Doctoral Areas of Study and Requirements for the Ph.D.


Areas of Study

  1. Comparative literature
  2. Interdisciplinary Hispanic studies
  3. Modern Languages & Applied Linguistics 
  4. Cultural studies
  5. Literary translation

Ph.D. Requirements

The doctoral program in comparative literature and cultural studies is designed so that it may be based upon a Master of Arts in Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, Communication, Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish or other languages or upon the Master of Fine Arts in Translation. Applicants with masters’ degrees in the humanities and the social sciences may also be accepted into the program, but will be required to fulfill any deficiencies that the adviser and the Ph.D. Program Advisory Committee identifies.

  1. Ph.D. candidates must complete a minimum of 66 hours of graduate course work (including credit taken for the M.A. or M.F.A.) and must attain a 3.00 grade-point average in each of their fields. Part or all of the graduate course work completed at other U.S. institutions or accredited institutions abroad with a grade of “B” or higher and taken within seven years of starting the doctoral program may count towards the 66 hours requirement with the approval of the Program Advisory Committee. However, it should be noted that this course work will not be reflected on the student’s transcript. 
  2. WLIT 5193 Introduction to Comparative Literature is required of all Ph.D. candidates in the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies.
  3. Ph.D. candidates must take 24 hours in a main field. The goal is for the student to use this coursework to create a primary field of specialization.
  4. Ph.D. candidates must complete 18 hours in one of the five doctoral concentrations –traditional comparative literature, cultural studies, interdisciplinary Hispanic studies, translation, and world languages and applied linguistics—as described in detail below.     
  5. Ph.D. candidates must take 9 hours in world literatures and cultures outside their main field, providing historical depth and geographical breadth to their literary and cultural studies.
  6. Ph.D. students must complete an additional 12 elective credits. They may use these to develop a tertiary field, strengthen primary or secondary fields, or to take courses outside those fields.
  7. Ph.D. candidates must take 18 dissertation hours. 
  8. Ph.D. students must declare a concentration by the end of the first year and define a Dissertation Committee by the end of the second year. The committee consists of the student’s research supervisor plus two other faculty members. This committee will administer the candidacy exam, the proposal defense, and the dissertation defense.
  9. Ph.D. students must demonstrate reading proficiency in two languages other than English before being admitted into candidacy. The language requirements may be fulfilled either by completing 12 hours in the target language or by taking the reading exam administered by the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Documented coursework from an accredited institution in which the language of instruction is other than English may be used to substitute for a language exam.
  10. Candidacy: Upon completion of coursework and world languages requirements, all Ph.D. students must take a two part candidacy exam and present a dissertation proposal.
  11. The candidacy examination is based on a set of reading lists based on coursework and areas of concentration, that the student composes with the guidance of their advisor and committee members. The reading list is divided into five sections: two lists comprising the student’s areas of concentration and three lists covering world literatures and cultures. The candidacy examination has two parts:

a.     A written examination covering the student’s world literatures and cultures fields;

b.     A written examination covering the concentration areas of the reading lists.  

Students may retake only once any examination they fail.

  1. Dissertation Proposal: After successfully completing the candidacy examination, the Ph.D. student will submit a dissertation proposal to be discussed and approved in a formal meeting with the Dissertation Committee. This meeting is the proposal defense. A student failing a proposal defense may revise the proposal and retake the defense one time.
  2. Dissertations in a language other than English.  Students in the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies Program may request permission to submit their dissertation in a language other than English, with legitimate justification.  Valid reasons for submitting a dissertation in a language other than English includes the subject matter, special primary audience, publication venues, academic position in a foreign country, historical or literary value, and the documents to be used, analyzed and interpreted. Limited English writing skills is not a valid justification. Students must request approval of the target language from the dissertation committee, the program advisory committee, the program director and the dean of the graduate school before starting the project.  All committee members must be proficient in the target language and approve target language usage.  Abstracts must be written in English.
  3. Upon passing both parts of the written examination as well as successfully completing the proposal defense, the student becomes a Ph.D. degree candidate and enters the dissertation stage.
  4. Within the time limits specified by the Graduate School, each student must submit a dissertation acceptable to the student’s dissertation committee.
  5. Each student must pass a dissertation defense administered by the student’s Dissertation Committee.

Requirements for the Comparative Literature Concentration (CLIT): This concentration is for students interested in world literature and the intersections of different literary traditions beyond national borders.  Candidates will complete at least 18 hours in a second world language and literary tradition. 

Requirements for the Cultural Studies Concentration (CULS).  This concentration is for students interested inter and trans disciplinary approaches to study literature and culture, including non- literary genres such as mass media, popular culture, visual discourses, and communication theories.  In addition to the other program requirements, students in the cultural studies concentration must complete 18 hours of coursework in an area related to cultural studies, including take COMM 5503 Communication and Cultural Studies and the seminar COMM 5993 Readings In Cultural Studies.

Requirements for the Interdisciplinary Hispanic Studies Concentration (HISP): This concentration is designed for candidates with an M.A. in Spanish whose scholarly and teaching interests are primarily in Hispanic studies and in interdisciplinary and transnational approaches to the literatures and cultures of Spain, Latin America and Hispanic United States. Candidates in this concentration will complete 18 hours in one of these three fields: Iberian, Latin American or U.S. Latino/Latina literatures and cultures.

Requirements for the Literary Translation Concentration (LTTR). This concentration is designed for candidates interested in advanced studies in translation theory and scholarly research on literary translation. Candidates in this concentration must take 18 hours of translation coursework including nine hours in translation workshops (ENGL 5043) and nine hours from the following form and theory courses in poetry and fiction (ENGL 5223, ENGL 5263, ENGL 5273, ENGL 5283, ENGL 5293). Courses may be substituted from related fields with advisor approval. The dissertation project may be a study of some translation issue or a book-length translation of a literary work with a critical introduction and annotated text. Candidates will typically have an M.F.A. in literary translation or an M.A. in Arabic, Classics, French, German, Spanish, or other languages and literatures.

Requirements for World Languages and Applied Linguistics Concentration (WLAL): This concentration is designed for candidates with research and teaching interest in applied linguistics and second language pedagogy for world languages, literatures and cultures at the college level.  Applicants should have a Master’s of Arts in a world language (French, German, Spanish or other languages) or a field in the humanities or the social sciences. Candidates in this concentration must take 18 hours in applied linguistics related courses including: WLLC 5063Teaching Foreign Languages on the College Level, WLLC 5463 Descriptive Linguistics, CIED 5923 Second Language Acquisition, two applied linguistics seminars (WLLC 6553 to be repeated for a total of six hours), a qualitative and/or quantitative research methods course, depending on the candidate’s research project approved by the adviser, such as SOCI 5083Applied Qualitative Research.

Updated 8/20/2018