement will not be allowed to teach a 90S and will not receive credit for English 996. 

E.  90S Courses

By your fourth year in the department, you will be ready to design and teach your own literature course.  You will teach a 90S course as an Instructor of Record during either the fall or spring term of your fourth year. (Depending on departmental needs and your teaching experience, you may be offered the opportunity to teach a different English Department course in place of a 90s.) If your course fails to enroll, you will TA that semester, and you may try another course the next year.  

Previous course descriptions are available in the Graduate Studies Office.  The DGS and DUS will hold a meeting of all rising fourth year students to discuss the conduct and design of these courses.  The meeting is held in time for full titles and descriptions to be included in the appropriate course schedule. Participation in Pedagogy Forum is required for preparation for teaching 90S.

During the semester that you teach ENG 90, your dissertation advisor is required to visit your class once before the midway point of the course and file a short report about your teaching with the DGS office. The DGS office also encourages all dissertation directors to discuss the student's teaching with the student him/herself directly after the class visit. (In the event that a dissertation director is on leave during the semester that a student is teaching his or her section of ENG 90, the dissertation director should confer with the DGS about appointing a dissertation committee member to visit the class; otherwise, the director is expected to make this visit.)

Please see the TA section above for expectations of Tas and IORs.

F.  Teaching Dossier

While you are teaching any course independently, you should ask a faculty mentor of your choice to visit your class and write a letter or report on your teaching methods.  This written report should be given to the DGS for inclusion in your teaching dossier.  It can then be consulted when it comes time to include a discussion of your teaching experience in your letters of recommendation.

Teacher/course evaluations are another essential component of your teaching dossier. Students receive emails about the evaluation process during the semester from the Assessment Office. Instructors are asked to encourage participation. Please allow some class time at the end of the semester for your students to complete these forms, which are available through the students’ DukeHub account. You’ll receive a link to your course evaluation from the Assessment office when they are ready for viewing.  

The DGS will also review your teacher/course evaluation forms to see whether there are issues which need to be addressed or whether you may be eligible for recognition as an outstanding teacher.  

G.  Summer Teaching Assignments

Summer teaching is available but limited. Any graduate student in the fourth year or beyond who has had classroom teaching experience is eligible.  Preference will be given, however, to those who have taught a Writing 101 class for the Thompson Writing Studio but who haven’t taught their own class yet for the English department.

Although the Summer Session office makes the final decisions on summer teaching, these courses are nevertheless part of the English Department curriculum and the DUS approves them first. It is the task of the DGS to notify those grad students that are eligible and preferred according to English department criteria as to when the DUS is accepting applications, so please direct any questions you may have about eligibility to the DGS.

A.  Funding and Award Letters

All students who are admitted and enter the Duke Ph.D. program receive annual stipends in addition to having their tuition and fees paid.  For the academic year 2023/2024, the stipend amount of $28,950 covers nine months of living expenses, summer funding of $9650 covers the other 3 months of living expenses, for a total of $38,600 for the year.  The Graduate school also provides health insurance, including dental insurance. Full funding is provided during your first 5 years in the program. The department requires that a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) be filled out every year by all students. The application can be found at:

In July, you will receive a funding/award letter outlining your specific financial support and teaching or other responsibilities for the upcoming academic year.  The letter lists all the funding that the university and English department will provide for your education and living expenses.  Items included are: tuition and fees which the university will pay, stipends and fellowships awarded, and teaching positions for which you will earn a salary.  If you are receiving at least one of these financial supports, then you can expect an award letter from us via email.  

It is important that you indicate acceptance of your funding by September 1.  Failure to confirm your funding by this deadline may cause a delay in our ability to allocate the funds to you.  If you have not received your annual funding letter in August, please notify the DGSA immediately so s/he can email you a copy of the official letter.  

Note: incoming students receive their award letters directly from the Graduate School as part of our offer of admission. 

 B.   Summer Funding

Following Duke Policy, all students in their first 5 years are guaranteed 12-month funding.  Summer funding will cover stipend as well as tuition and fees.  Students who do not already have a source of summer funding will be expected to apply for summer funding.  If they have applied and are unsuccessful, an opportunity for summer funding will be provided.

