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PhD in English

Programme Description

Vision Statement
The distinguishing feature of the Research programme offered by the English faculty of Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) is that students shall be encouraged to pursue inter- or multi-disciplinary research based on the assumption that concerns raised in literary texts often find resonances or analogies in other disciplines. The faculty shall make every effort to create an intellectual environment in which a researcher has the confidence and freedom to challenge canonically accepted critical positions and methodologies. The rationale behind any research undertaken in this programme shall be to understand how a literary or cultural text is profoundly influenced by art, politics, style, history, psychology, image-making, translations and technologies that define the spirit of the age in which literary production happens.

The basic presupposition that informs all the academic programmes of English at AUD is that its courses should be designed for students in the present historical and social moment. In a post-colonial, globalised, fluid and technologically interconnected world, it can no longer be unquestioningly assumed that literatures written in English either belong to a unified linguistic base or to a ‘sea-locked’ geographical space; it can neither be uncritically asserted that a literary/cultural text is a self-reflexive, well-wrought artefact whose language and structure have no relation to the history, sociology, technology or belief systems of its time and place. Literary texts do not exist in some ahistorical space insulated from all the secular and mortal concerns of personal pathologies, dysfunctional families, gender discrimination, urban decay, child labour, failed crops, mercantile misadventures, slave trade, racial hatred, colonial slaughter, religious invectives, aristocratic contempt and all the other actions, thoughts and feelings which have often made life difficult. Literature also germinates from experiences that have made life better: music, beauty, travel, intercultural exchanges, mass movements, the efficacy of reason and belief in human and non-human agency to affect change and continuity. Literary texts belong to a more unruly world of a ‘surplus of signifiers’; a habitat where, no matter how elegantly a façade of a moral or politically just literary or historical tradition is constructed, phantom presences of those who have thought and believed differently, or have suffered pain, neglect, humiliation, enslavement, and exploitation cast their shadows. To consider these presences as crucial to any literary research is not to follow ‘after strange gods’, because literary texts, like historical accounts cannot only be about the finest moral and cultural achievements of a society or its political successes.

A research scholar, we believe, should be more than an archaeologist who is trained to revisit old literary sites and endorse the idea of an inherited English literary tradition defined ages ago. It is important, instead, to think of research as a continuously changing dialogue between a variety of secular readers who self-consciously locate themselves within a pluralistic world and are trained to look sceptically at all meta-narratives about history and culture; who understand that literature in any language is vulnerable to the same moral ambiguities as any other human adventure. Literary research in the contemporary world should, therefore, be inspired sometimes by present anxieties and discontents, sometimes by new areas of knowledge and visions of a different future; it should re-establish, for its own time and location, the truth or the enigma of any text; and, finally, it should claim its place in the same cultural and moral habitat in which other acts of reason and imagination take place.

Expected profile of research scholars in the programme
The candidates should have deep interest in literature and culture. They should also have a well developed critical thinking, the ability to analyse and the ability to formulate an argument and develop it.

Expected gains to the scholar from enrolling in the proposed programme
The English PhD programme seeks to train scholars in inter-disciplinary methodologies and engaged research. The researcher is expected to gain a thorough understanding of the critical, theoretical and philosophical universe/notions related to her research. Apart from inculcating acute critical thinking and reading skills, the programme will facilitate academic writing and develop varied perspectives on a wide range of literary and cultural productions. Since the vision of the programme is founded on a broad and expansive understanding of ‘the text’ and literature itself, the ultimate gain from this programme would be an ability to read, question, analyse and formulate one’s responses to cultural productions and the processes behind these productions.

Academic Requirements
In order to be eligible for a PhD degree a student shall have to acquire a total of 16 credits during the first year. In the first semester a student shall be required to complete two courses of 4 credits each. Students will be required to qualify these courses as per the “Regulations Concerning Degrees of Master of Philosophy (M Phil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)” to be promoted to the next semester. It is mandatory for all students to do all the stipulated courses, even those who have already completed their M.Phil. However only in some exceptional circumstances the English faculty may allow a researcher exemption from a particular course or a researcher may be required to do an extra course beyond the stipulated number of courses.

Programme Structure

Course-Work: The researcher will be expected to complete four courses, of which two would be compulsory courses common to all entrants in a particular academic year. Of the remaining two courses, the researcher shall be expected to choose one course offered by any programme of the university. A researcher will, thus, be encouraged to do courses in history, philosophy, psychology, film, or art or any other course which can enrich the area of the proposed thesis. The fourth course shall be designed to enable each researcher to engage in a study programme specific to the area of exploration. This course shall be designed by each researcher in consultation with a faculty member under whose guidance the researcher is doing this course. Each researcher shall be expected to arrive at a substantial reading list essential for this course within the first month of the programme and the same should be submitted to the PAC.

Course I: Discerning Research Methods

Course II: Open Elective

Course III: Conceptual and Philosophical Frameworks in Asian Traditions

Course IV: Guided Reading


MA or MPhil with at least 55% marks or an equivalent grade from a recognised university.
(50% marks or an equivalent grade for candidates belonging to SC/ ST/PWD categories).

1. Research proposal (2500 words with a substantial bibliography) to be submitted with the application (25%) and a soft copy to be sent to the PhD coordinator (diamond@aud.ac.in) latest by 10th July 2017. Proposals will be checked for plagiarism. Only eligible candidates will be shortlisted for the written test.

2. Written Exam: The written entrance examination shall evaluate a candidate’s research aptitude, capacity for critical thinking and the ability to write a coherent argument in English. Those who clear the written entrance examination shall appear for an interview.. The written examination will carry a weightage of 50%

3. Interview of selected candidates (25%).

A provisional admission to the PhD programme will be offered to candidates fulfilling the minimum requirements. The proposal will carry a weightage of 25%, the entrance examination 50% and the interview 25%.

Proposals are invited in the following areas:

  • Literary Forms
  • Postcolonial Literatures
  • Literatures of the African and Australian Continents
  • Marginalized Literatures from the American Continent
  • Marginalized Literatures
  • Multiculturalism and Diaspora Studies
  • Orality, Folklore and Indigenous Cultures
  • Critical Theory
  • Translation and Adaptation studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Literatures of Europe and Russia
  • Visual Cultures and Cinema Studies
  • Life-writing and Memory Studies
  • Literatures of the Indian Subcontinent
  • Subaltern and Dalit Studies
  • Literatures of Childhood
  • Gender Studies
  • Indian Theatre and Performance
  • Shakespeare Studies
  • Partition Literature
  • Literature of Protest and Resistance 


Fee Structure

  • Tuition Fee (During course work): Rs 1450/- per credit.
  • Student Welfare fund : Rs 500/- per semester
  • Caution deposit - Rs 5000/- (to be paid one time at the time of admission)
  • Research/Dissertation Fee: Rs 5510/- ( to be paid every semester after the course work is over).

Admission Procedure

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