Before being admitted to formal candidacy, the student must prepare a doctoral project proposal for approval by the Graduate Committee in consultation with a director and a second reader (both of whom must be tenure-track faculty members). The proposal should be a thorough document, including a statement of the subject, its exigency and audience, a survey of the significant primary and secondary materials, and an outline of the sections or chapters (in the case of a traditional dissertation or monograph). The final deadline for submission of a proposal to the Graduate Committee is September 1.
The doctoral project could take any number of forms including a traditional dissertation (monograph), a digital or public humanities project, a new edition of a text, a series of thematically related essays, or an interdisciplinary project.
Regardless of the form that it takes, the project should draw on the student's training and coursework to incorporate the skills of textual interpretation and/or formal analysis to explore a specific cultural, political, or social question.
We invite students to develop new kinds of projects that will serve them in a variety of possible careers upon completion of the Ph.D. (see Appendix G of the Graduate Handbook).
Upon completion, and in accordance with the university requirements, students will defend the doctoral project. The defense will be a 90-120 minute discussion with the student's committee members of the major methodological, conceptual, literary historical, and formal questions addressed by the project. The defense will be open to the public.