Currently, students in years 1 and 2 will be covered by Graduate School summer research fellowships—you’ll need to do a brief online application for this in the Spring.  Everyone else will need to apply for Graduate School Summer Research Fellowships in the Fall.  For those who don’t receive GSRFs, a limited number of department GSRFs will be made available for application in January. Students who do not receive either of these forms of funding, must apply for at least two internships in the Spring.  Students who do not receive internships or GSRFs or who have received only partial funding through an internship or teaching, can apply for limited department summer funding. If there is not enough department summer funding to make up the shortfall, Trinity College will backstop summer funding.   Department and college funding require demonstration that the student has applied for a GSRF and for internship or teaching. 

 C.  Sixth or Final Year Funding

In recent years, we have been able to fund a final year free of teaching responsibilities so that you may focus on completing your dissertation.  Sixth year funding is not guaranteed as part of the funding package.  Funding for this year has been made possible through the Graduate School, external, and departmental endowed fellowships for which you apply in the previous year.  Note that the purpose of dissertation completion fellowships is to allow you to work full time on your dissertation.  Neither the Graduate School nor the departmental endowed fellowships allow you to take on other on-campus employment while being supported by a dissertation completion fellowship except with special permission from the Dean and/or the DGS. 

D.  Bursar Bill

If your fellowship award includes payment of tuition and fees, those charges will be automatically covered by the financial aid office of the Graduate School. Every summer, the Graduate School Financial Aid office gives the Bursar information about paying tuition and fees.  If you are in years 1-6 and you opt to take the health insurance provided through Duke and you are fully funded through the Graduate School, the English department or an external source, your health insurance will also be paid automatically through your bursar account.  Your bill is generated by the Bursar's Office as a matter of routine billing and may be generated before the Financial Aid office reports funding information to the Bursar.  The people in the Bursar's Office know that the Graduate School will pay the tuition and fees (and health insurance where applicable), so you will NOT be held responsible for them.  Thus, you should only pay any other fees that the University is not responsible for paying.  The University pays your health fee, student services fee, activity fee, and recreation fee (years 1-5 only). 

If you have any tuition and/or fee payments or adjustments on your bill from a previous year that have not been paid, your registration will be blocked.  Thus, it is important to notify the DGSA as soon as you become aware of any outstanding charges for which the University is responsible.

E.  Checks and Payroll

As outlined in your funding letters/contracts, your annual award consists of full stipend during your first two years, then stipend and teaching payments in later years. 

Stipends are considered noncompensatory payments.  These checks will be paid to you on the last business day of the month, beginning in September and ending in May.  If the last day of the month falls on a weekend or

holiday, checks will arrive early.  Check issuing schedules also vary around the Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.  If you have questions about when to expect a stipend check, see the FS.

Payments for teaching and research assistantships are considered compensatory.  Salary payments will be paid to you on the 25th of each month you work (generally September through April, though research assistantships may continue during the summer). 

Note for rising 3rd year students:  Once you take on TAing or teaching responsibilities, your funding has to be separated between stipend and salary.  Beginning in September of your third year, you will receive two checks per month, a salary check on the 25th of each month and a stipend check on the last day of the month.  However, in order to make sure you get your salary check, you will need to complete some forms (see the FS) -- including tax-withholding forms.  These forms should be completed before you leave for the summer following your second year.  You must bring either your passport or your driver's license and social security card (these are required documents we have to see in order to complete the forms) to the FS.

To check pay statements after you’ve been set up in the payroll system, log into the Duke@Work site:

F.  Direct Deposit

You are required by Payroll to have your stipend and salary checks deposited directly to your bank account.  The advantages in doing so are that the deposit occurs at midnight on the day before you would receive the paper check, funds are secure, and you don’t have to worry about picking up and cashing checks.

You can set up direct deposit for your stipend checks (noncompensatory payments) in the DukeHub system.  The direct deposit form for your work pay can be filled out online here:  You must set up direct deposit for your stipend and work pay separately.  They are considered two separate payrolls. 

Be sure you mark the correct box on the form for the payroll you wish deposited.  For stipend payments, check the noncompensatory box.  It usually takes one month for your direct deposit to be activated, so don’t be surprised if the first check you receive is “live.” 

To make changes to your direct deposit after initial set up, log into the Duke@Work site:

G.  Taxes

The University considers you to be a student, not an employee, even though you may be paid on a payroll.

