Doctor of Philosophy Program

Ph.D. Requirements

Coursework: 24 Credits
Major concentration: minimum of 4 courses from one field
Minor concentrations (2): for each, a minimum of 2 courses from one field

Language Requirement
3 Scholarly Languages, including Latin and 2 modern languages

Preliminary Examinations
4 Written (4 hours each)
1 Oral (2 hours)

Dissertation Prospectus

Dissertation and Defense

To complete requirements for the Ph.D. degree, please follow the steps outlined below in the order they are given:

1) Consult with the Major Advisor about the courses to be taken. Four courses must be completed in the major area and two in each of two minor areas (twenty-four credits).

2) Submit a Plan of Study when approximately half of the expected coursework for the degree has been completed.

3) Fulfill the residence requirement by completing two consecutive semesters of full-time work in Storrs or, with the consent of the Advisory Committee, one semester together with a contiguous summer period consisting of the Summer Session I or Summer Session II.

4) Fulfill the language requirements.

5) Discuss preliminary exams with Major Advisor. Put together exam lists. When completed, turn in copies of exam lists to Medieval Studies Program Office.

6) Take preliminary exams (four written exams and one oral).

7) Meet with your Advisory Committee to discuss your Dissertation Prospectus. Specifications for preparation of the proposal may be obtained from the Graduate Records Office.

8) Submit the Dissertation Prospectus to the Advisory Committee. This Committee, along with two Program representatives, reviews the prospectus. If the prospectus is accepted, the student may fill out an application for the Dissertation Fellowship Award (information will be available at the Graduate School). The awards are competitive.

9) All requirements for the Ph.D. degree, except the dissertation, are now completed, and the Graduate School will formally admit the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Students are considered ABD (All But Dissertation).

10) Complete dissertation. Requirements for the degree must be completed within eight years for those entering with the B.A., and within seven years with the M.A.

11) Set up the date and time for the Dissertation Defense with the Advisory Committee. Notify the Program Director at least four weeks before the Defense. One week before the Defense, deposit one copy of the dissertation in the English Office and one copy at the Graduate School.

12) In order to register for degree completion, follow the instructions from the Graduate School for Degree Completion.

Coursework Requirements Prior to the Preliminary Exams

Students are ordinarily expected to complete eight courses, chosen in consultation with a Major Advisor, before beginning the exam sequence. At least four courses must be completed in the major area and two in each of two minor areas.

NOTE: Medieval Studies students who have opted for English as their major field of concentration are required to take two courses in Old English: Old English (English 5310) and a second seminar in Old English Language/Literature, usually fulfilled by the Seminar in Beowulf (English 6310).

NOTE: A course taken during the M.A. (but not one which is part of the M.A. Plan of Study), may be applied to the Ph.D. However, this causes your Ph.D. time clock to start at the point that course was taken, not at the point you take your first actual Ph.D. course. Obviously, this will reduce the amount of time you have to complete the doctorate. To get more time, your Major Advisor will have to ask the Graduate School for an extension on your behalf. The Plan of Study must be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Language Requirements

Reading knowledge is required of three scholarly languages: Latin and two languages significant to the student’s program (usually, but not always, defined as modern languages that allow the student to read traditional as well as current research in the candidate’s field of research). Ph.D. candidates should satisfy this degree requirement as early as possible in the course of study and usually well before they begin preparation for the general examination. According to the Graduate Catalog, one of six methods may be used to establish reading competence in a foreign language as approved by the candidate’s Advisory Committee:

1) The student may pass an examination set by a member of the University Faculty with the permission of the Advisory Committee. The examiner may not be a member of the student’s advisory committee. The examination will include, but need not be limited to, the translation of a passage approximately 400 words in length. The use of a dictionary may be permitted at the option of the examiner. The passage may be the same for a group of students in the same field or may be selected individually for each student. The examination must be supervised and have a reasonable time limit. The result of the examination, whether passed or failed, must be reported to the Graduate Records Office on the official form bearing the signature of the examiner.

2) The student may pass both semesters of an approved one-year reading or intermediate course in the language with grades equivalent to C (not C-) or higher. The courses that are designated for this purpose are Latin 123-124; French 163-164 or 165-166; German 133-134 or 145-146; Italian 147-148; Spanish 183-184 or 185-186. Alternatively, the student may pass a course in a foreign language or literature at or above the 200’s level, provided that the reading for the course is required to be done in the modern form of the language. (An exception to the “modern form of the language” will be made in the case of Ancient Greek and Latin). Language courses taken at other institutions are not accepted. However, the student may consider option (3).

3) The student may establish evidence of competence in the language through an official transcript stating that a baccalaureate or higher degree was earned with that language as the major.

4) A doctoral reading examination (other than the GSFLT) passed at another graduate school of approved standing, provided that the examination was taken prior to the student’s enrollment in this graduate school, may be accepted.

5) For the requirement in French, German, or Spanish, the student may pass the Graduate School Foreign Language Test (GSFLT), administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The registration for this test is available through the Bureau of Educational Research, in the Gentry (Education) building. If a graduate student takes the GSFLT, the result of the examination will be accepted (subject to a five-year limitation) if the score is satisfactory, as determined by the Graduate Records Office. The GSFLT “test option” selected must be the one most appropriate for the student’s program, if the result is to be accepted.

6) The student may establish evidence of competence in the language through documentation that the language is the student’s native language, learned in childhood and used primarily through at least secondary school. Each of these methods has stipulations attached to them by the Graduate School. The student should check those stipulations in a current Graduate Catalog.

Preliminary Examinations

A series of preliminary examinations are required of every student in the Ph.D. Program. The Graduate School calls this set of exams the “General Examination,” and they are also known as prelims–preliminary to candidacy for the degree.

