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Dana Nelson teaches a graduate English class as students sit around a table in the department library

Ph.D. Admissions

The Ph.D. in English

The Vanderbilt Department of English admits and trains doctoral students across a broad range of literary and cultural studies. Members of our graduate faculty specialize in areas including Antebellum American print culture and Victorian literature; Afro-Diasporic, Asian American, and Latino/a literatures and cultures; film and digital studies; global Anglophone literatures; and, hemispheric American and Caribbean literatures and cultures. The Ph.D. program in English aims to produce first-rate scholars, critics, and teachers of literature and culture within and without the academy. Our program is small, focused, and dynamic.

While the English Ph.D. Program features full funding for five years, some students obtain funding for a sixth year through the following sources:

You can see other funding opportunities for our students on our "Aid and Awards" Page, and if you'd like to see what our graduates are doing now, you can visit our "Placements" Page.

Applying to the Program

The application for Fall 2023 admission is now open. The deadline to submit your application is December 15. For more information and to start your application, visit the Graduate School Website. For questions about the Ph.D. Program or the application process, please contact the English Ph.D. Program Coordinator: Connor Abram

  • Statement of Purpose: No more than 1,500 words.
  • Writing Sample: No more than 25 pages. No creative writing. If uploading more than one piece, please combine into one PDF file.
  • Three letters of recommendation and up to five letters permitted.
  • Unofficial college transcript(s) uploaded to the application, with official transcript required upon admittance. Upon admittance, official transcripts may be sent either via the postal service of via secure electronic delivery. In order to be considered official, transcripts and other documents must come directly from the institution attended. Some institutions provide secure electronic delivery of transcripts. These submissions may be made to cdm@vanderbilt.edu. Transcripts sent via the postal service should be addressed as follows: CDM-College of Arts & Science, PMB 407833, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240-7833.
  • TOEFL and IELTS scores are accepted for International Students whose native language is not English. For more information, visit the Graduate School’s Language Proficiency Page.
  • For Fee Waiver information, visit the Graduate School’s website.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission.