Integrated M.A./Ph.D. Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies Concentration


I. Purpose of Program

The Integrated M.A./Ph.D. aims to streamline the literature, film, and cultural studies program by combining the breadth and depth tested, respectively, by the M.A. and Ph.D. exams into one fourth-year fall-semester exam. Under this plan, the course requirements remain the same, but there are substantial changes to the milestones of the first two years of the program, and to the structure of the candidacy exams. By reducing the second-year reading list and the time devoted to exam preparation, this plan should make it easier for students to complete the Ph.D. in five years, develop a strong research agenda early in the program, and start submitting journal publications sooner. It should also give them the flexibility to pursue a minor or certificate program.

II. Basic Requirements

The Integrated M.A./Ph.D. in Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies requires a minimum of 80 graduate credit hours. These consist of 68-74 hours of graduate coursework and 6-12 hours of Slavic 9999 (Supervised Research).

The program applies to both students who enter with a B.A. and those who enter with an M.A. However, a prior M.A. in the field may allow students to waive up to one year of coursework (6 courses). These waivers will be determined by the Graduate Studies Chair at the time of admission. Students accepted with funding will receive five years of guaranteed support if entering with a B.A., or four years if entering with an M.A. and one year of coursework waived.

The department’s expectation is that students will complete the program in five years, or four if they enter with an M.A. and waive the first year of coursework. However, students may receive an additional year of funding, contingent on availability, if they have made reasonable progress and can be expected to complete the Ph.D. by the end of that year.

III. Description of Program Milestones

Course Work

Students are required to take a full-time course load each semester (fall and spring) of their first three years of study, and during the fall semester of their fourth year. See the link to the right for a list of coursework and other requirements.

M.A. Reading List

All students are responsible for learning a series of works in literature, film, and theory during their first two years (or first year, if they have entered with an M.A. and waived the first year of coursework). See a link to the M.A. Reading List to the right.

Research Portfolio

Students must submit a research portfolio by Week 10 of the fall semester of their second year. These portfolios are evaluated by a committee consisting of the student’s advisor and two other department faculty members, chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor. The committee meets in Week 12 to decide whether the student may continue in the program beyond the second year. The student is informed of the committee’s evaluation by the end of the fall semester. With the approval of their advisor, students who enter the program with an approved M.A. may complete this requirement in the spring semester of their first year.

The research portfolio should be prepared in close consultation with the advisor, and should consist of the following items:

1. A description of the student’s intended four fields for the candidacy examinations, with a reading list for each. Two of these fields should be extensions of areas on the M.A. Reading List (e.g. twentieth-century literature, film). The other two should be more specific areas that the student hopes to research for the dissertation and other publications.

2. A reading list, to be completed during the summer between the second and third years of the program, of about 20 works drawn from the four aforementioned candidacy exam lists. The purpose of the summer reading list is to give students a headstart on their exam preparation. It should include primary and secondary readings that will help further the research in these fields.

3. A research paper of 20-25 pages in length. Typically, the research paper will have begun in a first-year course and been subsequently revised with the goal of journal publication and/or integration into the dissertation. The research paper must be presented at the Forum (Slavic 6000) during the fall semester of the second year.

Second-year Exam

Students whose portfolio has been judged to be insufficient preparation for doctoral work, or who choose to leave the program with a terminal M.A. degree, take a four-hour written exam by Week 12 of the spring semester of their second year. This exam consists of a combination of essays and short answer questions based on the M.A. Reading List. The exam will be prepared by a committee consisting of the advisor and two other committee members, who must be from the department.

The written exam is followed by a one-hour oral exam no more than one week later. The members of the examination committee ask students questions about works in the M.A. Reading List. The  committee members may also ask for clarification or amplification of answers from the written examination.

Students who pass both parts of the exam earn an M.A. degree.

Master’s Degree

The department strongly encourages all students in the Integrated M.A./Ph.D. program to apply to graduate with an M.A. degree, even if they are continuing on to the Ph.D. portion of the program. Students with M.A. degrees from other institutions or departments within OSU are also encouraged to apply. Students wishing to obtain an M.A. degree need to submit an application to graduate form to the Graduate School via Gradforms no later than the third Friday of the semester in which graduation is expected, even if they plan to continue in the Ph.D. program. M.A. degree graduation requirements can be found in Section VI the Graduate School Handbook.

