Program Phases

Students progress through the doctoral program in three phases: the proficiency phase, which ends in formal matriculation; the qualifying phase, which leads to doctoral candidacy; and the dissertation phase, which culminates in an oral defense of the completed thesis.

Proficiency Phase

In the proficiency phase, students:

  • Complete any required prerequisites.
  • Demonstrate competence in translating a second language.
  • Complete A History of Technology, Humanities Problems and Perspectives and three other courses designated as satisfying either core or elective credit.
  • Write a concentration paper exploring a provisional thesis or issue connected to the chosen inquiry area.

Qualifying Phase

The first step in the qualifying phase is the major fields exam, which contains at least two subject fields or disciplines as determined by the area of inquiry and concentration topic. Students also complete either Internship or Special Topics and take Humanities Theory, Method and the Disciplines, along with the final core and elective courses.

Students qualify for doctoral candidacy after successfully passing the comprehensive examination, a written exam based on the core and elective courses that may also include special subject area questions for individual students. Students are expected to show an advanced understanding of the humanities and the program area of inquiry by demonstrating excellence in summary analysis, explanation, citation, integration and critical evaluation.

Dissertation Phase

Upon entering the dissertation phase, students are automatically enrolled in Dissertation Research and Writing each semester until all degree requirements are completed. Students begin by publicly presenting a fully developed dissertation proposal. When the proposal is accepted, students proceed to research and write a scholarly dissertation.

Dissertation topics and approaches must contain original contributions to knowledge within the scope of the humanities and the student’s area of inquiry. As the dissertation is being written, students undergo ongoing review of the work.

After the dissertation is completed, students engage in a public oral defense of the work. The degree is awarded upon the dissertation committee’s positive recommendation. Following final revisions, dissertations are formally presented to the University for acceptance and in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. in humanities.