Your stipend checks (non-compensatory payroll) must be reported on your taxes as income, but there are no withholding or reporting requirements to the University. 

IRS Publication 970 ( spells out the laws governing taxability of scholarships and fellowships and outlines how to itemize expenses to be withheld from taxation. You may list your health insurance, along with books, supplies and equipment, and this money should be reimbursed to you by the government. 

Your salary checks (compensatory payroll) must also be reported on your taxes as income.  Taxes are withheld from these checks according to the tax forms you complete.  In January of each year, you will receive a W2 statement which provides the amount of salary you earned and the taxes you paid during the previous year.  If you received salary checks and do not receive a W2 form by January 31 of the following year, please alert the FS immediately.

To make changes to your tax withholding after you’ve been set up in the payroll system, log in at the Duke@Work site:

If you are an international student, you must meet with the International Office to have your tax status determined before going on payroll.  International students should ENSURE that their forms have been properly filed with Payroll by August 21 (date may vary slightly) in order to receive their first check.   

H.  Health Insurance

All students are required to carry health insurance.  You may elect to have your own policy or be covered by Duke’s policy; however, you must submit proof of other insurance to the Bursar’s Office, or you will be charged for the Duke coverage.The Graduate School pays health insurance for all students fully funded through the Graduate School, the English department or through external sources.  If you opt to take health insurance outside of Duke and your waiver is approved, $600 will be deposited to your bursar account during fall semester. Please see this link for Duke insurance waiver criteria:   

Note for students beyond year six who must cover their own health insurance:  If you are being paid a salary through the compensatory payroll, you may sign up for academic year payroll deduction for health insurance.  This option will allow you to pay fall and spring charges – including the insurance premium – over eight payments/deductions. The payroll deduction authorization webform is available at:  

Please note that if you do not have summer funding that pays tuition and fees, (if you are, for example, beyond the guaranteed summer funding for year 1-5) the health fee charge on your account will give you access to services at the Student Health Center during the academic year only (your health insurance is year-round, however).  If you are staying in Durham over the summer and wish to access healthcare, you have a few options: 

  • Pay the summer fee for the Student Health Center ($341.00 this covers the entire summer).
  •  Go to a local urgent care center and use your student health insurance (according to Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s current posted policy, a basic urgent care center visit in network is $45, plus additional fees for lab work, medications, etc.)
I.  Working During the Academic Year

Like outside funding agencies, the Department of English and Graduate School put restrictions on other teaching, research, and advising jobs you can pick up in addition to the stipend or fellowship received from the Graduate School, your work at the Thompson Center, or department-based fellowships.  You must request permission from the DGS before agreeing to take on any other work assignments on campus.  The DGS, in consultation with your principal advisor / dissertation director, will want to make sure that such work will not divert you from your progress toward the Ph.D., cause you to exceed the work hour limit of 19.9 hours a week during the academic year, or conflict with the terms of your agreement with the department or Graduate School, causing money to be subtracted from your fellowship or TA stipends. Failure to obtain DGS approval prior to doing work for any additional job (regardless of how small the job is) may result in a reduction of your stipend. You will need to fill out the DGS Approval for Work form and upload it to box.

Being a student is your full-time job; therefore, you are expected to work no more than 19.9 hours a week during the academic year.  We have designed teaching assignments to fit into this time constraint. It is sometimes possible to take on TAships outside the department as a replacement for a TAship in the department, provided that the department has covered its internal responsibilities.  Please contact the DGS as soon as possible if you are considering this, since s/he will need to work out the finances with the relevant department or program.

J.  Graduate School Fellowships for Advanced Students

The Graduate School offers several fellowships for which the English department may nominate advanced students.  These fellowships include the following:

