2017-18 Graduate Catalog 
    Oct 23, 2018  
2017-18 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Humanities (Ph.D.)

Program Requirements

Depending on each student’s background, additional preparation in the broader humanities or course work in specific subject fields may be required. HUM510 and HUM600  are prerequisite courses.  In addition to the required 31-33 core credits students take 9 credits designated as concentration courses.  All students are required to demonstrate a translation proficiency in a language other than English. This may be done by taking a language proficiency exam or demonstrating sufficient preparation to utilize a second language in research. Students who do not pass the first proficiency exam may request another opportunity to attempt the exam. Students are strongly encouraged to demonstrate language proficiency in the first or second year of the program. Students whose first language is not English are exempt from the translation exam requirement but must develop advanced proficiency in English demonstrated through written humanities coursework, as well as acceptable performance in any required English language prerequisites and on TOEFL and/or IELTS tests. Total credits, including required core coursework and doctoral fee credits accrued during the dissertation phase will vary for each student. Payment of the 3 credit doctoral fee each fall and spring until the dissertation is successfully defended accords students full-time status through continuous enrollment in HUM 680 Excluding official leaves of absence, students have 14 semesters in which to present their proposal, conduct research, write and defend the dissertation.

Program Phases

Students progress through three phases:

  • Proficiency phase ending with the concentration paper and language translation examination
  • Qualifying phase leading to doctoral candidacy
  • Dissertation phase culminating in an oral defense of the completed thesis

Proficiency Phase (Five courses/15 credits)

In the proficiency phase students complete prerequisites if required (e.g., independent study in particular humanities subject areas or specific humanities courses such as HUM500 ); demonstrate competence in translating or sufficient preparation to utilize a second language in research, complete HUM510 , HUM600  and 3 other courses satisfying either core or the concentration area (may include interdisciplinary courses from other programs), and complete a set concentration paper exploring a provisional thesis or issue connected to the chosen inquiry area.

The topic of the concentration paper is determined by the student’s area of inquiry. The format and scope of the paper is set by a faculty advisor in consultation with the student. The paper is written during any fall or spring semester of the proficiency phase following successful completion of HUM600 . The research and writing of the paper may form part of the work for a core/elective course taken during the semester in which it is completed (with the approval of the course instructor and program director). The paper is considered part of the student’s preparation for the subject-fields examination, which is taken during the qualifying phase. Students finish the proficiency phase by successfully completing the traditional language translation examination or an approved alternative.

Qualifying Phase (Nine courses/27 credits)

Students fulfill the first step in the qualifying phase by taking the subject fields examination. The examination may be taken in any fall or spring semester after the proficiency phase has been completed. The subject fields or disciplines for the exam are developed from the area of inquiry and concentration paper topic. The student begins by developing a preliminary reading list in the subject fields. The reading list is then approved and supplemented by the examining faculty in those fields. The major field examination must include at least two fields/disciplines. The oral exam is administered by the examining faculty at the end of the semester. The format for the exam is determined by the examining faculty and may include written components. The goal is to provide students with a focused framework for study and an opportunity to demonstrate achievement at a high level. Success in the oral examination does not entirely depend upon the student’s ability to answer one specific question or group of questions. The examiners will be alert to gauging whether the student’s responses demonstrate evidence of serious preparation for the examination. More importantly, however, they will be assessing what the student does know and whether there are significant gaps in knowledge that need to be remedied before the student can proceed to the dissertation phase. The grade report for the exam and examiner feedback will be useful for each student in preparing for the dissertation proposal.

During the qualifying phase students also complete either HUM598  or HUM645  (research colloquium), take HUM618  (Theory, Method and the Disciplines) and final core/concentration courses finishing with HUM635  (the Capstone course), which is taken in the spring semester preceding the comprehensive exam.

The Comprehensive Examination

Students qualify for doctoral candidacy after successfully passing the comprehensive examination. The exam follows satisfactory fulfillment of any prerequisites, demonstration of proficiency in language translation and in the program area of inquiry, any required special subject preparation, and completion of required core/ elective credits. In the comprehensive exam students are expected to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the humanities and the program area of inquiry. This written examination is based on core/elective courses and may include special subject area questions for individual students. The exam requires students to demonstrate excellence in summary analysis, explanation, citation, integration and critical evaluation. All doctoral examinations are graded according to the following guide:

High Pass - Superior or Excellent
Pass - Very Good or Good
Low Pass - Acceptable or Sufficient
Not Passing - Unacceptable or Insufficient

Students will pass a set of exams if:

  • All exam paper grades are Low Pass or better.
  • One grade is Not Passing and one of the other grades is Pass or better.

Students will fail a set of exams if:

  • Two grades or half of the exam papers are Not Passing.
  • One grade is Not Passing with the remaining exam papers achieving a Low Pass.

Students who pass the doctoral comprehensive examination may apply for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in the Humanities by filing a request in the Office of the Registrar. The humanities CAGS are awarded following commencement.

The Dissertation Phase (3 credits each fall and spring semester until the dissertation is successfully defended)

Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students advance to doctoral candidacy and enter the third program phase. Students must enroll in Dissertation Research, HUM680  each fall and spring until all degree requirements are completed. Each semester’s work is graded pass or fail (P/F). Students must enroll in dissertation research and pay the doctoral fee each semester until the dissertation is officially accepted by the University. Before beginning, research students publicly present a fully developed dissertation proposal, which must be presented and approved during the first academic year of the dissertation phase. When the dissertation proposal is accepted, students proceed to research and write a scholarly dissertation under the guidance of the dissertation committee (the mentor and two readers).

Dissertation Proposals

Dissertation research proposals are completed and scheduled for public presentation in the fall or spring semester of the first academic year of the dissertation phase. The proposal is approved by the faculty mentor, two readers, and the graduate program director. Topics and approaches must contain original contributions to knowledge within the scope of the humanities and the student’s area of inquiry. To be approved, the proposal must provide convincing evidence that the dissertation will make an important contribution to the existing literature, the methodology will yield a legitimate interpretation of the problem considered or test of the thesis/hypothesis, and that the relevant literature is well understood.

As the dissertation is being written, students undergo ongoing review of the work. After the dissertation is completed, students engage in a public oral defense of the work. The degree is awarded upon the dissertation committee’s positive recommendation. Following final revisions, dissertations are formally presented to the University for acceptance and in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. in the humanities. Doctoral students are expected to complete their dissertation at Salve Regina within seven years of passing the comprehensive examination. For rare and compelling reasons, a request for a one semester extension may be presented in writing to the graduate program director, who will make the final decision regarding the extension request.

Independent Research Fellows Ph.D. Program (IRFC)

The IRFC program offers the same course of study found in the traditional residence program, in an intensive and innovative hybrid alternative (40-42 credits plus exams). Independent Research Fellows are subject to the same rules and procedures as traditional Ph.D. students. Fellows are judged for acceptance according to the same high standards applied to resident applicants with the added expectation that candidates possess the ability to work independently and are able to fully commit to the rigor and intensity of the cohort experience. A limited number of fellows will be accepted into each cohort. If a sufficient number of qualified candidates do not apply, the IRFC may not be offered in a given year.