Ph.D. Degree Requirements
The Doctor of Philosophy in American Studies usually requires at least 30 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree. Courses taken to fulfill requirements for the Master of Arts in American Studies at KU also fulfill the requirements listed below. In consultation with the advisor, the student develops a plan of work that will provide expertise in three defined fields of study. The comprehensive examination certifies the student’s preparation in the chosen fields, and readiness to conduct research at a professional level. The degree program culminates in the completion and defense of the dissertation.
- 1. Core Courses (12 hours)
- AMS 801 Introduction to American Studies (offered every fall)
- AMS 802 Theorizing America (offered every fall)
- AMS 803 Research Methods (offered every spring)
- AMS 804 Research Seminar (offered every fall)
2. Graduate Seminars (6 hours). 2 advanced courses selected by the student and advisor provide training in general topic areas relevant to American Studies.
3. Elective Courses (6 hours). 2 courses selected by the student and advisor enhance preparation in the concentration fields.
4. Research Skills Course (3 hours). 1 elective methods course selected by the student and advisor provides methodological support for the student’s program of research and fulfills the Research Skills requirement.
5. Doctoral Residency. The student spends at least 2 semesters enrolled full-time at the Lawrence campus.
6. Comprehensive Examination. A combined written and oral examination is evaluated by a committee of 5e faculty members. After completing required courses, the student prepares for the comprehensive examination by taking AMS 996 Exam Preparation hours.
7. Continuous Enrollment. Following the comprehensive examination, the student enrolls full-time every semester (spring, summer, and fall) until completing 18 hours. Following the 18-hour mark, students enroll continuously every semester (spring, summer, and fall) in 1-9 hours of AMS 999 Dissertation until graduating.
8. Prospectus. The student writes a brief proposal of the dissertation project, which is evaluated and accepted by a committee of 5 faculty members.
9. Dissertation Defense. Having completed the dissertation, the student defends it in an oral examination before the committee of 5 faculty members.
10. Filing. The student files copies of the dissertation with the university and the department, in compliance with all university policies and deadlines.
Candidates take the comprehensive examination after completing their doctoral course work. The comprehensive examination has written and oral components. The written examination takes the form of a paper that coherently defines the content and parameters of the student’s academic concentrations, including a discussion of the state of the art in the broad area of scholarship in which the concentration falls; the major research and scholarly controversies in the area; the principal theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches informing it; and the direction the area is taking. After a student’s written examination paper has been accepted by his or her examining committee, she or he may take the oral comprehensive examination, which focuses upon, but is not limited to, the issues raised in the written examination paper.
An interdisciplinary dissertation is required. The department has established a detailed description of the procedures for completing a dissertation. The student’s dissertation committee is composed of at least 4 faculty members, who initially review and approve the student’s research proposal and direct the research to its completion, and a fifth faculty member assigned to the committee by Graduate Studies.
All students must pass a final oral defense of the dissertation.
Handbook for Graduate Students
The department has prepared a handbook that summarizes procedures that a graduate student follows in working toward any one of the three graduate degrees. It contains a summary of regulations and departmental procedures and the rationale behind these regulations. The handbook is available online.