We have designed a Ph.D. program that encourages an intense engagement with the historical, theoretical, and ethnographic literature of the student's chosen sub-discipline as well as a broad familiarity with, and conversation across, the three sub-disciplines represented in the department. While the program is rigorous, it is also streamlined and flexibly shaped to the particular needs and goals of each student. Although our intent is primarily to produce students with a Ph.D. in one of the subdisciplines, we will consider students only desiring to earn an MA degree with the idea that they can use their exposure to our program to add to their existing career plans.
A Ph.D. at the University of Virginia requires 54 hours of course work plus 18 hours of dissertation research. Full-time graduate students generally take three or four courses a semester and can complete all Ph.D. course work within two and a half or three years. We expect students to be doing dissertation research, usually away from the University, by the beginning of their fourth year. Although most of our students take courses full-time, we are willing to work with part-time students who wish to schedule a reduced load of course work.
Students will complete courses and begin work towards a Ph.D. proposal in the third year of study. By the end of the third year it is expected that students will have defended a Ph.D. proposal within the Department. Competency in a second foreign language is required for the Ph.D. (statistics may be substituted where relevant).
Students entering with an M.A. degree will usually be able to transfer up to 24 credit hours of graduate credit. They can petition the departmental graduate committee for waiver of certain course distribution requirements if equivalent graduate courses have been completed at another university. Students with M.A.s are required to take the commons courses and defend a paper presentation (as described above).