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: Charlotte Sussman
- DUS – Director of Undergraduate Studies: Corina Stan
- DGSA – Staff Assistant in the Graduate Studies Office (316 Allen): Maryscot Mullins
- FS – Financial Secretary for the English Department (303 Allen): Monika Allison
PH.D. In English
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 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 at least one 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:
- 18th century British
- 19th century British: Romanticism or Victorian
- Pre-Civil War American
- Post-Civil War American
- 20th century and contemporary literatures: British, Irish, American, Post-colonial, Comparative
- Genre: the Novel, Drama, Lyric Poetry, Epic or Romance
- Film, Video, New Technologies
- 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.
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 $200 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: https://gradschool.duke.edu/sites/default/files/documents/form_permission_to_audit_course.pdf .
Tutorials and Independent Studies
An independent study is an individualized course of study between one student and a professor. A tutorial is two students having a regular study session with a professor. The purpose of independent studies and tutorials is to supplement, rather than compete with, regular course offerings. All tutorials and independent studies must be pre-approved by the DGS. Credit-bearing tutorials may not exceed two students. (In cases in which more than two students wish to take a credit-bearing tutorial, then the professor who intends to lead that tutorial should propose it, during the time that one normally specifies teaching preferences, as a normal graduate course.) An English faculty member should not teach more than two English graduate students under credit-bearing tutorials or independent studies in any given semester.
The following criteria must be met in order for the DGS to approve the independent study:
- As a general rule, only one independent study or tutorial may be used to count towards the 11 course requirement for the Ph.D. and/or towards the distribution requirements.
- The reading and writing requirements for an independent study or tutorial must be at least equivalent to what would be required in a full graduate course.
- The independent study or tutorial must meet a minimum of once every two weeks.
- The independent study or tutorial 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 names of any other students who will be in the study
- A detailed description of the reading and writing requirements of the independent study or tutorial
- A rationale from each student taking the independent study/tutorial 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 for each student of whether you want to count the independent study or tutorial for course credit – remember only one independent study or tutorial can count towards the 11 course requirement of the Ph.D.
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 do these studies in addition to their regular course load and appointments. Please be sure the professor with whom you wish to study is willing to take on an independent study/tutorial 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.
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. The form can be found here: https://registrar.duke.edu/forms/interinstitutional-approval-form
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, his/her 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.***
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.
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 to let you and your director know your funding status.
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 and in addition to his/her native language. "Reading proficiency" can be demonstrated in various ways, so long as they are comparable to passing a seminar taught in the language or passing a translation exam administered by the department. Please consult the DGS before pursuing an alternative to make sure it is indeed comparable. You are eligible for funding from the Graduate School and department to take intensive noncredit summer programs in Languages for Reading Purposes (LFRP).
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.
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.
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, and for your future career as a college or university teacher, where you will be expected to work up new areas to serve curricular needs.
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.
Forming a Committee
**Note**: As of May 5, 2018, no faculty member directing eight or more exam/dissertation committees may direct an additional English department exam/dissertation committee. (This binding rule was voted in by the faculty as a whole on March 22, 2016 as a response to graduate student concerns raised in the 2015/2016 external review.) 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.
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 his/her 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.
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:
- major authors and works in the period, genre, or topic;
- major literary and critical debates and trends in the literature of the period, genre, or topic and in scholarly studies of the literature;
- the general history of the literary period;
- the development of key genres within the period;
- major bibliographical, historical, and critical tools for study in the period, genre, or topic;
- selected works of minor writers in the period, genre, or topic.
- Submit your committee to the DGS for approval at least two months before you’d like the DGSA to schedule
- the exam.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 his/her 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 https://gradschool.duke.edu/professional-development/programs/responsible-conduct-research/rcr-requirements for more information.
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.
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, with the exception that approval for one member (not the chair) participating remotely is determined by the English DGS, rather than Associate Dean of the Graduate School.
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.
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 January 25 for a May degree, June 15 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The DGSA will submit the Defense Announcement to the Graduate School on your behalf.
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: http://www.etdadmin.com/cgi-bin/home. 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 http://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/theses-and-dissertations. 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.
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 2020 degree, the Graduate School requires your draft dissertation to be submitted in ProQuest by November 9, 2020 (please check the Graduate School website: https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/preparing-graduate/graduation-deadlinesfor 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 23 is the last day you can defend during Fall Semester 2020. If, for example, you are submitting your initial dissertation on November 9 (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 9 (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 7 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.
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.
