UC San Diego SearchMenu

Year 2: Requirements, Expectations & Deadlines

Updated September 2020

Program Emphasis

During the second year in the PhD Program, students will begin to define their own specialized research interests (in preparation to the more focused study of Year 3).  This includes forming their Doctoral Committee, creating their reading lists and research paper abstract, and holding their Pre-Qualifying Meeting.  During the second year, students are expected to take six seminars and have a 50% TA position.  For students who have other means of support and wish to fulfill their teaching requirement in another year, nine seminars will be taken. 

If not already taken in the first year, students will need to complete LTTH 210C in Spring Quarter of the second or third year.  In the course of these seminars, students will complete the historical breadth and the language requirements.  During the first two years of study, students should make every effort to complete the language and historical breadth requirements, leaving the third year free to devote to seminar work, more focused study, and preparing for the qualifying examinations.

Course Requirements (Year 2)

Fall (4th Quarter) Winter (5th Quarter) Spring (6th Quarter)
Grad Seminar Grad Seminar LTTH 210C (or another Grad seminar)
Grad Seminar Grad Seminar LTXX 298 (2 Reading Lists, Paper Abstract, & Pre-Qualifying Meeting)
50% TA (or Grad Seminar) 50% TA (or Grad Seminar) 50% TA (or Grad Seminar)

Additional Expectations & Deadlines

Fourth Quarter:

  • Attend the PhD 2nd-Year Cohort Meeting.
  • Add planned Winter Quarter courses to your PhD Requirements Worksheet, and email it to the advising staff at litgrad@ucsd.edu as soon as Winter registration begins.  Advising staff will confirm that your courses are approved to apply where you have them listed, as well as confirm if you are staying on track (or if there are any petitions you need to file or different course choices you may need to consider).
  • Begin forming the Doctoral Committee.  See more details below.

Fifth Quarter:

  • Add planned Spring Quarter courses to your PhD Requirements Worksheet, and email it to the advising staff at litgrad@ucsd.edu as soon as Spring registration begins.  Advising staff will confirm that your courses are approved to apply where you have them listed, as well as confirm if you are staying on track (or if there are any petitions you need to file or different course choices you may need to consider).
  • Complete annual Spring Evaluation self-assessment (March).
  • Finalize and officially constitute the Doctoral Committee.  See more details in the "Constituting the Doctoral Committee" section below.

Sixth Quarter:

  • Enroll for LTXX 298 with the Chair or Co-Chair of the Doctoral Committee (or other member, if necessary) to:
    • Create two reading lists (at least 50 works on each list, primary and secondary).
    • Write a cover statement for each list.
    • Decide on topic for research paper, and write a one-page abstract for the paper.
    • Hold the Pre-Qualifying Meeting with the Doctoral Committee to approve the reading lists and paper abstract.
    • See more details in the "Pre-Qualifying Process" section below.
  • Add planned Fall Quarter courses to your PhD Requirements Worksheet, and email it to the advising staff at litgrad@ucsd.edu as soon as Fall registration begins.  Advising staff will confirm that your courses are approved to apply where you have them listed, as well as confirm if you are staying on track (or if there are any petitions you need to file or different course choices you may need to consider).
  • Review and sign annual Spring Evaluation (May).

Constituting the Doctoral Committee

Students must have completed at least three quarters of continuous academic residence prior to constituting a Doctoral Committee and must be currently registered and enrolled at UCSD.  During the 4th Quarter, the student invites a tenured Literature professor to Chair their Doctoral Committee.  The student and Chair consult about the constitution of the rest of the committee.  During the 4th and 5th Quarters, the student invites prospective members to join the Doctoral Committee.  Ideally, the committee will consist of professors with whom the student has studied or met with during office hours.  By the end of the 5th Quarter, the student must have their committee members confirmed, and the student must submit their committee details to the Graduate Office for official constitution.  The student must complete the committee constitution request form online (see the “Forms” page of the website).  The PhD Coordinator then submits an online request to GRAD DIVISION to officially constitute the Doctoral Committee.  The student, along with their entire committee, will receive a notification email from GRAD DIVISION when the committee has formally been constituted.

Doctoral Committee Requirements

  • The Doctoral Committee must have 5-6 committee members
  • The Chair must have tenure and must be Literature Department faculty
  • With Co-Chair(s) – one of the Co-Chairs must have tenure, and both must be Literature Department faculty
  • The required outside (of the department) faculty member must have tenure and may only be a committee member
  • 4 Literature (ladder-rank) faculty must be on the committee
  • No more than one member of the committee may be a retired faculty, and they may not serve as Chair or Co-Chair
  • Non-UCSD faculty may only serve as the sixth member on the committee, and they may not fulfill the Chair, Co-Chair, or outside-tenured-member positions
  • A complete table of Grad Division’s allowed roles and memberships for Doctoral Committees can be found at http://grad.ucsd.edu/academics/progress-to-degree/committees.html, but keep in mind that the rules listed above must also be met.
  • NOTE: The Chair or one of the Co-Chairs must be physically present at the Oral Qualifying Exam and the Dissertation Defense, and the outside tenured committee member must be physically present or telepresent.  See the “Qualifying Exam” section on the "Program: Year 3" page and the “Dissertation Defense” section on the "Program: Years 4, 5, & 6" page of the handbook for more details about the campus requirement for committee member presence at these steps.  Students must plan their Doctoral Committees accordingly.

Note: The policies listed here (and on the online form) are the minimum requirements for a doctoral committee.  The committee constitution request that a student submits (meeting all minimum requirements) is still a request to the department, which may or may not be approved for various reasons.  If a committee configuration is denied by the department, the PhD Coordinator will assist the student in explaining what needs to be adjusted.  Please contact the PhD Coordinator for any questions.

The Doctoral Committee advises the student on the areas for reading lists and the qualifying research paper, holds the Pre-Qualifying Meeting, conducts and evaluates the qualifying examination, supervises the preparation of the dissertation prospectus, advises the student on dissertation research and writing, and conducts the dissertation defense.

Pre-Qualifying Process

Reading Lists, Research Paper Abstract, Pre-Qualifying Meeting

To prepare for the qualifying examinations, students should enroll with a member of their Doctoral Committee (preferably their committee Chair) for a four-unit LTXX 298 during their sixth quarter.  This LTXX 298 is credit for creating the two reading lists (and their justification), writing the research paper abstract, and holding the Pre-Qualifying Meeting with the Doctoral Committee (by the end of the sixth quarter).  The Pre-Qualifying Meeting, conducted by the Committee Chair, is to discuss and approve the reading lists and the topic of the research paper (see “Research Paper Abstract” below).  At the end of the sixth quarter, after the Pre-Qualifying Meeting takes place, the student must submit the “Pre-Qualifying Meeting Worksheet” (see the “Forms” page of the website) to the Graduate Office to confirm the details and completion of the meeting.  The Committee Chair will verify that the information is accurate and that the student has been given approval to move forward with the qualifying process.

Pre-Qualifying Process

Reading Lists Requirements

  • Each reading list will have at least 50 works.
  • Compilation of the works will be done under the direction of their Committee Chair and in consultation with other Doctoral Committee members. 
    • In general, each list and the paper will be supervised by a specific member of the committee. 
    • There is no standard list of required works for individual specializations or the Department as a whole.
  • Each reading list should cover two suitably diverse topics in terms of genre, author, historical period, a problem of theory or method, and/or national traditions. 
  • One list must be framed within a historical period resembling those used to define jobs and divisions in the MLA.
  • The two topics should not overlap in terms of the historical period covered, and students are strongly encouraged to cover as broad a range as possible. 
  • Lists may focus on literature, film, theory, or other forms of cultural production.
  • They must contain an appropriate mixture of primary and secondary materials, i.e., major critical and theoretical reflections on the works as well as the works themselves.

Reading List Justifications

Students will preface each list with a brief (one- to two-page) statement that explains the logic behind the list and that answers questions such as these:

  • Why did the student choose this particular topic?
  • What broad questions guide research in this area?
  • How do the texts on the reading list fit into contemporary scholarly/theoretical debates?

Sample copies of reading lists and justifications are available for students to consult as models in preparing their own lists.  Please contact the PhD Coordinator for samples.

Research Paper Abstract

During this quarter, students will also determine a topic for the research paper and prepare a one-page abstract of that paper.  The research paper will be written in the 7th Quarter, but the topic will be chosen in the 6th Quarter and a one-page abstract will be written.  The research paper will represent work in a third distinct area of study, with a minimum of overlap regarding materials prepared for the two reading lists.  The research paper, when completed, should demonstrate the student’s awareness of relevant research on the topic and make a clearly stated contribution to the field.  Ideally, it will lead into dissertation research.

Pre-Qualifying Meeting

Near the end of the 6th Quarter, the student, in consultation with the Committee Chair, arranges the Pre-Qualifying Meeting with the entire Doctoral Committee to discuss and approve the reading lists and the research paper abstract.  When the date and time of the meeting has been established, the student may contact the Graduate Office to request a meeting room in the department be reserved for them.

Prior to the meeting, the student will have prepared and circulated to members of the Doctoral Committee the following:

  1. The two reading lists
  2. The two reading lists justifications, describing the rationale, scope and focus of each list
  3. The one-page abstract of the qualifying research paper

After the meeting, the student will complete the "Pre-Qualifying Meeting Worksheet" online (See the “Forms” page of the website), to confirm the details and completion of the meeting.  The Committee Chair or Co-Chairs will verify that the information is accurate and that the student has been given approval to move forward with the qualifying process.  Upon successful completion of the Pre-Qualifying Meeting, students can begin reading toward the qualifying exam in the summer following Year 2.

PhD Program Advising
(858) 534-3217
litgrad@ucsd.edu

Director of Doctoral Studies
Daisuke Miyao

Doctoral Affairs Committee
2020-2021

Daisuke Miyao (Chair)
Hoang Nguyen
Dan Vitkus