The University of Pittsburgh's Department of English has been at the forefront of reinventing English studies, and our doctoral program has been central to this endeavor.

Organized by the theoretical and interdisciplinary emphasis of critical and cultural studies, the five- to six-year doctoral program fosters challenging and inventive work in the ongoing project of English studies, broadly conceived. With concentrations in literature, film, and composition, our program encourages students to think across and beyond disciplinary and programmatic boundaries, and to engage with issues in cultural history, knowledge formation, creative intellectual practice, media studies, and critical pedagogy. Our English PhD addresses the intellectual opportunities and the professional needs of a discipline experiencing fundamental change.

Because we recognize the need to combine scholarly rigor with the challenge of new thinking and objects of study, we have designed the program to ground research and teaching in a continuing process of self-scrutiny made possible by serious engagement with the theoretical and critical debates of the time.

Students who are making satisfactory progress in the program typically receive five years of support, and there are good options for support beyond the fifth year.  All first-year PhD students are supported by non-teaching Arts & Sciences Fellowships that include tuition remission. The annual stipend for this fellowship in 2023-2024 is $22,780.  Students in their second through fifth years who make good progress as students and teachers are supported as Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows who teach one course per semester, a stipend along with tuition and medical benefits. Students may apply for a sixth year of support as a Teaching Fellow. Students may also apply for competitive non-teaching dissertation fellowships in the department and the Dietrich School.

Students typically receive non-teaching stipends during their second and fourth summers and are eligible to be assigned summer teaching after their third year. Students in year 3 receive priority for summer teaching.

Students can typically expect $500 in conference support from the department, and they can apply to other sources in the Dietrich School and the University at large for further support of conference presentations. Each year, the department dispenses at least $40,000 in funds supporting graduate student research through our Research & Development (R&D) grants to fund research & travel that will contribute to students' dissertations, final manuscripts, or their graduate work overall.

More about the PhD in English: