Sample PhD Programs

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  1. IX. SAMPLE MAPS FOR STUDENTS ENTERING WITH BA OR MA.

    Sample Map to PhD in Comparative Studies for Students Entering with a BA in a Humanities, Social Science, or Interdisciplinary Field

    Year One:

    • Semester one: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • Semester two: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • (Summer Session: Fulfill language requirement if needed)

    Year Two:

    • Semester three: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • Semester four: 1 course (3 credit hours); complete MA thesis in Comparative Studies (6 credit hours)

    Year Three:

    • Semester five: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • Semester six: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • Summer Session: 1 course (3 credit hours)

    Year Four:

    • Semester seven: 1 course (3 credits); 6 credit hours of directed readings, for candidacy exams, prospectus writing, teaching apprenticeship etc.
    • Semester eight: 9 credit hours of directed readings for candidacy exams, prospectus writing, teaching apprenticeship etc.; complete candidacy exams at end of Semester eight

    Year Five:

    • Semester nine: 2 credit hours of writing colloquium credit and 1 hr of dissertation writing
    • Semester ten: 2 credit hours of writing colloquium credit and 1 hr of dissertation writing; complete dissertation at end of semester ten

    TOTAL: 81 credit hours

    Typical Course distribution

    Required courses:

    • CS 6390 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies I (3 credits)
    • CS 6391 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies II (3 credits)

    Department Courses: Minimum nine courses (27 credits; can be more)

    Courses outside the department: Maximum eight courses (24 credits; can be less)

    Total Coursework hours required: 54 credits

    Directed readings, research work, prospectus, MA thesis, teaching apprenticeship: 21 credits Dissertation work: 6 credits

    TOTAL: 81 credits hours

    Sample Map to Ph.D. in Comparative Studies for Students Entering with the M.A. in a Humanities, Social Science, or Interdisciplinary Field

    MA from another field: 30 credits

    Year One:

    • Semester one: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • Semester two: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • (Summer/May Session: Fulfill language requirement if needed)

    Year Two:

    • Semester three: 3 courses (9 credit hours)
    • Semester four: 1 course (3 credit hours); 6 credit hours of directed readings for candidacy exam

    Year Three:

    • Semester five: 9 credit hours of directed readings for candidacy exam; candidacy exam at end of Semester five.
    • Semester six: 2 credit hours of writing colloquium credit and 1 hr of dissertation writing

    Year Four:

    • Semester seven: 2 credit hours of writing colloquium credit and 1 hr of dissertation writing
    • Semester eight: 2 credit hours of writing colloquium credit and 1 hr of dissertation writing; defend dissertation at the end of the semester

    TOTAL 84 credit hours Typical

    Course Distribution

    Required courses:

    • CS 6390 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies I (3 credits)
    • CS 6391 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies II (3 credits) Department Courses: Minimum four courses (12 credits)

    Courses outside the department: Maximum four courses (12 credits)

    Directed readings, research work, prospectus, teaching apprenticeship: 15 credits Dissertation work: 9 credits

    MA Transfer: 30 credits

    TOTAL 84 credit hours

    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.

    5. 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 to enter post‐candidacy. 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., and ideally within one semester.

    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, teacher, or professional 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 or professional 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 submit their intent to take their Candidacy exams through Gradforms at least two weeks prior to the start of the exam. 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 through GradForms 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 through GradForms. 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 (CS 8890) 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.

    6. Dissertation Prospectus

    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. In a meeting arranged with the student, the dissertation committee will determine the extent to which the prospectus represents a comprehensive and comprehensible plan for the completion of the dissertation. It is not required to notify the Graduate School thorough GradForms that the Prospectus has been submitted or approved by the dissertation committee.