Form: The Doctoral Examination consists of two segments, written (four written exams) and oral (one oral exam). Although a total of five examinations are given as parts of the exam, only a single grade is recorded for the examination.

Written Exam Sections: Two written exams are taken in the Major Field, one a generalist exam and one a specialist exam. The specialist exam is developed by the candidate and Major Advisor in consultation with the Advisory Committee. The candidate will also take two written exams in Minor Fields (one generalist exam in each of two fields). Each written exam is three hours long with an additional hour for planning and proofreading, for a total of 16 hours for all four exams.

Generalist Exams: Generalist exam reading lists are compiled by the student in concert with the member of the Advisory Committee appropriate to each section. The lists should be deposited in the Medieval Studies Program Office by the student, at least a month prior to the examination process.

Specialist Exam: The specialist exam reading list is based on the candidate’s area of specialization developed by the candidate and Major Advisor in consultation with the Advisory Committee. The specialist list includes works of criticism, history, and theory, as well as primary texts. The candidate’s list will reflect both breadth and depth of reading and a sense of the history of criticism throughout the specialty area as well as contemporary critical approaches to the works. It is intended that this list will help prepare the candidate to begin thinking about a more precise area of specialization and to move toward the writing of the dissertation prospectus. The list should be deposited in the Medieval Studies Program Office at least a month prior to the specialist exam.

Grading of Preliminary Exam: Each of the written examination sections will receive separate grades. The possible grades are HP (High Pass), P (Pass), LP (Low Pass), and F (Fail). Generalist examinations will be graded by the appropriate faculty member on the student’s Advisory Committee, who may consult with the rest of the Advisory Committee if desired. If, however, the faculty reader fails an exam, the other members of the Advisory Committee must evaluate and grade it. If any exam section (written or oral) receives a Fail, it must be retaken. If a section is failed a second time, the Advisory Committee must decide whether another attempt would also be futile. If so, the Committee should deliberate on whether the candidate may continue with his or her course of study to the Ph.D. The Major Advisor, the Advisory Committee, and at least one additional non-committee Faculty member are responsible for the final grade for the whole exam.

Oral Exam Section: Having passed the four written exams, the Ph.D. candidate takes an oral exam of two hours, which is administered by the candidate’s Advisory Committee and one or two outside faculty members. Not fewer than five faculty members, including all members of the student’s Advisory Committee, must participate in the examination. The oral exam may cover any material that was assigned for the written exams, whether generalist or specialist material. The oral exam consists of questions that supplement or clarify the candidate’s answers on the written exam, that refer to questions left unanswered on the written exams, and that are generally relevant to the candidate’s knowledge of specific works and issues of the major and related fields of study.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus must include:

  1. An accurate title
  2. A concise (usually not more than ten pages) statement of the dissertation topic including
    1. the purpose, importance, and originality of the study
    2. the methods and techniques to be used
    3. availability and location of research facilities
    4. a brief bibliography

The prospectus must be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee and reviewed by at least two reviewers outside the Advisory Committee who are appointed by the Program Director. The prospectus must be signed by the Program Director confirming that the results of the evaluation were favorable. The Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Coversheet must be submitted in triplicate to the Graduate School before the actual writing of the dissertation has begun. In addition, it is required that a copy of the approved prospectus be put in the student’s file in the Medieval Studies Program Office.

Admission to Candidacy for the Degree

Upon completion of all requirements, the student officially becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree (All But Dissertation=ABD) and should devote full time to completion of the dissertation. A letter of candidacy is sent from the Graduate School to all students successfully completing all requirements for the degree except the dissertation.

Dissertation Defense

A Dissertation Defense (“The Oral”) is required of every student by the Graduate School. The Defense is conducted by the student’s Major Advisor and the members of the student’s advisory committee. The University community is invited to attend. The Defense is less an examination in the formal sense (though serious questions can be expected) than an appropriate forum for the candidate to comment on the scope and significance of the research. As a result of the Dissertation Defense, the student’s Advisory Committee may require revisions and corrections to the dissertation. The student initiates scheduling of the Defense by consulting first with members of the Advisory Committee and the Medieval Studies Program Office. At least five members of the Faculty (including the members of the student’s Advisory Committee) must participate. Only members of the Advisory Committee, however, actually grade the Defense. The student should read the Graduate Catalog introduction on “Standards & Degree Requirements,” particularly the section on “Final Examination” to make sure that all requirements are fulfilled. The student must also make arrangements with the Medieval Studies Program Office at least four weeks before the defense. The Medieval Studies Program Office will then notify members of the Graduate Faculty. One week before the defense, the student should deposit one copy of the dissertation in the English Office and have copies for the departmental representatives. Once the student has passed the dissertation defense, the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School following the guidelines provided on the Dissertation Information page.

Application to Receive the Degree

In order to register for degree completion, follow the instructions from the Graduate School for Degree Completion.

Other Information

Time Limit: Eight years (from initial matriculation at Storrs) beyond the B.A. and seven beyond the M.A. are maximum limits for completing all doctoral work. All preliminary exams must be completed within five years (four years, if the student enters with an M.A.) of initial matriculation. The Major Advisor may request an extension from the Graduate School if necessary.

Residence Requirement: At least one year (two consecutive semesters) of graduate work must be spent in full-time study (“residence”) at Storrs. Doctoral students normally fulfill this requirement while taking coursework. The usual courseload for a full-time student in each semester is nine to twelve credits (six, if the student is a graduate assistant), as approved by the Major Advisor. During a student’s year in residence, full-time attention must be devoted to academic work.

Transfer of Credit: See the Graduate Catalog for details.