Criteria for "Good Standing" in Communication Arts
The PhD in Film prepares students for a future scholarly career. It is designed to train students to conduct research and to disseminate knowledge in the classroom and in other professional settings. Reflecting this overall aim, the program integrates course work, research, and teaching experience.
Successful completion of the PhD requires 51 credit hours of coursework. This requirement includes that at least 50 percent of these credit hours must be received in courses specifically designed for graduate work, which the Graduate School defines as: courses numbered 700 and above; courses numbered 300-699 that are specifically designed for graduate students in a graduate program; courses numbered 300-699 that assess graduate students separately from undergraduate students; courses numbered 300-699 that have a graduate student enrollment greater than 50 percent in a given semester. Coursework taken towards the completion of a Master’s Degree in the Department of Communication Arts may count toward this requirement. Coursework taken outside of the Department and UW-Madison may count toward this requirement with the approval of the Graduate Committee. If you have any questions about which courses meet these requirements, contact your advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, or the graduate coordinator.
Requirements for Successful Completion of Degree
- Comm Arts 665: Contemporary Film Theory
- Comm Arts 958: Seminar in Film History (when taught as Historiography of Film)
- Completion of a 12 credit minor
- Successful completion of the PhD Preliminary Exam
- Timely progress towards the dissertation and successful dissertation defense
A tool requirement may also be required. Typically, the tool requirement involves the acquisition or certification of advanced skills in a language other than English. Such fluency is expected of students working with documents and texts related to the study of particular national cinemas. The specific terms of the tool requirement are worked out in consultation with the student's advisor.
The 51 graduate-level credits required for the PhD include work in the doctoral minor. The minor requirement is designed to give breadth to the doctoral program and should expose the student to subjects and/or methodologies that expand upon and complement his or her work in Film. The minor requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways:
- Option A: 12 credits in a single department other than Communication Arts
- Option B: 12 credits distributed across two or more departments other than Communication Arts; may include non-Film courses within Comm Arts (distributed minor)
- Option C: 12 credits outside the Film area in Communication Arts (intradepartmental minor)
Upon completion of the above criteria, a PhD preliminary examination totaling 12 hours of writing is administered. The examination is administered three times a year:
- Late August
- End of the fall semester
- End of the spring semester
The examination covers a combination of general and specialized areas. General-area segments of the exam test overall knowledge of film theory, history, and criticism. One specialized-area segment tests the student's anticipated dissertation area, to be chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.
Upon passing the preliminary examination, the student enters the dissertator phase. The student begins by writing a dissertation proposal. The aim of a dissertation proposal is to articulate a scholarly question or problem and a plan for addressing it. The proposal should:
- Identify and explain the significance of the dissertation topic
- Analyze the state of the scholarly literature on the topic
- Describe preliminary arguments or hypotheses the dissertation will investigate
- Identify the primary research sources for the dissertation
- Sketch out a research and writing schedule
The proposal is developed in consultation with the student's advisor and must be formally approved by the advisor before the student may proceed with writing the dissertation. Once the proposal has been approved, the student must form his/her dissertation committee. A dissertation committee consists of five members:
- The student's advisor
- At least two members from within the program
- At least one member from outside the department
In accordance with Graduate School policy, doctoral students must orally defend and deposit the dissertation within five years from the date of passing the preliminary examination.