  • JB Duke International Fellowship:  Provides one year of stipend support for one or two advanced students to do research abroad.  You must be doing dissertation research abroad for the term of the award.  Each department may nominate up to two students per year.
  • Stern Dissertation Year:  Awarded to students in the write-up stage of their dissertations.  You must be an advanced graduate student with your dissertation within sight of completion and all other degree requirements met. You are expected to be in your final year at Duke.  Each department may nominate up to two students per year.
  • Price Dissertation Fellowship: The Price Fellowship is intended for students who have 1) passed their preliminary examinations, and 2) are actively engaged in the process of research for their dissertation project. It is not intended to support the writing of an already fully researched dissertation.
  • Evan Frankel Fellowship for Students in the Humanities:  The Frankel fellowship will be awarded to advanced humanities students in the write-up stage of their dissertation. This support provides an annual stipend (equivalent to the Graduate School minimum stipend established each year), as well as tuition, health and recreation fees. In addition, the Graduate School will pay the health insurance premium for recipients who enroll in the Duke student medical insurance plan.
  • Anne Firor Scott Public Scholarship Fellowship:  Supports one advanced graduate student with a strong interest in carrying out dissertation research that connects with broader public constituencies thorough innovative forms of scholarly publication (including digital projects or the use of social media) or forms of community engagement and advocacy.
  • Ottis Green Fellowship:  Open to all PhD students but preference is given to those who have participated in the Preparing Future Faculty or Certificate in College Teaching Programs.
  • Summer Research Fellowship:   Summer research fellowships are available to students in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the summer following years three-six who have passed their preliminary exam. In addition to summer tuition and fees, the fellowship awards a summer stipend of $9650.
  • Summer Research Fellowship for Research on Women or Girls of Color:  A summer research fellowship is available for a graduate student in public policy, social sciences, or the humanities who is doing research on women or girls of color.  

Applicants whose research is focused on public data, intersectional histories, contemporary issues, events and narratives, or interpretive cultural studies in humanities and the arts about women or girls of color are encouraged to apply.

The fellowship will pay a stipend of $9650for the period from June 1 to August 31, plus summer tuition and health fee.

You are also encouraged to apply for other Duke University fellowship opportunities such as the Library Internship, the Myra and William Waldo Boone Fellowship for Canadian Graduate Students, and fellowships offered by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies; the National Humanities Center; and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies.  To learn more about any of these advanced fellowships, you may see the DGSA or find information here:

Know that if you are researching out of residence, the department cannot pay for or give liability for the use of non-Duke libraries.

K.  Departmental Fellowships for Advanced Students

The English Department offers several 9-month named fellowships for which you may apply.  These include the Charles and Susan Armstrong Fellowship, the DeWitt Wallace Fellowship, the John L. Lievsay Fellowship, the Ashbel G. Brice Fellowship, the William Preston Few Fellowship, and the Reynolds Price Fellowship.  Priority for these fellowships will be given to students going into year six who have applied for a Grad School fellowship for their sixth year. All fellowships are for nine months and provide stipends equivalent to the current nine-month annual funding amount.  For example, full-year fellowships for 2023-2024 are $28950. These awards cannot be held concurrently with other major awards if the total fellowships exceed the annual funding amount ($28950 for 2023-2024, and you will not be permitted to take on other on-campus employment while being funded to work full-time on your dissertation.

To apply, send a dissertation proposal and a timetable for completion to the DGS. The DGS and faculty members of their Advisory Committee will determine the recipients of the awards.  The tentative application deadline for 2023-2024 fellowships is Friday, April 1, 2023.  Recipients will be notified in May. 

L.  Conference Travel Grants for Pre-Prelim Students

Thanks to a generous donor, we have some funds that can be used to increase the amount of our funding for students giving papers at conferences. Until we have used up these funds, our conference policies are as follows, beginning with applications received on or after Jan 1 2024.

This funding is not retroactive, it only applies to applications for conference funding received on and after January 1 2024 and only lasts as long as our extra funding lasts.

For a student in good standing who has not yet taken their preliminary exam, the English Graduate Studies Office will reimburse up to $1100 once each fiscal year for conference travel expenses.   These grants are available only if you are giving a paper at a conference and the conference is not designated “a graduate conference.”  The fiscal year runs July 1 – June 30.

You must submit the Conference Travel Fellowship application to the DGSA at least one month prior to the conference.  To apply, go to addition to the completed conference travel application, you will need to give the DGSA a brief letter of intent, an abstract of the paper that will be presented, and a completed Travel Advance form (complete all sections except for the cost object, amount requested, and student code).  A blank Travel Advance form may be found on the English website:  

In order to reduce the up-front costs of conference travel, up to 70% of the expected total expense will be provided to you in advance of the trip.  Advance payments are made via direct deposit within 5-7 days after the request form is processed by Employee Travel &Reimbursement (ET&R). The advance payment is a loan and will be posted as a debit line item on your bursar’s account. Students must submit receipts after the trip to clear their bursar’s account.  Any unspent travel funds must be repaid. 