Preparation for Candidacy

Students whose portfolio has been judged sufficient to advance beyond the M.A. degree bypass the second-year exams, and spend the next four semesters (spring of the second year, fall and spring of the third year, and fall of the fourth year) taking a full load of courses and preparing for the candidacy examination and dissertation research.

Students compose the reading lists for the candidacy exam in consultation with their advisor and the three other faculty members, at least two of whom must be faculty members of the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, who constitute the exam committee. Two of the reading lists expand on the student’s knowledge of broad topics such as literary, cultural, and intellectual traditions, periods, and genres (e.g. Russian Romanticism, Soviet Culture, Film). The M.A. reading list should serve as a starting point, but students should add an appropriate number of primary and secondary sources to gain more comprehensive knowledge of these areas. The other two reading lists should be more specific, and oriented more closely to the research students have proposed in their second-year research portfolio.

Candidacy exam lists must be approved by the student’s advisor in consultation with the other committee members by Week 1 of the fall semester of the fourth year in the program.

Candidacy Examination

The candidacy examination consists of three parts: four reading lists, a written examination, and an oral defense. The exam is intended to assess both the depth and breadth of the student's knowledge.

The written candidacy examination must be taken by Week 7 of the fall semester of the student’s fourth year in the program. The written portion of the exam consists of one essay on each of the four readings lists, to be chosen by the student from questions prepared by the advisor and other members of the committee.

The written exam is completed over a ten-day period. For instance, if the student receives the exam questions at 9:00am on Friday, Oct. 1, the exam is due ten days later, at 9:00am on Monday, Oct. 11. Exams must be typed; reference materials may be used. If the committee judges the written portion satisfactory, the student will take a two-hour oral exam, scheduled by the advisor no more than two weeks after the written exam period.

During the oral exam, the members of the candidacy examination committee ask students questions based on the topics of the four reading lists they have compiled. The committee members may also ask for clarification or amplification of answers from the written exam, and may probe students’ knowledge of their field of specialization more broadly.

Candidacy Exam Evaluation
Candidacy exams are appraised as either Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. An evaluation of Satisfactory can only be awarded by a unanimous vote of the candidacy exam committee. In order to be adequate, the answers must do more than reproduce easily accessible information and the published opinions of scholars; they must include a careful weighing of evidence and interpretations, insightful assessments of the significance and ramifications of the issues, and the students’ own appraisals of the problems.

Dissertation Prospectus

Students must prepare a dissertation prospectus by Week 14 of the semester in which the candidacy exams were taken. The function of the prospectus is to aid candidates in planning their research for the Ph.D. dissertation by allowing the members of the dissertation committee to assess the feasibility of the topic, methodology, time plan, etc. It is a provisional document that does not bind candidates to the texts and approaches outlined in it. Students choose the topic for their prospectus in consultation with their advisor. The prospectus should consist of a minimum of 15-20 double-spaced pages, plus a bibliography. It should contain the following:

·       The preliminary title of the dissertation and the names of the dissertation committee members;

·       A discussion of the purpose of the research and its significance, including how it will contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field;

·       A discussion of how the project relates to and differs from prior scholarship, particularly recent works on the topic and related areas;

·       A discussion of the projected methodology, theoretical framework, and primary and secondary sources to be analyzed in the project;

·       A provisional outline or plan of the dissertation, with brief discussions of each chapter and/or section;

·       A time plan for completion of the research and writing;

·       An initial bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee is composed of the student’s advisor and two other faculty members, who must be from the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures. Any faculty member at OSU holding P status may be a member of the committee. The student may petition to include a fourth faculty member from another department or university. The dissertation committee may or may not consist of the same faculty members as the candidacy exam committee.

Written Dissertation

The dissertation is the culmination of a student's graduate work. It is a defining work of scholarship that certifies the student as an expert in a particular area of specialization. The content, structure, and length of the dissertation are determined by the student in consultation with the advisor and dissertation committee. The dissertation will normally be a book-length work. It must be a mature, sophisticated piece of original scholarship that makes a significant contribution to the field and advances existing knowledge. The dissertation must adhere to the formatting requirements imposed by the Graduate School.

The dissertation generally requires 1-2 years to complete. Students who do not complete all the requirements for the Ph.D. within five full calendar years after being admitted to candidacy relinquish it. In that case, they may be re-admitted to candidacy with permission of the advisor and Graduate Studies Chair, and by retaking the candidacy exam. In some cases, it is possible to petition for an extension of candidacy, thus obviating the supplemental candidacy examination. Please consult the Graduate Studies Chair for further information.