COURSEWORK

The PhD requires a total of 17 courses, 11 of which must be Italian graduate courses. Five elective courses will be chosen in consultation with the Italian DGS. A sixth course may be an additional elective course or an Italian graduate course, pending approval from the DGS. These courses must include a literary theory course and the departmental pedagogy course (RLLT 38800). The literary theory course may be taken in another department with the approval of the DGS. The 17 required courses must be taken for a letter grade (B or better).

Students who enter the program with a completed MA from another institution may petition, at the end of their first year, to receive credit for up to four courses taken outside of the program. In order to request credit, students will have to provide the DGS with a syllabus for each course by Friday of the seventh week of spring quarter. Faculty will review all such petitions at the spring progress meeting and the DGS will inform the student of the results of their petition.

Students entering the program without an MA will be required to submit to the Italian faculty a 25-page research essay of his/her choice, based on a seminar paper, by the end of sixth week of fall quarter of the second year of study. Papers will receive a grade of High Pass, Pass or Fail, which will be added to the student’s department record but will not appear on their university transcript. Students will be awarded the MA degree upon the successful completion of this paper and all required courses.

FIRST-YEAR EXAM

In consultation with the DGS and the relevant faculty, first-year students will select three works that they have studied in their courses throughout the year. At least two of these works must be selected by the tenth week of the winter quarter. The student may defer selection of the third work to the end of the third week of spring quarter. In consultation with the faculty members who taught the chosen works, the student shall develop a short critical bibliography (three to five works) related to each text.

In the seventh week of spring quarter each student will engage in a conversation of approximately one hour with the Italian faculty (all those in residence, plus those who taught the three works chosen by the student) about their specialized reading. The exam will be scheduled by the DGS in consultation with the faculty and student. The exam will allow students to begin to explore fields they believe may be of interest to them, and to use their courses as a springboard from which they may further develop their intellectual projects. Students will receive a grade of High Pass, Pass, or Fail, which will be added to their departmental record but will not appear on their university transcript.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

Students must demonstrate competence in a second Romance Language and a research language relevant to the student's chosen field of specialization. The language requirements may be filled in any one of the following ways:

  • Passing a translation exam administered by an RLL faculty member who teaches the target language. In this case, the student will be given a passage of 500-600 words (selected from a text in the student’s area of research and chosen in consultation with the faculty member who will administer the exam) to be translated into English within two hours. A dictionary may be used, and students can use a computer or handwrite the exam. Students wishing to take this exam must e-mail, at least three weeks prior to the anticipated date of the examination, the Department Assistant to reserve a room and finalize other logistics;
  • Taking the first-year language sequence (or equivalent), and receiving a grade of B+ or better in all courses in the sequence;
  • Taking a Reading for Research Purposes course (e.g., GRMN 33300) in the target language, and receiving a grade of B+ or better;
  • Taking a course beyond 20300 in the target language and receiving a grade of B+ or better;
  • Passing the Graduate Student Foreign Language Reading Examination administered by the Chicago Language Center. There is a $70 fee for taking this exam; seehttp://languages.uchicago.edu/ReadingExams/reading_exams_main.html for more information.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

By the end of the winter quarter of their third year, students will take a comprehensive exam, based on 60 books drawn from the Italian PhD reading list. In consultation with a professor chosen as exam chair by the student (who may or may not be the DGS), he or she will select the 60 books according to two areas of research, a major and minor field of potential relevance to the dissertation project.

The faculty adviser chairing the examination will advise the student in the compilation of the lists and coordinate the process of consultation with the rest of the faculty. Once the lists have been compiled and approved, a signed Comprehensive Examination Chair Form has been submitted to the Department Coordinator, and at least three weeks prior to the anticipated date of the examination, the exam chair will make the necessary arrangements to determine the date and communicate with the Department Assistant to reserve a room and finalize other logistics.

The first part of the exam will be a four-hour written essay in which students will respond to two questions out of a list of questions/topics provided by the exam committee. A dictionary may be used, and students can use a computer or handwrite the exam. If the student passes the written exam, she or he will move on to the oral exam, which will be based on the written responses as well as the rest of the 60-book list and issues not treated in the written exam. The written and oral exams must be taken within the same week.

Students will receive a grade of High Pass, Pass, or Fail, which will be added to their department record but will not appear on their university transcript. Students not successfully passing the written and oral exams will leave the program with an MA. Students with a completed MA from another institution may petition to receive an MA if they did not receive credit for any courses taken outside the program.

DISSERTATION PROPOSAL

By the time a student has completed his/her comprehensive examinations s/he should have chosen a dissertation adviser, and obtained the agreement of that person to direct the dissertation. In consultation with the dissertation adviser, the student will constitute a dissertation committee who will guide and advise the student’s research.

Students should plan to have their proposal approved by their committee no more than one quarter after the completion of their comprehensive exams.

PROGRAM OF STUDY SUMMARY

  • Year 1: Coursework; preparation for language requirements; first-year exam; for students entering without an MA, work on 25-page research essay. Students who have an MA from another institution may petition, during spring quarter, to receive credit for up to four courses taken as part of their MA.
  • Year 2: Completion of coursework; preparation for language requirements; preparation for written and oral comprehensive exams; for students entering without an MA, completion of 25-page research essay (due by the end of sixth week of fall quarter).
  • Year 3: Comprehensive exams; fulfillment of language requirements; dissertation proposal and colloquium to be completed no later than one quarter after the comprehensive exams are taken. The exams and the proposal/colloquium must be completed by the end of the third year.
  • Year 4: Dissertation research and writing; applications for dissertation-year fellowships.
  • Year 5: Dissertation research and writing; job applications.

Although funding is not guaranteed past the fifth year, many dissertation fellowships, both internal and external, are available for students who require an additional year to complete their dissertation writing. In addition, students who are making satisfactory progress in the program may apply to teach language or Core courses to support themselves for an additional year and to gain additional pedagogical experience while completing the dissertation.