Requirements

Doctoral Program Requirements

Students pursuing a doctoral degree are required to fulfill ninety credit hours of study, including sixty credit hours of coursework (normally fifteen classes) and thirty credit hours in Ph.D. research.

Coursework is composed of:

  • The Colloquium in Visual and Cultural Studies (required for first-year students)
  • Four core courses in critical theory
  • Four core courses in visual studies
  • Six electives

Coursework will normally require five semesters of study. Students are required to take a language examination, usually in a language that will be relevant to their research, and it must be successfully completed before the Qualifying Examination.

After completing the ninety credit hours of study, students take the Qualifying Examination. Under the supervision of a faculty committee (two from the VCS Program and at least one from outside the Program), students prepare for their Qualifying Examination.

Preparation includes:

  • A prospectus outlining their dissertation project, a summary of what will be covered, and a description of each chapter.
  • A comprehensive bibliography, divided into sections representing the main body of literature that have informed the student's thinking.
  • A draft chapter of the dissertation.

The student then meets with the faculty committee to discuss the dissertation project, their previous coursework, and general reading. Following the completion of the examination, the student presents his or her work to the other graduate students in a special seminar.

Students work closely with their advisor and other committee members on the research and writing of their dissertations, submitting draft chapters regularly in order to get feedback and suggestions. Work on the dissertation may take two or more years after the completion of the examination, depending on whether the student can work full-time on it or not.

Master's Program Requirements

Students are normally admitted to the VCS Program only for the Ph.D. However, in some circumstances students will take a terminal Master's degree. For the Master's degree, students will take forty credit hours of study (usually ten courses), as follows:

  • The Colloquium in Visual and Cultural Studies
  • Three core courses in critical theory
  • Three core courses in visual studies
  • Three electives

In some circumstances, students will be permitted to take the Master's degree by taking thirty credit hours of study (seven or eight courses) and writing a thesis. In this case, the breakdown of courses will be:

  • The Colloquium in Visual and Cultural Studies
  • Two or three core courses in critical theory
  • Two or three core courses in visual studies
  • One or two electives
  • Master's thesis