Before being admitted to formal candidacy, students prepare a doctoral project proposal in consultation with their project director and second reader (tenure-track faculty members). Proposals are reviewed and evaluated by the Graduate Committee. Students may be asked to revise a resubmit. If the proposal is accepted (and all other requirements are met), the student will be recommended for PhD Candidacy. 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).
Our program recognizes the importance of supporting a variety of career goals and innovative research. The doctoral project can 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.