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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Doctoral Qualifying Paper and Defense

By the end of her/his third long semester of graduate study, the student must have selected or been assigned a mentor from among the department's graduate faculty.  At the same time, a special Qualifying Paper committee will be formed, including the student's mentor and two additional readers appointed by the Graduate Adviser.

In the fourth long semester of study, in consultation with his/her mentor, the student must write and submit to the Graduate Studies Committee a Doctoral Qualifying Paper of publishable quality. The Paper should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words in length including bibliography, notes, and works cited. Ideally, the Doctoral Qualifying Paper will be an extended version of a seminar paper, one in which the student shows critical competence in a specialized topic, theoretical rigor, sophisticated research techniques, and a command of structure, academic style and organization.  

The student must submit the Doctoral Qualifying Paper by March 10, at which point the committee will assess the student's work.  The readers will return the qualifying paper to the student with written comments by April 1.  If all three readers deem the paper acceptable, the student will have until April 10 to make any necessary revisions.   Once passed, the student will defend the paper before her/his committee prior to the official end of the semester.

If the Qualifying Paper is given only a provisional pass, the student must re-submit the paper with further revisions by June 1, and the committee will return their decision by June 15.  

If the Doctoral Qualifying Paper is deemed unacceptable, the student may petition to receive a Master of Arts degree, requesting that the Doctoral Qualifying Paper be used as the basis for satisfying the Master's Report requirement.  Students who are approved to complete the Master of Arts degree requirements must register for ILA 398R during the semester of their graduation.

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