Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in English and American literature include the completion of 72 points and the following specific course requirements: Four doctoral seminars, selected from ENGL-GA 3100 through ENGL-GA 3969, Guided Research, ENGL-GA 3002, in preparation for Doctoral Examination, Dissertation Seminar I, ENGL-GA 3981, in preparation for submission of the dissertation proposal, Dissertation Seminar II, ENGL-GA 3982, consisting of oral defense of the Dissertation Proposal and beginning of writing and research of dissertation, Pedagogy, ENGL-GA 3985, taken during the first semester in which teaching is anticipated, and Workshop on Professional Practices, ENGL-GA 3980, which must be taken in the student’s fourth year in the program. One doctoral seminar or elective must focus primarily on a historical period prior to 1800, and a second must focus primarily on a period after 1800.
Students must also pass the Doctoral Examination, based on two individualized reading lists covering two historical fields (one of which is designated the major field, and the other the minor field) and a third topics list. The examination fields are: medieval; Renaissance; 18th-century British; Romantic; 19th-century British; 20th-century British; American: beginning to 1865; American: 1865 to present; African American literature; colonial and postcolonial studies; literature of the Americas; transatlantic studies; and modern drama. The written examination is supervised by a committee of three faculty members chosen by the student.
Students must also demonstrate language proficiency beyond the English language. This requirement may be satisfied either before or after matriculation at NYU by demonstrating either (a) advanced proficiency in one language by completing the sixth term of an acceptable college language course with a grade of B or better or by passing a language examination at a comparable level of proficiency or (b) proficiency in two languages by completing the equivalent of four semesters of acceptable college work. The final course or examination establishing proficiency must have been completed no more than two years prior to matriculation for the Ph.D. program. The language(s) offered must be relevant to the dissertation research and scholarly practice of the field in which the student intends to work, and the department reserves the right to require a particular language on these grounds. Any student whose first language is not English should see the director of graduate studies to discuss the use of that language to fulfill (or partially fulfill) the requirement.
The final requirement is a completed dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation must be approved for defense by the director and core committee before the examination is convened. Some revision, including the mandatory correction of any errors, may be required as a result of the defense. The examining board consists of five members of the graduate faculty, the core committee plus two additional committee members. In this final examination, the candidate is questioned for one hour on the dissertation. If the candidate fails the oral defense of the dissertation, a second examination is permitted, resulting either in a pass or in elimination from the Ph.D. program.
Concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies: The concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is interdisciplinary in nature and creates a framework and community for diverse approaches to the study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It complements doctoral students’ work in their home departments with interdisciplinary study of the broad range of culture in the medieval and early modern periods, as well as of the theories and methods that attend them. The concentration is designed to train specialists who are firmly based in a traditional discipline but who can work across disciplinary boundaries, making use of varied theoretical approaches and methodological practices. The concentration consists of twenty credits distributed under the following courses: Proseminar in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, MEDI-GA 1100, Late Latin and Early Vernaculars, MEDI-GA 2100 or other approved course, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies Workshop, MEDI-GA 2000, 2 points per semester taken twice in an academic year. Students must also take one approved course in the area of Medieval and Renaissance Media: Visual and Material Cultures, and one approved course in a medieval or early modern topic. At least one course, not counting either the Proseminar or Workshop, must be taken outside a student’s home department. In addition, students pursuing the concentration will present a paper at least once either in the Workshop or in a conference offered by the Medieval and Renaissance Center.