Department of Comparative Studies


It is expected that students will enter the PhD program with an MA, MFA, or MS in hand. The PhD curriculum in Cultures, Languages, and Literatures is organized as follows:

a)    2 of CST 7309: Theory and Criticism (3 credits; variable titles and content, repeatable for credits)

b)    2 of CST 7936: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (3 credits; variable titles and content, repeatable for credits)

c)    A minimum of 8 additional graduate courses at the 6000 or 7000-level (from at least two different departments or schools in the college)

d)    CST 7910  – Advanced Research and Study (1 - 9 credits)   

e)    CST 7980 Dissertation Credits (a minimum of 18 dissertation credits)

TOTAL CREDITS: a minimum of 54 credits

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: By the end of the second year of course work, the student will ask a faculty member to serve as his/her Major Professor for the dissertation. In consultation with the Major Professor, the student will ask at least two-three other faculty members to serve on his/her committee.

QUALIFYING EXAMS: The Qualifying Exam consists of a written and oral component. In the semester after completing 32 graduate credits in the program, typically in Fall of year 3, the student takes the Written Qualifying Examination in the 8th week of the semester, and the Oral Qualifying Examination in the 10th week of the semester. The Qualifying Examinations are administered and evaluated by the student’s committee.

In consultation with the student, the committee will compile a reading list from which the exams will be constructed.  This list will not be based solely on the student’s coursework, but will include as well readings that the exam committee deems foundational for the student’s program of study.  The successful completion of this written component will be followed by an oral exam in two weeks.  The oral exam examines, beyond the limits of the written exam, the extent of the student’s mastery of the material.

Students who fail the written or oral exam may retake it one time only. The student will retake either exam within a timeframe to be determinded by the committee in consultation with the student.  If the second exam is failed, this is grounds for dimissal from the Program.  Retakes will not be administered in the summer.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT: In a language other than English, the student must demonstrate working knowledge either by passing a written translation exam or by successfully completing (with a grade of B or better) a “reading for research” course at the graduate level, which does not count toward the required minimum of 54 credits for the Ph.D.

SATISFACTORY COMPLETION OF A DISSERTATION: The student will defend his/her Dissertation Prospectus at the beginning of Spring in Year 3. The dissertation,will contain original research and, will be defended before the student’s committee and others. Only the committee will vote on approval.


 Last Modified 4/10/14