During your conference trip, keep all your receipts and confirmations of payment.  If available, make sure you keep your boarding pass for proof of your travel.  Expenses without receipts will not be reimbursed.  

Allowable travel expenses include: airfare, train or bus fare, taxi fares, mileage (if you use your own car), rental car, gas (only if you use a rental car), meals, lodging, and the conference registration fee.  If you travel with another student and share expenses, be sure to make a copy of shared receipts and indicate the name of the student who will be submitting the originals.

When you return from your trip, you should receive an emailed link from the DGSA to accept a DukeBox folder set up for your conference travel.  If not, please check your spam folder.  Your original application and completed travel advance form will be pre-loaded to the folder.         

Your next step will be to upload your receipts as PDFs to this folder within 10 days of your return and let the DGSA know when you’ve done this. The DGSA will send detailed instructions on this process when she sends you the link to the DukeBox folder. An expense report will be prepared and sent to you.  Students must either sign the report or send an email with approval or request for changes. If any funds need to be repaid, you must do so at the time the report is filed.           

M.  Conference Travel Grants for Post-Prelim Students

Once you have passed your prelim exam, the Graduate School and English Graduate Studies office will reimburse up to $750 per student for domestic conference travel expenses or up to $1,000 of international conference travel expenses. In addition, the English Department will provide an additional $350.00 to top up the grant.  So recipients of the domestic conference grant of $750 will receive $1100, and recipients of the international conference grant of $1000 will receive $1350. 

Grants are available once per student per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) and only if you are giving a paper at a conference, and the conference is not designated a “graduate conference.” 

You must submit the Conference Travel Fellowship application to the DGSA at least one month prior to the conference.  To apply, go to

In addition to the completed conference travel application, you will need to submit a brief letter of intent, and an abstract of the paper that will be presented, and a completed Travel Advance form (complete all sections except for the cost object, amount requested, and student code).  A blank Travel Advance form may be found on the English website:

In order to reduce the up-front costs of conference travel, up to 70% of the expected total expense will be provided to you in advance of the trip.  Advance payments are made via direct deposit within 5-7 days after the request form is processed by Employee Travel &Reimbursement (ET&R). The advance payment is a loan and will be posted as a debit line item on your bursar’s account. Students must submit receipts after the trip to clear their bursar’s account.  Any unspent travel funds must be repaid. 

During your conference trip, keep all your receipts and confirmations of payment.  If available, make sure you keep your boarding pass for proof of your travel.  Expenses without receipts will not be reimbursed.  

Allowable travel expenses include: airfare, train or bus fare, taxi fares, mileage (if you use your own car), rental car, gas (only if you use a rental car), meals, lodging, and the conference registration fee.  If you travel with another student and share expenses, be sure to make a copy of shared receipts and indicate the name of the student who will be submitting the originals.

When you return from your trip, you should receive an emailed link from the DGSA to accept a DukeBox folder set up for your conference travel.  If not, please check your spam folder.  Your original application and completed travel advance form will be pre-loaded to the folder.     

Your next step will be to upload your receipts as PDFs to this folder within 10 days of your return and let the DGSA know when you’ve done this. The DGSA will send detailed instructions on this process when he or she sends you the link to the DukeBox folder. An expense report will be prepared and sent to you.  Students must either sign the report or send an email with approval or request for changes. If any funds need to be repaid, you must do so at the time the report is filed.       

N.  MLA Graduate Student Travel Grant

The MLA offers a Graduate Student Travel Grant to qualified Ph.D. candidates. The $400 travel grant is given to advanced students as partial reimbursement of expenses for travel to and attendance at pre-convention workshops, sessions in their areas of scholarly interest, meetings with job counselors, and interviews at its annual convention.  You must be a current member of MLA. You may apply for this award once.

For additional information or details on how to apply, please refer to the MLA website at

O.  Departmental Placement Grant

The department will give a grant of $500 to students who are embarking on the job market.  This money may be used for MLA travel, including conference registration for the MLA.  Trip receipts must be submitted to qualify for this grant. Any one student may qualify for this grant once; support for another year depends on available funds.

