Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Studies

Students who have completed the M.A. at other institutions or in other departments at OSU may in some cases be required to complete the M.A. in Comparative Studies before proceeding to the doctoral program. The number of credits earned in other M.A. programs that may be used to fulfill requirements for the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies will be determined by the Graduate Studies Committee at the time of admission. See the Graduate School Handbook (Section II, Part 6) for University enrollment and residence requirements.

Students in the M.A. in Comparative Studies program may continue beyond the M.A. only upon the recommendation of the Graduate Studies Committee.

Since admission to the graduate program occurs once a year and all applications are due by November 30. All students who plan to finish their MA during the school year and wish to be considered for continuing for a PhD the following year must announce those intentions by submitting the following materials by the same deadline that applies for new applicants: a statement of purpose (not to exceed five double-spaced pages) that describes a dissertation project; a writing sample; and letters from any non-core faculty whose input the student would like to solicit. These letters are optional and should only be solicited when the student has had extensive intellectual interaction with a non-core faculty member. The new statement of purpose should represent the opportunity for the student to demonstrate their ability to build on their MA work and to sketch with some precision the next step in his or her intellectual progress. At the same time, it allows the faculty to assess the student’s preparation for advanced graduate work and the fit between the student’s needs and the faculty’s expertise. Input regarding the advisability of any student’s continuing for the PhD will be solicited from core faculty members during a faculty meeting in early January.

 

1. Coursework.  All graduate students at OSU are required to take a total of 80 semester credit hours. In Comparative Studies, credits earned, in the Comparative Studies M.A. program or credits earned in another M.A. program and approved by the Comparative Studies Graduate Studies Committee (up to 30) may count toward fulfilling the requirement of 80.

 

Coursework credits are distributed as follows:

a. Students who have not completed the M.A. in Comparative Studies must take the following first year of enrollment:
 

   Comp St 6390, Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies I (3 credits)

   Comp St 6391, Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies II (3 credits)

In addition, if a student has transferred 30 credits of a Master’s Degree from either another university or another department at OSU, then an additional 50 credits in coursework remain, to be fulfilled as follows:
• Minimum of (15) fifteen additional credits or five courses at 6000 level or above within Comparative Studies
• Approximately (15) fifteen credit hours or five courses of additional coursework at 6000 level or above either within or outside of Comparative Studies
• (8) Eight hours in Comparative Studies 8998: Candidacy Examination (one full semester)
• Approximately (8) eight credit hours of Comparative Studies 8990: Dissertation Writing Workshop (2 hours per semester for four semesters)
• Approximately (4) four credit hours or four semesters of Comparative Studies 8999 Dissertation (1 credit hour per semester for four semesters)

b. Students who have completed the M.A. in Comparative Studies must complete an additional 50 credits toward the PhD as follows:
• Minimum of (15) fifteen additional credits or five courses at 6000 level or above within Comparative Studies
• Approximately (15) credits or five courses of additional coursework at 6000 level or above either within or outside of Comparative Studies
• (8) Eight hours in Comparative Studies 8998: Candidacy Examination (one full semester)
• Approximately (8) eight credit hours of Comparative Studies 8990: Dissertation Writing Workshop (2 hours per semester)
• Approximately (4) four credit hours or four semesters of Comparative Studies 8999 Dissertation Research (1 credit hour per semester for four semesters)

(Cross-listed courses may count in any department cross-listing the course, regardless of where the student is enrolled.)
 

c.  No credits taken in other departments at the 5000-level beyond the M.A. may count toward the Ph.D. degree. Approved coursework at the 5000-level for the M.A. in Comparative Studies may count toward the Ph.D. either graduate degree.

d.  No more than 6 hours of non-graded (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) coursework (ordinarily taken as independent study) may be counted as coursework hours in the overall program. It is highly recommended that this option be used strategically to maintain progress to degree (This requirement is not related to non-graded 8000-level hours taken as examination, thesis, or dissertation hours.)

e.  Independent Study courses must be approved by Graduate Studies Committee. Students, in consultation with faculty member supervising the study, will prepare a brief document describing the goals of Independent Study, planned readings and/or assignments, planned number of meetings with faculty, and expected outcomes. Students submit this to Graduate Studies Director in advance of semester in which it is to take place. Non-duplication of coursework and graduate rigor.

f. All students must include a minimum of 21 credits at the 7000 and 8000-level beyond the M.A. degree.

See the Graduate School Handbook, Section II.6 for additional Graduate School requirements.

g. Up to 9 credits or three courses taken in fulfillment of Comparative Studies degree requirements may also count toward a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization or Minor. 

2. Language.  All students completing the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies must demonstrate competence in at least one language other than English, but some students’ research agendas will require competence in two. In particular, students working with forms of cultural expression produced in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in two languages other than English. The Graduate Studies Committee will determine whether a student’s language requirement may be fulfilled by showing competence in one or two languages other than English. This requirement (for each language) must be met in one of the following ways:

a. by receiving a minimum grade of "B" in a 6000-level course taught in a language other than English;

b. by receiving a minimum grade of “B” in a 5000-level course that certifies ability to read with the use of a dictionary;

c. by passing a proficiency examination administered by the appropriate language department;

d. by petitioning the Graduate Studies Committee to consider other evidence of competence, for example, an undergraduate major or minor in a language other than English.


Courses below the 56000 level taken to fulfill the language requirement cannot be counted toward the degree.

3. Progress to Degree

Students with GTA appointments are advised to take will generally take 9 credit hours or three classes each semester.

Students on fellowship must take 12 credits per semester and 6 credits in summer.

Students entering with M.A. transfer credits typically receive four years of guaranteed funding as a GTA. Students will complete coursework within three semesters and one summer term, take Candidacy Exams in fourth semester, prepare prospectus and begin dissertating in fifth semester, complete dissertation in semesters six through eight.

Year One                             Year Two                             Year Three                          Year Four

6390 + 6391                         6 credits in Dept                               2 credits 8890                     2 credits 8890

6 credits in Dept                               3 credit outside Dept      4 credits 8999                     4 credits 8999

6 credits outside Dept    9 credits Candidacy

Students in the M.A./PhD track are typically guaranteed five years of funding as a GTA appointment and, if taking 9 credit hours per semester will complete MA coursework in third semester, complete PhD coursework between fourth and sixth semester, take Candidacy Exams in seventh semester, prospectus and begin dissertating in eighth semester, complete dissertation by end of tenth semester. If students take courses in one or two summers, they will begin exams and dissertation earlier.

Year One                             Year Two             _            Summer                               Year Three

6390+6391                           9 credits any Dept            3 Thesis Credits                 6 credits in Dept

7000 course in Dept        9 credits in Dept                               3 Language Credits          12 credits any Dept

8000 course in Dept       

*6 credits any Dept

 

                *may be at 5000 level or above

Summer                               Year Four                                            Year Five

3 credits Indiv Study       9 credits Candidacy Exam             2 credits 8890

                                                1 credit 8890                                       4 credits 8999

                                                2 credits 8999

Students on the M.A./PhD track with one year of fellowship funding and four years of GTA funding will typically complete all coursework for M.A. and Ph.D. within four semesters, take Candidacy Exam in semester six, prospectus and begin dissertating in semester seven, and complete dissertation by end of semester ten.

Continuation in the program is contingent upon sufficient progress toward completion. Every spring semester, and in line with department guidelines for annual review distributed by the Graduate Studies Committee, students will meet with their advisor and/or committee to discuss progress to degree. The advisor/committee then presents a report of that student's progress to a meeting of core graduate faculty. During this meeting, input will be sought from all the faculty about the progress of each student. After the meeting, the results of this conversation will be communicated to each student by the advisor. The goal of these conversations is to provide timely and meaningful feedback to each student about her or his work and potential for advancement in the program. If, at any time during the annual review, advisors or faculty determine that sufficient progress has not been made, the advisor and the student will draft an agreement as to what constitutes sufficient progress to continue in the program for the subsequent semester. Failure to comply with the agreement may result in the student’s discontinuation in the program.

 

4. Candidacy Examinations.  After coursework and before concentrated work on the dissertation begins, students are expected to pass a Candidacy Examination. This exam consists of three written examinations relevant to the student’s proposed dissertation research and general preparedness for scholarly employment. Candidacy exams should be completed within two semesters of the completion of all coursework, normally by the end of the second year after the completion of the student’s M.A. More time for preparing can be obtained through petitioning the Comparative Studies Graduate Studies Committee.

