Everybody is pissing on U of Chicago for this but it’s actually not a bad idea at all. The job market in English is atrocious. They have no hope in hell of placing their PhD graduates in jobs. Unless the graduates have this new and suddenly extremely prestigious qualification, that is.
The important thing for a graduate program is to place people in jobs. What they do after that will be their own choice. Nobody can force you to do research in any area you don’t want.