Ph.D. Program in Italian Studies

The Department offers a doctoral program in Italian Studies that gives students an opportunity to achieve a high level of scholarly competence and to develop the capacity to contribute original knowledge to the field. We are committed to the interdisciplinary study of Italian literature, film and culture, and our faculty has a great depth and breadth of expertise, particularly in medieval and Renaissance culture and literature, linguistics, modern and contemporary literature, and film studies.

The Ph.D. in Italian Studies builds on linguistic, literary, film and cultural studies to support a selection of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary studies. The program provides an intellectually rigorous and focused but flexible set of core courses that prepare students for the pursuit of more specific individual research interests. In addition to their specialization in literature, culture or film studies, students will have a minor field and complete a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization or a Graduate Minor related to either their major or minor field (students may petition to create their own minor provided that the desired Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization or a Graduate Minor does not exist at OSU). They will also receive preparation in foreign language pedagogy and the history and structures of the Italian language, establish coordinated theoretical grounding in one or more disciplines, and achieve proficiency in two professionally relevant languages in addition to Italian and English.

The program entails full use of the department’s broad cultural competencies, while giving students access to the wide range of interdisciplinary resources in the University’s other departments and schools. Plans of study will include selected, pertinent courses in other departments depending on individual students’ qualifications and specializations. This structure strongly supports interdisciplinarity, as students will interact with programs, departments and centers such as African American and African Studies, Second Language Studies, History, History of Art, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Film Studies, Disability Studies, Comparative Cultural Studies, Sexuality Studies, Folklore and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The goals of the Ph.D. in Italian Studies are the following: 1) to provide students with the analytical tools and research skills necessary to conceive, create, and publish original and significant research in their chosen fields; 2) to train students to become effective post-secondary teachers in their fields through workshops, observations, apprenticeships, and the opportunity to teach a variety courses; and 3) to prepare students to become leaders in their future institutions of employment and scholarly fields through seminars, workshops, and service opportunities that expose them to the administration of departments, universities, and professional organizations. With the innovative coursework and wide range of experiences in research, teaching, and service our program offers, students may expect to become competitive candidates on the job market and successful working professionals.

The path towards the Ph.D. degree follows a natural progression from course work to candidacy to dissertation. For students entering without an approved Masters degree in Italian, the Ph.D. is a five-year program. Students take courses for two years and then take their qualifying examinations in spring of their second year. Upon successfully passing the qualifying examinations, students are admitted to doctoral-level coursework and take one more year of coursework; take their minor and major field candidacy exams; submit and defend a dissertation prospectus in the late fall of their fourth year and then engage in the writing of the dissertation. For students entering the Ph.D. program with an approved Masters degree in Italian, the program normally takes four years. Students take courses for two years then continue on as above. Students in the program who are making good progress but who have not finished their dissertation by their last year of regular funding may apply for an additional year of funding, but such funding is awarded on a competitive basis and is in no way guaranteed.