Ph.D. Program

Ph.D Program Graduation Requirements (42 credits):

Core sequence in the Theory and Methodology of American Studies:
    Introduction to American Studies (3 credits)
    Research Seminar in American Studies (3 credits)
Upper-level Research Seminar, second year of full-time study (3 credits)
Upper-level Reading Seminar (3 credits)
Public Humanities in consultation with the program director (3 credits)
 
Major Interdisciplinary Area (18 credits)
Second Interdisciplinary Area (9 credits)
Third Area of Study, more Concentrated within a Single Discipline (9 credits)
Dissertation Research (18 credits)
 
The culmination of work for the Ph.D. is the production of a dissertation based on original interdisciplinary scholarship in the candidate's primary area of focus.
  
Within six months of completing the written and oral doctoral examination, students must present and defend a dissertation proposal to three advisors. These need not be the same three advisors who administered the oral and written examinations. The student is responsible for scheduling the date of the defense.

Language Proficiency:

In the first semester in the American Studies program, doctoral students in American Studies will take one of the language placement exams offered by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. The Spanish exam is offered online and supplies your results immediately, while the French exam is a written exam.

If the placement exam results indicate that the student is already at an intermediate level—by placing into the 132 level course, then the exam result will meet the language requirement. If the exam result indicates that the student is below an intermediate level, there are three options. Discuss these options with your advisor and the program director, and inform them which one you will choose before you proceed. Be sure to meet  your language requirement before you take your doctoral exams so that you can move directly from writing your exams to writing your dissertation  proposal.

1) Take a language course (which will not be for graduate credit) that will bring the student to the next level of proficiency above the level indicated on the exam. For example, a student at the level of course 131 must take and pass course 132; a student at the level of course 101 must take and pass course 102. For the course to meet this requirement the grade earned must be a B or better.

2) Study and take a translation exercise exam of the kind long used in the American Studies program, under the direction of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and successfully translate an intermediate text of approximately 500 words. A dictionary may be used in this exam.

3) Take and pass, with a grade of B or better, a graduate course in American Studies or a related field that emphasizes intercultural relations, the role of language in culture, and the transnational dimensions of American Studies. This course would carry graduate credit. As with the other options, before you take this course confirm that you are exercising this option with the program director and make sure that your chosen course meets the requirement. When you enroll in the course, be sure to mention to the instructor that you are taking the course to meet the American Studies language requirement.


Doctotal Examinations:

After the completion of their course work and before beginning their dissertations, students must pass a written qualifying examination and an oral qualifying examination. Students will be expected to demonstrate a mastery of the specific areas of focus they have defined, based on their reading lists. They should also show a command of the key theoretical issues, debates, and landmark texts in American Studies. Stuidents should express their judgements and opinions on the topic of the exams in addition to placing in a context what others have written. Examination readings should also prepare students for their dissertation.

Students are responsible for scheduling the dates of their written and oral examinations with their advisors.

The written examination is a take-home examination. Students will have a week to answer a question on each area of focus and its accompanying reading list for a total of three questions. Each answer should be 2,500 to 4,000 words in length and footnoted. Two professors will grade each question.

A 90-minute oral examination will be administered within one week of the written examination. The examination committee will be composed of the three professors who administered the written qualifying examination.

Examinations will be graded fail, pass, and pass with distinction. If a student fails any one of the three written questions, or the oral examination, she or he can retake the failed question or the oral examination. A student who fails a retaken question may not continue in the program.


Dissertation Research (18 credits):

The culmination of work for the Ph.D. is the production of a dissertation based on original interdisciplinary scholarship in the candidate's primary area of focus.

Within six months of completing the written and oral doctoral examinations, students must present and defend a dissertation proposal to three advisors. These need not be the same three advisors who administered the oral and written examinations. The student is responsible for scheduling the date of the defense.


Procedures and Policies for the American Studies Ph.D Program:

Students may enter the program with either a B.A. or M.A. degree.

For transfer students who earn the M.A. outside Rutgers University-Newark, up to 12 credits in course work may be counted toward the fulfillment of the Ph.D. degree requirements. Acceptance of these credits will be at the discretion of the Program Director in consultation with the Graduate School and will depend on the field of the student's Master's degree the appropriateness to American Studies of specific courses taken, and the rules of the Graduate School.

For students who enter the program with an M.A. earned at Rutgers University-Newark, up to 24 credits may be counted toward the Ph.D. requirements. Acceptance of these credits will be at the discretion of the Program Director and will depend on the field of the student's Master's degree and the appropriateness to American Studies of specific courses taken.

All students, however, will be required to take the one-year-long sequence of introductory courses: Introduction to American Studies (050:501) and Research Seminar in American Studies (050:502).

Doctoral students, in their second year, must take a research seminar and a reading seminar in which they pursue their core interests in a more developed way than in their first-year seminars.

All students must, in consultation with the program director, take a 3-credit course in public humanities. This can be a research seminar, reading seminar, internship or independent study.

With the approval of the Program Director and the student's academic advisor, up to twelve credits in directed readings may be counted toward the completion of the Ph.D. degree.

It is expected that students will modify and refine the broad interdisciplinary areas as they define their particular academic interests. Thus, each field will, in effect, be followed by a colon and a more specific thematic, chronological and/or methodological designation. (For example: “Race, Ethnicity, and Modern Society: Asian American Literature and Politics 1880-1945;” or “Cultural History and Artistic Production: US Literature and Society since 1945.”).

Students may take a maximum of one course per semester outsde of Rutgers University-Newark.

Doctoral qualifying exams must be taken within six months of the completion of course work. The student will have established approved reading lists with her or his three academic advisors in each area of focus. The student's area advisors will design the separate exams, which will be written and submitted within a week's time, followed a week later by the oral exams.

Within six months of completing the written and oral qualifying examinations, students must present and defend a dissertation proposal to three advisors.

At least two out of the three members of the student's exam committee must be Rutgers University-Newark faculty. When the student moves on the dissertation phase, note that the dissertation committee has four members.  One of the four dissertation committee members must be from outside of the American Studies Program.

 

Poster credit: Flagg, James M., artist. “Wake up America Day - April 19, 1917 / James Montgomery Flagg.” Print (poster). c1917. From Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/pos/item/00653124/