Requirements for the M.A. Degree (Comparative Literature Track)

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A. Course Requirements
The minimum course requirement for the M.A. degree is 30 graduate credit hours. An M.A. candidate is expected to take:

1. CLT 501: Theories of Comparative Literature

2. CLT 509: History of Literary Criticism

3. Three CLT/CST courses numbered 600 and higher

The remaining courses may be distributed among graduate offerings in comparative literature, English, foreign languages, philosophy, history, art criticism, theatre, music, and other appropriate fields. A student must achieve a 3.5 overall grade point average for all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook to receive a degree.

B. First-Year Evaluation
In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies prepares a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of (1) the student’s grades and (2) letters from the professor in all of the student’s classes. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the M.A.
Because so many factors depend on satisfactory progress toward the degree, it is important for students to be aware of and monitor their own progress. The following define the minimum limits for satisfactory progress for full-time students:

1. Maintain a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study, as well as complete all incomplete grades by the first deadline. Students who fail to fulfill these requirements in any semester will be automatically placed on probation during the following semester and will be subject to possible dismissal.

2. Receive an acceptable first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study.

D. Foreign Language Requirements
Entering students are expected to have a good command of one and preferably two foreign languages. Students must ultimately be competent in one major and one minor language (non-native speakers of English may offer English as one of the two languages).

All students must have passed the language requirements before they are allowed to take the M.A. examination. To demonstrate competence in the major language, students must take for credit, and earn a grade of B or better in, at least one graduate or advanced undergraduate literature course conducted in the language (final papers may be written in English). Competence in the minor language can be demonstrated by (1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or (2) passing a CLT examination to be taken with a dictionary

E. M.A. Examination
Examination:  The student will take a two-hour oral examination in the second year of graduate study or submit a master’s thesis. The exam measures the student’s knowledge and mastery of literary theory and its history, familiarity with the major texts of world literature, and ability to compose a competent stylistic analysis of literary texts. The master’s examination committee consists of three members of the faculty, at least two of whom are members of the CAT graduate faculty. The student’s advisor normally chairs the committee, and the other two members are chosen by the director of graduate studies in consultation with the student and his/her advisor.

Reading List for the Examination:  The student, in consultation with the examination committee, prepares a list of works in each of the following three areas: 1) history of literary theory from the Greeks to the present; 2) a literary genre; and 3) a literary period. The list for (1) is set. Each of the other reading lists will consist of 15 to 20 primary texts.

(The number of required titles for the genre will be increased if the student chooses short works; whatever the genre, the reading required should approximate that imposed by 15 to 20 novels.) The list, signed by the student and all members of the examination committee, must be submitted to the director of graduate studies for approval by the graduate studies committee at least four weeks prior to the examination date. At the two-hour oral exam at least two of the three members of the examination committee must be present.

Thesis Substitute for Master’s Examination:  Instead of taking the M.A. examination, students may substitute a thesis for the exam. The thesis must be on a substantive topic in comparative literature requiring original research. The student will form a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be from the comparative literature graduate faculty, who will supervise the project and give final approval. The student’s committee and project proposal must be approved by the graduate studies committee prior to embarking on the thesis.

F.   Advisor and Mentor
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose one, or preferably two, official graduate advisors from the comparative literature graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Advisors are normally chosen for one year, but students are, of course, free to change advisors and are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

G.   Residence Requirements
The University requires that students receiving a M.A. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study, this usually means 12 credits per semester.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree (Comparative Literature Track)

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A. Course Requirements

1. CLT 501: Theories of Comparative Literature

2. CLT 509: History of Literary Criticism

3. CLT 680: Cultural Studies Research Seminar

4. CLT 698/CST 698: Teaching Practicum

5. Twelve additional graduate courses, at least three of which must be CLT/CST/WST courses  numbered 600 or higher

A minimum of 48 credits of graduate work is required for the Ph.D. Students who hold an M.A. in comparative literature or a related discipline can request that their transcripts be evaluated by the graduate studies committee and may receive a maximum of 30 credits toward their Ph.D.

All students seeking the Ph.D. must take the required courses listed above, unless the graduate program committee accepts comparable courses taken previously. All Ph.D. students must acquire a minimum of one semester of formal teaching experience (even if they are unsupported or are on a fellowship requiring no teaching duties) and must concurrently take the formal teaching practicum, CLT 698.

In their first year students will take the Teaching Practicum CLT 698. The Practicum will include information about Stony Brook undergraduate requirements and the various undergraduate programs administered by CAT, data on Stony Brook undergraduates, analyses of practical pedagogical issues, consideration of the aims of education and the social role of the university, and teaching observations. The Practicum also provides students with the opportunity to develop a syllabus for an undergraduate course. The Practicum meets roughly every two weeks during both semesters of the first year. The Practicum Director serves as an advisor to first year students, prior to their selection of individual faculty advisors in the second semester.

Students must take the required courses when they are offered, and cannot replace them by Independent Study courses, except in the most unusual circumstances and by petition to the director of graduate studies at the beginning of the term the course is offered. The petition has to be signed by the person directing the Independent Study and must be approved by the graduate studies committee.

Students taking any Independent Study or Directed Reading course will do so under the departmental rubrics, CLT 599 and CLT 690. Under exceptional circumstances, the director of graduate studies may approve Independent Study under another department's designator, contingent on proper comparative literature procedures being followed. A maximum of six credits of Independent Study courses is applicable to the degree requirements for the Ph.D. All such courses must be approved by the director of graduate studies before the end of the add/drop period of the semester during which they are to be taken. All students taking Independent Study or Directed Reading courses must file a detailed description, for which forms are available in the Department office. Failure to have these courses approved in a timely fashion will result in de-registration or in denial of credit for the courses.

B. First-Year Evaluation
In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies prepares a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of: 1) the student’s grades, 2) letters from the professor in all of the student’s classes, and, if the student is a teaching assistant, 3) a letter of evaluation from appropriate faculty, and 4) student evaluations. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a Seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

 

In May of the second year, and each year following, the student will complete a report on progress in the program, including specific progress towards degree (coursework, qualifying exams, dissertation prospectus, and dissertation) and other achievements (funding, research, presentations, and publications). They will then meet with the director of graduate studies or dissertation advisor to discuss their progress in the program. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the report and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

 

C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the Ph.D.
In addition to requirements above, Ph.D. students must fulfill the following requirements:

1. Maintain at least a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study. There is a one year maximum limit on incompletes. A student may accumulate no more than two incomplete grades in any one semester or he/she will no longer be considered a Student in Good Standing, a prerequisite to continue in the program. As a result, the student will lose his or her T.A. line as well as face likely dismissal from the program;

2. Receive a satisfactory first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study;

3. Satisfy at least one language requirement in each year of residence until all language requirements are met. All language requirements must be completed at least three months before the comprehensive examination;

4. Complete all core courses in the first two years of full-time study and all 48 credits for the Ph.D. in three years;

5. Take the comprehensive examination no later than one year after completion of coursework;

6. Submit a dissertation proposal in the semester following satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination.

