PhD Student Progress after Coursework

This page outlines the progress of our PhD program after the student has completed 48 credits of coursework, including two required courses: Intro to the Profession (110) and Modern Critical Theories (100).  Note that student can begin these academic years either in the fall or spring semester: a year starting in the fall semester is fall -> spring; a year starting in spring is spring -> fall.  In both cases, summer is excluded; students should be working over the summer on the PhD projects but do not need to be registered.

It is important to remember that to obtain the PhD degree students must register with SJU every semester continuously. After coursework, the nature of that registration changes over time.

The usual time from start to finish for the PhD degree is usually the maximum of six years: two years of coursework plus four of dissertation writing.  Students in extraordinary circumstances can apply for an extension of time after their seventh year, but that extension will be granted only at the discretion of the Graduate Dean and the English Department.

First year after coursework = English 105q

During the first two semesters after finishing coursework, students should register for English 105q, a zero-credit course that indicates the student is studying for qualifying exams, each semester. During this time they should work on their comps, language exam, and prospectus.  At the end of the second semester, the comps should be scheduled or completed. This course satisfies the full-time equivalency requirements for purposes of deferring loans; students need to submit a form for this purpose (Fee = roughly $100 / semester)

Second year after coursework = 975 Seminar

This Dissertation Writing Workshop is a full course, meeting once per week (usually Mon or Tues 5 – 7 pm) and counting for 3 credits.  The tuition is usually paid for by the department’s University Doctor of Arts Fellowships (UDAFs).  Students must fill out the application for these fellowships before the semesters in which they take this course.  Details will come by email from Department Administrator, Lana Theresa V. Umali (  Students should finish prospectus and start writing chapters at this point.

It’s better to take the two semesters of 975 in a year sequence (i.e., starting in the fall). For that reason, we suggest that students either take their oral exams in early September (and start 975 at the same time) or in the spring semester (and start 975 the following fall).

Third year after coursework and beyond = 1 credit of 975 / Semester

After completing the Dissertation seminar, each student  must register for 1 credit of English 975 each additional semester.  Students must pay the 1 credit of tuition  each semester; the current price is roughly $1,100 for a credit. Students who have scheduled a Dissertation Defense during the first two weeks of a given semester, may waive the tuition for that semester.

Students should remain is close contact with their primary mentors and dissertation committee at all times about making progress toward completing the degree.  Questions about registration should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Amy King, (


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