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. One member may participate by phone or Skype if necessary with the Associate Dean of the Graduate School’s permission. 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: https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/preparing-graduate/graduation-deadlines
After defending, obtain the original signatures of your committee on: one (1) title signature page, one (1) abstract title signature page, and the Final Exam Certificate. Please note that neither signature page needs to be printed on a specific type of paper. Also, obtain the signature of your Director of Graduate Studies on your Final Doctoral Exam Certificate. If a committee member has been approved to participate remotely, the DGSA will obtain a letter from them approving the result of your defense. As of spring 2020, the rules governing documentation of your dissertation and defense have changed due to the pandemic. You will be guided through the current requirements by the DGS and DGSA.
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:https://gradschool.duke.edu/sites/default/files/documents/dgs_manual_ch09.pdf
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 email@example.com 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 his/her signature on your embargo request
- 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.
NOTE: Do not submit signed Title and Abstract Title pages to UMI/ProQuest. Please use unsigned Title pages for the electronic submission. The signed Title pages should be delivered to the Graduate School at 2127 Campus Drive. As of spring 2020, the paperwork rules for dissertation and defenses have changed due to the pandemic. You will be guided through the current requirements by the DGS and DGSA.
- You will receive notification when the Graduate School has accepted your dissertation and you have been cleared for the Ph.D. degree.
The department takes very seriously its mission to train you as a teacher as well as a scholar and an intellectual, and to make pedagogy a lively and integrated aspect of departmental culture. You will follow a carefully designed pattern of teacher-training which includes unique opportunities to work with faculty in the classroom, participate in the Thompson Writing Program, teach core English Department courses, and design your own first year literature seminar. These opportunities are described more fully in the next few pages.
The pedagogical plan is as follows:
Trajectory: Years 1-6
Fall: Take 3 courses and do no teaching
Spring: Take 3 courses and do a teaching apprenticeship (in two of the next three terms)
Fall: Take 3 courses and do a teaching apprenticeship (if applicable)
Spring: Take 2 courses and do a teaching apprenticeship (if applicable)
Fall & Spring: Audit courses and have a teaching assignment each term (teaching assistant, W101 course, or Writing Studio)
Spring: Preliminary exams taken by the end of year
Fall: Chapter meeting
Fall & Spring: Teach a Eng. 90S course in one term and act as a teaching assistant in the other
Fall & Spring: Teaching assistant assignment in each term
Funding is not guaranteed. Most students have been funded for this year with Graduate School, external (Ford, Mellon, etc.) or departmental fellowships.
Note that some students may serve as a research assistant, rather than a teaching assistant, in their third, fourth, or fifth years. The average time for completion of degree is six years.
Teaching Apprenticeships (TAPs)
During the course of your study here, you will have the opportunity 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 should be pre-approved by the DGS. Please make sure that any outside faculty receive a copy of our guidelines for teaching apprenticeships: https://english.duke.edu/graduate/resources-forms 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: https://english.duke.edu/graduate/pedagogy 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.
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. These opportunities are available to you in your third year.
Teaching assistants are expected to assist faculty in planning the course syllabus, to teach some class sessions, and to assist with grading student work. 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.
Thompson Writing Program (TWP)
In your third year, you have the opportunity to teach or serve as a consultant in the Thompson Writing Program for one semester. This opportunity may be extended to students in later years of the program who for one reason or another have not yet had the opportunity to work in the Thompson Writing program.
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 which 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, and will be an asset in your own job search.
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.
In the third year, you will participate in a workshop on pedagogy. 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 4 out of 4 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.
By your fourth year in the department, you will be ready to design and teach your own literature course. It is expected that you will teach a 90S course during either the fall or spring term of your fourth 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.)
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. Student comments and tabulation of your numerical evaluations are available a few weeks after the end of the semester at https://assessment.trinity.duke.edu/tableau-quick-start-guide#login .
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.
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 Paula Gilbert in 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.
Important: you cannot be employed by Duke if you are living outside North Carolina in a state that is not on the list of Duke payroll states: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, California. The District of Columbia is also on the list
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 2020-21, the stipend amount of $24,300 covers nine months of living expenses, in addition to one year of health insurance which the Graduate School pays. 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: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
In August, 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 to be placed in your campus mailbox.
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.
The standard package of graduate student support in the English department does not cover the summer months in years 3-5. Please note that Duke has promised 12-month funding beginning in summer 2022, but we have no details at this time as to how that will be disbursed.
Some possible sources of funding are: FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies), TIP (Talent Identification Program), Duke Temporary Services, Graduate School Summer Research Fellowships, and Library Internships. A word of caution, though, for students in the third year and beyond: if you elect to work at Perkins Library, the Gothic Bookstore, or any other place outside the English Department, this will involve a change in your payroll status. Please notify the FS before you begin working.