By rules of the Graduate School, students must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years after completing 24 credits of graduate work in the Stony Brook department in which they are registered. In rare instances, the Graduate School will entertain a petition to extend this time limit, provided it bears the endorsement of the department. The program may require evidence that the student is still properly prepared for completion of the degree. In particular, the student may be required to pass the comprehensive examination again in order to be permitted to continue work.

D. Foreign Language Requirements
Entering graduate students are expected to have a good command of at least one, and preferably two, foreign languages. Candidates for the Ph.D. will eventually demonstrate competence in two or three foreign languages, depending on which of the two options outlined below the student chooses. All language requirements must be met three months before students sit for the comprehensive examination.

Non-native speakers of English may choose English (but not their native language) as one of their foreign languages. All students are of course required to demonstrate full command of written and spoken English, the language of instruction in most comparative literature courses.

Whenever possible, language exams for comparative literature students will be given by core or affiliated faculty in CAT. Each exam will be read by two faculty members.

The options for fulfilling the language requirement are as follows:

Option A: The student offers two principal foreign languages. A principal language is defined by the student's demonstrating a high degree of competence in the language, i.e., the ability to understand lectures given in the language and to read it with facility.

Students may demonstrate this degree of competence by taking for credit, and by earning a grade of B or better in at least one graduate or advance undergraduate course in the lettered humanities conducted in the language. This course must have been taken within five years of matriculating to Stony Brook and must have been taken at an accredited University. Final papers may be written in English. In special cases, students may substitute an advanced language examination of three hours in lieu of course work.

The examination consists of three sections: a) oral comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and summarize in English the contents of two graduate level lectures conducted in the foreign language; b) written comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and answer questions on a moderately long (approximately ten pages) theoretical, critical, or scholarly article; c) translation skills, shown through translating into English an advanced-level literary passage. The student is permitted to use a dictionary for part c but not for part b. If the principal foreign language being examined is a Classical language (e.g., Classical Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek), the three-hour test will consist of translations at an appropriately advanced level.

Option B: The student offers one principal language and two secondary languages. Demonstration and competence in the principal language will be the same as outlined for Option A.

Competence in the secondary languages can be demonstrated in either of the following ways:

1. By earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course taught by one of the foreign language departments at Stony Brook. Credits for a graduate translation course do not count toward the total credits required for the Master's or the Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature.

2. By passing a departmental examination consisting of two parts, each one hour long, to be taken with a dictionary: a) a short theoretical, critical, or scholarly article that the student   is required to summarize and discuss in English; b) a translation of a short literary prose passage of medium difficulty.

E. Comprehensive Examination
Comprehensive Examination in Comparative Literature:  Full-time students who are candidates for the Ph.D. will normally take their comprehensive examination no more than one year after completing their course work. Completing the language requirement is a prerequisite for sitting for the examination.

Committee for the Examination: Students will discuss the choice of a chair for their examination committees with their advisors and the director of graduate studies. One CAT faculty member will be asked by the student to serve as chair of the committee. Three more faculty members who can examine the student in one or more areas of the examination, as defined below, will be selected by the student in consultation with the director of graduate studies, the advisor and the chair of the committee. At least three of the four members of the examination committee must be members of the CAT graduate faculty (including affiliates). At least three of the members of the committee must be physically present at the examination.

Reading List: A reading list for all parts enumerated below will be compiled by the student with the help of the examination committee. The student’s examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for
final pre-examination review of requirements. Students should submit a description of the special area, related to the dissertation, along with the reading list.

Examination: The examination is oral, with the duration to be determined by the members of the committee but not shorter than two hours and not longer than three. Questions posed by examiners will be based on the reading list for the examination. The examination may be passed, passed with distinction, failed, or failed in part. In case of failure, the examination may be retaken once, but no later than the end of the semester following the time when it was initially scheduled. In case of partial failure, the second examination will cover only the area(s) on which the candidate's performance was inadequate.

The comparative literature comprehensive examination will consist of four parts:

1. History of Literary Criticism

2. A literary genre

3. A period in literary history

4. A special area of a comparative nature

For parts 2 to 4 of the comprehensive examination, the reading list submitted must include primary texts in at least two languages other than English. Reading lists in these areas are not intended to be exhaustive, but they should provide coverage of the field that adequately prepares the student to teach courses in the areas of the examination. Guidelines for the preparation of the reading lists can be obtained in the Department.

Parts 2 and 3 normally include 35-45 primary texts and 12-15 secondary works.

F. Advancement to Candidacy
Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the director of graduate studies after a successful comprehensive examination. Again, all other requirements must have been met before the student sits for the comprehensive examination. Advancement must be 1 year prior to defense.

Students who have passed their Ph.D. oral comprehensive exam will be deemed to have passed the equivalent of the master's exam and be granted a M. Phil. degree unless they already have a master's degree in comparative literature from another institution.   The student must file appropriate papers with the department.

G. Dissertation

The dissertation represents the culmination of the student's degree program and should be a serious contribution to scholarship.  

Within three months of passing the comprehensive examination, the student must be prepared to schedule the Dissertation Proposal Review.

As soon as possible, after the Comprehensive Examination, the candidate should choose a dissertation director, as well as the two CAT readers of the dissertation. (The reader outside CAT at SB may be chosen nearer to the defense date, at the discretion of the dissertation director.) The director of the dissertation must be a member of the CAT core faculty. Affiliates may co-direct dissertations with a core faculty member.  In consultation with the dissertation director and the readers, the candidate drafts a dissertation proposal

The dissertation prospectus, which must be appropriate to comparative literature, should be between 2000 and 3500 words, not counting footnotes or bibliography, and should include the following:

  • Title of the dissertation;
  • Description of the topic and its appropriateness for comparative literature in focus and method;
  • The rationale behind the choice of topic, and the anticipated contribution of the proposed research to knowledge;
  • A discussion of the argument your dissertation will advance;
  • Current state of research on the topic and a basic bibliography;
  • Method of work, including the general approach (e.g., historical, generic, thematic, structural) and an outline of chapters.

When the director and readers have approved the prospectus, the student and the director will schedule a Dissertation Prospectus Review to be attended by the student, the director, and all other members of the dissertation committee.  Faculty and/or graduate students may be invited to the review at the discretion of the student.  The review should be no less than one hour in length.  The director, the readers, and others in attendance will discuss the proposal with the student in order to insure that the student is ready to proceed in the project. When the director and the readers agree that the student is ready, they will sign off on the prospectus and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies.  The candidate then proceeds to the dissertation.

