Definition of Comparative Studies

Comparative Studies is the application of various approaches within the humanities, arts and social sciences to the study of significant issues. The Ph.D. in Comparative Studies also involves developing expertise in advanced interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study: exploration of topics and materials from at least two traditional disciplines (e.g., political science and English literature; anthropology and history; art history, literature and communication). Students select a concentration from the following choices: Culture, Society and Politics; Cultures, Languages and Literatures; Fine and Performing Arts; and Public Intellectuals. The latter two concentrations are on hiatus and currently not accepting students.

Doctor of Philosophy with Major in Comparative Studies

Admission Requirements (for all concentrations)

1. A statement of intent that outlines the applicant's goals and objectives and how this interdisciplinary program can help the applicant achieve these.

2. Competitive scores on the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). GRE must have been taken within the past five years.

3. A B.A., B.F.A., B.S., M.A., M.S. or M.F.A. degree. An applicant must submit a paper, approximately 20 pages in length and with scholarly documentation, that will demonstrate the applicant's analytical and explanatory skills and command of the discipline in the area of the master's degree.

4. Three descriptive letters of recommendation, including at least two from professors whose course(s) the student has taken. These letters should be current and should attest to the applicant's intellectual qualifications for the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies.

5. Approval of Ph.D. executive committee.

Application Procedures

1. Applications may be obtained from the Graduate College.

2. All application materials, including letter of intent, transcripts, three letters of reference and writing sample, should be sent to the Graduate College, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431.

3. Application deadline for Fall: January 15.

Culture, Society and Politics Concentration

The Culture, Society and Politics concentration of the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Studies is designed to foster interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study in the social sciences. It is structured to allow students the opportunity to develop deep expertise in one of three primary areas - sociology, anthropology or political science - and to bring their interests and scholarship related to these areas into conversation with other disciplines both within and outside of traditional social science fields. At the heart of the program is a commitment to the belief that comparative models of inquiry lead to unique advancements in the production of new knowledge and a greater awareness of the larger implications of such knowledge generally.

As an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program, the Comparative Studies: Culture, Society and Politics concentration draws on the strengths of the various departments in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters as well as the broader graduate programs of Florida Atlantic University. Areas of particular strength include: (Anthropology) sociocultural and medical anthropology; bioarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology, zooarchaeology and primatology; (Sociology) studies of gender, agriculture, adulthood, adolescence, childhood, race, social class and economics; (Political Science) comparative politics, American politics, international relations, public policy and law, post-conflict resolution, democracy and democratization, political behavior and quantitative methods.

The program is structured so that students follow a cohesive plan of study that includes both an interdisciplinary social science core and, in close consultation with their advisory committees, the development of two specific areas of specialization that might themselves be multidisciplinary. The program encourages students to address issues in cultures, societies and/or politics from multiple perspectives and to seek the convergence of these perspectives through the insights of interdisciplinary approaches.

This program invites students to explore the interplay among cultures, societies and politics, as well as theories and methodologies, technologies and pedagogies. Toward this end, students are expected to attend Ph.D. Colloquia in addition to their formal coursework. While most graduates of the program will prepare for the challenge of the academy in an increasingly globalized society, others will prepare for a variety of non-academic opportunities, including positions in public and private organizations.

Degree Requirements

1. Minimum Standards
Ph.D. students will take a minimum of 48 credits if matriculating with a master's degree or 78 credits if matriculating with a bachelor's degree, 24 of them at the 7000 level. The concentration requires a minimum 36 credits of coursework and 12 dissertation credits. No grade lower than "B" may apply to the degree. To continue in the program, students must maintain a "B" (3.0) grade point average on all work attempted toward the degree.

2. Distribution Requirements
For students entering with a bachelor's degree, completion of the following requirements along with all requirements for earning a Master's en Passant degree in their primary field of study (e.g., ex., Anthropology, Communication and Multimedia Studies; Political Science, Sociology) English; Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature; or Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies) are needed. Students entering with a bachelor's or master's degree are required to complete the following:

Core - 12 Credits

  • CST 7309-Theory and Criticism (3 Credits)
  • CST 7912-Research Design in Social Science (3 Credits)
  • CST 7936- Interdisciplinary Perspectives (6 Credits)

Electives - 24 credits

  • Select 24 credits at the 6000 or 7000 level, 15 of which must be concentrated in a program in the College of Arts and Letters

Research and Dissertation - 12 credits (minimum)

  • CST 7910- Advanced Research and Study as Needed (1-9 Credits)
  • CST 7980- Dissertation (12 credits minimum, may be taken over multiple terms)

3. Qualifying Exams
Students begin the program as a Doctoral Student. After completing 18 credits of coursework in the distribution requirements for the program, students will be required to submit an Application for Qualification, which, if approved, will advance them to the status of Doctoral Scholar. Through the application, the Ph.D. Executive Committee will review the applicant's current progress to date through the program, their skills as a scholar/researcher and their progress in planning for the Comprehensive Examination. After its review, the committee will make one of two decisions: to advance the student to Doctoral Scholar or to deny advancement. If advancement is denied, the student may choose to reapply one more time the following semester. Failure to be advanced will result in dismissal from the program.

