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What will I learn?

The English Department offers a wide-ranging course of study that combines historical research with theoretical inquiry in a stimulating, challenging, and supportive environment. Our Programs are among the most open and flexible in the country. Students take seminars across a number of fields, including American and British literature, Modernism, contemporary literature, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, poetics, and critical theory. Combining professional rigor with highly individualized mentorship, our Graduate Programs prepare students to become innovative scholars and teachers of literature, culture, and critical theory.

Why Study English at UB?

Be part of an intellectual community

Our department is a vibrant and thriving intellectual community and offers a supportive and stimulating environment in which to do your graduate work. From our perspective, graduate study consists of work that happens both in seminars and in the many conversations that happen outside them: formally and informally, among and between faculty and students.

The English Department at SUNY Buffalo has long been recognized for its strengths in contemporary theory and Poetics, and many students come here to work with faculty through the Center for Psychoanalysis and the Poetics Program. But these centers offer only some examples of the kinds of innovative work that takes place in the department. Our students are trained by faculty who are interested in both the latest theoretical approaches and in more traditional fields of literary historical study, and in finding new ways to connect old and new.

Engage across disciplines

There is nothing new about “interdisciplinary” study at Buffalo. For close to fifty years the UB English Department has worked to encourage students to think and study across the disciplines and to think beyond the usual definitions of “English Literature.” We have few curricular requirements and encourage students to take courses in other departments from their earliest semesters. Students frequently have dissertation committee members from other departments and, even within English, work broadly between history and theory. For this reason, our PhDs produce some of the most cutting-edge scholarship in their fields, studying literature alongside anthropology, media studies, transnational studies and, of course, history.

What are the requirements for completion?


The doctoral degree requires 72 graduate credits, most of which are satisfied through ten graduate seminars.

Candidates may also create a Minor Field, broadly defined as an area of knowledge or intellectual discipline other than English or American Literature. The range of possibilities is vast, and the only requirement is that the Minor Field have some defensible relation to the student’s dissertation.


Candidates for the PhD take a PhD oral qualifying examination that is largely of their own design. The exam consists of three fields, one of which relates to a potential dissertation topic. The students constructs each examination list with a faculty member who specializes in that area, and all three lists are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.


The degree is completed through a book-length work of original scholarship, which is advised by a committee of three faculty members. Upon the completion of the dissertation, the student participate in a defense with the full committee.

Which department am I in?

College of Arts and Sciences

Study options

Full Time (5 years)

Tuition fees
US$23,100.00 per year
Application deadline

Expected December 2021

Start date

Expected August 2022


University at Buffalo, The State University Of New York

12 Capen Hall,


New York,

14260, United States

Entry requirements

For international students

To be eligible for graduate study at UB, we expect:

A bachelor's degree (or higher) or the equivalent from an accredited/government recognized college or university. Most such degrees will be four or more years in length; UB recognizes some three-year degrees, but not all.

A B-grade (GPA of 3.0) or higher from your bachelor's degree (or equivalent) courses. Grade point averages from non-U.S. universities will be evaluated by UB's Office of International Admissions.

Appropriate standardized test scores (DAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MAT, MCAT, PCAT, etc.).

English Language Requirements:

The minimum score of TOEFL IBT is 79, the minimum score TOEFL PBT is 550, the minimum score of IELTS is 6.5, the minimum score of PTE is 55, the minimum score of Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) Old Scale is 60, New Scale is 185, the minimum score of Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) Old Scale is 65, New Scale is 185.

The deadline for applications to the PhD program is December 13th.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.