Guidelines for Dissertation Prospectus Review

  • The student will circulate her or his prospectus to all members of the committee three weeks prior to the review.
  •  The student will begin the review with a summary of the project in less than five minutes. She or he should clearly communicate the core thesis of the prospective dissertation.
  • The members of the committee will then ask questions and make suggestions.
  •  The student should take notes during the meeting and make sure that she or he understands what the committee is suggesting.
  • At the end of the meeting, the student will be asked to leave the room so that the members of the committee can discuss whether or not they are ready to sign off on the prospectus.  If the members of the committee are satisfied that the student is prepared to begin writing the dissertation, they will sign off on the document and send it to the DGS.
  • In some cases the committee may decide not to sign and request a revised proposal.  If the members of the committee are satisfied with the revised proposal, there is no need for a second dissertation prospectus review.  In some cases, however, the committee may decide that a second review is necessary.

Although there are no strict regulations on length, dissertations will normally be between 200 and 400 pages, not including bibliography and other supplemental material.  The dissertation committee may, in special cases and with justification, allow a student to submit a shorter or longer dissertation.

When the dissertation has been completed in accordance with guidelines published in Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, legible copies of the complete dissertation must be given to all committee members at least one month in advance of the scheduled defense.

All dissertation defenses shall take place on campus and require the full attendance of the dissertation examining committee.  Any exceptions from this practice will require approval from the Dean of the Graduate School.  Campus Audio/Video Services can be employed in the event that either a committee member or the defending student cannot be on the premises due to extenuating circumstances.  While the examining committee may wish to hold the committee examination of the defense in private, the public presentation of the defense will be open to the university community and should be advertised campus-wide three weeks prior to the scheduled date.  A minimum of three weeks prior to the dissertation defense, the dissertation abstract, approved by the student’s advisor and director of graduate studies, must be submitted to the Graduate School with details of the time and location for the defense.  The Graduate School will be responsible for advertising the defense to the university community.

The dissertation examining committee will set up the ground rules for the defense, which usually involves the student giving a short précis of the research problem, the research method, and the results. This is followed by questions from the Committee and, if the committee so desires, from the audience.

H. Teaching Assistantships
For Ph.D. students awarded teaching assistantships, four years of full support is the department's norm. Awards are renewable annually, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress towards the degree and performs teaching duties appropriately (see above, Satisfactory Progress). Students (other than Turner fellows) should not count on assistantship resources beyond the fourth year of study.

During their first year, Ph.D. students will normally be placed as teaching assistants in CAT lecture courses. During their second and third years, students will most commonly teach as instructors in the Writing Program or in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, and during their fourth year, as independent instructors of CAT courses. Admitted students who would prefer a Writing Program or AAAS placement during their first year should notify the Department immediately upon admission into the Ph.D. program. While placements will vary according to student and program needs and constraints, every effort will be made to provide each student with the available range of teaching experiences.

Graduate students in Cultural Analysis and Theory have the opportunity to teach a wide variety of courses. Their teaching obligation may be fulfilled in several ways depending on departmental needs: Assisting an instructor in a large lecture course; teaching a small section of a literature course under the supervision of the CAT faculty; participating in the basic language course in a foreign language department or in a composition course in the English department.

T.A. assignments differ, but the amount of work required cannot exceed 20 hours per week. T.A.s will usually: Hold office hours to review course materials, assist in grading, and discuss other course-related issues with undergraduates; attend classes (graduate courses will be scheduled to minimize interference with T.A. assignments) and read all required entries on the syllabus; lead discussion groups; grade exams, homework, and other written material.

The performance of teaching assistants is monitored by evaluation forms given to undergraduate students at the end of each semester, as well as by faculty members who visit certain classes taught by the T.A. and submit a written evaluation. Stipends of teaching assistants may be terminated if (on the basis of these evaluations and other relevant criteria) the graduate studies committee judges that they have been deficient in carrying out their teaching duties. Superior work as a T.A. is highly valued by the CAT faculty and by the Graduate School. In the past, several T.A’.s from CAT have won the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. This and other prizes for which T.A.’s are eligible carry a cash award.

I. Advisor and Mentor
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose one, or preferably two, official graduate advisors from the CAT graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Advisors are normally chosen for one year, but students are, of course, free to change advisors and are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

J. Residence Requirement
The University requires that students receiving a Ph.D. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study. For those entering without prior graduate study or with fewer than 24 graduate credits, this usually means 12 credits per semester; for those entering with more than 24 graduate credits or with advanced standing provided by prior graduate work, this would mean 9 credits per semester.

 

Requirements for the M.A. Degree (Cultural Studies Track)

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A.   Course Requirements
The M.A. in Cultural Studies requires 30 credits of graduate work. At least 15 credits must be taken within the department (including no more than three credits of CST 597 or CST 599). The following courses must be taken by all M.A. students.

1. CST 502: Theories of Cultural Studies

2. CST 510: History of Cultural Studies

3. CST 609: Topics in Cultural Theory

4. Two CLT/CST courses numbered 600 and higher

B. First-Year Evaluation
In the middle of the student's second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies or director of cultural studies prepares a file for the student's first-year evaluation. It consists of: 1) the student's grades and (2) letters from the professors in all the student's classes. Students may submit any other additional relevant material they choose. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should continue in the program.

Because so many factors influence students' satisfactory progress towards the degree, it is important for students to be aware of and to monitor their own situation. The following define the minimum limits for satisfactory progress for full-time students: 

1. Maintain a 3.5 grade point average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study. There is a one-year maximum limit on incompletes. A student may accumulate no more than two incomplete grades in any one semester or she/he will no longer be considered a Student in Good Standing, a prerequisite to continue in the program. As a result, the student will likely face dismissal from the program.

2. Receive a satisfactory first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study.

C. Language Requirements
Candidates for the MA are required to demonstrate competence in either one principal foreign language (that is, any language that is of principal importance to the student’s course of study) or two secondary languages. English may count as a principal language for non-Native speakers.

To demonstrate competence in the principal foreign language, students must take for credit and earn a grade of B or better in at least one graduate or advanced undergraduate literature course conducted in the language (final papers may be written in English). Or, students may enroll in an independent study. In special cases, students may substitute an advanced language examination of three hours in lieu of course work. The examination consists of three sections: a) oral comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and summarize in English the contents of two graduate level lectures conducted in the foreign language; b) written comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and answer questions on a moderately long (approximately ten pages) theoretical, critical, or scholarly article; c) translation skills, shown through translating into English an advanced-level literary passage. The student is permitted to use a dictionary for part c but not for part b. If the principal foreign language being examined is a Classical language (e.g., Classical Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek), the three-hour test will consist of translations at an appropriately advanced level.

Competence in the two secondary languages can be demonstrated by: 1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or 2) passing a translation examination to be taken with a dictionary.

D.  Master's Examination
The student will take a two-hour oral examination in the second year of graduate study or submit a master’s thesis. The Master's examination committee consists of three members of the faculty, at least two of whom are members of the CAT core faculty.   The student's advisor normally chairs the Committee, and the other two members are chosen by the director of graduate studies in consultation with the student and his/her advisor. 

Reading List for the Examination: The student, in consultation with the examination committee, prepares a list of works in each of the following three areas: A) History and theory of cultural studies; B) A cultural phenomenon; C) a historical period.   Each of the other reading lists will consist of 15-20 primary texts. The student’s examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. At the two- hour oral exam at least two of the three members of the examination committee must be present.