All qualifying examinations will comprise three examination fields and be structured to qualify students in two ways: 1) to pursue a specific dissertation research agenda; and 2) to situate the student as a researcher and teacher in at least two significant academic fields.  In consultation with his or her advisory committee, the student will design the examinations in a way that best achieves these two objectives. A reading list indicating texts that will be covered on the exams should be developed and approved by the student’s candidacy examination committee well in advance of the exam date. The Comparative Studies exam format is highly individualized, guided by the needs of the student and the advice of Candidacy Examination Committee.
 

One of the examination areas must be Critical, Social, and Cultural Theory. The reading list for this exam will build on syllabi for CS 6390 and 6391, among others, but may be modified by the Candidacy Examination Committee to meet the particular needs and interests of the individual student.  The goal of this exam is to provide the student with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of current positions in Critical, Social and Cultural Theory and facility in conceptualizing research questions informed by these positions.

The second and third exams should provide the student with the opportunity to articulate the specificity of his or her research interests and to situate those research interests and general preparedness for scholarly employment in the context of at least two significant academic fields. Before the exam, the student will be required to name the targeted fields of qualification. Candidacy Examination Committee members with expertise in those targeted areas will be responsible for ensuring that the examination process, including the definition of the examination fields, will qualify the student to use methods from those targeted areas in the dissertation research, to situate that research convincingly in debates in those areas, and to teach in those areas. The committee member responsible for overseeing the student’s preparation in a particular targeted area may, at his or her discretion, deem it necessary for an examination field to be devoted in its entirety to that area. For example, it could be possible to devote one exam to the specific area of dissertation research, saving the second exam to allow the student to demonstrate her or his ability to articulate that work to two fields. Another possible structure would ask students to articulate the relationships between their work and two different fields in two different exams.

Students are also asked to write a rationale for the reading lists in which they explain how the individual three reading lists cohere, how they aid the student to prepare for their dissertation, and how they each engage with various theoretical and methodological debates. The rationale is also meant to describe the dissertation project in a general manner, and should be about 1000 words in length total.

The actual examination process will be determined by each student’s Candidacy Examination Committee and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. The goal of the process is to enable the student to demonstrate her or his capacity to perform interdisciplinary scholarly work at the highest level, but within a constrained framework. The length of time allowed for the writing of the exams and the conditions under which the exams are written should be set with that goal in mind.  For example, the student could take three exams, one in each of the three areas, over a period of three weeks and with a specified page limit. Alternatively, the student could write three formal papers over the course of a quarter, discussing the state of the field in each of the three areas. Or the student could take the exams in a very concentrated period of time, such as in three four-hour exams over the course of one week.

The Candidacy Examination Committee must include four graduate faculty members.  At least two members of the Candidacy Examination Committee must be Comparative Studies Graduate Faculty. The Graduate Studies Committee must approve any members of the Candidacy Examination Committee who are not graduate faculty at OSU and petition the graduate school for inclusion on the committee. These members will be in addition to the required number.

Students must communicate their exam intentions to the Director of Graduate Studies in advance of the commencement of their exams. Before the student begins the written portion of the candidacy examination, the chair of the candidacy examination committee proposes the names of the candidacy examination committee to the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School and informs them of the date the written portion will begin and the date of expected completion of the written portion. A two-hour Oral Examination is required by the Graduate School and must take place within one month of

completion of the written portion of the examination. The Graduate School must be formally notified at least two weeks in advance of the oral’s proposed time and place by the submission of a Notification of Doctoral Candidacy Exam form. The candidacy examination must take place during announced university       business       hours,       Monday       through       Friday.

Oral Exam Procedures: Because the oral examination is a very important qualifying event in a student’s progression to the PhD, it should be approached with appropriate gravity. At the outset of the oral examination, students are often asked to leave the room so that the candidacy exam committee can consult on how to proceed with the oral examination, in light of the student’s written exams. Once students are invited back into the room, the exam committee is likely to ask students to clarify or expand upon their written answers and/or to further demonstrate their knowledge of a particular subject. It is customary to also pursue questions relating to students’ dissertation plans. At the end of the oral examination, students are again asked to leave the room so that the examination committee can deliberate.

