Rice University

Department of English

Graduate Studies in English at Rice


Rice is uniquely positioned as both a liberal arts college and a major research university. With its small size and interdisciplinary culture, the Rice PhD program in English offers students the opportunity to shape highly individualized courses of study under the guidance of a world class faculty. The departmental curriculum is enhanced by a robust slate of speakers and visitors, as well as by the opportunity to participate in special seminars and certificate programs across the Humanities and the university. In addition to these forms of intellectual and financial support, the department provides resources for conference presentations, archival research, and other professional opportunities that have resulted in an impressive array of publications and presentations. With minimal set requirements, the program emphasizes independent work  and professional development.

            The program also provides distinctive pedagogical training.  Unlike many other PHD programs, we are able to limit the introductory teaching required of our students. We keep our teaching requirement low while offering opportunities to teach advanced courses and freeing up time for research and writing.

            Rice students also enjoy the many cultural resources of Houston, the nation’s fourth largest and most ethnically diverse city. Students take advantage of a vibrant urban culture that includes an exciting art, political and restaurant scene, affordable housing and recreation,, and access to the nearby Gulf Coast.

         Rice’s Ph.D. program in English offers students the opportunity to fashion innovative and interdisciplinary research projects. Students interact closely with faculty involved in a variety of areas of study. The program offers strong preparation in British and American literatures and cultures ranging from the early modern era to the present, with strengths across literary periods in historicist criticism, posthumanism, race and ethnicity studies, feminist and gender studies, queer theory and the history of sexuality, print and visual culture, and global, hemispheric, and postcolonial studies. 


All students entering the Rice graduate program in English receive fellowships and tuition waivers. Fellowships of $21,000 were awarded for the 2016-17 year. Fellowship support continues for five years, contingent upon satisfactory progress in the program. Students also have a variety of opportunities for competitive sixth-year funding, based on teaching and research interests. Additionally, funding is available for travel to conferences and for summer research. Our students are regularly selected to receive additional support from interdisciplinary centers and programs. All students receiving a stipend of at least $5,000 a year are granted a full tuition waiver also for five years. Students still enrolled in the program after the fifth year pay reduced tuition. For AY 2015-16 reduced tuition cost $1,155/semester.

Professional Opportunities:

We are committed to preparing students for all aspects of professional life. The curriculum is bookended by two seminars ENGL 600 and ENGL 605: Professional Writing, that systematically introduce students to academic genres from the conference paper to the journal article to the grant proposal. Our focus on professional writing has enabled students to place articles in an impressive array of scholarly journals including American Literature, European Romantic Review, Novel, ELH, Children’s Literature Quarterly, Early American Literature, African American Review, Victorian Poetry, and Victorian Literature and Culture. Students in the program have been remarkably successfull at obtaining internal and external fellowships to support their work. In the last two years, for example, Rice PhD students have received dissertations fellowships from the Association of American University Women, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Mellon-Council for European Studies. They have also successfully competed for prizes from, among others, the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR), Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS), the Western Literature Association, and the Victorian Society of Western Canada. Many of these have resulted in publication in an organization’s academic journal.  



Graduate students in English have performed strongly on the academic job market and in recent years have secured tenure-track positions at institutions that include the University of Virgina, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Utah, Syracuse University (x2), Loyola University of Chicago, Macalaster College, University of Vermont, University of South Carolina, University of Connecticut, Indiana State University, and Monmouth University. We also have significant international placements including the University of Wollongong (AUS), Bilkent University (TRKY), and the American University of Beirut. Recently our students have been highly competitive on the postdoc market, securing positions.

The department is well aware that it can be difficult to get an academic job, and that some students would prefer to pursue a career outside of academia. Our PhDs have gone on to find positions in publishing, medical writing, secondary school education, grant writing, academic administration, and non-profit work. 


Houston-AllenPkwyA thriving metropolis offering ample opportunities for intellectual and person growth, the fourth-largest city in the nation is an excellent place to live and work. In Houston, diversity thrives. More than 90 languages are spoken here. The arts flourish. Research centers develop cutting-edge technologies and breakthroughs. Houston is a center for the visual and performing arts, an international business hub and home to the second busiest port in the United States. As a Rice graduate student, you will have a Passport to Houston that allows you to tap into the city’s rich cultural and entertainment options. To see for yourself what Houston has to offer, we encourage you to schedule a campus visit or explore Rice graduate student life through a campus virtual tour.

Graduate Student Housing:

Rice's graduate students live off campus, either in nearby rental properties or at the university-owned Rice Graduate Apartments, Morningside Square Apartments, or the Rice Village Apartments. Learn more about Rice's convenient graduate student housing options.