Ph.D. in Comparative Studies Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take any of the Ph.D. courses prior to being admitted to the program?
With the exception of the core courses and directed independent study courses, you can enroll in the other courses as a non-degree seeking student, provided there is room and you obtain permission of instructor. If subsequently you are accepted into the program, you may request to have the credits for those courses used for program requirements, provided you have received a grade of B or higher. Final approval rests with the Ph.D. Executive Committee.
How many credits may I take as a non-degree seeking student?
Students who have taken courses in the Ph.D. program may petition to transfer up to nine credits towards the degree, with the approval of the Ph.D. Executive Committee.
Can I transfer credits from another doctoral program?
Students who are transferring into the program from other Ph.D. programs may petition to transfer up to 18 credits of work towards program requirements, with the approval of the Ph.D. Executive Committee.
When do I have to apply for admission?
The Ph.D. in Comparative Studies program for the Cultures, Languages, and Literatures track only accepts applications for the Fall semester of each academic year.
The deadline for Fall admission to the CLL program is February 1st. Please note that this deadline differs from the FAU application deadline of July 1. Acceptance is limited to 15 students in each program. There are a limited number of teaching assistantships awarded; preference is given to students qualified or in training to teach undergraduate courses in the departments of English and Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature.
What is the application procedure?
The only way to apply to our graduate program is to apply online. Depending on your internet connectivity speed, you should be able to complete the online application in 15-20 minutes. Download the FAU graduate application from:
Since your application is handled by several offices before reaching the Ph.D. program office, it helps if you attach a cover letter indicating that you are applying to the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies. In this cover letter, you may wish to indicate: what, if any, parts of your application are not yet complete (e.g., letters of reference) If you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship. Any other relevant information.
How do I apply for a teaching assistantship and what is involved if I am awarded one?
In a cover letter (see # 5) that accompanies your FAU graduation admissions application, indicate that you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship, and in which language(s) you are proficient for teaching. (Graduate Teaching Assistanships are primarily available in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.) If you are awarded one, you must enroll as a full-time student (nine-credit hours per semester). You then are required to teach at least one undergraduate course in both the Fall and Spring semesters. The teaching assistanship includes a $15,000.00 stipend as well as a tuition waiver. However, you will be responsible for student fees.
What if I do not meet either the GRE or GPA requirement?
Please be aware that the GRE and a GPA average of 3.5 are minimum requirements – i.e., these minimum requirements need to be met in order for your application to be considered for admission to the program.
I took my GREs over ten years ago. Are the scores still valid?
GRE scores more than five years old will not be accepted.
How long does it take to complete the program?
It varies on whether you attend full-or part-time. If you attend full-time, it takes up to three years to complete the course requirements. The time it takes to write a dissertation is, of course, dependent upon each individual.
How do I advance to candidacy?
To be admitted to candidacy you must have:
a) Completed the required coursework and degree requirement.
b) Passed the appropriate comprehensive examination(s)
c) Submitted the appropriate forms ( Plan of Study for Doctoral Degree, Advancement to Candidacy and Compliance Verification
These forms can be found at: /graduate/currentstudents/graduateforms/index.php
Doctoral students can register for dissertation credits during the semester they expect to be admitted to candidacy. However, it is not necessary to sign up for all 12 dissertation credits in one semester – you can take them over several semesters. The critical issue is that the first time you register for dissertation credits, you must advance to candidacy in previous semester.
When you are registering for dissertation credits for the FIRST time:
a) Your advisor signs the registration form.
b) Your advisor notifies the Director of the Ph.D. program, in writing, that you have met the requirements to register for dissertation credits (i.e., advanced to candidacy or will do so within that semester).
c) The form is signed by the Associate Dean, AH 214.
Thereafter, when you register for dissertation credits, you need only to follow steps (a) and (c).
I registered for dissertation credits but now find that I am not going to advance to candidacy. What do I do now?
If you do not advance to candidacy before the end of the semester in which you first register for dissertation credits, then the dissertation credits need to be changed to directed independent study (DIS) credits prior to the printing of the semester grade sheets; i.e., approximately 3-4 weeks before the end of the semester.