P.  Dissertation Travel Awards

A small number of awards for domestic or international dissertation research are granted annually by the Graduate School.  Application times will be announced by the DGS.

The DGS benefits from consultation with graduate student representatives elected to serve on a Graduate Student Advisory Committee.  Each year the DGS asks the graduate students to convene and elect two representatives, one pre-prelim and one post-prelim, to serve on the committee.

Students meet with the DGS once a semester to address their questions and concerns.  Students are encouraged to attend all Department events, to help out during recruitment week, and to attend hiring talks and receptions.  Students whose field interests are similar to the job candidate’s may be included in other events.  It has been common practice for students to convene at the end of the process and write a letter or letters of opinion addressed to the Chair.  The Chair may distribute this letter or letters at the faculty meeting where the candidates are discussed.

Because helping you to get an academic job is an important aspect of our program, the English Department is committed to providing placement support.  The Department offers full support for up to two years or until a tenure track job is obtained, whichever comes first.  This support includes advice, assistance with preparing your application materials (cv, application letter, and abstract), coaching for interviewing and giving job talks, providing you with job information, and mailing dossiers through Interfolio.  The department will provide you with a sponsorship package through Interfolio for each department-supported year you are on the market.  You are also eligible for the Departmental Placement Grant (see H-xv).

Each year, a faculty member serves as Placement Officer.  At the end of each spring semester, there is a placement meeting to inform students at all levels of the program on how to prepare for their academic job searches.  In the fall term, the Placement Officer runs a weekly placement workshop to help students prepare application documents and practice interviewing.  In addition, the Placement Officer and the Graduate Studies office can help jobseekers set up practice job talks and teaching demonstrations.  

The DGSA will collect your information, assist you in creating a profile in Interfolio, upload your letters of recommendation to Interfolio when needed and send you copies of job announcements.  S/he will also arrange for office space and tech support for video interviews on campus, if required, arrange mock interviews and job talks, and keep you informed of placement activities.

You may apply for a leave of absence from the program (for up to two semesters).  Permission needs to be obtained from the DGS and approved by the Associate Dean before the beginning of the semester of leave.  Leaves of absence are granted only for medical and personal reasons or to enable a student to take advantage of important fellowship opportunities.  They are never granted to complete or continue academic studies that are part of the routine requirements of the English department program. In order to be eligible for leave, you must be in good academic standing.  You do not pay any fees while on an approved leave. In cases in which a personal leave is taken during years 1-6, the leave does not stop the funding “clock”: i.e., a one or two semester leave taken in years 1-5 will mean one or two semesters less funding from the Graduate School, and a one or two semester leave taken in year 6 will mean one or two semesters less sixth-year funding from the department.

The Graduate School will assist you in applying for a US visa.  The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has a website designed to answer all your questions about the visa process.  The website provides information on all aspects of the visa process, step-by-step instructions on applying for a visa, and links to DOS Web pages with updates on policy and procedural changes.  The site is located at:  There is currently a special site with helpful information specifically for prospective students:

If you need specific help with a student visa, you may also contact Duke’s International Office at: .

The Armstrong Graduate Suite is located in Allen 305 and 305B for graduate student use.  The main space includes mailboxes, a small refrigerator, a coffee machine, some tables and chairs, and a small library.  The office is available for reservation first by graduate instructors, and then by the general grad student population.  The suite is open 8-5, Monday through Friday.  If you have an event after business hours, you can reserve the space for it with the DGSA, who will make the key available.

There is also a department lounge in Allen 328, open to faculty, graduate students, staff and undergraduates.

For your convenience, a variety of forms you may need for routine administrative matters are found at: .

Important note:  the DGS office requires one week to complete all forms, both online forms, and forms requiring a hard copy and signature, with the exception of conference travel forms, which must be submitted to the DGS office at least a month (and preferably much more) in advance of the applicant’s date of proposed departure. 

This section details the responsibilities of several key people and offices in the program.  It is designed to help you become familiar with these people and some of the resources they provide.

A.  Faculty

For all questions regarding course requirements, extensions of deadlines for submitting papers in a course, permission to take an Incomplete, and examinations in a course, you should consult your instructors.  If there are differences that cannot be resolved or if an instructor cannot be reached, consult the DGS on how to proceed.

