Universities deploy variety of tactics to improve time-to-completion for Humanities PhDs

October 7, 2014

A report in The Chronicle of Higher Education surveys how a number of Humanities PhD programs in the US and Canada are reducing time-to-completion rates. The University of Alberta’s Department of English and Film Studies is among the programs featured. The article notes that uAlberta has helped reduce the sense of isolation felt by many of its PhD students by offering lab-like settings, mentorship programs, workshops, and a colloquium. Other programs, including those in the University of Texas system, require students to complete a “Milestones Agreement Form,” which forces students to identify when they will hit key points in the PhD process, such as competing coursework. Other universities allow students to complete alternative dissertations, such as a collection of essays, an exhibition, or a digital publication. Vanderbilt University, meanwhile, has moved up its deadlines to encourage students to begin the dissertation process earlier. On the other hand, the University of Texas at Austin encourages students by cutting off their financial support once they complete their sixth year of study. The Chronicle of Higher Education