Thesis Substitute for Master's Examination: Instead of taking the M.A. examination students may substitute a thesis for the Master's examination. The thesis must be on a substantive topic in cultural studies requiring original research. The student will form a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be from the CAT core faculty, who will supervise the project and give approval. The student's committee and project proposal must be approved by the graduate studies committee prior to embarking on the thesis.

E.   Advisor and Mentor
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of cultural studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose one official graduate advisor from the Cultural Analysis and Theory graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Advisors are normally chosen for one year, but students are, of course, free to change advisors and are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

Incoming students are also urged to choose a faculty member to serve as a mentor who can meet with the student to discuss a variety of concerns not necessarily involving course work.

F.   Residence Requirement
The University requires that students receiving a M.A. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study, this usually means 12 credits per semester.

 

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree (Cultural Studies Track)

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A. Course Requirements

1. CST 502: Theories in Cultural Studies

2. CST 510: History of Cultural Studies

3. CST 680: Cultural Studies Research Seminar

4. CLT/CST 698: Teaching Practicum

5. Twelve additional graduate courses, at least three of which must be CLT/CST/WST courses numbered 600 or higher.

To ensure disciplinary fluency in a more traditional sense, students are strongly recommended to take at least three of these courses in a single discipline (outside the core cultural studies sequence), and to include at least one faculty member from that field on the Ph.D. oral exam and dissertation committees.

A minimum of 48 credits of graduate work to be completed before the comprehensive exam is required for the Ph.D. Students who hold an M.A. in cultural studies can transfer up to 30 credits at the discretion of the director of graduate studies and director of cultural studies. If students enter the program with an M.A. in some other discipline (e.g., Anthropology, Art, English, Film Studies, History, Media Studies, etc.), the director of graduate studies and director of cultural studies may grant them up to 18 credits. It will be the prerogative of the graduate studies committee to grant additional credits to such students, up to a maximum of 30 credits.

Please note: Students must take the required courses when they are offered, and cannot replace them by Independent Study courses, except in the most unusual circumstances and by petition to the director of graduate studies before the beginning of the term the course is offered. The petition has to be signed by the person directing the Independent Study and must be approved by the director of graduate studies and director of cultural studiesA student may take no more than one Independent Study in a given semester. A maximum of six credits will count toward the Ph.D.

All students seeking the Ph.D. must take the required courses listed above, unless the graduate studies committee accepts comparable courses taken previously. All Ph.D. students must acquire a minimum of one semester of formal teaching experience (even if they are unsupported or are on a fellowship requiring no teaching duties) and must concurrently take the formal teaching practicum, CST 698.

In their first year students will take the Teaching Practicum CLT 698. The Practicum will include information about Stony Brook undergraduate requirements and the various undergraduate programs administered by CAT, data on Stony Brook undergraduates, analyses of practical pedagogical issues, consideration of the aims of education and the social role of the university, and teaching observations. The Practicum also provides students with the opportunity to develop a syllabus for an undergraduate course. The Practicum meets roughly every two weeks during both semesters of the first year. The Practicum Director serves as an advisor to first year students, prior to their selection of individual faculty advisors in the second semester.

B. First-Year Evaluation
Following the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies or director of cultural studies will prepare a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of: 1) a qualifying paper, usually the paper produced for a core seminar; 2) the student’s grades, 3) letters from the professors in each of the student’s classes, and, if the student is a teaching assistant, 4) a letter of evaluation from appropriate faculty, and 5) student evaluations. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

In May of the second year, and each year following, the student will complete a report on progress in the program, including specific progress towards degree (coursework, qualifying exams, dissertation prospectus, and dissertation) and other achievements (funding, research, presentations, and publications). They will then meet with the director of graduate studies or dissertation advisor to discuss their progress in the program. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the report and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the Ph.D.
In addition to requirements listed above, Ph.D. students must fulfill the following requirements:

1. Maintain at least a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study. There is a one year maximum limit on incompletes. A student may accumulate no more than two incomplete grades in any one semester or he/she will no longer be considered a Student in Good Standing, a prerequisite to continue in the program. As a result, the student may lose his or her T.A. line and face possible dismissal from the program;

2. Receive a satisfactory first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study;

3. Satisfy the foreign language requirement at least three months before the comprehensive examination;

4. Complete all core courses in the first two years of full-time study and all 48 credits for the Ph.D. in three years;

5. Take the comprehensive examination no later than one year after completion of coursework;

6. Submit a dissertation proposal in the semester following satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination.

By rules of the Graduate School, students must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years after completing 24 credits of graduate work in the Stony Brook department in which they are registered. In rare instances, the Graduate School will entertain a petition to extend this time limit, provided it bears the endorsement of the department. The program may require evidence that the student is still properly prepared for completion of the degree. In particular, the student may be required to pass the comprehensive examination again in order to be permitted to continue work.

D. Foreign Language Requirements
Ph.D. students may choose to demonstrate competence in either one principal foreign language (that is, any language that is of principal importance to the student’s course of study) or two secondary languages. English may count as a principal language for non-Native speakers.

To demonstrate competence in the principal foreign language, students must take for credit and earn a grade of B or better in at least one graduate or advanced undergraduate literature course conducted in the language (final papers may be written in English). Or, students may enroll in an independent study. In special cases, students may substitute an advanced language examination of three hours in lieu of course work. The examination consists of three sections: a) oral comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and summarize in English the contents of two graduate level lectures conducted in the foreign language; b) written comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and answer questions on a moderately long (approximately ten pages) theoretical, critical, or scholarly article; c) translation skills, shown through translating into English an advanced-level literary passage. The student is permitted to use a dictionary for part c but not for part b. If the principal foreign language being examined is a Classical language (e.g., Classical Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek), the three-hour test will consist of translations at an appropriately advanced level.

Competence in the two secondary languages can be demonstrated by: 1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or 2) passing a translation examination to be taken with a dictionary.

E. Comprehensive Examination
Students who are candidates for the Ph.D. will normally take their comprehensive examination no more than one year after completing their course work. Completing the language requirement is a prerequisite for sitting for the examination.

Committee for the Examination:  Students will discuss the choice of a dissertation chair for their examination committee with their advisors and the director of cultural studies. One CAT faculty member will be asked by the student to serve as chair of the committee. Three more faculty members who can examine the student in one or more areas of the examination, as defined below, will be selected by the student in consultation with the director of graduate studies, the advisor, and the Chair of the committee. At least three of the four members of the examination committee must be CAT faculty or affiliates. At least three of the members of the committee must be physically present at the examination.

Reading Lists:  A reading list for all parts enumerated below will be compiled by the student with the help of the examination committee. The student's examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. Please note: Students should also submit a description of the special area, related to the dissertation, along with the reading list.

Examination:  The examination is oral, with the duration to be determined by the members of the committee but not shorter than two hours and not longer than three. Questions posed by examiners will be based on the reading lists for the examination. The examination may be passed, passed with distinction, failed, or failed in part. In case of failure, the examination may be retaken once, but no later than the end of the semester following the time when it was initially scheduled. In case of partial failure, the second examination will cover only the area(s) on which the candidate's performance was inadequate.

The Cultural Studies comprehensive examination consists of four parts: Cultural Theory; An in-depth Study of a Cultural Phenomenon; An historical Period; Area of Specialized Interest.

Each part of the examination should include at least 40 works. Half of the list for Part 1 will be composed of books from the Cultural Theory Reading List and the student’s research interests. The Cultural Theory Reading List is available from the CAT office. There is no standard list of required works for parts 2-4, although committee members may insist on including certain texts at their discretion. All parts of the reading lists must include texts in at least two languages other than English (translations are acceptable). Reading lists in these areas are not intended to be exhaustive, but they should provide coverage of the field that adequately prepares the student to teach courses in the areas of the examination. Guidelines for the preparation of the reading lists can be obtained in the Department.

F. Advancement to Candidacy
Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the director of graduate studies after a successful comprehensive examination . Again, all other requirements must have been met before the student sits for the comprehensive examination.

Students who have passed their Ph.D. oral comprehensive exam will be deemed to have passed the equivalent of the master's exam and be granted a M. Phil. degree unless they already have a master's degree in cultural studies from another institution. The student must file appropriate papers with the department.

G. Dissertation

The dissertation represents the culmination of the student's degree program and should be a serious contribution to scholarship.   

Within three months of passing the comprehensive examination, the student must be prepared to schedule the Dissertation Prospectus Review.

As soon as possible, after the Comprehensive Examination, the candidate should choose a dissertation director, as well as the two CAT readers of the dissertation. (The reader outside CAT at SB may be chosen nearer to the defense date, at the discretion of the dissertation director.) The director of the dissertation must be a member of the CAT core faculty. Affiliates may co-direct dissertations with a core faculty member.  In consultation with the dissertation director and the readers, the candidate drafts a dissertation prospectus.

The dissertation prospectus, which must be appropriate to cultural studies, should be between 2000 and 3500 words, not counting footnotes or bibliography, and should include the following:

  • Title of the dissertation;
  • Description of the topic and its appropriateness for cultural studies in focus and method;
  • The rationale behind the choice of topic, and the anticipated contribution of the proposed research to knowledge;
  • A discussion of the argument your dissertation will advance;
  • Current state of research on the topic and a basic bibliography;
  • Method of work, including the general approach (e.g., historical, generic, thematic, structural) and an outline of chapters.

 When the director and readers have approved the prospectus, the student and the director will schedule a Dissertation Prospectus Review to be attended by the student, the director, and all other members of the dissertation committee.  Faculty and/or graduate students may be invited to the review at the discretion of the student.  The review should be no less than one hour in length.  The director, the readers, and others in attendance will discuss the prospectus with the student in order to insure that the student is ready to proceed in the project. When the director and the readers agree that the student is ready, they will sign off on the prospectus and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies.  The candidate then proceeds to the dissertation.

Guidelines for Dissertation Prospectus Review

  • The student will circulate her or his prospectus to all members of the committee three weeks prior to the review.
  •  The student will begin the review with a summary of the project in less than five minutes. She or he should clearly communicate the core thesis of the prospective dissertation.
  • The members of the committee will then ask questions and make suggestions.
  •  The student should take notes during the meeting and make sure that she or he understands what the committee is suggesting.
  • At the end of the meeting, the student will be asked to leave the room so that the members of the committee can discuss whether or not they are ready to sign off on the prospectus.  If the members of the committee are satisfied that the student is prepared to begin writing the dissertation, they will sign off on the document and send it to the DGS.
  • In some cases the committee may decide not to sign and request a revised proposal.  If the members of the committee are satisfied with the revised proposal, there is no need for a second dissertation prospectus review.  In some cases, however, the committee may decide that a second review is necessary.

Although there are no strict regulations on length, dissertations will normally be between 200 and 400 pages, not including bibliography and other supplemental material.  The dissertation committee may, in special cases and with justification, allow a student to submit a shorter or longer dissertation.

When the dissertation has been completed in accordance with guidelines published in Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, legible copies of the complete dissertation must be given to all committee members at least one month in advance of the scheduled defense.

All dissertation defenses shall take place on campus and require the full attendance of the dissertation examining committee.  Any exceptions from this practice will require approval from the Dean of the Graduate School.  Campus Audio/Video Services can be employed in the event that either a committee member or the defending student cannot be on the premises due to extenuating circumstances.  While the examining committee may wish to hold the committee examination of the defense in private, the public presentation of the defense will be open to the university community and should be advertised campus-wide three weeks prior to the scheduled date.  A minimum of three weeks prior to the dissertation defense, the dissertation abstract, approved by the student’s advisor and director of graduate studies, must be submitted to the Graduate School with details of the time and location for the defense.  The Graduate School will be responsible for advertising the defense to the university community.

The dissertation examining committee will set up the ground rules for the defense, which usually involves the student giving a short précis of the research problem, the research method, and the results. This is followed by questions from the Committee and, if the committee so desires, from the audience.

H. Teaching Assistantships
For Ph.D. students awarded teaching assistantships, four years of full support is the department's norm. Awards are renewable annually, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress towards the degree and performs teaching duties appropriately (see below, Satisfactory Progress). Students (other than Turner fellows) should not count on assistantship resources beyond the fourth year of study.

During their first year, Ph.D. students will normally be placed as teaching assistants in CAT lecture courses. During their second and third years, students will most commonly teach as instructors in the Writing Program or in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, and during their fourth year, as independent instructors of CAT courses. Admitted students who would prefer a Writing Program or AAAS placement during their first year should notify the Department immediately upon admission into the Ph.D. program. While placements will vary according to student and program needs and constraints, every effort will be made to provide each student with the available range of teaching experiences.

Graduate students in Cultural Analysis and Theory have the opportunity to teach a wide variety of courses. Their teaching obligation may be fulfilled in several ways depending on departmental needs: Assisting an instructor in a large lecture course; teaching a small section of a literature course under the supervision of the CAT faculty; participating in the basic language course in a foreign language department or in a composition course in the English department.

T.A. assignments differ, but the amount of work required cannot exceed 20 hours per week. T.A.s will usually: Hold office hours to review course materials, assist in grading, and discuss other course-related issues with undergraduates; attend classes (graduate courses will be scheduled to minimize interference with T.A. assignments) and read all required entries on the syllabus; lead discussion groups; grade exams, homework, and other written material.

The performance of teaching assistants is monitored by evaluation forms given to undergraduate students at the end of each semester, as well as by faculty members who visit certain classes taught by the T.A. and submit a written evaluation. Stipends of teaching assistants may be terminated if (on the basis of these evaluations and other relevant criteria) the graduate studies committee judges that they have been deficient in carrying out their teaching duties. Superior work as a T.A. is highly valued by the CAT faculty and by the Graduate School. In the past, several T.A’.s from CAT have won the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. This and other prizes for which T.A.’s are eligible carry a cash award.

