The Ph.D. in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies offers two major concentrations: 1) Literary and Cultural Studies and 2) Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics. Students in each concentration may opt to develop a secondary field of expertise in the other.

The program is designed primarily to prepare students for careers as university professors and research scholars. Students develop advanced language, teaching, and research skills that lend themselves to other professions, as well. A variety of geographic, temporal, and theoretical concentrations allow students to carry out innovative and interdisciplinary research projects, often with a transnational focus.

Basic Program Requirements

The requirements set out below for the Ph.D. in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies are minimum requirements. The Graduate Studies Committee, Director of Graduate Studies, and individual advisors may set additional requirements.

  1. The requirements:
    1. for students entering on the “five-year plan” (with a B.A. or M.A., see below), passing satisfactorily a minimum of 60 graded credit hours in approved courses, 30 of which must be open to graduate students only;
    2. for students entering on the “four-year plan” (with an M.A. in a closely related field, see below), passing satisfactorily a minimum of 48 graded credit hours in approved courses, 24 of which must be open to graduate students only;
  2. Passing MLL 701 MLL 711, MLL 714, MLL 799, and a minimum of 15 graded credit hours in the area(s) of research emphasis to be determined on an individualized basis in collaboration with the graduate advisors.
  3. For students in the Literary and Cultural Studies concentration, three credits of Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics and three credits in any Arts and Sciences discipline focusing on Colonial or Early Modern Studies (16th century or earlier).
  4. At least six credits in an approved cognate discipline to be determined in consultation with graduate advisors.
  5. Nine credits in Literary/Cultural Studies or Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics, for students pursuing an optional minor concentration.
  6.  In addition to proficiency in English and the major language of study, demonstrating the following:
    1. reading knowledge of two other languages; or
    2. holistic knowledge of one other language (for example, by passing the equivalent of a course at the 300-level);    Note: Appropriate languages of study will be determined in collaboration with the student’s advisors (e.g. students of  Latin America may be encouraged to study Portuguese or an indigenous language; students focusing on early modern Spanish or French studies may be encouraged to study Italian; students working in the French-speaking Caribbean many need to take Haitian Kreyòl; etc.);
    3. if areas of specialization include Medieval, Early Modern, or Colonial Latin American Studies, students must demonstrate reading knowledge of Latin.
  7. Passing a Breadth Exam. Depending on the student’s interests, the exam shall consist of three parts, according to one of the following configurations:
    1. one geographic region over three time periods;
    2. two geographic regions over two or three time periods;
    3. two geographic regions over one or two time periods and one area of critical sociolinguistics;
    4. two areas of critical sociolinguistics and one geographic region over one-time period.   ​Note: Students entering the doctoral program with an MA in a relevant field may petition to waive the Breadth Exam (normally taken in the spring semester of the second year) after the first semester of study. The Graduate Studies Committee will consider petitions on an individualized basis.
  8. Passing a Qualifying Exam on an approved topic. The exam typically includes three general approaches focusing on:
    1. literature, cultural studies, or sociolinguistics;
    2. critical theory;
    3. a cognate discipline (e.g. history, sociology, philosophy, law, art, film, etc.). 
  9. Successfully defending a dissertation prospectus.
  10. Completing and defending satisfactorily a dissertation. 
  11. Satisfying the requirements of the Graduate School as stated in the Graduate Bulletin.