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University of Notre Dame English Ph.D.

What makes ND English distinctive?

A dynamic faculty

Broad career preparation

An international Ph.D.

A dynamic faculty

The Department of English at Notre Dame has grown at a rate unrivaled in most of the country over the past decade. New faculty hires build expertise at the leading edge of our discipline, notably in race and ethnicity, digital humanities, and media studies, and complement the department’s established strengths, including in religion and literature, Medieval literature, and Irish literature.

Graduate students enjoy access to world-class scholars working in a range of fields and practicing a variety of methodological, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approaches.

In 2021, the department welcomes five new faculty:

Dionne Irving Bremyer, Xavier Navarro Aquino, Chanté Mouton Kinyon, Matthew Kilbane, and Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal
I think graduate students are often surprised and pleased by the kinds of big topics that the interdisciplinary shift in the field opens up to them. It’s very exciting to serve as a mentor and sounding board and help them present papers, do articles, and get all the way to the finished product of the dissertation and a good job.”

— Laura Knoppers, George N. Shuster Professor of English Literature and Department Chair

The English Ph.D. program is intellectually rigorous and engaging, but it also encourages me to think beyond course material and exams to envision myself within the field. I have found support in a community of peers, and I have found mentors and colleagues among the world-class faculty who are invested in my success.”

— Dominique Vargas, Ph.D. 2021. 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellow with ND Learning and the Kaneb Center

Broad career preparation

The Ph.D. in English prepares students for careers in the professoriate, as well as academic administration, publishing, and business and nonprofit work.

Our students build academic expertise in their fields of study, and can gain teaching experience in both rhetoric and literature, as well as in programs including Gender Studies, the Medieval Institute, and the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. Students interested in editorial work get an inside look at journal and book editing while working with publications supervised by department faculty.

The Department of English works closely with Graduate Career Services at Notre Dame, and offers multiple professionalization practicums and workshops on career planning, beginning in the first year of graduate study through completion of the degree and postdoctoral or internship work.

Students who complete the Ph.D. in five years are eligible for the College of Arts and Letters 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This one-year fellowship includes salary, funds for professional development, and benefits, and is designed to strengthen fellows’ career opportunities in and beyond the academy.

Pictured: Andrew Klein, Ph.D. in English 2016. Now: Assistant Professor at St. Thomas University

The Ph.D. in English at Notre Dame fully prepared me to examine literature, film, media, and other cultural productions using a combination of cutting-edge theoretical, historical, and pedagogical frameworks. It provided me with the means to examine and critique representations of gender and sexuality in contemporary youth literatures, and also with the means to develop and share my research in local, national, and international platforms such as the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory, the Global Domes Exchange program in London and Edinburgh, and various academic conferences. Between my training in seminars, working one-on-one with leading faculty in various fields, and various opportunities to teach courses of my own design, I will forever be grateful for my time as a Ph.D. student in English at Notre Dame.”

— Angel Matos, Ph.D. in English 2016. Now: Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College.

The 5+1 Fellowship Program was instrumental in launching my career in publishing. Because I worked for UND Press, I was completely immersed in how they do their craft and how that world operates, I was able to gain a definite edge when it came to applying for jobs.”

—Ana Jimenez-Moreno, Ph.D. in English 2017. Now: Acquisitions Editor at The Ohio State University Press.

Strong publication record

Ph.D. students in English have an extraordinary record of publication in their fields of study.

Recent work from our students appears in top journals including Textual Practice, American Literature, Modern Drama, Meridians, postmedieval, European Romantic Review, James Joyce Quarterly, Contemporary Literature, ESQ, English Literary Renaissance, Arizona Quarterly, Yearbook of Langland Studies, and many more.

Students are also active voices in public conversations about research in the humanities, and the department offers a practicum in public writing for students to workshop public-facing work at any stage.

The push to publish feels more pressing in the field every year, but the program provided support for us by way of the writing practicums. The classes provided us with time, space, and guidance every week to write and workshop which was invaluable to my process for submitting articles for publication. The public writing practicum in particular allowed me to read, understand, and practice public writing in my own specialized field with support from both my peers and my instructor."

— Chamara Moore, Ph.D. 2021. Visiting Assistant Professor in African American Studies at Dominican University

International opportunities

Notre Dame has a strong network of global facilities and scholarly partnerships around the world.

Ph.D. students in English participate in an exciting array of international opportunities during their time in the program. Dissertation students can work with scholars in the UK as part of the Global Dome dissertation accelerator in London, and live and teach at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway while they conduct their research. The Irish Seminar brings Notre Dame Ph.D. students together with scholars of Irish literature and culture, recently in Dublin, Paris, and Buenos Aires.

The English Department is also a key partner of the International Network for Comparative Humanities, a collective that engages our students with faculty and students at Princeton and other major universities worldwide.

The international exposure generously provided by the program has significantly enriched my scholarship.

"As an Irish grad minor, I participated in the Irish Seminar and travelled to Dublin and Kylemore Abbey where I had the wonderful opportunity of learning about Irish literature and culture from renowned international scholars. My participation in the Irish seminar was complemented with my engagement with INCH. For the INCH annual retreats, I travelled to Athens and Rome and got the opportunity to work with scholars and graduate students from various universities in the US and Europe. The international exposure generously provided by the program has significantly enriched my scholarship."

— Shinjini Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. in English January 2022. Awarded Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgia Tech University, fall 2021

Robust intellectual community

Notre Dame is home to renowned centers and institutes that enrich graduate study and help build interdisciplinary connections. In addition to their departmental working groups, students participate in projects and colloquia, and are eligible for additional research support from programs and institutes including:

As an applicant many years ago, Notre Dame struck me as a place where graduate students were encouraged to find multiple intellectual homes outside their own departments, through centers and institutes that recognize not only the promise of graduate student's intellectual contributions but the precarity of those contributions if left unsupported. I'm happy to say the University delivered, rewarding me time and time again with some of the richest, most rigorous academic conversations and, to boot, the means to pursue the research questions that those conversations generated.”

- Arnaud Zimmern, Ph.D. May 2021. Postdoctoral Fellowship with Navari Center for Digital Scholarship

Support for students

Students receive highly competitive financial support including full tuition scholarships, stipends, and health-insurance subsidies, as well as funding for research and conference travel.

Students who complete the Ph.D. in five years are eligible for a sixth-year postdoctoral fellowship from the College or Arts and Letters designed to enhance their professional profile through either a Teaching and Research Track or an Internship Track.

I chose Notre Dame for my English Ph.D. because I wanted to land in a program with as much community support as possible. The stresses of graduate school are real, and it's important to be surrounded by supportive people who respect your needs, interests, and personal career goals. Notre Dame's English Department is filled with faculty and administrators who truly care about setting their students up for success, whether that's on the academic job market or beyond. Throughout my dissertation process, I've been grateful to have a network of faculty and graduate students who are interested in supporting both my area of research and my personal goals.”

- Logan Quigley, Ph.D. May 2022

A place to call home

Notre Dame’s Department of English is part of a highly ranked and highly selective private research university that offers excellent facilities and resources for graduate education within a supportive and inclusive environment.

Notre Dame is a beautiful college campus, and South Bend is a vibrant, thriving city that can offer something for everyone.

Students and faculty enjoy building community in our new department space, just up the quad from one of the most famous libraries in the country.

Join us! Apply by December 15