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Graduate Program

Ph.D. Requirements

M.A. Review

Students entering with a BA will normally be evaluated and receive their MA after two years of classes.

Foreign Language Requirements

Students must demonstrate reading knowledge in two approved foreign languages to receive a Ph.D. in English at Tufts. Satisfaction of the Foreign Language Requirement must occur by the end of the third year, and may be completed by examination, by course, or any combination of the two.

Graduate students may satisfy the two language requirement by passing a two-hour examination in each of two foreign languages. Exams are coordinated through the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and are offered in September, January and April each year. Contact gsas@tufts.edu to make arrangements for taking an exam.

Passing a course in "Reading Knowledge" will also be accepted as fulfillment of one or both foreign languages. Tufts offers two such courses, "French for Reading Knowledge" and "German for Reading Knowledge," which are only available during Summer Session. Boston University makes similar courses available to Tufts students during the academic year. Students may also present appropriate evidence of competence achieved in a foreign language in another graduate program.

Oral Examinations

At the end of the third year or in the beginning of the fall semester of the fourth year, each student takes a two-hour oral comprehensive examination. No standardized list of texts is issued for this examination. The following guideline of periods and fields of concentration is used by each student to generate a foundation list of works for which he or she is responsible. Each student selects six periods or fields for particular development. One of the six fields may be a "special topic," which students design in collaboration with a member of the faculty.

  • Old English Literature
  • Medieval Literature
  • Sixteenth-Century English Literature
  • Seventeenth-Century British Literature
  • Eighteenth-Century British Literature
  • American Literature Before 1820
  • Nineteenth-Century British Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century American Literature
  • Twentieth-Century British Literature or Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature
  • Twentieth-Century American Literature
  • Literary-Critical Theory
  • Contemporary World Literatures in English