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Dir. Graduate Studies
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Degree Requirements for the B.A. in English
Distinction in Research and Creative Works (effective Jan. 2013)
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Fellowships and Awards
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Undergraduate Courses Spring 2013
Undergraduate Courses Fall 2013 (Unofficial)
Undergraduate Courses Summer 2013
Graduate Courses Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 (unofficial)
Graduate Courses Summer
Department Newsletter, 2009
Graduate Alumni News
Faculty Accomplishments from 2009
Job Market Stories from Graduate Students
Graduate Student Awards of 2009
The Graduate Program in English at Rice University is supervised by the Department of English Graduate Committee, which consists of at least five faculty members appointed by the departmental chair, as well as two student representatives elected by the graduate students.
The full course of study toward the Ph.D. consists of:
All students entering the program begin with the first-year curriculum, regardless of degrees they have earned outside Rice.
Students entering the program will generally have before them:
In addition, each year involves a different research or teaching responsibility to the department:
Students should always consult with their PAC before enrolling in courses each semester. Ph.D. candidates must successfully complete a minimum of 12 graduate courses of which at least 10 must be graduate seminars. With the approval of their PAC, students may enroll in English 621, Directed Reading, either as a traditional directed reading course or as a 400 level English course to which a graduate component has been added. English 621 counts toward the 12 required graduate courses but does not count as a graduate seminar. The 12 required courses must include:
Of the remaining nine, two must focus on literature before 1800, and two after 1800. Ordinarily, students will take 3 courses each semester of the first year, and a reduced course load for the second. Students are also encouraged to take graduate courses in other departments related to their areas of interest. These will count toward the twelve course requirement but not usually for distribution.
All students will devote Spring semester of Year 3 to the qualifying examination process, which must be completed by the final day of the Rice examination period for that semester. Students will compile two readings lists—one devoted to a field/period, and one devoted to a critical or theoretical approach or orientation which will frame the specific mode of critical intervention in the field. Each list will be accompanied by a “qualifying paper” of about 15-20 pages which should make clear the rationale for texts included in and excluded from the list, summarize past and current key debates and motifs in the period or critical approach, and so on. Once the reading lists and the qualifying papers are approved by the committee, the student may proceed to the final stage of the examination process--an oral examination of 2 to 3 hours on material covered in the readings lists and qualifying papers. The student receives a passing grade on the qualifying examination when the committee deems that all elements of the examination process—reading lists, qualifying papers, and oral examination--have been completed satisfactorily. Students who are unable to complete the examination process successfully by the end of the spring semester of Year 3 are required to repeat the process and complete it successfully by the end of fall semester of Year 4. N. B.: Students matriculating into the program before Fall semester 2011 have the option to follow either this examination process or the one in force at the time of their matriculation.
(Qualifying Exam Description prior to March 2011)
At the beginning of year two and year three in the program, all second and third year students will meet with a small subcommittee from the Graduate Committee, including the DGS, to discuss their progress in theprogram. This discussion will involve the review of faculty evaluations which will have been sent to students at the end of the previous academic year.
Students in their third and fourth years are evaluated through the preliminary exam and the achievement of candidacy respectively.
Students who have achieved candidacy receive a written evaluation from their dissertation advisors each semester.
The grade of (A+) indicates truly distinguished work; (A) indicates outstanding work; (A-) consistently very good work; (B+) good work; (B), work that, however competent, lacks originality or promise; and (B-), unsatisfactory work which falls short of acceptable graduate standards. At all times students are expected to make reasonable progress toward the completion of their degree. Students must maintain an overall grade average of B+ in order to graduate.A graduate student will be placed on "academic probation" and a warning letter will be sent to the student if, during any semester, the student (1) fails to earn a grade of B+ in courses taken to satisfy requirements for the Ph.D., or (2) fails to maintain a B+ overall GPA. A second semester of probationary status will lead to dismissal by the Office of Graduate Studies unless a plea for exception is presented by the student's department and approved by the dean of Graduate Studies. A student may be dismissed by departmental action after only one semester of performance at the probationary level.Students who have achieved candidacy receive a grade of “S” or “U” from their dissertation advisors each semester. Effective Spring 2012, a grade of “U” will result in the student being placed on probation. A grade of “U” for a second, successive, semester will result in dismissal from the program.