    A dissertation prospectus is a paradoxical piece of writing. It is not an abstract (which is to say, a summary of a completed dissertation) or an introductory chapter of a dissertation, but rather an attempt to describe what is planned before it has actually been done. Since it is meant to be submitted soon after completion of the candidacy examination, it need not be a lengthy document. Indeed, it could be around fifteen double‐spaced pages in length (roughly 3500‐4000 words) with up to ten further pages of bibliography. As indicated, the prospectus should provide a preliminary description of the proposed dissertation. It should delineate what topic and area the dissertation will explore; discuss why this topic and area merit such exploration; and include a provisional chapter outline and as complete a bibliography as possible. The outline should be as precise as possible, even if it is very likely to be modified in the course of writing the dissertation.

    Finding, defining, and communicating a topic that is at once significant and of realistic scope are tasks that require discussion and cooperation between the dissertation writer and faculty members. Therefore, the dissertation writer is encouraged to show drafts of the prospectus to his or her dissertation committee and other faculty members. After these initial consultations, the writer will submit the final version of the prospectus for formal approval by the committee. The committee will then meet collectively with the candidate to discuss the project and its implementation.

    There is no single recipe for a good dissertation prospectus. But all writers should answer, to the best of their abilities at this early stage of research, certain fundamental questions:

    • What is the central problem that the dissertation will address? This problem can be theoretical, critical, or historical; but it should, in most cases, be presented as a question or related set of questions to which the dissertation will attempt to find answers. It is important that the problem and hypothetical answers be stated from the outset, so that your research will not risk becoming random, and your exposition will not lapse into mere description. The sense that an argument is being made should be constantly kept in mind.
    • To persuade your reader that you are not just reinventing the wheel or restating what has already been said, you should include a brief review of the present “state of the art” with respect to your topic. Has this topic been treated before? How does your approach differ from earlier ones? Has new evidence appeared (for example, a new primary source) since previous treatments?

    Outlining a sequence of potential chapters will help you clarify the argument of your dissertation and check the balance of its parts in relation to one another. A chapter should be conceived as approximately 30‐40 double‐spaced pages. If the major sections of your dissertation seem likely to exceed this length, plan to subdivide them. A finished dissertation is generally 200‐300 pages long. You will find that developing an outline helps your thinking to move forward substantially, so that the actual writing of the dissertation is more clearly focused.

    Once you have drafted your prospectus under the guidance of your dissertation committee, you might want to have it read by someone who knows nothing about your topic, to see whether you have clearly set out your problem and defined a workable method. Seeking out a general reader right at the start is a good reminder that although you may be writing on a specialized topic, your dissertation should be written in clear, intelligible prose. Make sure you define the theoretical categories you are introducing, and try to avoid technical jargon unless it is necessary to the intricacies of your argument.

    Prospectuses and dissertations tend to either lose themselves in detail, or to be too general. To avoid this, try to do what you would in any paper you write: make sure that your main argument remains clearly above ground, and that each paragraph has a clear connection with the ones preceding and following it. The prospectus is not a mini‐dissertation, and need not involve more time in writing and revising than another paper of comparable length. Yet enough care and stylistic grace should be exercised so that the prospectus clearly and concisely articulates the project, its arguments, methods, and special considerations in a manner that anyone in interdisciplinary studies can grasp.

    7. 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 Courtesy‐Appointed 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, Section VII.

    8. Professionalization

    Students are expected to participate in department and/or university workshops designed to prepare them for professional life after graduation.

  2. VIII. SAMPLE PROGRAMS FOR THE PH.D. IN COMPARATIVE STUDIES

    The Ph.D. in Comparative Studies is a relatively new program. Our first PhD student graduated in 2009, followed by several others in the succeeding years. Their doctoral work is diverse and focused on several different areas of research. Examples include archival practices, prisoner literature in Africa, visual culture and terrorism, African American women’s narratives of addiction and recovery, Native American religious and cultural practices, Western and Buddhist philosophy, American religion and conservative politics, narrative and self‐construction, Zen Buddhism, end‐of‐life narratives, girlhood and Evangelical religion, ethnicity and nationalism in post‐Soviet Estonia, Persian literature, cultural issues related to organ transplants, radical African American scholarship, technology and changing perceptions of the human, and music and the production of affect. Several graduates are employed in tenure‐track positions (one in an academic library) and several in adjunct positions, several have accepted Post‐Doctoral research positions, and several are in visiting assistant positions with the likelihood of tenure‐ track options in the future. Some have also chosen to make use of their training by working outside academia, most often contributing to social justice causes. The Department is pleased with the success of its first Ph.D. graduates (see department website for more information about alumni at http://comparativestudies.osu.edu/graduate/alumni).

