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Research Credits

Twenty-four (24) research credits are required in addition to course work. Students are encouraged to register for research credits up to one year prior to the semester in which they will be taking the qualifying examination. If a student has had a TA for a full year, it is possible to register during the summer for up to 6 graduate credits which will be covered by tuition remission. Students will receive a grade of either "Satisfactory" or "Unsatisfactory" for these research credits, based upon their director's judgment concerning their progress toward the completion of the doctoral dissertation.

Procedure for Approving Dissertation Topics and Dissertations:

  1. The candidate, in consultation with the Graduate Director, selects a dissertationNormally this would take place at least one year prior to scheduling the doctoral examinations.  Faculty members serving as director of the dissertation committee must have exhibited expertise in the area of specialization as indicated by scholarship/research and/or teaching.  Scholarship/research is interpreted as articles or books published or papers read at professional meetings.  Teaching shall indicate courses prepared and taught at the graduate or advanced undergraduate (400) level.  If no one with such expertise can be identified, the graduate director in consultation with the student selects someone with considerable background.
  2. The candidate begins research under the dissertation director'sThe Graduate Director, in consultation with the dissertation director and the candidate, chooses a dissertation committee, including the second and third readers from the Graduate Program in Spanish and an outside reader.  In area of specialization where two or more people from within the department with expertise can be identified, the student may exclude only one of those with expertise from the committee.  The choice of the external reader must be endorsed by the Graduate School, following the recommendation of the Graduate Director acting on advice from the dissertation committee.  The outside member is expected to be a recognized authority on the subject of the dissertation.
  3. It is understood that the dissertation director and other committee members must agree toWhen no member of the Graduate Faculty in the correct area of specialization is available to serve as dissertation director, with the permission of the Graduate Director, the research may be done under the co-direction of an associate member of the Graduate Faculty and a full member in a related area.
  4. Upon approval of the doctoral proposal, the committee offers guidance on how the candidate is toApproval indicates a commitment from the Graduate Program in Spanish that will be honored in the event  that subsequent changes in committee membership become necessary.
  5. Each chapter must meet with the approval of the dissertation director, who is responsible for circulating it to the other committee members for their comments as the dissertationThe committee members' comments will be sent simultaneously to the dissertation director and to the candidate.  If extensive changes are necessary, revised chapters are also circulated to all committee members.  The final version is submitted to all members, who return the dissertation and comments within one month.
  6. A PhD dissertation is expected to reflect independent, original judgment and a thorough critical discussion of the research in the field and be normally around 200 pages in length.
  7. The committee convenes for the oral dissertationThe dissertation must be submitted in final form and approved by three of the four members and the Graduate Director.

Dissertation Defense:
The final examination is an oral defense of the thesis, which is open to the public.  The oral defense noramlly takes an hour and will take the following form:

  Presentation by candidate.
  Question period from committee.
  Question period from audience.

Filing of the Dissertation:
Once accepted by the committee, the original unbound copy of the thesis is to be filed with the Dean of the Graduate School, while a second copy is to be kept in the office of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  For the rules, regulations and specifications concerning the dissertation format, please refer to the brochure entitled "Thesis and Dissertation Style Guide" available from the Graduate School.

Time to Degree:

  • The normal maximum for the PhD is seven years.  It is determined that longstanding  'inactive' PhD students will be invited to withdraw from the program.  If a student does not withdraw, his or her candidacy may be terminated by the department.  The following time frame shall normally be the maximum followed by all graduate students:
    • 1.The comprehensive examinations shall be taken within one yeareligibility to do so.
    • Within one year of having passed the comprehensive exams, the student shall produce at least one acceptable chapter of the dissertation.
    • Within two years of the comprehensive exams, the student shall have completed the draft of the thesis.
    • Within three years of the comprehensive exams, the studentdefend his/her dissertation.
  • A candidate wishing an exception to general policy must submit appropriate documentation to the Director, who will present the case to the Graduate Faculty for review.  Exceptions to other time limits and policies of the Graduate Program (e. g. one year time limit for re-examination) may be made only in extreme extenuating circumstances such as serious personal illness or death in the family.  (See  Bulletin for the granting of extensions by the Graduate School.)

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