Is there a language requirement for my degree?
You must demonstrate working knowledge in a language other than English either by passing a written translation exam or by successfully completing (with a grade of B or better) a “reading for research” course at the graduate level, which does not count toward the required minimum of 54 credits for the Ph.D.
Is there a graduate student association specific to the Ph.D. program?
In addition to the FAU Graduate Student Association (GSA), which is concerned with promoting the well-being of all graduate and professional students at FAU, the graduate students in the Ph.D. program have formed their own student association, the Comparative Studies Student Association (CSSA). Although the goals may vary slightly from year to year, basically CSSA is concerned with the promotion of and funding for lectures and projects that are related to the Ph.D. students’ roles and interests, and the sponsoring of community activities for students and faculty.
When and how do I apply for graduation?
A student must apply for a degree on the appropriate application form provided by the Office of the Registrar by the end of the third week of the semester in which they expect to graduate. This form is reviewed and signed by the Director of the Ph.D. program (Dr. Michael J. Horswell).
The specific dates to apply for a degree during the 2012-2013 academic year are as follows:
a) For fall graduation, apply by September 14, 2012
b) For spring graduation, apply by February 1, 2013
c) For summer graduation, apply by May 20, 2013.
It is the student’s responsibility to meet all requirements for the degree.
Is there a continuous enrollment requirement?
Graduate students are required to enroll for at least one credit during at least two semesters (fall, spring, or summer) of every academic year in order to remain eligible for a graduate degree. See the Florida Atlantic University Graduate Catalog, Academic Policies section, for details.
How do I find the proper format for my dissertation?
A Requirements and Guidelines for Graduate Theses and Dissertations publication is available from the Office of Graduate Studies. These guidelines also are available on the graduate office’s website: /graduate/currentstudents/thesisanddissertation/index.php
When is the last day to submit my doctoral dissertation to the Office of Graduate Studies and Admissions?
Please see the academic calendars at: /registrar/pdf/Docs/acadcal1213.pdf
A member on my dissertation committee has changed. What do I do?
As stated in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual, “If a committee vacancy occurs or if, for legitimate reasons, the student wishes to change the composition of the committee, the student should discuss the changes with the committee chair. If the committee chair agrees, the changes are forwarded by memorandum to the program director (Dr. Michael J. Horswell), and to the academic associate dean (Linda Johnson) and then to the Office of Graduate College."
I need to take an incomplete in one of my courses. What is the procedure?
Meet with the instructor in the course and request an incomplete. If the instructor concludes that your request is justified, he or she will complete a form that records the status of your current work in the course, the work necessary to remove the incomplete, and the deadline for completing that work. You must sign the form. Your instructor sends a signed copy of the form to the director of the program (Dr. Michael J. Horswell.)
It is critical that you and your instructor pay attention to the deadline date on the form. If a “change of grade” form is not submitted in a timely fashion after the deadline stated on the “removal of incomplete grade” form, then the incomplete grade is change to an “F” and subsequent paperwork has to be submitted to change the F grade.
Are there any qualifying exams in this program?
Students take the qualifying exam in their third year of study. The exam consists of a written and an oral component. The written portion is based on a reading list that includes, but is not limited to, course assignments, and will consist of a series of written essays. The successful completion of this written component will be followed by an oral exam within two weeks.
I plan on taking a Directed Independent Study (DIS). Do I need to notify the department?
Yes. You need to consult with Comparative Studies on the name of the instructor as well as the course title you and the instructor have agreed upon.
What is the Advanced Research and Study course?
This course is for students who have completed all the required courses, but have not been admitted to candidacy. It is intended to assist them in the preparation of their dissertation topic. the form can be found at: /graduate/forms/index.php
Who ensures that I have completed all the degree requirements?
It is the student’s responsibility to meet all the requirements for the degree. In order to assist you and your advisor with monitoring your progress through the Ph.D. program, the Graduate College has developed the following form that you may find useful:
a) Plan of Study for the Doctoral Degree. This form can be found at: /graduate/forms/index.php
b) Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies.