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Time to Degree

Ph.D. Program in French: Timeline to Degree



Year 1

Fall semester: At the end of the recruitment process the Executive Officer (EO) discusses with all first-year students how to best use the summer that precedes their entrance into the program. All first-year students take the first semester of a year-long Techniques of Literary Research course (4 credits per semester) designated for them only. The course combines research methods and problems, essential theoretical readings across several disciplines pertinent to the Humanities, and the articulation and writing of a forty-page mini-thesis. They also take one 4-credit course in problems of the novel. They may take one more course, for two credits only, under special circumstances (when the course is rarely given and essential to their prospective specialization). Each of the required courses includes a final comprehensive examination, taken in class, which thus constitutes one third of the first comprehensive exam. Please note that all French Ph.D. Program courses follow either a four-credit or two-credit model, but that two credits are not an option for these required courses.

Spring semester: Students enroll in Semester two of the Techniques course. They take a second course of their choice, for four credits, or two courses for two credits each. Since the Program has a requirement of two theory courses within the total coursework, students may wish to begin taking one of those courses at this point. Each of the required courses includes a final comprehensive examination, taken in class, which constitutes one third of the first comprehensive exam. Students must garner a grade of B or better on all parts, including the exams, of these courses in order to advance to the next stage. By the end of year one, students have thus at minimum completed the First Comprehensive Examination, and sixteen credits of coursework.

Year 2

In the fall, in consultation with the EO or DEO, students devise a long-term study plan, including how to fulfill the two language requirements and any combination of French courses with certificates courses or in order to fulfill any of the 5 Options offered by the Program. Students try to advance towards fulfilling the language requirements by taking courses, sitting for the examinations, or petitioning for exemptions. During year two, students take the second half of the required history/themes/theory of literature sequence, a course with flexible content, culled either from Program offerings that qualify, or from another literature Program. Students must take a full load of courses, that is, either two four-credit courses in French per semester, or a combination of four and two-credit courses in French, or, if courses are taken outside of the Program, a combination of one three-credit course (outside) with a total of four credits in French. For instance, if they take the second literary history course in another department, their load for that semester would be seven credits. Besides their coursework, students are encouraged to begin taking their four second written comprehensive examinations, at the rate of one or two per semester. At the end of year two, students have typically totaled an average of 31 credits. Students who enter the Program with an MA IN FRENCH (students with other MAs receive variable amounts of transfer credits, but less than 30, and potentially as little as zero) must complete all the required courses. They are encouraged to limit their course credits in the first two years to the minimum in order to not finish too fast, and to take at least some French credits as two-credit courses.

Year 3

All students continue coursework and comprehensive examinations, taken when they choose, but before completing 60 credits of coursework. All students must prepare and sit for their Specialization Review before the end of their sixth semester. Students who entered the Program with an MA IN FRENCH are generally completing their sixty credits of course requirements by the end of the first semester of the third year. They should have done their Specialization Review BEFORE the end of the fifth semester, (semester 1, Year 3), and ideally, by the end of the fourth semester (Year 2). At the end of year three, without an MA, students have typically totaled an average of 46-47 credits. They are encouraged to take enough course credits to be able to complete the course requirements no later than the end of the 7th semester (1st semester, Year 4). All students must advance towards completing the language requirements. Summary Fall semester Students who entered with an MA or at least 22 transfer credits complete their coursework. Spring semester Students who entered with 15-20 transfer credits complete their coursework Students who entered with an MA should take their oral examination by the end of the Spring semester.

Year 4

Students without an MA complete coursework in the first semester. All students must complete remaining written comprehensive exams. All students prepare for their orals. Typically, all students take their oral examinations by the end of year four, and also complete the language requirements, advancing to candidacy. Students who took the orals by the end of year three should complete the dissertation proposal by the end of year four, especially given that the Oral Examination in the French Program is focused on the prospective dissertation question.

Year 5

Within one year of taking the oral examination, all students complete a dissertation proposal approved by their advisor. The proposal is then forwarded to three faculty readers who have one month to read it. Dissertation proposals filed since 2003 cannot be recorded as approved unless the IRB form is also completed. Dissertation work begins after approval of the proposal. Students whose proposal was approved at the end of year four complete two chapters and hold their concilium by the end of year five.

Year 6

Two semesters after beginning work on the dissertation, students are expected to produce two chapters of the dissertation with the approval of the advisor. They then convene a concilium, which is a meeting of their entire dissertation committee, to take stock of the state of the writing, the theoretical issues, and any problems that might arise with respect to methods, style, approaches, or theoretical models. A report is filed with the committee and the Program by the advisor that summarizes all changes and suggestions put forward by the committee. Students who held the concilium by the end of year five may be able to finish the dissertation by the end of year six.

Years 7 to 8

Students complete the writing of the dissertation. Comments: 1. Students who entered the Program with a full MA, or at least 24 transfer credits, can expect to finish one year earlier than others, possibly by the end of year 6. Differences of speed towards the degree between students with the MA and others begin to show at the end of the second year. 2. Students who entered the Program between 2002 and 2006 averaged 3.5 years to be advanced to candidacy, while students who entered between 1986 and 1996 averaged 4.5 years to do so. Students who entered the Program between 2000 and 2006 and are now actually writing the dissertation should average a projected 6.33 ye ars to complete the degree.