I. Advisor and Mentor
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of cultural studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose one official graduate advisor from the Cultural Analysis and Theory graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Advisors are normally chosen for one year, but students are, of course, free to change advisors and are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

Incoming students are also urged to choose a faculty member to serve as a mentor who can meet with the student to discuss a variety of concerns not necessarily involving course work.

J.   Residence Requirement
The University requires that students receiving a Ph.D. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study. For those entering without prior graduate study or with fewer than 24 graduate credits, this usually means 12 credits per semester; for those entering with more than 24 graduate credits or with advanced standing provided by prior graduate work, this would mean 9 credits per semester.

 

Requirements for the M.A. Degree (Women’s and Gender Studies Track)

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A. Course Requirements
The minimum course requirement for the M.A. degree is 30 graduate credit hours. An M.A. candidate is expected to take:

1. WST 600 Feminist Interdisciplinary Histories and Methods
2. WST 601 Feminist Theories
3. WST 698 Women’s and Gender Studies Teaching Practicum
4. Two additional WST courses numbered 600 or higher
The remaining courses may be distributed among graduate offerings in other appropriate fields. A student must achieve a 3.5 overall grade point average for all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook to receive a degree.

B. First-Year Evaluation
In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies prepares a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of (1) the student’s grades and (2) letters from the professors in all of the student’s classes. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the M.A. Because so many factors depend on satisfactory progress toward the degree, it is important for students to be aware of and monitor their own progress. The following define the minimum limits for satisfactory progress for full-time students:

1. Maintain a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study, as well as complete all incomplete grades by the first deadline. Students who fail to fulfill these requirements in any semester will be automatically placed on probation during the following semester and will be subject to possible dismissal.

2. Receive an acceptable first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study.

D. Foreign Language Requirements
Students must show competence in one foreign language. Competence in a foreign language can be demonstrated by (1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or (2) passing a language examination to be taken with a dictionary. All students must have passed the language requirements before they are allowed to take the M.A. examination.

E. M.A. Examination
M.A. students will complete a thesis on a substantive topic in Women’s and Gender Studies requiring original research. The student will form a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be from the Women’s and Gender Studies graduate faculty, who will supervise the project and give final approval. The student's examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements.

F. Advisor and Mentor
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose an official graduate advisor from the women’s and gender studies core faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Students are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

G. Residence Requirements

The University requires that students receiving an M.A. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study, which usually means 12 credits per semester.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree (Women’s and Gender Studies Track)

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A. Course Requirements

1. WST 600 Feminist Interdisciplinary Histories and Methods
2. WST 601 Feminist Theories
3. WST 698 Practicing Women's and Gender Studies
4. WST 680 Interdisciplinary Research Design
5. Twelve additional graduate courses, at least three of which must be WST courses numbered 600 or higher

A minimum of 48 credits of graduate work is required for the Ph.D. Students who hold an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies or a related discipline can request that their transcripts be evaluated by the graduate studies committee and may receive a maximum of 30 credits toward their Ph.D.

All students seeking the Ph.D. must take the required courses listed above, unless the graduate program committee accepts comparable courses taken previously. All Ph.D. students must acquire a minimum of one semester of formal teaching experience (even if they are unsupported or are on a fellowship requiring no teaching duties) and must concurrently take the formal teaching practicum (WST 698).

The Women’s and Gender Studies Teaching Practicum prepares students to teach an introductory course in Women’s and Gender Studies by engaging with recent developments in feminist pedagogy. Students will observe introductory and upper-level classes in WaGS, and write a syllabus for Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (WST 102 or WST 103), as well as a syllabus rationale and teaching philosophy. At the same time, we will consider broader questions about the university as an institution in the current moment, and the place of Women’s and Gender Studies within the contemporary university. Along with a consideration of the changing practices and objects of feminist knowledge production, we will also discuss the changing politics and economics of academia, and the impact of the wider academic milieu on what and how knowledge is produced.

Students must take the required courses when they are offered, and cannot replace them by Independent Study courses, except in the most unusual circumstances and by petition to the director of graduate studies at the beginning of the term the course is offered. The petition has to be signed by the person directing the Independent Study and must be approved by the graduate studies committee.

Students taking any Independent Study or Directed Reading course will do so under the departmental rubrics, WST 599 or WST 690. Under exceptional circumstances, the director of graduate studies may approve Independent Study under another department's designator. A maximum of six credits of Independent Study courses is applicable to the degree requirements for the Ph.D. All such courses must be approved by the director of graduate studies before the end of the add/drop period of the semester during which they are to be taken. All students taking Independent Study or Directed Reading courses must file a detailed description, for which forms are available in the Department office. Failure to have these courses approved in a timely fashion will result in de-registration or in denial of credit for the courses.

B. First-Year Evaluation

In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies prepares a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of: 1) the student’s grades, 2) letters from the professor in all of the student’s classes, and, if the student is a teaching assistant, 3) a letter of evaluation from appropriate faculty, and 4) student evaluations. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program. In May of the second year, and each year following, the student will complete a report on progress in the program, including specific progress towards degree (coursework, qualifying exams, dissertation proposal, and dissertation) and other achievements (funding, research, presentations, and publications). They will then meet with the director of graduate studies or dissertation advisor to discuss their progress in the program. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the report and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program. C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the Ph.D.

In addition to requirements above, Ph.D. students must fulfill the following requirements:
1. Maintain at least a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study. There is a one-year maximum limit on incompletes. A student may accumulate no more than two incomplete grades in any one semester or he/she will no longer be considered a Student in Good Standing, a prerequisite to continue in the program. As a result, the student will lose his or her T.A. line as well as face likely dismissal from the program;

2. Receive a satisfactory first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study, and satisfactory progress report each following May;

3. Satisfy the language requirement before the comprehensive examination;

4. Complete all core courses in the first two years of full-time study and all 48 credits for the Ph.D. in three years;

5. Take the comprehensive examination no later than one year after completion of coursework;

6. Submit and defend a dissertation proposal in the semester following satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination, no later than one year and a half? after completion of coursework.

By rules of the Graduate School, students must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years after completing 24 credits of graduate work in the Stony Brook department in which they are registered. In rare instances, the Graduate School will entertain a petition to extend this time limit, provided it bears the endorsement of the department. The program may require evidence that the student is still properly prepared for completion of the degree. In particular, the student may be required to pass the comprehensive examination again in order to be permitted to continue work.

D. Foreign Language Requirements

Entering graduate students are expected to have a good command of at least one foreign language. All language requirements must be met three months before students sit for the comprehensive examination.

All students are of course required to demonstrate full command of written and spoken English, the language of instruction in most Women’s and Gender Studies courses.

Whenever possible, language exams for students will be given by core or affiliated faculty in CAT. Each exam will be read by a faculty member.