Important: you cannot be employed by Duke if you are living outside North Carolina in a state that is not on the list of Duke payroll states: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, California. The District of Columbia is also on the list.
Sixth or Final Year Funding
In recent years, we have been able to fund a final year free of teaching responsibilities (usually the 6th year but for some students the 5th) 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.
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.
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 non-compensatory 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 paid to you on the 25thof each month you work (generally September through April, though research assistantships may continue during the summer). During the academic year, compensatory pay (regardless of source) is limited to a total of $5,000 over the amount you are being paid for your departmental work as a teaching assistant or instructor. No one in years 1-5 will be allowed to receive work pay over $5,000. Anyone who goes over that amount will be expected to pay the overage back to the Grad School. Wages for work done during the academic year must be paid during the academic year -- they will not carry forward into 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.
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.
To fill out the direct deposit form for your stipend checks, you can get the form from the FS or one may be printed from the following website: http://finance.duke.edu/payroll/forms/index.php#dds (log in required) . The direct deposit form for your work pay can be filled out online here: http://www.hr.duke.edu/selfservice/ 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 non-compensatory box. You may either mail the form or deliver it in person to the Payroll Office, 705 Broad Street, Durham NC 27708. They will not accept faxes. 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.”
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 (www.irs.gov) 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: http://www.hr.duke.edu/selfservice/.
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.
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: https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth/health-insurance/waiver-criteria-review
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 . https://finance.duke.edu/bursar/forms/payroll_deduct.php
Please note that unless you have summer funding, payment of your health fee 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 ($302.00 for the entire summer, or $151.00 for either summer session I or II)
- 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 is $45, plus additional fees for lab work, medications, etc.)
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 either extra or substitute work assignments elsewhere 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. 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.
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.
On Working Remotely
You cannot be employed by Duke if you are living outside North Carolina in a state that is not on the list of Duke payroll states: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and California. The District of Columbia is also on the list.
The department cannot pay for or give liability for the use of non-Duke libraries.
If you do not defend your dissertation by the end of the seventh year in the program, the department and the Graduate School require you to create and follow a Completion Plan with deliverables and due-by dates to govern the remainder of your time in the program. The Completion Plan will be submitted to the Graduate School after being signed by the student, their advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies. The DGSA has a template that students may use.
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 Ph.D 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 $5,500.
- 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 $5,500 for 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: https://gradschool.duke.edu/financial-support/find-funding.
Departmental Fellowships for Advanced Students
The English Department offers several 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 one year and provide stipends equivalent to the current annual funding amount. For example, full-year fellowships for 2020-2021 are $24,300 and half-year fellowships are $12,150. These awards cannot be held concurrently with other major awards if the total fellowships exceed the annual funding amount ($24,300 for 2020-2021), 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 his/her Advisory Committee will determine the recipients of the awards. The tentative application deadline for 2021-2022 fellowships is Friday, April 2, 2021. Recipients will be notified in May.
Conference Travel Grants for Pre-Prelim Students
Note: due to the pandemic, the conference funding program is on hold. An announcement will go out when it is open again.
For a student in good standing who has not yet taken their preliminary exam, the English Graduate Studies Office will reimburse up to $750 once each fiscal year for domestic conference travel expenses or up to $1,000 once each fiscal year for international conference travel expenses. These grants are available only if you are giving a paper at a conference. Only one graduate conference total can be submitted for grant funding by any individual student during the pre-prelim period. 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 http://gradschool.duke.edu/sites/default/files/documents/conftrav.pdf . In addition to the completed conference travel application, you will need to give the DGSA a brief letter of intent and an abstract of the paper that will be presented.
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), 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 have received 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 will be pre-loaded to the folder.
Your next step will be to upload your receipts as PDFs to this folder. The DGSA will send detailed instructions on this process when she sends you the link to the DukeBox folder.
Conference Travel Grants for Post-Prelim Students
Note: due to the pandemic, the conference funding program is on hold. An announcement will go out when it is open again.
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. 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: http://gradschool.duke.edu/sites/default/files/documents/conftrav.pdf. 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.
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), 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 have received 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 approval letter from the Graduate School will be pre-loaded to the folder.
Your next step will be to upload your receipts as PDFs to this folder. The DGSA will send detailed instructions on this process when she sends you the link to your DukeBox folder.
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 (the deadline to join the association or to renew membership in order to qualify for the grant is December 1, 2020) and must have met all the requirements for the Ph.D. except the dissertation.
