Program Requirements - Ph.D. in Italian

Graduate School Requirements for the Ph.D.

1. A minimum of 80 semester hours beyond the B.A. (GSH, VII.2).

2. Completion of the following residence requirements after the first 30 hours of graduate credit have been completed:

  • minimum of 24 graduate credit hours at this university
  • minimum of two consecutive pre-candidacy semesters or one semester and a summer session with full-time enrollment
  • minimum of six graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer session after admission to candidacy (GSH, VII.14).

3. Successful completion of a Candidacy Examination no later than two semesters prior to graduation (GSH, VII.14).

4. Registration for 3 hours of graduate credit each semester (excluding May and summer sessions) following Candidacy until graduation (“continuous enrollment”) (GSH, III.1).*

Continuous Enrollment rule for post-candidacy students

Students are expected to have completed all regular coursework before their Candidacy Examination. Upon successful completion of the examination, students must enroll each semester (excluding May and summer sessions) for 3 hours of graduate credit (not taken as an audit) until they complete their degree. A minimum of 3 credit hours is considered full-time enrollment for post-candidacy students; it is also the maximum number of credit hours allowable without exceeding graduate funding. Post-candidacy students must apply to the Department for a leave of absence for any period during which they are not continuously enrolled.

Departmental Requirements


  1. All doctoral candidates in Italian Studies must successfully complete required coursework, pass a Minor and a Major field Candidacy Exam (with a written and an oral component), successfully defend a dissertation prospectus, and pass a final oral examination on the dissertation and the designated special areas of research. All students entering without an approved M.A. in Italian must also pass qualifying exams at the end of their second year of study.
  2. Third Language Requirement: Candidates are required to demonstrate at least a reading knowledge of one other professionally relevant languages beyond Italian and English language, such as French, Latin, German, Spanish, Arabic, or any other language related to the student’s areas of study, subject to the approval of the student’s Advisor. Proficiency through coursework or exams in the professionally relevant languages will be required by the end of the second year. While speaking proficiency in the designated languages will certainly be encouraged, reading proficiency (above the second year level) will be seen as the more important requirement. Students can demonstrate proficiency in one of three ways: 1) by passing the graduate reading proficiency exam given by a Department; 2) by passing a level II examination in German; 3) by taking and passing German 6101 and 6102, French 6571 an 6572 or Latin 5890 and 5891 (reading courses); 4) by taking and passing the 1101-1103 series in other languages with a grade of "B" or better (the 1000-level series may not be substituted for 5000 and 6000- level reading courses in departments where the latter exist, although students are free to take any additional courses on their own). Credit hours taken to satisfy the Language Requirement cannot be counted toward those required for the degree (GSH IV.1 and VII.1)
  3. In addition to their major area of study, FRIT graduate students will also organize a set of focused courses in and outside the Department to earn a Graduate Minor or GIS (Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization). Students should work with their Faculty Advisors and the Graduate Studies Director to select their minor/GIS. Once selected, students should apply for their minor/GIS through GradForms. Each minor/GIS has a specific advisor in the home Department. Students should work with their minor/GIS advisor after declaring.

Program Guidelines

While we encourage our Ph.D. students to begin thinking of their main area of specialization and even of an eventual dissertation as early as possible in their program, we also want them to keep in mind the realities of the job market they will eventually enter. To that end, they should take a broad range of courses throughout their degree program in order to establish a familiarity with areas of French, Francophone, or Italian Studies outside of their specialization. Universities hiring at the Assistant Professor level today tend to favor candidates with solid pedagogical training and teaching experience and with at least two areas of teaching expertise. Ph.D.s pursuing non-academic careers also find a broad range of coursework essential. Examples of primary or secondary areas of specialization include, among many others, comparative studies, film studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, medieval and renaissance studies, and second language acquisition.


During the first semester of study, the Director of Graduate Studies will advise students. The student may change the adviser upon consultation with and approval of the Graduate Studies Committee Chair and the faculty involved. All courses will be chosen in consultation with and with the approval of the adviser. The student will, in consultation with the adviser, select the fields of concentration that will later form the basis of the student’s minor and major qualifying exams by week four of the third year of study for students entering without an approved M.A. in Italian and by spring of the first year of study for students entering with an approved M.A. in Italian. The student will also, with adviser approval, select the other members of the Advisory Committee, who should be representative of the areas of the student’s specialization. The Advisory Committee is composed of at least three authorized graduate faculty members, including the student’s adviser. At least one member of the committee must be from a department or program other than French and Italian, unless the minor field is French and Francophone Studies. This committee will serve as the minor and major field candidacy exam committee.

Graduate Student Grievances

When concerns arise or persist, the graduate student ombudsperson is an impartial resource that can help graduate students explore options in resolving their concerns. Generally, graduate students should aim to address and resolve concerns within their department. Graduate students are encouraged to discuss concerns with their advisor first. If concerns remain, graduate students should then reach out to the program graduate studies chair. Further unresolved concerns should be communicated to the department chair. If the concerns cannot be resolved internally within the department, the graduate student is encouraged to contact the assistant dean for graduate studies within the College of Arts and Sciences. In situations where the student believes the issue has not been resolved within the College, they can request further review from the Graduate School.