The Changing Character of PhD Programs in the Modern Languages and Literatures

The task force report is part of a broad discussion that is taking place across North America about the future of doctoral studies in the humanities. Individual institutions have been rethinking and changing the structure of doctoral programs with various aims: to train students for various careers; to expand options for the dissertation; to establish better benchmarking procedures; to ensure productive mentoring; to enhance graduate student preparation for teaching careers; and to design programs that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Many of the recommendations in this report echo changes already being undertaken in some institutions in response to the challenges and the opportunities it identifies. We present these examples as evidence that the field is undergoing transformation and to demonstrate some of the diversity of solutions that departments are devising. The examples found in the Programs section of this site are not intended in any way to represent a comprehensive census of revisions in doctoral study. Instead, these are samples that demonstrate the emerging new character of doctoral programs. They may serve as models for those who wish to pursue change. The task force collected these examples through the ADE and the ADFL and on the basis of task force members’ knowledge of specific innovation under way in higher education. The task force did not attempt to evaluate these examples; we are grateful to the colleagues who shared them with us.

We will continue adding to the appendix over time. To submit a program for consideration, please e-mail us a description of it.

[View the Growing Appendix]