The outcome of the Candidacy Examination is reached in the absence of the student. The decision to judge the examination satisfactory or unsatisfactory must be unanimous and all examiners must affirm that vote on the Candidacy Examination Report. Satisfactory completion of the Candidacy  Examination indicates the student is deemed sufficiently prepared to undertake dissertation research, and the student then proceeds to candidacy for the Ph.D.  Students are invited back into the room immediately after deliberation to hear the committee’s decision.

If the Candidacy Examination Committee finds the student’s performance unsatisfactory, the examination may be retaken with the approval of the Graduate School. No substitutions may be made on the student’s Candidacy Examination Committee if a second examination is required and a second oral examination must be scheduled.

Once students have completed the Candidacy Exam, they must be enrolled continuously (excluding Summer) until graduation. Full-time enrollment for students who have entered candidacy is three credits. The department offers a 2-credit writing colloquium in Autumn and Spring terms. All students who have passed their candidacy exams must enroll in the writing colloquium. Students may petition for exemption while they conduct fieldwork or archival research for their dissertation that requires them to be away from Columbus.
See the Graduate School Handbook for additional details.

 

5.  Dissertation.  Within two months of the successful completion of the Candidacy Exams, the student must develop a dissertation committee (which might be the same as the Candidacy Examination Committee, but need not be) and submit a dissertation prospectus. This prospectus should outline a research problem, indicate the research problem’s theoretical significance, briefly review the most relevant past and current scholarship relating to the problem, and identify a relevant theoretical framework and research strategy. The dissertation committee will determine the proper length for each student’s prospectus, but it typically consists of a minimum of fifteen and a maximum of thirty pages. The dissertation committee will determine the extent to which the prospectus represents a comprehensive and comprehensible plan for the completion of the dissertation.

The dissertation is a scholarly document requiring independent research under the guidance of faculty advisers. It should demonstrate the student’s competence in interdisciplinary research and should demonstrate strong potential for future publication. The dissertation must be completed within five

years of completing the Candidacy Examination, and students admitted in AU 2008 or later must be continuously enrolled while working on the dissertation.

The dissertation advisor or co-advisors serve as chair(s) of the Dissertation Committee. At least one advisor must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in Comparative Studies. Co-advisors and other members of the committee must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee and have Graduate Faculty status with the Graduate School. The Dissertation Committee must include a minimum of three members, at least two from the Comparative Studies Graduate Faculty (including Affiliated Faculty). All members of the Dissertation Committee must be approved by the Comparative Studies Graduate Studies Committee. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Comparative Studies Ph.D. program, some students choose additional committee members, which may include an external reader from another university. External members of the committee (those who are not graduate faculty at OSU) are included by petition to the graduate school and are in addition to the required number of internal graduate faculty (3).

All students are required to take a Final Oral Examination of approximately two hours.  The Final Oral Examination Committee includes all members of the Dissertation Committee and a Graduate Faculty Representative appointed by the Graduate School.  See the Graduate School website  for additional details about examination procedures and graduation requirements.

3. Progress toward Degree Continuation in the program is contingent upon sufficient progress toward completion.  Progress will be reviewed annually. If, during the annual review, a student’s advisor, in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee, determines sufficient progress has not been made, the advisor and the student will draft an agreement as to what constitutes sufficient progress to continue in the program for the subsequent semester. Failure to comply with the agreement may result in the student’s discontinuation in the program.

See also the Graduate School Handbook (http://www.gradsch.ohio-state.edu/Depo/PDF/Handbook.pdf), Section VII.

5. Advisers.

The Graduate Studies Chair or a designated member of the Graduate Studies Committee will serve as adviser for incoming students, but each student will choose at least one academic adviser from among the core Graduate Faculty of the Department of Comparative Studies by the end of the second or third semester of graduate study. Core faculty are appointed in Comparative Studies for at least 25% of their tenure line. Additional advisers to serve on the Advisory Committee for Candidacy Exams must include at least one other member of the Comparative Studies Graduate Faculty and may include additional faculty with courtesy appointments in Comparative Studies. If a student wishes to choose an adviser from an academic unit represented in the student’s curriculum but who is not a member of the Comparative Studies associated faculty, that adviser must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School for graduate faculty status in Comparative Studies.


In most cases, the dissertation adviser will be a member of the student’s Candidacy Examination Committee. Any change of the dissertation adviser requires the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School.

6. Professionalization

Students are expected to participate in department and/or university workshops designed to prepare them for the profession.

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