For additional information or details on how to apply, please refer to the MLA website at https://www.mla.org/Resources/Career/MLA-Grants-and-Awards/Assistance-for-Convention-Travel-and-Member-Dues/Graduate-Students-Traveling-to-the-Convention.
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.
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 our during recruitment week, and to attend hiring talks and receptions. Students whose field interests are similar to the candidates 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 a teaching 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 in 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: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html. There is currently a special site with helpful information specifically for prospective students: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study.html
If you need specific help with a student visa, you may also contact Duke’s International Office at: https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse .
Note: due to the pandemic, the lounge is currently closed. The department will send an announcement when it reopens.
A department lounge is located in 328 Allen for faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student use. This room serves as a lounge and meeting/conference room. Free coffee and tea are available if you bring your own mug. A refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven are also available for your use. We also have a small collection of books which may be read in the lounge or checked out (through the DGSA). Graduate student mailboxes are located inside this room. It is open during the week from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
For your convenience, a variety of forms you may need for routine administrative matters are found at: https://english.duke.edu/graduate/resources-forms .
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.
- Conference Travel Form
- Interinstitutional Course Registration Approval Form
- Doctoral Preliminary Exam Form
Forms below are available in our Box Folder:
- Permission to Audit Course
- Teaching Apprenticeship Responsibilities + Contract
- Annual Progress Report Form
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.
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.
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.
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 Charlotte Sussman, 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
- Graduate School competitive fellowships and department fellowships
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 8:30 am to 4:30 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 Maryscot Mullins, the DGSA, by calling (919) 684-5538 and leaving a message or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Department Financial Secretary (FS)
The FS is responsible for handling all financial matters of the department. She is available weekdays, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, to answer any questions you may have about stipend or salary checks, reimbursements, travel
grants, or other financial concerns. You may contact the FS by email at: email@example.com or by leaving a message at 919-684-4289.
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.
Director of the Thompson Writing Program
Clare Woods, 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. Woods 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) 613-4409, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you will be working in the Writing Studio, then you will be working with Eliana Schonberg, 668-0900, email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate School Financial Aid Office
Lisa Wioskowski is responsible for all graduate student financial aid. She can answer questions and advise you on financial aid matters. She can also provide you with emergency loans. You can contact Lisa at (919) 681-3247 or email@example.com .
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 Paula McClain 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. Denise Leathers is his assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com .
Librarian for Literature and Theater Studies
Duke University Libraries: http://www.lib.duke.edu
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please see her research guide to see some of the resources available to you: http://guides.library.duke.edu/literature
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.
Currently, the JD/MA program is not accepting new students.
JD/MAs are required to complete 18 graded units and register for 12 ungraded research units. To register for research in DukeHub, scroll down the list of departments offering courses until you get to “Research.” There is only one class under the Research designation. Sign up for the desired number of credits. You cannot register for Research through the English department.
Total of 30 units including:
- 6 graded courses (18 units), typically one per term
- 2 of these courses can be in the Literature Department
- 12 ungraded research units
Note: Courses that fulfill credit requirements for the MA degree must be attributed to your Graduate School record and cannot simultaneously count towards your law degree credit requirements. You must maintain registration (“continuation”) in the Graduate School even if you are not taking a course in any given semester during the academic year. Please be aware of the Graduate School’s drop/add windows each semester, as you are required to complete course registration/changes during that time.
Non-Thesis: Requires approval of MA by at least three professors who have graded one paper each from your courses. You must submit a Committee Approval Form (http://english.duke.edu/student-forms) to the Graduate School at least one week in advance of submission of your Non-Thesis MA Examination Card. You must get signatures from your committee members on the Non-Thesis MA Examination Card and submit it to the Graduate School before the published deadline during the semester you intend to graduate (see below). This form is available from the DGSA.
Thesis: Committee of at least three faculty who oversee and critique your writing. Registration for English 399 (MA research with a supervisor) replaces two of your six graded courses. You must submit a Committee Approval Form (http://english.duke.edu/student-forms-other-information) to the graduate school at least one week in advance of submission of your Master's Thesis Examination Card. A Master's Thesis Examination Card (which requires a formal thesis format check in the Graduate School) must be submitted to the Graduate School before the published deadline during the semester you intend to graduate (see below). This form is available from the DGSA.
Please note that joint degrees are interdependent. If the full requirements of both degrees are not met, you will not receive either degree. The Graduate School requires you to apply for graduation in DukeHub during the semester in which you are graduating: typically January 25 for a May degree, June 15 for a September degree, and October 15 for a December degree. You will not receive a degree unless you apply to graduate. There is no penalty for filing and then changing your plans. However, a form filed for one semester does not carry over to the next semester.