PhD Program Highlights

BU English is a very small program (5 students per cohort) in a vibrant and intellectually rich university town. We’ve had a lot of success training teachers and placing graduates in and outside of academia. In 2019, nine recent PhDs were looking for jobs, and eight of them secured positions: two in tenure-track jobs, three in visiting assistant professorships, two as college instructors, and one as a high school teacher in a private academy. Here are additional features of our program:

Funding, Fellowships, and Research:

  • All Ph.D. students receive guaranteed funding for 5 years, with the possibility of extending it to 7.
  • All Ph.D. students receive two years of guaranteed service-free fellowship during that time period: during the first year of coursework and during a dissertation-writing year.
  • BU awards several fellowships for PhD students for dissertation work and research travel abroad, for summers or whole semesters (grants range from $4,000-$14,000).
  • Recent Ph.D. candidates have been very successful in receiving outside fellowships from institutions such as the ACLS, the Folger Library, the Huntington Library, and the American Antiquarian Society.
  • In the last decade, 90% of our students have published at least one peer-reviewed article within a year of graduation.


  • All Ph.D. students serve as TAs within the English department, teach their own stand-alone English literature courses, and receive pedagogical training from the BU Writing Program.

Career Opportunities:

  • The BU Center for the Humanities offers paid summer internships at Boston-area institutions like the Boston Public Library, the Boston Red Sox, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Boston Mayor’s Office.
  • We have placed graduates in tenure-track jobs at institutions like University of Nevada, Sienna College, the College of the Holy Cross, the University of Virginia, the University of Wyoming, and Dartmouth College. Recent graduates have also received post-docs, lectureships, and visiting professorships at places like Vassar College, Harvard University, MIT, Trinity College, and Lawrence University.
  • Many graduates have also launched careers outside the academy and in the public sector. For a list of recent job placements, see here.

Intellectual Community:

  • We have recently hired new faculty working in African-American Studies (Louis Chude-Sokei), 18th -19th Century British (Adriana Craciun), Performance Studies and Asian-American Studies (Takeo Rivera), and poetry and poetics (Sophie Seita).
  • The student-run and organized English Graduate Student Association plans social events, workshops, and reading groups, and represents the interests of the graduate student community to the English department administration.

Please address any questions about the program to our current Director of Graduate Studies, Sanjay Krishnan ( or Director of Graduate Admissions, Laurence Breiner ( Please note that we no longer require the GRE as part of the Ph.D. application.

For information about applying, click here.