PhD students take 36 credits or 2 years of coursework before moving on to the Qualifying exams.
|3 cr.||Introduction to Graduate Studies (HU5000)|
|1-3 cr.||Pre-Approved Course for Advanced RCR training|
|0-3 cr.||Composition Pedagogy (if applicable)|
|12 cr.||4 Groundwork courses. Two of these should be in the student’s area of concentration and one course each in two other areas.|
|6 cr.||2 Focus courses, one of which can be at the 5000 level|
|9-14 cr.||Other courses and up to 3 credits of practica, including 1 course in Methodologies/Methods or certification by advisor(s) of methods preparation|
Methodologies and Methods (M/M) Preparation
Students must consult with their advisors during their coursework preparation in order to determine which M/M preparation would be most appropriate for their focus of study, and to be advised into appropriate means of preparing for their dissertations, theses, or projects.
Methodologies/Methods (M/M) Preparation is defined as relevant qualifications to conduct proposed research. Because of the wide variety of approaches to the generation of new knowledge in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture, means of adequate preparation should be determined by the student's advisor in consultation with the student and the committee. Depending on the nature of the project, appropriate M/M preparation may include dedicated methodology courses, courses with a designated M/M component, relevant prior research experience, or other special preparation approved by the student's committee.
PhD students should complete M/M preparation prior to the third year, and PhD advisors must indicate that this preparation has been completed in the annual review form for the student’s third year in the program.
Qualifying exams should be taken during the student’s fifth semester (third year). Students should have their committees in place by the end of the fourth semester so they can begin the qualifying exam process. The committee consists of 3 faculty advisors from the Department of Humanities.
The student prepares 2-3 reading lists in consultation with the faculty committee (readings may overlap). The reading lists will draw upon the readings and preparation from the first two years of coursework, with a limited set of additional readings that the faculty and student agree are necessary to enable the student to articulate a general question and response, in order to demonstrate the following:
- familiarity with the most important research in those areas,
- understanding of the primary issues and controversies in those areas,
- ability to articulate a position and argument within the context of those areas
Students and advisors will formulate 2-3 questions based on the reading lists. Each question should provide the student with a framework for making scholarly arguments about issues, theories, and/or traditions central to the area of study to which the question is directed. Students (who are attending graduate school full time) will undertake to complete all of this writing by the end of the first semester of the third year.
Committee advisors must collect the reading lists and questions from all committee members and send them to the RTC Director at least two weeks before the beginning of the exam. These lists and questions will be distributed by the RTC Director to the committee members who will indicate their approval by returning a signed cover sheet to the Director. Students must submit the departmental Two Week Notification Form at least 2 weeks prior to the qualifying exam. After the exam, copies of the reading lists and questions will be kept as resources for future students and advisors. Copies of reading lists and questions will also be kept in the student's file.
The student will write the qualifying exams over the course of three weeks. The student should submit 35-50 pages total (about 8,750-12,500 words) and a works cited list.
Once the student submits responses, all responses will be distributed to all committee members by the Humanities office assistant. The committee will have one week before the scheduled date of the oral defense to review the answers and agree that the student can participate in a defense. At that time the chair will indicate to the RTC Director that the committee agrees to proceed with the defense.
On the day of the three-week exam period, the student must pick up the questions from the Humanities office assistant either in person or by email. Questions must be picked up during scheduled office hours.
Students have 3 weeks to complete exam answers. Once writing is completed, the student must email the answers to the Humanities office assistant who will distribute the answers to committee members.
The committee has one week to review the submitted answers and approve a defense. The student should have their defense date set up with the committee in advance and a room reserved for a two-hour defense. If the student is not approved to go forward, these arrangements must be cancelled.
Students should bring the Humanities Department form for reporting on Qualifying Exams* to their defense. The defense is not open to the public.
After the student successfully completes the qualifying exam, the student then writes a dissertation proposal and defends it by the end of the third year (sixth semester). This may be a one-semester process, especially if the student needs to develop expertise in new areas (beyond coursework and the qualifying examination). Students must submit the departmental Two Week Notification Form at least 2 weeks prior to the proposal defense.
The proposal should be 15-20 pages (3,750-5,000 words) plus works cited. Following are guidelines for sections of the proposal, to be adjusted as appropriate for the diverse fields within the department:
- Introduction—articulates an area of focus leading to a defensible question
- Literature Review—situates the research question within the context of other current conversations and work in the field
- Rationale for Study
- Articulation of Research Question(s)
- Methodologies/Methods—articulates an understanding of the appropriate means for undertaking the collection and analysis of data, or the articulation of appropriate rhetorical/hermeneutic approaches, as approved by the student’s committee, that will lead the student to contribute productively to their area of interest
- Chapter Outline—as presently projected
- Significance of Study—projected contributions to the field
- Reference List
All committee members should participate in the proposal defense. Following a successful defense, the student must submit the “Humanities Department form for reporting on Qualifying Exams*”.
Upon successful completion of the proposal, students are required to petition the Graduate School to enter Candidacy. In order to petition to for this status, students must have a completed “Degree Schedule Form” and a completed “Petition to Enter Candidacy.” The RTC program requires that these forms be submitted through the RTC Graduate Program Office together with the “Humanities Department form for reporting on Qualifying Exams*” upon successful completion of the Proposal Defense. Students are expected to bring all three forms with them on the day of the Proposal Defense.
*Note that editable forms must be opened in Acrobat or other pdf editing software.