Timeline to Degree 

On average, students complete the PhD program in 5-7 years. Students who enter their eighth year are required by the Graduate College to file a graduate student petition requesting an extension on their timeline to degree for each year they remain in the program.

Years 1 & 2

The first two years are dedicated to fulfilling course requirements:

  • Teaching College Writing (ENGL 555)
  • Proseminar I (ENGL 503)
  • Bridge Course requirement
  • Discourse, Text and Context Series and/or Theoretical Engagements requirement
  • Language requirement

Students should begin preparing for the preliminary examination.

Students holding teaching assistantships teach no courses in the fall and two courses in the spring in their first year, with ENGL 555 substituting for the class taught in Fall. In subsequent years, they teach two courses in the fall and one course in the spring.

Second-Year Review

Year 3

The third year is devoted to the preliminary exam. Students: register for ENGL 592 with one of the faculty members on their exam committee (preferably the committee chair) complete the written portion of the exam in the 10th week of either the fall or spring semester, and the oral defense of the exam during weeks 11-13. After defending their the preliminary exams, students may take a dissertation leave semester.

Years 4 & 5

After the completion of the preliminary examination, students must be registered every semester until the successful defense of the dissertation. Leaves of absence must be approved by the Department.

In preparing for the prospectus, students register for Prospectus Research (ENGL 591) with their dissertation chair. Students have one semester to successfully complete their prospectus, officially approved in their prospectus colloquium, after which they register for a minimum of 32 hours of Dissertation Research (ENGL 599). Students who do not carry an assistantship but still need to register for credit hours of 599 are eligible to request a BOT Tuition-and-Fee waiver

Year 5 & beyond

During the fifth year and beyond, students fulfill their dissertation research hours requirement and complete the writing and defense of their dissertation.

Students not holding a fellowship, assistantship, or tuition-and-fee waiver, but who have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation defense (including having completed 32 hours of Dissertation Research), can petition for permission to register for zero hours, under either Option A or Option B. Students need to submit a graduate student petition form to the Office of Graduate Studies prior to the start of the semester. Additional information regarding zero hour registration is available on the Graduate College website.

  • Option A is appropriate for students who live locally and utilize university facilities such as the Daley Library, FitRec Center, or receive health benefits through UIC. Range IV tuition and fees are assessed.

  • Option B is appropriate for students who live out of state and/or do not need any university facilities. Students are responsible for the Range IV tuition and the General Fee.

Students wishing to register for zero hours must submit a graduate student petition for each academic year they wish to do so. More information regarding zero hour registration is available on the Graduate College website.