Competence in a foreign language can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

1. By earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course taught by one of the foreign language departments at Stony Brook. Credits for a graduate translation course do not count toward the total credits required for the Master's or the Ph.D. degree in Women’s and Gender Studies.

2. By passing an examination consisting of two parts, each one hour long, to be taken with a dictionary: a) a short theoretical, critical, or scholarly article that the student is required to summarize and discuss in English; b) a translation of a short scholarly article or passage of medium difficulty.

3. By passing an hour-long oral examination. This option is encouraged for students intending to do interviewing or field research for their dissertation.

E. Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive Examination in Women’s and Gender Studies: Full-time students who are candidates for the Ph.D. will normally take their comprehensive examination no more than one year after completing their course work. Completing the language requirement is a prerequisite for sitting for the examination.

Committee for the Examination: Students will discuss the choice of a chair for their examination committees with their advisors and the director of graduate studies. One WaGS core or graduate faculty member will be asked by the student to serve as chair of the committee. Three more faculty members who can examine the student in one or more areas of the examination, as defined below, will be selected by the student in consultation with the director of graduate studies, the advisor and the chair of the committee. At least three of the four members of the examination committee must be members of the WaGS core or graduate faculty. At least three of the members of the committee must be physically present at the examination. In most cases, this committee will be the same as the committee for the student’s dissertation, which will provide continuity between the comprehensive examination and the writing of the dissertation.

Reading Lists: A reading list for all parts enumerated below will be compiled by the student with the help of the examination committee. The student's examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. The definitive version of the reading list, with a cover page bearing signatures of the committee members and indicating who will chair, must be submitted to the graduate studies committee no later than two weeks prior to a meeting of the graduate studies committee. The list must be approved by all members of the student’s committee. Students should submit a description of the special area, related to the dissertation, along with the reading list (see below).

Examination: The examination is written, followed by a short oral defense of the student’s written exam. Questions posed by examiners will be based on the reading list for the examination. The examination may be passed, passed with distinction, failed, or failed in part. In case of failure, the examination may be retaken once, but no later than the end of the semester following the time when it was initially scheduled. In case of partial failure, the second examination will cover only the area(s) on which the candidate's performance was inadequate.

The Women’s and Gender Studies comprehensive examination will consist of three parts.

1. Feminist theories/interdisciplinary methods

2. One of the doctoral program’s four areas of specialization (transnational social movements and globalization; the politics of representation and media analysis; critical analysis of sexuality; and gender and health)

3. Special area (related to the student’s dissertation project)

F. Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the director of graduate studies after a successful comprehensive examination. Again, all other requirements must have been met before the student sits for the comprehensive examination. Advancement must be 1 year prior to dissertation defense. Students who have passed their Ph.D. comprehensive exam will be deemed to have passed the equivalent of the master's exam and be granted a M. Phil. degree unless they already have a master's degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from another institution. The student must file appropriate papers with the department.

G. Dissertation

The dissertation represents the culmination of the student's degree program and should be a serious contribution to scholarship.

Within three months of passing the comprehensive examination, the student must be prepared to schedule the Dissertation Proposal Review. This must be scheduled at a date no later than one year after completion of coursework.

As soon as possible, after the Comprehensive Examination, the candidate should choose a dissertation director, as well as the two readers of the dissertation, from the WaGS core or graduate faculty. Generally, this will be the same as or based on the comprehensive examination committee. The director of the dissertation must be a member of the WaGS core faculty. Graduate faculty may co-direct dissertations with a core faculty member. In consultation with the dissertation director and the readers, the candidate drafts a dissertation proposal. Dissertation Proposal: The dissertation proposal, which must be appropriate to Women’s and Gender Studies, should be between 2000 and 5000 words, not counting footnotes or bibliography, and should include the following:

• Title of the dissertation;
• Description of the topic and its appropriateness for Women’s and Gender Studies in focus and method;
• The rationale behind the choice of topic, and the anticipated contribution of the proposed research to knowledge;
• A discussion of the argument your dissertation will advance;
• Current state of research on the topic and a basic bibliography;
• Description of research methods.

When the director and readers have approved the proposal, the student and the director will schedule a Dissertation Prospectus Review to be attended by the student, the director, and all other members of the dissertation committee. Faculty and/or graduate students may be invited to the review at the discretion of the student. The review should be no less than one hour in length. The director, the readers, and others in attendance will discuss the proposal with the student in order to insure that the student is ready to proceed in the project. When the director and the readers agree that the student is ready, they will sign off on the proposal and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies. The candidate then proceeds to the dissertation.

Guidelines for Dissertation Prospectus Review

• The student will circulate her or his proposal to all members of the committee three weeks prior to the review.
• The student will begin the review with a summary of the project in less than five minutes. She or he should clearly communicate the core thesis of the prospective dissertation.
• The members of the committee will then ask questions and make suggestions.
• The student should take notes during the meeting and make sure that she or he understands what the committee is suggesting.
• At the end of the meeting, the student will be asked to leave the room so that the members of the committee can discuss whether or not they are ready to sign off on the proposal. If the members of the committee are satisfied that the student is prepared to begin writing the dissertation, they will sign off on the document and send it to the DGS.
• In some cases the committee may decide not to sign and request a revised proposal. If the members of the committee are satisfied with the revised proposal, there is no need for a second dissertation prospectus review. In some cases, however, the committee may decide that a second review is necessary.

Dissertation: Although there are no strict regulations on length, dissertations will normally be between 200 and 400 pages, not including bibliography and other supplemental material. The dissertation committee may, in special cases and with justification, allow a student to submit a shorter or longer dissertation. The student should discuss with her or his dissertation director and committee members their expectations for their involvement in the research/writing process.

When the dissertation has been completed in accordance with guidelines published in Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, legible copies of the complete dissertation must be given to all committee members at least one month in advance of the scheduled defense.

All dissertation defenses shall take place on campus and require the full attendance of the dissertation examining committee. Any exceptions from this practice will require approval from the Dean of the Graduate School. Campus Audio/Video Services can be employed in the event that either a committee member or the defending student cannot be on the premises due to extenuating circumstances. While the examining committee may wish to hold the committee examination of the defense in private, the public presentation of the defense will be open to the university community and should be advertised campus-wide three weeks prior to the scheduled date. A minimum of three weeks prior to the dissertation defense, the dissertation abstract, approved by the student’s advisor and director of graduate studies, must be submitted to the Graduate School with details of the time and location for the defense. The Graduate School will be responsible for advertising the defense to the university community.

The dissertation examining committee will set up the ground rules for the defense, which usually involves the student giving a short précis of the research problem, the research method, and the results. This is followed by questions from the Committee and, if the committee so desires, from the audience.

H. Teaching Assistantships

For Ph.D. students awarded teaching assistantships, four years of full support is the department's norm. Awards are renewable annually, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress towards the degree and performs teaching duties appropriately (see above, Satisfactory Progress). Students (other than Turner fellows) should not count on assistantship resources beyond the fourth year of study.

