Department of English

University of Toronto

PhD Program

Graduate Programs - PhD Program

Robarts Library We welcome applications from our own MA students, students from other recognized institutions, and those applying for Direct Entry into the PhD program from an undergraduate degree. However, it should be noted that admission to the PhD program is highly selective; there are always many more qualified applicants than can be admitted.

Candidates for admission to the PhD program must complete an MA in English at this or another university with a standing of A- or better, and must satisfy the Department that they are capable of independent research at an advanced level. The program is designed for completion in four years; it may extend, if necessary, to a maximum of six years.

At first registration, doctoral candidates are assigned an advisor from the graduate faculty of the Department. A thesis supervisor and supervisory committee are appointed at the end of Year 1.

The PhD Program Timeline and Policy on Satisfactory Progress should be reviewed by all students in the PhD Program (NB: click on the link to download this document, revised August 2019).


PhD U admission is granted only occasionally, and is intended for students with an unusual profile. PhD U admission will be considered in the case of applicants who have been admitted from undergraduate studies to a PhD (or equivalent) in another country. It may be considered for students who lack the required coursework for entry (eg. have completed/are completing a thesis-based MA or MPhil degree), or who have/will have a very specialized master's degree in English (Genre Studies) or a master's degree related to English (Cultural Studies). If in doubt about your eligibility, please contact the PhD Associate Director before applying. 

As of September 2011, Direct Entry students must complete three FCE’s (full course equivalents). Students must complete Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English in their first year, plus Texts, Theories, and Archives in their second year with a grade of at least B in each course and an overall A- average. In second year, they must complete the other regular program requirements listed below.


The program requirements (except for ENG9900H and ENG9500H) for the PhD are usually completed within the first two years of the program, or the first three years for Direct Entry (PhD U) students.

Students must complete their coursework with an average grade of at least A- for continuation in the program.

PhD students may take up to 1.0 FCE of coursework outside of the Graduate Program in English, with the approval of the PhD Associate Director. 

Courses that are cross-listed by English from other departments are equivalent to English courses and may be taken without special permission from the Department.

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