    Two student programs are described on the following pages and are representative of the kind of interdisciplinary work that is done in Comparative Studies.

    1. The Shadow Rules of Engagement. This research project analyzes the effects, particularly on citizenship, of visual representations of the “Global War on Terror.” From the dissertation abstract: “Like all wars, the Global War on Terror (GWOT) (2001‐present) has resulted in upheavals of culture and politics. What makes the GWOT unique is the degree to which these disruptions coincide. This dissertation explores their convergence in visual culture, a key medium through which Americans confront terror in everyday life. The Shadow Rules of Engagement is an interdisciplinary project that integrates insights from cultural studies and political theory to provide a comprehensive account of the American visual culture of terror and how it shapes the experience of citizenship.”

    This student’s General Examination Areas are:

    Critical, Social, and Cultural Theory

    Visuality and Visual Culture

    Culture/Terror/Nation

    Language: French

    Coursework (revised as all semester courses)

    Comparative Studies:

    (Required) 6390 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies I

    (Required) 6391 Approaches to Comparative

    Cultural Studies II 7360 Theorizing Culture

    7380 Theorizing America

    8822 Seminar in Race and Citizenship: Formations in Critical Race Theory

    8843 Seminar in Technology and Culture

    8865 Seminar in Critical Trauma Theory

    8866 Seminar in Culture and Capital

    8892 Seminar in Performance and Politics

    English:

    6762.01 Intro to Graduate Study in Drama and Performance

    6776.02 Literary Criticism: From 1900 to the Contemporary Period Political Science:

    8194.01 Contemporary Political Problems

    Sociology:

    7780 Racial and Ethnic Differences

    Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies:

    5620 Topics in Feminist Studies

    7700 Feminist Inquiry: Theory

    7710 Theorizing Race, Sexualities, and Social Justice

    7720 Theorizing Power, Institutions, and Economies

    7740 Theorizing Narrative, Culture, and Representation

    8840 Topics in Narrative, Culture, and Representation

    2. Reconstructing America: Religion, American Conservatism, and the Political Theology of Rousas John Rushdoony. This dissertation explores the role of the conservative theology of Rushdoony, in particular, his development of “Christian Reconstructionism” and his influence on contemporary right‐wing Christian movements in the United States. Drawing on the theoretical work of Michel Foucault and Talal Asad, the project explores the boundaries between politics and religion in America, particularly as they have emerged from the post‐World War II period to the present. From the dissertation abstract:“the project questions basic assumptions about the nature of American conservatism and common beliefs about the boundaries between ‘mainstream,’ ‘marginal,’ and ‘extreme’ conservatives.”

    General Examination Areas:

    Critical, Social, and Cultural Theory

    Religious Studies

    American Studies

    Language: French

    Coursework (revised as all semester courses)

    Comparative Studies

    6390 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies I

    6391 Approaches to Comparative Cultural Studies II

    5691 Reformation Culture

    5691 Religion and Media

    5691 New Age and New Religious Movements

    7193 Independent Studies in Religion and Culture

    7370 Theorizing Religion

    7888 Citizenship, Politics, and Social Movements

    7888 Critical Pedagogy

    7888 Studies in Orality and Literacy

    8791 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Theory

    8872 Seminar in Religious Studies: Right Wing Politics in American History

    8872 Seminar in Religious Studies: Religion, Politics, and Power

    8872 Seminar in Religious Studies: Religion and Sexuality

    History:

    7193 Independent Studies in History of Christianity

    7259 European Thought and Culture, 19th‐20th Century

    7901 Colloquium in the Philosophy of History, Historiography, and the Historian’s Skills

    English                                                                           

    7827 Seminar in English Renaissance Literature