UCI-UCSD Presidential Suite Reunion at ASTR, Minneapolis, 2016
Advancement to Candidacy
PhD in Drama & Theatre Program:
Students are required to pass the Qualifying Examination, prepratory for advancement to candidacy for the doctorate, no later than the end of fall quarter of their fourth year. The Exam focuses on three qualifying papers and a dissertation prospectus. The qualifying papers are two research papers and a review of scholarship related to the dissertation topic. The two research papers allow the student to make the transition from exploring the dissertation field to researching and writing the dissertation itself, after passing the Qualifying Examination. The research papers are not expected to become part of the dissertation; based on discussion with the Advisor and in the Qualifying Examination the papers may be incorporated into the larger document or may form the basis of one or more of its chapters. The Qualifying Examination consists of the kind of discussion that is an ongoing aspect of academic presentations, whether before colleagues at a conference or before students in the classroom; it also anticipates and addresses the reactions of reviewers to written work, both when it is submitted and after it is published. The process of writing the two qualifying papers and the prospectus, and taking the Exam itself, gives students the opportunity to receive feedback from the dissertation committee early on. Since the development of any scholarly field is ultimately a collective endeavor, responsible scholarship must deal both with what previous scholars have written on the topic at hand and with relevant theoretical issues; the review of scholarship helps the student to survey existing work in the chosen research area, to become acquainted with theoretical writings relevant to the issues involved, and to formulate a unique approach to the material.
The dissertation is a lengthy (approximately 250-300 pages) study of a particular topic within a field of research. The purpose of the dissertation is to make a valuable contribution to the chosen field or fields, advancing that field and and contributing to its historical, critical, and theoretical evolution. Writing a dissertation trains the student in learning to conduct a book-length scholarly research project, and demonstrates an ability and potential to continue to produce valuable work necessary for a successful career as an academic.