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Rhetoric and Composition:
Doctor of Philosophy Requirements
This page represents a bona fide effort to describe the facilities, curricula, and course offerings of the Department. It is neither a contract nor an offer to contract. The University reserves the right to make changes in the arrangements described herein without notice. Students must take the initiative in ascertaining and meeting the requirements of the particular program in which they are enrolled.
The English Ph.D. program is designed to provide the student with a broad knowledge of the field and a high degree of specialization in the major area. While making a comprehensive study of English and American language and literature, the student should discover an area of special interest. Advanced work in that area should lead to the dissertation topic. The student may pursue concentrations in (1) Creative Writing, (2) Folklore, (3) Linguistics, or (4) Rhetoric. The special requirements for these areas are available from the Department of English.
A student may enter the program directly from the baccalaureate (see Admissions under M.A. program), but it is strongly advised that the M.A. degree be completed as a part of the program. In addition to GRE scores (General Test), three letters of recommendation and transcripts, applicants must submit a critical writing sample (10-20 pages) and a statement of purpose. Students applying to the Creative Writing Concentration need to submit as well a creative writing sample (10-20 pages).
Course Requirements
  1. Students must complete a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit (including a minimum of 24 hours for dissertation), exclusive of the research methods course, above the baccalaureate.

  2. A minimum of 48 of these hours must be in courses at the 400(G), 500, and 600 levels in the following areas of study:

    Area 1   British Literature to ca. 1500
    Area 2   British Literature of the Renaissance
    Area 3   British Literature of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century
    Area 4   British Literature of the Nineteenth Century (title change effective Fall 2008)
    Area 5   British Literature from circa 1900 to the Present (title change effective Fall 2008)
    Area 6   American Literature to ca. 1900
    Area 7   American Literature from ca. 1900 to the Present
    Area 8   Literary Theory
    Area 9   Rhetoric
    Area 10   Linguistics
    Area 11   Open Topic/Major Genre (e.g., Fiction, Drama, Poetry)
    Area 12   Folklore

    Students are urged to plan early and continuously, with the help of graduate advisors and the Graduate Coordinator, for adequate course work before their written examinations.

  3. Students must take at least one course numbered 500 or above in any four areas numbered 1 through 7 above.

  4. All students must complete at least 21 post-M.A. credit hours of course work in this department by the semester before the General Comprehensive Examination (see below) is scheduled.

  5. Students must complete English 596, Research Methods, or an approved equivalent, and English 500, Professional Colloquium.

  6. Students must complete 6 hours from any of the following courses:

    English 405G, History of the English Language
    English 410G, History of Literary Criticism
    English 413G, Chaucer
    English 425G, Semantics
    English 452G, Language, Culture and Society
    English 455G, Topics in Linguistics
    English 458G, Investigating Text and Talk
    English 459G, Literary Theory and Practical Criticism
    English 461G, Psycholinguistics
    English 502, Studies in Old English
    English 503, Beowulf
    English 505, Medieval Studies
    English 506, Principles of Linguistics
    English 513, Studies in Chaucer
    English 553, Seminar in Linguistics
    English 560, Seminar in Literary Theory
    English 660, Special Topics in Criticism
Language Requirement
In addition to a command of English, the student must demonstrate reading proficiency in two other languages or fluency in one other. Typically, Ph.D. students in English satisfy the language requirement with reading proficiency in two languages, one of which must be French or German; the other may be Spanish, Italian, Latin, Russian, Greek, French, or German. If a student opts for fluency in one language, however, it must be French, German, or Spanish.
Reading proficiency in a language may be established in one of the following ways:
  1. Satisfactory completion of an appropriate language requirement in an M.A. or other post-baccalaureate program

  2. Presentation of evidence of having completed, within the past six years prior to entering the English graduate program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the second semester, sophomore-level college course in an approved language with a grade no lower than C; the course work may of course be taken while the student is attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  3. Successful completion of a reading proficiency examination designed and administered by appropriate faculty in the Department of Modern Languages or

  4. Presentation of a satisfactory score on the Graduate School Foreign Language Test administered by the Educational Testing Service.
Fluency in French, German, or Spanish may be demonstrated in one of the following ways
  1. Passing a special test designed and administered by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Modern Languages Department; or

  2. Passing with a grade of B or better 9 semester hours in the target language at the junior or senior (300-400) level, or 6 hours at the graduate (500-600) level within the last five years prior to entering the graduate program in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. These courses may be taken while the student is attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
General Comprehensive Examination
After completing all work except the dissertation, every students, regardless of the Ph.D. concentration, will be tested by the English Graduate Faculty in four areas of study elected by the student. The examinations will include one four-hour written examination in a primary area and one four-hour written examination in each of three secondary areas. After passing the written examinations, and before the end of that semester in which they were successfully completed, the candidate’s committee shall schedule an oral examination in the student’s primary area of study.
Note: (1) Students must take two of their four examinations in Areas 1 through 7. (2) Students whose primary exam is in British Literature of any period (Areas 1 through 5) must take at least one secondary written exam in American literature (Areas 6 or 7); and those whose primary exam is in American literature (Areas 6 or 7) must take at least one secondary written examination in British Literature (Areas 1 through 5); students whose primary exam is in Literary Theory, Folklore or Open Topics/Major Genre (Areas 8, 10, and 11) must take one secondary exam in British Literature (Areas 1 through 5) and one in American literature (Areas 6 or 7). (3) Students electing the Creative Writing, Linguistics or Rhetoric concentrations should see the regulations governing their examinations available from the Department of English.
On the basis of performance on these examinations, the student will be (1) passed unconditionally, (2) required to take further examinations, or (3) dropped from the Ph.D. program. Any student dropped from the program may appeal to the English Graduate Committee for reconsideration. A student who passes unconditionally may be awarded a pass "with distinction" if the primary exam is independently passed with distinction by two readers, if all secondary exams have received at least a grade of pass, and if five of the eight readers independently pass the exams with distinction.
As soon as possible after beginning graduate study, a Ph.D. student should elect a field of specialization and, in consultation with a specialist in that field, select some problem for investigation. In the semester following successful completion of the General Comprehensive Examination, the student should submit a prospectus for the dissertation. The candidate should begin this step early enough to allow for its approval by mid-October when examinations were completed the previous spring or mid-March when examinations were completed the previous fall. The Chair of the student's dissertation committee, in consultation with other committee members, will then recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student's dissertation committee be approved. This committee will direct the candidate through the final stages of the program. The dissertation may be a work of literary or linguistic scholarship on a single subject, a literary biography, a work concerned with the history of ideas or American or English studies. Creative writing students submit an original work of literature with supporting critical/theoretical commentary. The dissertation should meet the minimum standards for publication. The specific requirements for Creative Writing, Folklore, Linguistics or Rhetoric concentrations are available from the Department of English.
Final Oral Examination
When the dissertation has been completed and approved by the dissertation committee, the committee will conduct a final oral examination of the candidate. The examination will be devoted to a defense of the dissertation and to related matters.

Document last revised Friday, April 11, 2008 2:17 PM

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Department of English · P.O. Box 44691, Lafayette LA 70504
Griffin Hall, Room 221 · english@louisiana.edu · 337/482-6908