Research and teaching assistantships are an integral part of students' first four years of training and of our program. In the first year, students serve for two semesters as research assistants to faculty members in the department. Students and faculty may register preferences for assignments but the Graduate Committee reserves the right to decide the assignments and will do so before the beginning of each semester. Research assistantships are governed by the departmental document "Research Assistants: Rights and Responsibilities."
During the second and third years of the program, students normally serve as a teaching assistant for two of four semesters. However, the Graduate Committee reserves the right, after reviewing a student's file, to require additional supervised teaching. The committee also encourages students who want to teach more than two semesters to do so.
Teaching assistantships are governed by the departmental document "Teaching Assistants: Rights and Responsibilities." The Graduate Committee will assign teaching assistants. While every effort will be made to match students and teachers according to their preferences, the assistants will be assigned to specific courses according to the following guidelines:
In their fourth year, students teach a section of English 175 as the instructor of record, and are required to teach at least one additional course as instructor of record (of either English 175 or another course to be determined by the Department) before they receive their degree, on a timetable to be determined by the Department. N.B.: Students matriculating into the program before Fall semester 2011 have the option to follow either this set of requirements for teaching or the one in force at the time of their matriculation.
By the end of the first week of the Fall semester of Year 4, students are required to submit a brief dissertation prospectus of 5-10 pages (1250-1500 words) for approval by their committee. The prospectus succinctly defines the topic of the dissertation, the particular thesis that the dissertation hopes to develop about that topic, and the relevance and importance of the dissertation’s thesis for the contribution it will make to the student’s chosen field (and, if applicable, to the broader discipline). The prospectus and a satisfactory draft of a chapter (which need not be the dissertation’s first chapter) must be approved by the student’s committee by the end of Fall semester of Year 4 (regardless of when the student completes the examination process) for the student to advance to candidacy. When the prospectus and chapter are completed, the department thesis director(s) and second reader should signify approval by signing copies of the prospectus. Then the student should turn the signed copies in to the department office for circulation among the Graduate Committee members. The Graduate Committee may approve the initial submission or ask that the prospectus be revised and resubmitted. Candidacy is achieved when the prospectus is approved and appropriate forms are filed with the Office of Graduate Studies. (See section on “Ph. D. Candidacy”). N.B.: Students matriculating into the program before Fall semester 2011 have the option to follow either this prospectus process or the one in force at the time of their matriculation.
(Prospectus Description prior to March 2011)
When officially admitted to candidacy, the student is eligible, with department approval, to receive an M.A. upon application and payment of fees. It is often wise to take the M.A. since there is always a possibility of delay in progress toward the Ph.D. The student completes the Ph.D. work by writing a dissertation and defending it in an oral examination.
The dissertation should demonstrate a capacity for independent work of high quality in either scholarship, critical interpretation, or critical theory. Although it may be a monograph rather than a full-length book, it should be the beginning of a major work of criticism or scholarship. The student should be able to complete the research and writing of a dissertation within twelve months. The dissertation must essentially be finished by mid-March of the year in which the student intends to graduate, so that revision, the oral exam, and final proofing can be finished in time to award the degree. The dissertation will be written in consultation with a dissertation committee consisting of the director, and a second reader from within the department, and at least one outside reader from another department at Rice. Read more on Graduate Studies dissertation procedures.
Advisor Approves Pros. by the first week of fall
Prospectus and one Diss. chapter complete by last week of fall
Diss.& Job Market
Draft Approved by15-March
Every year the department is asked to nominate one or more students for university-wide prizes or awards. It is the responsibility of the Graduate Committee to solicit nominations from the department faculty as a whole, to decide among the various nominees, and to provide for the timely presentation of application materials. But students should be prepared to respond by maintaining an up-to-date vita at all times, and (for advanced students) by having ready a one-page description of the thesis topic. This vita will also be useful in helping the department in compiling its annual list of Honors and Awards for graduation. The department details the various Fellowships and Award descriptions online. We also keep a history of past award and prize recipients: Graduate Award History.
For all questions about Rice University policy (about leaves of absence, loans, etc.) see the section Graduate Study in the Rice catalogue.