4. Comprehensive Exams
Comprehensive Exams consist of a written and oral component. In the semester after completing 32 graduate credits in the program, typically fall of Year 3, the student will take the Written Comprehensive Examination in the eighth week of the semester and the Oral Comprehensive Examination in the tenth week of the semester. The Comprehensive Examinations are administered and evaluated by the student's dissertation committee (see dissertation section below). In consultation with the student, the committee will compile a reading list from which the exams will be constructed. This list will not be based solely on the student's coursework but will include as well readings that the exam committee deems foundational for the student's program of study. The successful completion of this written component is followed by the oral exam within two weeks, which examines, beyond the limits of the written exam, the extent of the student's mastery of the material. Students who fail the written exam may retake it one time only. Students who fail the oral exam may retake it one time only. Failure to pass either exam on the second attempt will initiate the dismissal process from the program, consistent with the Provost's policy.

5. Satisfactory Completion of a Dissertation
By the end of the second year of coursework, the student will ask a faculty member to serve as the major professor for the dissertation. In consultation with the major professor, the student will ask at least two to three other faculty members to serve on the committee. The student will defend his/her Dissertation Prospectus the semester after passing the comprehensive examinations, typically at the beginning of spring in Year 3. The dissertation will contain original research and will be defended before the student's committee and others.

Cultures, Languages and Literatures Concentration

The Cultures, Languages and Literatures concentration is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary course of study that enables doctoral students to develop expertise within traditional disciplines and across disciplinary and cultural boundaries. At the heart of the program is the recognition that cultures, languages and literatures are most fruitfully understood through comparative modes of analysis that include an ever-changing landscape of theory and methodologies.

This concentration is both interdisciplinary (the integration of different fields) and multidisciplinary (the comparative analyses of different fields), consistent with the original approved design of the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies. Primary areas of strength for this broadly based program include studies of literature and migration, rhetoric and composition, U.S. multiethnic literatures, early modern literatures, gender, sexuality and embodiment, modernity and postmodernity in literature, space and place in literature, and postcolonial literature and culture. The curriculum also draws from such disciplines as Anthropology, Art History, Communication, History, Peace Studies, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science, Sociology, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, among others.

This program promotes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work through a cohesive course of study. All students follow an interdisciplinary core curriculum before developing, in consultation with their advisory committees, areas of specialization which might themselves be multidisciplinary. Students are encouraged to address issues in cultures, languages and literatures from multiple perspectives and to seek the convergence of these perspectives through the insights of interdisciplinary interests.

This program invites students to explore the interplay among cultures, languages and literatures, as well as theories and methodologies, technologies and pedagogies. Toward this end, students will be expected to attend Ph.D. Colloquia in addition to their formal coursework. While most graduates of the program will prepare for the challenge of the academy in an increasingly globalized society, others will prepare for a variety of non-academic opportunities, including positions in public and private organizations.

Degree Requirements

1. Minimum Standards
Ph.D. students will take a minimum of 48 credits if matriculating with a master's degree or 78 credits if matriculating with a bachelor's degree, 24 of them at the 7000 level. The concentration requires a minimum 36 credits of coursework and 12 dissertation credits. No grade lower than "B" may apply to the degree. To continue in the program, students must maintain a "B" (3.0) grade point average on all work attempted toward the degree.

2. Distribution Requirements
For students entering with a bachelor's degree, completion of the following requirements along with all requirements for earning a Master's en Passant degree in their primary field of study (e.g., Communication and Multimedia Studies; English; Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature; or Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies) are needed. Students entering with a bachelor's or master's degree are required to complete the following:

Core - 12 Credits

  • CST 7309-Theory and Criticism (6 Credits)
  • CST 7912-Research Design in Social Science (6 Credits)

 Electives - 24 credits

  • Select 24 credits at the 6000 or 7000 level, 15 of which must be concentrated in a program in the College of Arts and Letters

 Research and Dissertation - 12 credits (minimum)

  • CST 7910- Advanced Research and Study as Needed (1-9 Credits)
  • CST 7980- Dissertation (12 credits minimum, may be taken over multiple terms)

3. Qualifying Exams
Students begin the program as a Doctoral Student. After completing 18 credits of coursework in the distribution requirements for the program, students will be required to submit an Application for Qualification, which, if approved, will advance them to the status of Doctoral Scholar. Through the application, the Ph.D. Executive Committee will review the applicant's current progress to date through the program, their skills as a scholar/researcher and their progress in planning for the Comprehensive Examination. After its review, the committee will make one of two decisions: to advance the student to Doctoral Scholar or to deny advancement. If advancement is denied, the student may choose to reapply one more time the following semester. Failure to be advanced will result in dismissal from the program.

4. Comprehensive Exams
Consist of a written and oral component. In the semester after completing 32 graduate credits in the program, typically fall of year three, the student will take the Written Qualifying Examination in the eighth week of the semester and the Oral Qualifying Examination in the tenth week of the semester. The Qualifying Examinations are administered and evaluated by the student’s dissertation committee (see dissertation section below).

In consultation with the student, the committee will compile a reading list from which the exams will be constructed. This list will not be based solely on the student’s coursework but will include as well readings that the exam committee deems foundational for the student’s program of study. The successful completion of this written component is followed by the oral exam within two weeks, which examines, beyond the limits of the written exam, the extent of the student’s mastery of the material.

Students who fail the written exam may retake it one time only. Students who fail the oral exam may retake it one time only. Failure to pass either exam on the second attempt will initiate the dismissal process from the program, consistent with the Provost’s policy.

5. Language Requirement
In a language other than English, the student must demonstrate working knowledge 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 credits for the Ph.D.

6. Satisfactory completion of a dissertation.
By the end of the second year of course work, the student will ask a faculty member to serve as the major professor for the dissertation. In consultation with the major professor, the student will ask at least two to three other faculty members to serve on the committee. The student will defend his/her Dissertation Prospectus the semester after passing the comprehensive examinations, typically at the beginning of spring in year three. The dissertation will contain original research and will be defended before the student’s committee and others.