PhD in Social & Political Thought
Timeline for completion of PHD
All PhD students in SPTH then proceed to:
The doctoral student, in consultation with the examining committee, defines two fields on which the student wishes to be examined. One field will be designated the major field, the other the minor field.
Students are not expected to have total mastery of any field but should demonstrate a broad familiarity with the major texts, issues and critics in any given field.
Prior to the comps candidates will present a bibliography of the texts relevant to the chosen fields. The bibliography should include a minimum of (and not much more than) twenty-five (25) significant entries in the major field and a minimum of (and not much more than) fifteen (15) entries for the minor field. The examination will focus attention on the material listed in the bibliography. The bibliography must be approved by the examining committee prior to setting the date for the examination. Candidates are advised to consult with their examining committee when preparing the bibliography.
*Arrangements with respect to time, place, date and composition of the examining committee must be made through the Program office for the Director's approval at least one month prior to the examination*. The comps examination committee consists of three members of the Program who are familiar with a student's work and the Director, or his/her representative. The student will consult with their committee members to determine a suitable date and time for the exam. The student will then provide to the Director (in writing or by email), the names of the three committee members, the proposed time and date of the exam, and the bibliography, and will set up a meeting with the Director to discuss potential Director's Reps. Once the bibliography and committee is approved by the Director, the Program Assistant will contact the faculty members nominated for the Director's Rep. and arrange the comprehensive exam. Official notification of the exam will be sent (by email) to all participants from the Program Office.
For students pursuing the coursework only option:
For students pursing the coursework and MRP option:
For the comprehensive exam, the student should be reviewing the list with the supervisor before the reading begins, and ideally, the whole committee should be participating in the development of the list.
For optional use of the time leading up to the comps exam, the student should set a reading timeline, and meet with committee members to discuss the books. These meetings may be one on one with one of your committee members, or as a group, depending on the individual’s booklist and the academic interests of the committee. The student must then email the director (and copy the program assistant),
1) the major and minor lists in proper bibliographic style
2) the date and time that the comps is tentatively planned for (both the student and the committee members have agreed on the time, and are available for that time and date)and – if a preference has been indicated by the student or committee members –
3) any suggestions for the director’s rep.
The student does not select or contact the director’s rep. Once the director has approved the books and ranked the list of any director’s rep, and program assistant will contact the first name on the list, and see if that faculty member is willing and able to participate in the exam. The reason that four weeks advance notice is needed is that the office needs time to arrange for a director’s rep, and the director’s rep may need time to review the books that are to be examined. The advanced notice cannot be changed or waived, and the time starts from when the request is made to do the comps exam.
See our Frequently Asked Question for more information
Dissertation Proposal Committee Guidelines
June 11th, 2014
Dissertation Proposals After the successful completion of the comprehensive requirement the student will prepare a dissertation proposal that must be written to the supervisory committee's satisfaction.
In no less than 15 and no more than 20 double-spaced 12 point Times New Roman Font pages (excluding references and appendices) the proposal MUST have the following components:
Title of the dissertation (on a completed TD 1 form);
Abstract + Keywords
The title needs to reflect the main argument of the dissertation
The abstract summarizes the project (350 words) + a set of up to 5 keywords identifying the topic for the Graduate Faculty dissertation database.
The proposal: Introduction, argument, methods (if applicable) and possible conclusions. A clear chapter outline indicating the themes and substantive issues to be studied. Generally each chapter should have at least a paragraph of description. Key terms and concepts should be clearly defined in the proposal.
References: A basic bibliography set out formally; (Please note: the bibliography is not part of the page limit, as the bibliography may be as long, or longer than the proposal in length.)
Appendix: if not addressed in the proposal itself the appendix should include:
The topic area of the proposed research, both in one of SPT fields and more generally identify relevant academic areas of study (i.e. Philosophy, Post-Colonial Studies, Feminism, etc.);
Its interdisciplinary nature and the traditions of social and political thought out of which it arises;
The languages other than English, if any, which are needed to complete the dissertation satisfactorily and how the student plans to develop competence in these languages;
The travel, if any, needed to pursue the research (and the timeline for when the travel will occur);
A clear and achievable time-line for completion;
Students should be reminded that a dissertation proposal is just that - a proposal. The finished product, a definitive argument, with well-rounded conclusions, etc. are not expected in a proposal. What the proposal should indicate in a general and concise manner are the claims/themes/controversies/hypotheses/ arguments/ directions, etc. that the student plans to take up in the course of his/her research and writing.
The proposal should not be submitted to the committee as a draft version.
All proposals submitted to the Program office must include the following forms as well as the proposal itself:
The proposal will not be reviewed without all supervisory committee approvals and all relevant related paperwork by the deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all relevant paperwork has been submitted.
The committee will come to a decision at the meeting. The possible outcomes are: (1) Approved; (2) Minor Revisions (one to four week turn around and review by the committee); (3) Major Revisions (1 to 3 months turn around and resubmission to the committee). All revisions will be outlined in writing to the student and committee. The dissertation proposal must be submitted and approved by both the program and FGS at least six months prior to the PhD oral defence.?Some examples of well-prepared dissertation proposals are available for viewing in the Program Office.
Deadlines for Dissertation proposals:
Fall Term: October 1st each year
Winter Term: January 25th each year
Summer Term: April 30th
If the deadline falls on a weekend, then the deadline automatically becomes the first business day after the deadline. Meetings will be scheduled within a month of the deadline.
Please note: If students are applying for Research Cost Fund assistance, they will also need to submit a Risk Assessment form to have on file in their student file, as the Graduate Program Director is required to confirm on the funding request approval form that the form is completed and on file in the program office. (The form is available on the SPTH forms page, or through Graduate Studies).
Review of the Dissertation Proposal
The dissertation proposal will be reviewed by the Advisory Committee with particular attention to the following matters:
The Advisory Committee is comprised of 3 faculty members, the Director (generally as either as chair or as a regular member, or the Director may appoint one of the faculty committee members to be the chair), 2 voting student members, and up to 2 non-voting student alternates. The Director will inform the candidate and supervisor of any comments, suggestions or concerns in a timely manner after the meeting. In the case of serious doubt or disagreement, the Advisory committee shall make a report to the Executive Committee for any resolution. Only upon resolution by the Advisory Committee and/or the Executive Committee will the proposal be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for approval.
* Note: Students are strongly recommended to keep a complete copy of their dissertation proposal in their own personal records because it is their responsibiltiy to have this information. This is particularly important if the student withdraws and plans to return to defend because they may need to proposal if the program's copy - in compliance with the FIPA regulations - has been destroyed after the student has been withdrawn for two years.
Dissertations should adhere to the format set forth in the "Guidelines for the Preparation and Examination of Theses and Dissertations" published by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Thesis Guidelines of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Copies are available in the SPTH office or in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
In conjunction with the supervisor and supervisory committee, the PhD Candidate develops an intended timetable for completion of all stages of the dissertation, and works to realize that timetable, meeting appropriate deadlines. The Candidate should meet regularly with the supervisor to review progress, normally at least once a month, and not less than once each term. Interaction with other members of the supervisory committee should take place as appropriate.
Students wishing to view dissertations by SPTH alumni may have access to the bound dissertations through the Program Director, although dissertations may not be borrowed or used outside of the SPTH offices. In addition, the Scott Library maintains dissertations of all York graduate students.
Students who are working on their Dissertation may request Extended Library Loan Privileges. The form is available in the SPTH program office.
supervision and supervisory committees