Graduate Program

The Ph.D. program prepares students to engage in rigorous and innovative scholarship and teaching in the theory, history and critical analysis of one or more media, in ways that encompass diverse cultural contexts and historical periods, and within methodological frameworks that include awareness of modern and contemporary textual, cultural and social theory.

Plans of study are individualized, based on the student's own particular areas of interest. Students may emphasize the scholarship of one medium or of several media and their interrelationships, but their coursework and exams will also include a component in textual, cultural, and/or social theory. This combination affords students an intellectually expansive perspective, enhancing both disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary flexibility.

For students entering the program with a B.A., courses are normally completed in the first three years of the program — six courses are taken in the first year, four in the second year and three in the third year. During this period, the student also fulfils the foreign language requirement. After completion of 8 courses in the second year, there is a qualifying review, and the candidate is awarded an M.A. in Modern Culture and Media. After completion of all coursework in the third year, the candidate takes a three-hour oral preliminary examination. Passing the preliminary examination authorizes her or him to proceed to the doctoral dissertation, which is written during the fourth and fifth years.

Students entering the program with an M.A. from another institution take courses at the same rate as those entering with a B.A. Such students may apply to accelerate their coursework and, if they receive approval, may take their preliminary examination as early as the end of the fourth semester. Students entering with an M.A. will have their qualifying review after they have completed 6 courses, which is normally at the end of the second semester.

Teaching is considered a vital part of graduate education in this program. We believe that a variety of pedagogical experiences not only contributes to the candidate's professional qualifications but also to her or his intellectual development. A minimum of two years of teaching is required for the degree, but a doctoral student will normally teach more. A candidate typically begins holding a teaching assistant position in a large introductory course during the second year in the program and continues teaching in various classroom contexts through the fifth year. We try to provide all senior doctoral candidates with at least one opportunity to teach a small, autonomous class on a subject directly related to their dissertation research.