Cultures, Languages, and Literatures

The Cultures, Languages and Literatures Program at Florida Atlantic University is designed as 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 our 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 program will be both interdisciplinary (the integration of different fields) and multidisciplinary (the comparative analyses of different fields). 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; and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

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 that might themselves be multidisciplinary. We encourage students to address issues in cultures, languages and literatures 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, 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 nonacademic positions in public and private organizations.


It is expected that students will enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A., M.F.A., M.S., J.D., or Ph.D. in hand. The Ph.D. curriculum in Cultures, Languages and Literatures is organized as follows:

  1. 2 of CST 7309: Theory and Criticism (3 credits; variable titles and content, repeatable for credits)
  2. 2 of CST 7936: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (3 credits; variable titles and content, repeatable for credits)
  3. A minimum of 8 additional graduate courses at the 6000 or 7000-level (from at least two different departments or schools in the college)
  4. CST 7910 — Advanced Research and Study (1-9 credits)
  5. CST 7980 — Dissertation Credits (a minimum of 18 dissertation credits)

TOTAL CREDITS: a minimum of 54 credits (in addition to the credits brought in from the M.A., M.F.A., or M.S. degree)

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: By the end of the second year of coursework, the student will ask a faculty member to serve as his/her Major Professor for the dissertation. In consultation with the Major Professor, the student will ask at least two-three other faculty members to serve on his/her committee.

Qualifying Exams

After completing 18 credits (one year) of coursework in the distribution requirements, students will submit an Application for Qualification to the Ph.D. Executive Committee.  This 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 and grant them continuing status in the program.

Comprehensive Exams

Students will take the comprehensive exams at the beginning of their third year of study. The exams consist of a written and oral component. The written exam is based on a reading list that includes, but is not limited to, course assignments. It will consist of a series of written essays. The successful completion of these written assignments will be followed by an oral exam within two weeks.

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 of 54 credits for the Ph.D.

Satisfactory Completion of a Dissertation

The student will defend his/her Dissertation Prospectus 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. Only the committee will vote on approval.