B.  Advisors

All entering students are assigned both a faculty and a student advisor who can offer advice and counsel to you on an individual basis. Your faculty advisor is expected to meet regularly with you and at least once a term, especially during the registration period.  You are encouraged to make an appointment with your faculty advisor soon after arriving on campus.  Student advisorsare an indispensable part of the passing along of student wisdom, as well as an integral part of your initiation into the culture of the graduate program.  Once your prelim committee is formed, the committee chair becomes your primary advisor. The DGS is always available as a back-up advisor.  In addition to individual sessions with your advisors, you will want to participate in the annual meetings which the DGS holds with all the students in your class year.  These meetings are designed to inform you of teaching assignments and guide you through the various stages of the program.   

C.  Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) 

The DGS is responsible for administering departmental regulations regarding graduate study and for ensuring that they are in accord with Graduate School requirements. Contact Kathy Psomiades, the DGS, about the following matters:

  • Preliminary examination
  • Dissertation and final examination for the Ph.D.
  • Advising on academic or other aspects of the graduate program
  • Instructional questions such as registration for courses, independent studies and tutorials, or ways of   satisfying foreign-language requirements 
  • Requests for Leave of Absence, committee formation
  • Approval for Report of the Doctoral Preliminary Exam, Final Examination Announcement for Ph.D.., and extensions of dissertation deadlines
  • Applications for financial aid
  • Requests for travel funds
  • Teaching assignments
  • Funding
  • Graduate School competitive fellowships and department fellowships
D.  Staff Assistant in the Graduate Studies Office (DGSA)

The DGSA serves as a liaison between graduate students and the DGS.  She is available during the week 7:30 am to 4:00 pm to assist you with academic matters.  She is also a resource person who can provide you with information and direct you to the appropriate people and DukeHub for help.  You may contact Sandy Marks Valdes the DGSA, by calling (919) 684-5538 and leaving a message or emailing her at

 The DGSA is responsible for the following:

  • Maintaining complete and confidential academic records on students in the program
  • Providing assistance to students and answering questions about academic matters
  • Assisting students in scheduling advisory, placement, and chapter meetings as well as exams and defenses
  • Contacting the Graduate School concerning appropriate graduate school matters
  • Submitting all committee forms for approval by the Graduate School
  • Organizing admissions files and coordinating recruitment events
  • Coordinating placement activities and assisting with Interfolio dossier service
E.  Department Financial Secretary (FS)

Lisa Olds is responsible for handling all financial matters of the department.  She is available weekdays, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, to answer any questions you may have about stipend or salary checks, reimbursements, travel grants, or other financial concerns.  You may contact her at or by leaving a message at 919-684-2741.  

F.  Preliminary Exam/Dissertation Committee

Once the preliminary examination committee has been formed, the chair of this committee becomes your principal academic advisor.  He or she and the DGS should be consulted on all questions regarding areas of concentrated study, the topic of the dissertation, and the manner of proceeding with it.  Other committee members may serve as advisors as well.

All committees must be approved by the Graduate School.  The preliminary exam committee must be approved at least 60 days prior to the preliminary exam.  All members of the committee must be approved members of the Graduate Faculty.

Please see the Statement of Expectations for Advising in section five for expectations for faculty and graduate students.

G.  Director of the Thompson Writing Program

Denise Comer, Director of the Thompson Writing Program, oversees instruction in the University Writing Courses.  In concert with the DGS, student consultants are appointed each year.  Ms. Comer then assigns consultants to their sections and schedules teaching hours.  On all matters related to the Thompson Writing Program, she is the person to consult.  You may contact her at (919) 660-4357,  If you will be working in the Writing Studio, then you will be working with Eliana Schonberg, (919) 668-0900,

H.  Coordinator of Student Records in the Graduate School

Helene McAdams of the Graduate School is responsible for all routine registration and certification procedures.  She decides questions on course loads, drop/adds, and the like; and she can advise on other Graduate School rules, regulations, and procedures. You may contact her at (919) 681-3248 or

I.  Graduate School Financial Aid Office

Daniel Heflin is responsible for all graduate student financial aid.  He can answer questions and advise you on financial aid matters.  He can also provide you with emergency loans.  You can contact Daniel at (919) 681-3247 or .

J.  Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Graduate School

Associate Dean John Klingensmith is responsible for formulating and administering university policies on graduate study. He is the final authority on the enforcement of Graduate School regulations.  He receives from the directors of graduate studies all applications for university fellowships, dissertation travel grants, conference travel grants, and summer awards.   

You should not petition Dean Suzanne Barbour for redress of grievances until you have exhausted all other means.  The procedure to follow is to consult first with the instructor respecting difficulties that may have arisen in courses, with the committee chair respecting the preliminary examination or the dissertation itself, with the DGS respecting any such difficulties that remain unresolved or any others that are his or her primary responsibility, and finally with the Chair of the Department if these difficulties persist.  Further problems may then be referred to the Graduate School, but first to Associate Dean Klingensmith before referral to the Dean.  You may contact John Klingensmith at (919) 681-1559. 

K.  Graduate Student Affairs

The central mission of the Office of Graduate Student Affairs (GSA) is to enhance the quality of graduate student life by working closely with individual students, student organizations, faculty, and other campus offices.  The aim is to provide a broad array of programs on issues related to graduate student life such as health, safety, harassment prevention, housing, mentoring, and professional development.  GSA also has a particular role in establishing support services that address the specific needs of students from different ethnic backgrounds, international students, gay and lesbian students, students with disabilities, women, and other groups.  This office is committed to helping students become active participants in the Duke University community.  You may contact this office at (919) 684-2056 or .

L.  Librarian for Literature and Theater Studies  

Duke University Libraries:

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy is the Librarian for Literature and Theater Studies at Perkins Library.  She loves working with students and endeavors to stay in touch with your needs and interests.  She is available to assist you with any library needs you might have.  You may contact her by phone (919-660-5881) or by email (  Please see her research guide to see some of the resources available to you:

BOOK PURCHASE REQUESTS:  Please, let me know if you're not finding what you need in the library in the way of books, journals, or electronic resources. I have responsibility for purchasing materials in literatures in English (US, UK, Canada, Commonwealth), theory, criticism, and theater studies/drama, but I can forward requests in other subject areas to the appropriate librarian as well.

RESEARCH CONSULTATIONS:  I know you all are intimately familiar with the most important research tools in literature, but there are changes in the library daily, and I can help you efficiently search sources like MLA Bibliography and Project Muse, and use other primary research tools in print and online form...then you'll have more time for the exploring, thinking, and writing you'd like to be doing.  Contact me with any research problem--no question is too small, too silly, or too big.  We can talk through email or set up an appointment to discuss your research questions.

INSTRUCTION FOR YOUR STUDENTS:  I can provide classroom sessions on library resources tailored to the courses you're teaching, or even specific projects you've assigned your students.  Tired of your students' bibliographies being composed entirely of citations gleaned from a Google search?  I can help!  Sessions can take an entire class period or more, but even half an hour gets results.  Possible topics might include navigating library databases, evaluating sources, using citation management tools, finding book reviews, and more.

The Duke University English Department is committed to open expression in both its teaching and research missions. An exchange of ideas can be open only within a climate of respect. This means, in part, an environment respectful of all, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or other points of difference. Cultivating such respect requires confronting the legacies of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, and other forms of bias. We are committed to countering bias and fostering diversity in our department, because we understand how much we gain from collective work, particularly when we differ in opinion or position. We recognize that assumptions and long-cherished beliefs can and should be challenged, and we pledge ourselves to considering controversial topics from multiple points of view. We value free, open, and respectful discussion.

Some behaviors that threaten free, open, and respectful discussions fall under the category of discriminatory behaviors that violate federal law, including assault, sexual harassment, research misconduct, and asset misappropriation. In these cases, any faculty member, staff member, or graduate student who becomes aware of such a complaint is legally required to notify University administrators. Departmental officers can help faculty, staff, and graduate students to locate the proper administrator; please see as well the resources linked below.

Other behaviors that threaten free, open, and respectful discussions do not fall under the category of federally-specified discriminatory behaviors. Graduate students are encouraged to contact the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who will work with the graduate student on possible solutions. In the case of graduate students, should a departmental solution not be possible or effective, the issue will be referred to the Trinity Dean of Graduate Studies. Graduate students are also encouraged to consult the “Grievances” section in the graduate program expectations document and the Graduate School’s website on reporting.

We encourage all graduate students to consult the following documents, which outline Duke University’s values and legal obligations, and detail mechanisms for discussing grievances: