Carnegie Mellon University

Curriculum - Literary & Cultural Studies Ph.D.

To receive a Ph.D. in Literary & Cultural Studies (LCS), a student must do the following:

  • Complete, with a cumulative GPA of at least a B (3.00), 72 hours (216 units) of approved coursework. Approved courses are normally at the 700- level or above in Carnegie Mellon’s system. (Note that students with previous graduate training may petition the Graduate Committee for approval of transfer credit. See the relevant policy.)
  • All Ph.D. candidates who enter the program without an M.A. will be required to complete an extra year of coursework to earn their M.A. before proceeding to their Ph.D. work.
  • Required coursework includes:
    • 76-854 Introduction to Literary and Cultural Studies
    • 76-824 Theory and Design of Writing Instruction
    • two mini courses on Literary and Cultural Theory
      • These courses are not meant to be fully inclusive nor are they meant to be definitive of our students’ training in theory. Students are encouraged to take full semester courses to develop their theoretical understanding and interests. Each of these minis constitutes a theoretical area of study that is not confined by period or disciplinary area. In other words, students in all fields will find them of use in their work.
        • Introduction to Media Studies
        • Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
        • Introduction to Global and Postcolonial Studies
        • Introduction to Digital Humanities
        • Introduction to Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
        • Introduction to Historicisms
        • Introduction to Marxisms
        • Introduction to Poetics
        • Introduction to Institutional Studies
  • One course in a period prior to 1900 and one course in a period after 1900. These courses stress the way that culture is constructed in a particular time and place. They may stress a single cultural object like the novel, but they include other signifying practices and institutions as well. Examples include “Electrifying the Victorians,” “The Long 18th Century,” “American Literary Realism,” and “Politics and Early Modern Drama.” Taking two classes in periods before and after 1900 gives students important historical breadth and the ability to see cultural and literary continuities and disjunctions beyond their historical period of specialization.
  • One semester of 76-902 Teaching Writing Practicum.
  • One four-hour (12 units) Directed Reading course taken in the final semester of coursework under the supervision of your Ph.D. Exam Committee Chair. During this Directed Reading course, you will draft your Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Proposal.
  • Complete the language requirement.
  • Present a public paper.
  • Pass the Ph.D. qualifying exam.
  • Develop a satisfactory dissertation prospectus.
  • Complete and successfully defend a Ph.D. dissertation.