PhD Requirements - Rhetoric and Public Culture

The basic requirements for the Ph.D. degree are established by the faculty of the Graduate School and are published in its current bulletin. These requirements cover eligibility, duration of the program, limitations of time, residence requirement, transfer of credit, qualifying examination, admission to candidacy, dissertation, summary of dissertation, and final examination.

Departmental Requirements and Procedures

  1. Temporary adviser
    Before the first graduate registration, each student will be assigned a temporary adviser who will assist in evaluating the student's previous academic work, advise regarding selection of courses, and assist in developing a program of study.

  2. Faculty committee
    Before the end of the first year of study (sooner is better), the student will identify a three-person committee of the department faculty who will be asked to review, supervise, and approve the student's program. The temporary adviser may remain as the committee chair or the student, if he or she wishes, may select a different adviser. Together with the committee, the student will develop a plan of study for the remainder of the program. The committee will also decide on any requests for exceptions to the departmental course requirements listed below. It will conduct and evaluate the qualifying examinations and will evaluate the dissertation proposal.

  3. Course requirements
    Students must enroll for a total of 18 units of graduate credit beyond the M.A. or first year of graduate study. (Normally three units are taken each quarter.) No more than 3 of these units may be in 590, Dissertation Research. Of the remaining 15 units, no more than 3 may be in 499, Independent Study, and no more than 6 may be in 300-level courses, unless special permission is obtained from the student's committee. All doctoral students must complete at least 6 courses (other than 499 and 590) within the department, including 401-2, and must complete at least 4 courses outside the department for the purpose of enriching substantive skills or methodological knowledge needed for dissertation research. The student's committee may approve requests for exceptions from these requirements if appropriate.

  4. Qualifying examinations
    No later than the end of the second summer after beginning the program, the student must take and pass the Qualifying Examination. The principal purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to determine whether the student is capable of successfully completing a dissertation and conducting scholarly research in his or her area of specialization. The structure of the examination is determined by the committee and may include examinations of varying lengths and formats. If any part of the examination is not satisfactory, the student will be asked to rewrite it. The Qualifying Examination may not be taken until the dissertation proposal has been accepted. Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination results in the student's being admitted to candidacy by the Graduate School.

  5. Dissertation proposal
    No later than the beginning of the second summer after beginning the program, the student should submit a dissertation proposal to the committee. The adviser will determine the specific form of the proposal, but it should include a statement of the problem, boundaries of the problem, justification for undertaking research on this problem, the basic materials to be used in research, the procedure or design to be followed, and the projected organization of the study. The committee will meet with the student to review and approve or modify the proposal.

  6. Candidacy
    Upon being admitted to candidacy, students normally do not register for courses but devote full time to the research and writing of the dissertation. They register for 599 or 503 in the Graduate School, as appropriate, to maintain their status as full-time students.

  7. Final examination
    Upon completion of the dissertation, the student will take an oral examination that will be conducted by the adviser and committee. The oral examination is open to any faculty or doctoral students in the University who wish to attend.

  8. Submission of dissertation
    Dissertations must conform to the format prescribed in the guide issued by the Graduate School. A reading copy should be prepared for each member of the committee. Following the acceptance of the dissertation by the committee, two copies of the dissertation and abstract are deposited in the Graduate School according to its regulations.

  9. Periodic review
    The Rhetoric faculty annually will review the progress and standing of all doctoral students and will notify the student in writing of the results. Students feeling the need for additional evaluation are encouraged to request it from the appropriate faculty members.