Ph.D. Requirements

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The Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill requires Ph.D. students to engage in advanced coursework in the field of American Studies and related disciplines. In addition to coursework, students must demonstrate competency in at least one foreign language, compile a professional portfolio, and obtain satisfactory results on both major and minor field examinations. Program completion is contingent upon the writing and successful defense of the dissertation. Program requirements by year are listed below and vary according to students’ academic preparation. You may download a printable chart here. For a more detailed timeline, please see the American Studies Requirements Elaboration.

For Incoming Students With No Graduate Work Past The Bachelor’s Degree: Total Of 54 Credit Hours.

Years 1 and 2: 36 Credit Hours

AMST 700The History and Practices of American StudiesThe History and Practices of American Studies. Fall, year 1.

AMST 701Interdisciplinary Research MethodologiesResearch Methodologies. Spring, year 1 or 2.

AMST 702Readings in American StudiesReadings in American Studies. Spring, year 1 or 2.

AMST 901M.A. Research Seminar. A seminar for those preparing the M.A. requirement for a Capstone Project. The M.A. Research Seminar results in a Capstone Project accompanied by an oral defense. Fall, year 2.

AMST 992Capstone Project. Spring, year 2.

  • At least two additional American Studies or Folklore graduate courses.
  • Up to five graduate courses chosen from related departments.
  • Spring, second year: capstone project and oral defense.

Year 3: 12-18 Credit Hours

AMST 902PH.D. Research Seminar. Fall.

AMST 899Directed Readings. Spring.

  • Up to four graduate courses chosen from American Studies, Folklore, or related departments.
  • Spring, third year, major and minor field exams, prospectus and defense.

Years 4 and 5: Dissertation Work

AMST 994 Doctoral Dissertation.

  • Language proficiency must be demonstrated prior to beginning of fifth year.
  • Doctoral dissertation and oral defense.

For Incoming Students With An M.A. Degree

Total of 54 credit hours, some of which may be satisfied by prior graduate work. Exact requirements to be determined on an individual basis.

Year 1: 18 Hours

AMST 700The History and Practices of American StudiesThe History and Practices of American Studies. Fall, year 1.

ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

AMST 701Interdisciplinary Research MethodologiesResearch Methodologies. Spring, year 1. OR
AMST 702Readings in American StudiesReadings in American Studies. Spring, year 1.

  • Four graduate courses, in American Studies, Folklore, or an approved course in a related department. Independent studies may be used to meet curricular needs on an individual basis.

Year 2: 18 Hours

AMST 902PH.D. Research Seminar. Fall.

AMST 899Directed Readings. Spring.

  • Up to four graduate courses chosen from American Studies, Folklore, or related departments.
  • Spring, second year, major and minor field exams, prospectus and defense.
  • Language proficiency must be demonstrated prior to beginning of third year.

Years 3 and 4: Dissertation Research and Writing

AMST 994 Doctoral Dissertation.

  • Doctoral dissertation and oral defense.

FOR ALL STUDENTS:

All students enrolled in the American Studies graduate program will participate throughout their graduate careers in a monthly colloquium in which faculty and Ph.D. candidates will offer presentations of their work-in-progress. The Colloquium exposes graduate students to the research interests of faculty in American Studies and allied fields, and may also include visiting graduate students and faculty from international partner institutions. The Colloquium is the collegial wellspring of the program, the intellectual and social center of the American Studies community, the conversation occurring there will naturally both inform and be informed by classroom work, particularly in AMST 700, 701, and 702, will help to shape, against the backdrop of individual specializations, a common discourse, and in large part provide a site for the formation of the American Studies social and intellectual community.

Student progress in the Ph.D. will be assessed annually by the American Studies faculty.

FACTORS FOR ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY INCLUDE:

  • Academic performance reflected primarily in completion of coursework and performance in seminars and independent studies;
  • Contributions to the intellectual life of the program and department reflected primarily in colloquium participation;
  • Language proficiency;
  • Comprehensive exams;
  • Professional Portfolio;
  • Dissertation proposal;
  • Recommendation of the student’s adviser and Director of Graduate Studies.

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