Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies
(LACS Ph.D. Concentration - Code 013107)
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Degree Guidelines & Procedures
For the Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean , and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies (LACS) of the Spanish Ph.D.
Language Requirement (English, Spanish, and one other language
Prior to admission, degree candidates will demonstrate proficiency in Spanish by completing at least one upper level course taught in Spanish with a grade of B or better. Before or after admission, candidates must also demonstrate knowledge of a second language used in Latin America and the Caribbean (other than English and Spanish, e.g. Portuguese, French, Quiche, Dutch, Haitian Creole) by passing an undergraduate course in that language with a grade of B or better. A second language could be the native language of the candidate. Second language proficiency must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Candidates will complete 27 credits of graduate course work beyond the MA in LACS, or 30 credits beyond an approved MA. Coursework will include a core sequence of 15 credits (LCS 500, 502, 503, 504 or 505 or 508, and one approved course in methods), and a focus area of 15 credits (including LCS 781 Directed Readings) in either Culture, History, and Society or Language, Literature, and Fine Arts. Candidates with an MA in LACS from the University at Albany will substitute 15 other credits (as advised) for the core sequence and complete 12 credits (including LCS 781 Directed Readings) in the focus area. Independent Study (LCS 695) and Topics courses (LCS 696) are strictly for unusual academic contexts and require the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
The composition of all dissertation committees will be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee of LACS for approval. Students admitted with an MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their first semester of coursework; students admitted without the MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their fifth semester of coursework. By the end of the first (or fifth) semester, the student will ask a full time faculty member of LACS to serve as director of the dissertation committee.
The dissertation director should not dictate the composition of the dissertation committee, but with the assistance of the dissertation director, the student will select two additional full time faculty members of LACS to form the dissertation committee. The dissertation committee director will ensure that there is sufficient expertise on the committee about the topic of the dissertation. When necessary for additional expertise on the topic of the dissertation, a fourth full time faculty member for the dissertation committee could be chosen from outside the department or the university. Once all members have agreed to serve, the dissertation director will inform the Director of Graduate Studies in writing about the composition of the dissertation committee. The Director of Graduate Studies will seek the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee and inform the dissertation committee and the student in writing of the decision of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Reading List / Directed Readings LCS 781
Once all course work has been completed (except LCS 781), the student will submit a reading list for the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The reading list will be divided into three sections: 1. works related directly to the dissertation topic; 2. works related to the background areas around the dissertation topic; 3. works about theory and method necessary for research on the dissertation topic.
The Dissertation Committee director will submit the reading list approved by the dissertation committee to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval by the Graduate Studies Committee. Once the reading list has been approved by both committees, the student will enroll in LCS 781 under the supervision of the dissertation director. For successful completion of LCS 781, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography of the approved reading list. Annotations will demonstrate that the student has studied each item on the reading list and will explain briefly (in one paragraph) how each item on the reading list will be used for the preparation of the dissertation.
While completing LCS 781, the student will write the Director of Graduate Studies to request a qualifying examination based on the annotated bibliography of the reading list. This written request must be made no later than October 15 or April 15 of the previous semester.
The qualifying examination will be prepared by the dissertation committee, approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, and administered by the Director of Graduate Studies. The qualifying examination will consist of six questions, two questions each in all three sections of the reading list. The student will answer one question in each of the three sections of the reading list: 1. dissertation topic; 2. background areas around the dissertation topic; 3. theory and method. The student will submit answers to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than three days after receiving the examination. The answer to each of the three questions should be typed (double-spaced), and each answer should be 7 to 10 pages long, documented as a research paper.
Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy
A student is admitted to candidacy (ABD) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and may undertake work on the dissertation subject to the following:
a) satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination;
b) satisfactory completion of the research tool requirements by fulfilling the foreign language requirement;
c) completion of the University residency requirements (where appropriate).
By the end of the semester that follows the successful completion of all the exams and requirements, each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must submit a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be at least 10-15 pages long and contain the following:
- a title,
- a general description of the project, including a clear critical/theoretical approach to the topic,
- description of each chapter,
- a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Upon the Dissertation Committee's approval of the dissertation proposal, the candidate may start writing the dissertation during which time each semester s/he must enroll in the Lcs 899 (Doctoral Dissertation) course (counts as load credit only). The dissertation itself is expected to manifest thorough knowledge of literary, cultural or linguistic theory, depending on the candidate's field, and the candidate must demonstrate the ability to perform mature scholarly research elaborating on previous critical judgments. The dissertation may be written in English or Spanish.
The candidate will present the proposal to the Dissertation Committee in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation proposal should be circulated among members of the Dissertation Committee well in advance of the meeting, and the meeting date and time should be announced at least two weeks before the presentation.
The dissertation committee members will make suggestions for change in the proposal, and after these changes have been incorporated, the Dissertation Director will transmit a final version of the proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies for the approval of the Graduate Committee. The dissertation proposal itself should be at least 10-15 pages long, not counting the bibliography which should be appended to it.
Dissertation Progress Report
Every semester, the dissertation director will indicate progress on the dissertation on the LACS PH.D. ADVISEMENT FORM and circulate copies of this form to the members of the dissertation committee and to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will place this advisement form in the student's file.
LCS 899: Doctoral Dissertation ((3-12 load credits)
Dissertation credits count as load credit only and are graded L/U. They cannot be applied to the 30 credits (post M.A.) minimum requirement for the Ph.D. You may register for load credit only after all the other requirements are completed.
Once the dissertation is completed, the dissertation director will forward copies of it to the members of the dissertation committee requesting written critiques from committee members within two to three weeks. The dissertation director will circulate these critiques among dissertation committee members and place copies of them in the student's file. Members of the dissertation committee may request a meeting with the candidate at any time. Candidates may also request a meeting with the dissertation committee or with any of its members at any time.
Changes in the Composition of the Dissertation Committee
To avoid conflicts of interest, the members of the dissertation committee should not be related to each other as spouses or partners. If the Graduate Studies Committee (which includes the Chair of LACS) determines that there is a potential for conflict of interest in the composition of any dissertation committee, it will appoint a new dissertation committee in consultation with the Dissertation Director and the candidate. The candidate has the right to reconstitute the Dissertation Committee at any time. When this right is exercised, the candidate should inform all members of the Dissertation Committee in writing in a timely and considerate manner after the matter has been discussed with the Dissertation Director and with other members of the committee.
All committee members should honor the candidate's request for change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should also respect the right of all committee members to withdraw from the committee at any time. The candidate should inform the Director of Graduate Studies of any change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should also resubmit a dissertation proposal for the approval of the new Dissertation Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The Director of Graduate Studies will place all proposals approved by both committees in the candidate's file.
In consultation with the candidate and the Dissertation Committee and in accordance with departmental procedures, the Director of Graduate Studies will arrange a date for the defense of the dissertation. The candidate will defend the dissertation in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation director will chair the defense, and the members of the dissertation committee will vote in private and announce their decision to the candidate and to those in attendance at the defense.
(Guidelines Revised by Graduate Studies Committee – Spring 2004)
List of Supporting Courses