To qualify for the doctorate, a student must satisfactorily complete graduate studies totaling at least 72 points, with a minimum of 32 points at the doctoral level in residence at New York University; pass qualifying examinations; and present an approved dissertation. Students who have completed relevant graduate courses elsewhere may request that such courses be credited to degree requirements within the second semester of study. Credits may be earned through courses, independent study, and group study. All students must take the introductory Seminar in American Studies, AMST-GA 3301, Strategies for Social and Cultural Analysis AMST-GA 3303, and Dissertation Proposal Workshop, AMST-GA 2306. In addition, an optional maximum of 16 points can be taken for the preparation and writing of the field exams. Beyond this, students work with the director of the program, the director of graduate studies, and committee advisers to establish their course of study; at least 28 points (generally seven courses) in addition to those entailed by the required seminars must be earned in courses offered by the program’s core faculty. The roster of courses is offered on semi-regular rotation and is occasionally modified to reflect changing faculty interests and Program demands. The program offers a range of six fields: (1) culture, work, and consumption; (2) identity, citizenship, and social formation; (3) media, communications, and expressive culture; (4) social and political theory; (5) science, technology, and society; and (6) urban and community studies. Doctoral students choose to concentrate their course work in two of these fields and are examined in each. Under special circumstances, fields can be constructed for students with extraordinary interests. If they wish, students may concentrate their work in specific disciplines, although the chief purpose of the field structure is to encourage transdisciplinary study.
Every matriculant must satisfy the doctoral foreign language proficiency requirement. This may be done in one of three ways: (1) demonstrate proficiency at an intermediate level in a second foreign language as described in the Degree Requirements section of this bulletin; (2) demonstrate advanced proficiency in the same language offered at the master’s level in the Graduate School foreign language proficiency examination; or (3) in special cases, complete a yearlong course (with a grade of B or better) in statistics, computer methodology, or a technical skill related to the student’s research, in addition to demonstrating proficiency in a first foreign language at the master’s level.
Matriculated students who have completed or are completing the appropriate courses and have already demonstrated knowledge of a foreign language must pass the qualifying examinations. Each candidate for the Ph.D. must satisfy the requirements set by the faculty committee in two fields. For each field, the candidate prepares a substantial review essay dealing with a wide range of literature in the field, considering questions and topics central to a course of reading set in consultation with field examiners.
Matriculated students are required to submit a Degree Completion form and Field Exam Proposal form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval once completing 32 points of course work, and by the fourth semester of matriculation.
When the student has completed at least one year in residence and all course and language requirements, passed the qualifying examinations, proposed an acceptable subject for the dissertation, and been recommended by the program, he or she is formally admitted to candidacy for the doctorate, and an advisory committee is appointed. While most committees are comprised of members from the program faculty, students are permitted to work with any appropriate member of the NYU faculty. Approval of the dissertation by the committee and a defense of the dissertation examination complete the requirements for the degree.