MA/PhD Requirements

Degree Requirements

The new curriculum and degree requirements are divided into two basic areas: (1) literature and (2) cultural theory. The requirements in these areas are designed to provide flexibility and directed study.


A minimum of 30 credits, including:

  • 9 credits in literature courses (at least 3 credits pre-1800)
  • 3 credits in 800-level seminar in literature or cultural theory
  • 6 credits in cultural theory
  • 3 credits English 720 (Modern Literary Theory)
  • 3 credits of electives
  • A final project, which shall be a paper of at least 30 pages which grows out of and significantly expands some aspect of the student’s literary studies
  • An oral examination, usually lasting an hour and a half, which covers the final project and a separate 30-book reading list. (Customarily, most if not all items on the list will be drawn from coursework. The list should be at least 1/3 Literature and at least 1/3 Cultural Theory. Literature items should be drawn from at least 3 courses; Theory items from at least 2 courses.)

All credits must be 600-level or above, with no more than 6 credits at the 600 level. (English 701 must be counted as an elective.)


A minimum of 56 credits, including:

  • 9 credits in literature courses outside the primary area of emphasis* (at least 3 credits pre-1800)
  • 9 credits in cultural theory
  • 9 credits in primary area of emphasis*
  • 3 credits English 740 or 741 (also offered as History and MALLT 740 and 741)
  • 24 credits of electives
  • 1 credit of English 703 (Introduction to Graduate Studies in Literature), taken during the first semester
  • 1 credit of English 820 (Theory and Practice of Literary Pedagogy)

All credits must be 600-level or above, with no more than 9 credits at the 600 level. Doctoral students may not accumulate more than 6 credits of independent study. (English 701 must be counted as an elective.)

* Primary area of emphasis must be declared prior to submitting the prelim proposal and field lists to the Graduate Program Committee. Area of emphasis will be selected from among the following eight areas: 1) Literature and Culture before 1800; 2) Literature and Culture of the 19th Century; 3) 20th and 21st Century Literature and Culture; 4) Postcolonial, World, and Transnational Literature and Culture; 5) Ethnic, Indigenous, and Multicultural Literature; 6) Writing by Women; 7) British and Irish Literature and Culture; 8) American Literature and Culture

Please also see the Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.