Kahan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Washington University in 1964. Two years later she earned his Master of Arts degree from Stanford University. Then in 1986 Phyllis was given a Doctor of Philosophy degree from St. Louis University.
Kahan began his career as a communications consultant at Phyllis Kahan Copy in 1981 and held it for thirteen years. In 1988, she took a position of a senior writer at Washington University, where she worked until 1991. Also Phyllis served as a placement director at Kelly Law Registry from 1996 to 2000.
Three years later she was appointed an adjunct professor at English City University of New York and held the position until 2005. In addition, Kahan took the same position at St. Johns University in 2003- 2006 and at Berkeley College between 2004-2006. Since 2007 she has been an adjunct professor at Pace University.
Kahan is a member of American Association of University Professors and Phi Beta Kappa.