Romance Linguistics & Philology
For more information, contact Professor Thomas Cravens
This course of study is designed to provide solid grounding in the central concerns of Romance Linguistics and Philology, while allowing specialization tailored to the individual interests of the Ph.D. candidate. The Romance Linguistics and Philology degree trains research scholars in a field which requires careful attention to detail, and in-depth knowledge of a wide range of material. It is essential that students begin to develop an overall view of past and current scholarship in Romance Linguistics and Philology from the outset of the graduate career, along with considerable first-hand knowledge of past developments and current trends in their areas of primary interest. Students should be abreast of current publications, and should begin to develop abilities in independent research early in their graduate careers.
The Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics and Philology by Special Committee is a cooperative effort drawing on the resources of the Department of French and Italian and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. It is not a separate degree program. Prospective candidates must be admitted through the Graduate School by one of the above departments to its Ph.D. program, and must subsequently pass the oral qualifying process administered by the RLPh Committee in order to be admitted to candidacy for the Special Committee Ph.D. degree in Romance Linguistics and Philology.
A Master's degree or its equivalent is the minimum prerequisite for entrance to candidacy. It is expected that most candidates will hold the M.A. in a Romance language and literature, in linguistics, or in other fields closely related to the central concerns of Romance Linguistics and Philology, although applications from students with other previous training are also welcome. The primary considerations are that students should have 1) an excellent knowledge of at least one Romance language; 2) the ability to work independently; 3) an aptitude for critical empirical analysis.
The Ph.D. dissertation represents both the culmination of graduate study and full entry to the professional career. It is the most important aspect of scholarly productivity during the Ph.D. program, not an exercise but an original contribution to scholarship which should result in publication of a monograph or a series of articles. Students are advised to begin considering possibilities for the dissertation topic early in their graduate career, in consultation with their adviser and other members of the RLPh Committee.
Requirements for the degree are articulated at two levels: by the Graduate School, and by the Romance Linguistics and Philology Committee (department level).
The Graduate School requires that traditional language major(s) and possible minors be declared. The major must be one of French, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese. These are termed administrative major(s) and minor in these guidelines.
The RLPh Committee requires three levels of expertise within the degree's structure: Concentration, Supporting Fields, Minimal Intensity Fields. These are described below. All candidates must acquire a linguistic and philological knowledge of at least three Romance languages, as well as a thorough knowledge of the pertinent critical bibliography treating those languages.
The Concentration(s) and Supporting fields determine the character and content of the Preliminary Examination. Minimal fields constitute requirements in course work. It should be noted that these designations are for purposes internal to the RLPh degree, and are not necessarily identical to the major and minor declarations required by the Graduate School.
Supporting Fields: These correspond to traditional minors. All candidates must choose two supporting fields, of those not chosen under concentration.
While Ph.D. candidates in RLPh are not required to complete a prescribed number of credit hours in course work, the University of Wisconsin's Graduate School residency requirements must be met (see the Graduate School Catalog for specific requirements). In consultation with their Academic Adviser, candidates shall select courses which will assist them in acquiring adequate preparation in the concentration, in supporting fields, and minimal intensity areas. It is anticipated that such preparation normally will consist of more courses than are required to meet residency requirements.
Successful completion of the qualifying process constitutes formal acceptance as a doctoral candidate. Students with an M.A. degree in French, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese from the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be administered an oral qualifying examination by a minimum of four professors participating in the Romance Linguistics and Philology Committee. Students seeking admission to the Romance Linguistics and Philology degree who have an M.A. in fields other than the four given above, or from institutions other than the University of Wisconsin-Madison, may, at the discretion of the RLPh committee, be required to take a two-hour written examination in addition to the oral qualifying examination. The oral part of the qualifying process shall be finished before the end of the candidate's second semester in the Ph.D. program.
Preliminary (Comprehensive) Examination
The Dissertation Reading Committee shall consist of the Dissertation Director and a minimum of two, a maximum of four, other professors, invited by the candidate with the approval of the Dissertation Director. The dissertation topic must have been approved by the candidate's Dissertation Director and the other members of the Dissertation Reading Committee before the candidate may begin extensive work on the dissertation. To these ends, and with the advice of the Dissertation Director, the candidate shall prepare a formal dissertation prospectus for approval by the entire Dissertation Reading Committee. Normally this will be presented before the end of the semester immediately following successful completion of the Preliminary Examination.
The Final Ph.D. Examination, which concentrates on the dissertation, is an oral examination normally two hours in length, administered by the Dissertation Reading Committee. The final draft of the dissertation shall be submitted to the entire Dissertation Reading Committee at least two weeks prior to the date of the Final Ph.D. Examination.
All candidates must have reading knowledge of three of French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish sufficient to understand research published in those languages. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate an adequate reading knowledge (through appropriate examination, or by obtaining a grade of B or better in the courses listed below) in: