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Ideal Course of Study

An Ideal course of study:

For Ph.d students entering without an M.A.

Before entering:

During the summer before entering the program, student should complete study of at least one language.  The second can be studied upon entrance into the program. (Renaissance/Baroque students often take German as a 4th course).

The First Year:

Every student is required to take a Methods course in the first year. Students are required to take all their courses at Rutgers, rather than the consortium, unless there are extenuating circumstances, in which case approval is required by the Graduate Program Director, as well as the faculty member at the consortium institution.  By the end of the first year, students should begin to think about their dissertation topics, and do exploratory research during the summer.  If the student is interested in either a curatorial studies or CHAPS certificate, he or she should plan summer internships.

The Second Year:

In the second year, students are encouraged to take at least one course at a consortium school.  They should consider choosing a minor field, and hone in on the subject of their Master’s essay, which must be complete before they can register for dissertation research or exam preparation in September of the third year.  By the end of the second year, students should have a grasp of their potential dissertation topics, spending a good portion of the summer preparing their dissertation proposals and identifying the members of their qualifying exam committee.  The second language requirement should be completed by September of the third year.

The Third Year:

This year is spent working on both the dissertation proposal and qualifying exams.  Students are advised to have completed both by the end of this year, which allows them to submit applications for outside funding in the fall of the fourth year.  Students may schedule their proposal presentations in the fall semester, and the exams in the spring, or the reverse.  This decision is made based on the student’s level of preparation, and it should be made in consultation with the advisor and graduate program director.

The Fourth Year:

Students should be fully embarked on dissertation research, and working on grant applications for year five.

The Fifth and Sixth Years:

These should be devoted to dissertation research, writing, and revision, with completion ideally by the end of the sixth year.  Exceptions can be made if the student’s research requires extensive travel and additional language preparation.


For Students Entering with an MA:

The First Year

Students entering with an M.A. apply for courses from their prior institution to be accepted at Rutgers.  Twenty four credits is the maximum number accepted.  Final decisions about transfer credits are made at the beginning of the second semester.  If sufficient credits are accepted, students will take one year of courses, including a methods course, unless exemption is granted by the graduate director.  Students are expected to have completed at least one language requirement before entering, and are encouraged to complete their second by the September of the second year.

Students with an M.A. should come to the program with a general idea for potential dissertation topics.  They will be expected to present their dissertation proposals and take their qualifying exams by the end of the second year, and begin to apply for outside funding at the beginning of the third year.  Research and writing of the dissertation will follow as above, with the understanding that students work to complete their dissertations by the end of their fifth year.

Please Note: Mellon Fellowships and other graduate school fellowships are not available to students after the sixth year. 

After the seventh year, students must file a request to the Graduate School, if approved by the graduate program director, to extend their registration.

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