Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Program Components
Faculty of Arts


The UBC English Graduate Program, one of the most vibrant and wide-ranging in Canada, has been awarding the M.A. degree since 1919. Students may earn the degree in each of two areas: English Literature and English Language. Indeed, the UBC English Department is one of the few departments in North America to offer a language program in addition to its literary programs.

English Language

The English Language program includes specializations in history and structure of language, discourse and genre analysis, and history and theory of rhetoric. Faculty members in the Language program teach and supervise research in descriptive linguistics, historical linguistics, cognitive linguistics, functional grammar, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, stylistics, genre studies, and history and theory of rhetoric. Students in the English Literature program can take advantage of Language graduate courses; recent offerings include courses on reported speech and its rhetorical versatility across genres; the uses of classical rhetoric for contemporary critical practice; and cognitive approaches to the language of literature. By the same token, Language students can take advantage of the wide variety of Literature courses our department offers.

English Literature

The English Literature program includes specializations across the periods, genres, and major figures of British, North American and World Literature in English. Current research initiatives on the part of faculty include such diverse topics as the ecocritical study of Renaissance drama; the triumph of transport in Romantic poetry; the impact of radio and television on modernist poetics; the politics of post-identity in Asian American literature, and the role of war and its traumatic shocks in twentieth-century Canadian, U.S. and British literature. Graduate students can also choose to work across disciplinary fields, taking advantage of UBC's outstanding interdisciplinary programs in Medieval Studies, Canadian and U.S. Studies, Studies in Sexuality, and Science and Technology Studies, among others.

What makes the program unique?

The Graduate Program of the Department of English is a vibrant community of more than 50 graduate faculty and 100 graduate students. An active graduate caucus, extensive campus resources, and such local resources as departmental research seminars, a graduate reading room, and a dedicated graduate program office, ensure that our students are well-supported in a collegial atmosphere throughout their programs. A pedagogy training program prepares our students to teach both during and after their programs.



TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Career Outcomes

51 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 47 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (10)
Douglas College (3)
University of Victoria (3)
University of Alberta (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (2)
Simon Fraser University (2)
College of New Caledonia
LIM College
Mount Royal University
Yasar University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Writers House Literary Agency
BC Public Service Agency
Tr'ondek Hwech'in
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
In-house Editor
Lead Instructional Designer
Legislation and Policy Manager
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Upon completion of their graduate degrees, students can expect further mentoring and support in the job search process. Former doctoral students of the UBC English program have obtained permanent positions at universities and colleges in Canada and abroad; recent appointments have included the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Victoria, the University College of the Fraser Valley, Kwantlen University, the University of British Columbia Okanagan, the Université de Moncton, Montana State University, and Whitman College. Our doctoral students have also been very successful in securing post-doctoral fellowships in Canada and the US.

Alumni on Success

Stephen Ney

Job Title
Assistant Professor
The University of The Gambia

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,600.60$2,811.98
Tuition per year$4,801.80$8,435.94
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$899.00 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,453.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations67788
Total enrolment5254545754

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 76% based on 33 students admitted between 2003 - 2006. Based on 20 graduations between 2012 - 2015 the minimum time to completion is 3.83 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 5.84 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 8 April 2016]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 8 April 2016].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 - 4:00pm - Room 207,Anthropology and Sociology Building ,6303 North West Marine Drive

Jasmine Rachael Johnston
Telling Animals: A Histology of Dene Textualized Orature

Affiliated Faculty Members

  • Al-Kassim, Dina (World literature)
  • Anger, Suzy (Victorian Literature, Literature and Philosophy, Victorian Literature and Psychology, Victorian Literature and Science, Hermeneutics)
  • Arnovick, Leslie Katherine (Oral tradition, business and technical writing, history and structure of the English language, linguistics)
  • Badir, Patricia (Medieval and reformation dramatic entertainment)
  • Brinton, Laurel (Modern English Grammar, History of the English Language, English Usage, English Dictionaries, Pragmatics of English, Discourse Markers, Language Change, Computers and Language Study, History of English)
  • Burgess, Miranda (18th century, romantic British and Irish literatures)
  • Cavell, Richard Anthony (Sexual self-fashioning in country house architecture and literature)
  • Dalziel, Pamela (Victorian-literature, Victorian-culture, visual-representation, illustration, gender-studies, religion, interdisciplinary-studies, textual-criticism, scholarly-editing, Thomas-Hardy, Charles-Dickens, George-Eliot )
  • Dancygier, Barbara (Linguistics, grammar)
  • Danielson, Dennis Richard (History of science)
  • De Villiers, Jessica (Linguistics)
  • Dollinger, Stefan (English language, World Englishes, Canadian English, dialectology, sociolinguistics, multilingualism, historical linguistics, lexicography, lexicology, dictionaries, Oxford English Dictionary, World English, language variation and change, orthography, Canada, North America, English, American English, sociolinguistics, society and language, dialects, identity, history of English, English as a Lingua Franca, German language, Austrian German, German German. )
  • Echard, Sian (Anglo Latin literature, presentation of text of how it is received and discussed)
  • Fee, Margery (Land ownership figures in the work of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people)
  • Frank, Adam (Nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, media, and poetics, science and technology studies, theories and histories of affect and feeling, rhetoric of science)
  • Giltrow, Janet (Ideologies of language, theories of genre, stylistics)
  • Guy-Bray, Stephen (Renaissance poetry)
  • Hill, Ian (rhetoric, persuasion, argumentation, technology, weapons, interrogation, political economy, war rhetoric, conflict rhetoric, dissent, mass movements )
  • Hodgson, Elizabeth (English Renaissance )


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Daniel J Adleman
    "Dr. Adleman studied the depiction of violence in late twentieth century American novels. He discovered that it was bound up with the rise of electronic media and a perceived crisis in the established order. His research will contribute to our understanding of literary representations of class, race, gender and media." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Daniel Glynn Helbert
    "Dr. Helbert demonstrated the importance of legends about King Arthur to the medieval border between England and Wales. His research highlights the importance of this border community to the development of British culture and identity." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Lucia Marie Lorenzi
    "Dr. Lorenzi examined how sexual violence is represented in contemporary Canadian literature and drama. By focusing on authors' innovative uses of silence, she developed a methodology for understanding how trauma can be articulated to both readers and audiences. Her research also benefits survivors seeking new ways to tell their stories." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Donato Mancini
    "Dr. Mancini explored how linguistics research on the production and reception of speech can contribute to understanding poetry, literature and literary history. He found that rumour, reported speech and unhappy laughter have been important forces in shaping literary canons. His work contributes to dialogue between social sciences and humanities." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Sarah Crover
    "Dr. Crover studied the cultural history of the early modern Thames through plays, frost fairs, chronicle histories, and civic records. Her work revealed that the Thames shaped the construction of English national identity as much as desires for cultural dominance shaped English notions of the Thames." (May 2016)

Further Program Information


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September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
10 February 2017
Canadian/US Applicant Deadline
05 January 2018
International Applicant Deadline
05 January 2018

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