During their first year, Ph.D. students will normally be placed as teaching assistants in a WaGS lecture courses. After the first year, students’ teaching obligation may be fulfilled in several ways depending on departmental needs, including assisting an instructor in a large course or teaching a small section of a 200-level or 300-level women’s and gender studies class. While placements will vary according to student and program needs and constraints, every effort will be made to provide each student with the available range of teaching experiences.

T.A. assignments differ, but the amount of work required cannot exceed 20 hours per week. T.A.s will usually: Hold office hours to review course materials, assist in grading, and discuss other course-related issues with undergraduates; attend classes (graduate courses will be scheduled to minimize interference with T.A. assignments) and read all required entries on the syllabus; lead discussion groups; grade exams, homework, and other written material.

The performance of teaching assistants is monitored by evaluation forms given to undergraduate students at the end of each semester, as well as by faculty members who visit certain classes taught by the T.A. and submit a written evaluation. Stipends of teaching assistants may be terminated if (on the basis of these evaluations and other relevant criteria) the graduate studies committee judges that they have been deficient in carrying out their teaching duties. Superior work as a T.A. is highly valued by the CAT faculty and by the Graduate School. In the past, several T.A’.s from CAT have won the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. This and other prizes for which T.A.’s are eligible carry a cash award.

I. Advisor and Mentor

The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose an official graduate advisor from the WaGS core or graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. The advisor will most often end up directing the student’s dissertation. Students are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty. Students will have selected a dissertation committee by the end of their third year.

J. Residence Requirement

The University requires that students receiving a Ph.D. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study. For those entering without prior graduate study or with fewer than 24 graduate credits, this usually means 12 credits per semester; for those entering with more than 24 graduate credits or with advanced standing provided by prior graduate work, this would mean 9 credits per semester

 

The Graduate Certificate Program In Cultural Studies

Students who complete the Cultural Studies Certificate Program will, upon completion of their home department’s Ph.D. program, be awarded the Ph.D. in “[home department] and cultural studies.” Ph.D. students from all departments at Stony Brook are eligible; M.A./M.F.A. students may also apply and be admitted by the director of cultural studies.

The cultural studies program at Stony Brook is designed for students whose interests cut across traditional modes of study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Areas of emphasis include popular and mass culture, minority and diasporic cultures, visual culture, media and technology, cultural production, cross-cultural and transnational/global formations, as well as the study of elite, dominant, and national cultures.

The Cultural Studies Certificate program is designed for graduate students whose interests are not fully served by traditional Humanities and Social Science departments but who seek to be employed by such departments as they continue to adapt and evolve in a changing disciplinary and interdisciplinary landscape. The certificate is administered through the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory (CAT), in conjunction with the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook. CAT’s strengths lie primarily in literary and cultural theory, cinema and media studies, visual culture studies, and cross-cultural studies, as reflected in the Department’s popular undergraduate major in Cinema and Cultural Studies. A network of Cultural Studies affiliated faculty represent a wide range of areas in disciplines including Africana Studies, Art History and Studio Art, Asian and Asian American Studies, Digital Art, Culture and Technology (cDACT), English, European and Hispanic Languages, History, Music, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies. The Certificate Program is open to students enrolled in any of Stony Brook’s Ph.D. programs. M.A./M.F.A students may be admitted on approval of the Director of Cultural Studies, who will advise students in tailoring the program to their specific needs. The Certificate will be awarded upon completion of the 15-credit sequence (two core courses and three electives), which may also be counted toward the Ph.D. in the student’s home department.

Course Requirements

1. CST 510: History of Cultural Studies

2. CST 609: Topics in Cultural Theory

3. CST 698: Teaching Practicum

Two-credit CST elective courses are also required. These will normally be included in a list of electives published in the semester prior to their being offered (available in the CAT Department). Students may request that other relevant courses be approved to count as electives by contacting the director of cultural studies. Please be aware that a maximum of 6 graduate credits earned prior to the student being matriculated into the secondary program can be applied to the secondary program.

For more information, contact:

Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory
Room 2048
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355

 

The Graduate Certificate Program In Women’s and Gender Studies 

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers a course of study that leads to the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. The program has affiliated faculty members from more than 20 different programs in the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and health sciences. The program is designed to allow students working toward a degree in departments such as English, History, Philosophy, Theatre, Music, Cultural Analysis and Theory, Psychology, or Sociology to draw on faculty whose work deals with gender and sexuality issues in a wide range of disciplines. Since Women’s and Gender Studies has affiliates in nearly every department in the social sciences and humanities, the certificate program offers graduate students the opportunity for an unusually rich interdisciplinary experience.

The program is particularly strong in feminist theory, with faculty affiliates from the departments of Philosophy, English, Art, History, Cultural Analysis and Theory, and Hispanic Languages and Literature offering courses in this area. Other areas of concentration include Science and Critical Medical Studies, Global Public Health, Queer Theory, American Cultural History, and British, American, and Postcolonial literatures.

The graduate certificate entails three required seminars—feminist theory, feminist histories and methodologies, and the teaching practicum in women’s and gender studies— and two electives that can be taken with affiliated faculty in the student’s home department or from a list of seminars offered by faculty affiliates in other departments. Recent and future courses offered by our core faculty and affiliates include, for example, “Modernism and Cultural Studies,” “Madness and Civilization, 1960-1980,” “Globalization and Gender,” “Fashion in Theory and Film,” and “Race, Gender, and Global Culture,” and “Silk, Gold and Spices: Literature and International Trade.” Where courses are not available for a particular topic, students may arrange directed readings with an affiliated faculty member.

It is expected that most students can fulfill the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies while working toward the master’s, doctoral, or other degree. Students should consult with their home program to determine whether the credits earned in the certificate program can be used toward their degrees. Opportunities for teaching in the CAT program are available for graduate certificate students who have successfully completed the pedagogy seminar. Certificate Students who teach for the program are also eligible for the annual Vivien Hartog Prize awarded to a graduate student who has shown a clear commitment to activism and teaching centered on human rights and social justice.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies

The Graduate Certificate Program in Women’s Studies is designed to provide an interdisciplinary course of instruction for students already enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program or to those admitted to the free-standing Graduate Certificate Program. To earn the certificate, students must complete a minimum of 15 graduate credits in courses approved for the Certificate Program. Approved credits earned toward a graduate degree in another program or department may be applied toward the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. Students should consult with their home programs to determine whether credits earned for the certificate can be applied to the master’s or doctoral degree. Teaching assistantships may be available for advanced students.

Core Requirements (9 credits):

WST 600 Histories and Methods of Gender Studies
WST 601 Feminist Theories
WST 699 Teaching Practicum in Gender Studies

Electives (6 credits):
Only one elective (3 credits) may be a readings course taken with an affiliated faculty member and with approval from the CAT graduate director.

For more information, contact
Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Room 2048
SUNY Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5356
(631) 632-1967