Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Proposal Guidelines

In addition to the regular disciplinary programs leading to the Ph.D. degree, the School of Liberal Arts recognizes that individual student needs may require interdisciplinary programs. Frequently, these can be arranged by a candidate’s major department simply by incorporating courses or fields from other departments in the candidate’s program. The School of Liberal Arts also recognizes that a special interdisciplinary Ph.D. program may occasionally become desirable to meet the educational and career needs of an individual student using university resources not reflected in any single department.

The following provisions are made for the development, approval, and supervision of special programs leading to the Ph.D. degree:

A Special Interdisciplinary Program is a formal ad hoc interdepartmental program leading toward the Ph.D. It will consist of work taken in two or more departments within the School of Liberal Arts. Although the specific requirements for each ad hoc program will differ, the formal requirements for the Ph.D. are: a minimum of one-year residence, a minimum of 48 semester hours of course work, a general examination, the dissertation, and the final examination. The maximum number of credits that may transfer to an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program is 24 semester hours.

For such a program to be feasible at least one of the disciplines included in the interdisciplinary PhD proposal must be a department that offers a PhD degree and there must be at least one member of the faculty who is a specialist in the interdisciplinary area of the student’s interest and a sufficient number of faculty in at least two departments who are prepared to supervise work in it. To determine feasibility, an eligible student should consult with the appropriate faculty before making a formal application proposal.

To be eligible for such a program, a student must have completed at least one semester of full-time graduate work in one of the related disciplines and be in good standing in a Tulane School of Liberal Arts graduate program. PhD students must submit Interdisciplinary PhD proposal and receive approval of proposal to transfer to an Interdisciplinary PhD no later than the end of their first semester of the 3rd year or before any qualifying/oral/comprehensive exams are taken, whichever occurs first. A student currently in residence in the Tulane School of Liberal Arts initiates the process by petition to a qualified member of the faculty citing the student’s own interest in and qualifications for the Interdisciplinary PhD program. If the professor considers the student qualified for work in the area of interest, the professor shall become the major advisor-pro tem and shall give formal notification to the student, the appropriate department chairs, and the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts (or Dean’s designee).

Upon notification, the dean appoints a committee consisting of at least three members of the faculty of Liberal Arts recommended to the dean by the major advisor in consultation with the student and the faculty of those departments concerned. Note: If the committee requires graduate faculty that are not members of the School of Liberal Arts faculty, the committee must consist of a minimum of 3 members of the School of Liberal Arts faculty plus the additional members. Normally, the major advisor acts as chair of this committee. The special

committee draws up a study plan/proposal indicating research facilities and setting forth requirements including fields, courses, total credit hours, language requirement, teaching and/or research requirements, required examinations, probable dissertation topic, projected timeline to completion of degree requirements, committee members. The chair of the special committee forwards the study plan/ proposal, explanation of why the proposed course of study could not be accomplished solely through the candidate’s major department and a statement of the student’s qualifications to the chairs of those departments concerned for comment and approval and then to the Dean (or designee) of the School of Liberal Arts. (See suggested outline for proposal on page 3).

The Dean (or designee) of the School of Liberal Arts then presents the proposal and any views of departments concerned to the Graduate Studies Committee for its consideration. At least 12 hours of course work must be taken after the special interdisciplinary Ph.D. proposal is approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. Approval by the Graduate Studies Committee authorizes the student to follow the special interdepartmental program.

The special committee constitutes the student’s qualifying examination committee, his/her dissertation committee, and performs all the functions normally carried out by departmental faculty in a regular Ph.D. program. The special committee chair serves as the chief sponsor of the candidate’s Ph.D. dissertation and performs functions normally carried out by a department chair (supervision of financial assistance in cooperation with the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and the chairs of those departments concerned, coordination of faculty, supervision of the student’s academic work, overseeing qualifying examinations, and recommendation for formal admission to candidacy for the Ph.D.).

May 5, 2022

Outline for an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Proposal

  1. Title of Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program
  2. Academic qualifications of the student
  3. Rationale for proposed program
    1. Purpose/Rational for changing from current program to Interdisciplinary program. Why research cannot be completed under current program
    2. Research questions/proposed prospectus title
  4. Proposed Course of Study
    1. Required and elective courses (title and credits)
    2. Total required credit hours and which credits from current program will apply to new Interdisciplinary program
    3. Foreign language requirements
    4. Examinations required and schedule
    5. Required Teaching (TA) and/or Research (RA) duties
    6. Program duration/timeline to completion of requirements
  5. Research Facilities and Resources
  6. Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Committee
    1. Member names and signatures
    2. Clarification of how administrative functions (supervision of academic work, overseeing of qualifying exams, administrative support/assistance for TA duties, etc.) usually carried out by department faculty/staff will be performed.