Table of Contents

ABOUT THE GRADUATE HANDBOOK.. 2

INTRODUCTION.. 2

THE DEPARTMENT.. 3

OFFICE OF GRADUATE STUDIES (OGS) 3

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION (GPSA) 3

ADMISSIONS. 4

NEW MEXICO RESIDENCY DEFINITIONS. 4

FINANCIAL AID, AWARDS, AND ASSISTANTSHIPS. 5

ADVISEMENT.. 6

ANNUAL PROGRESS REVIEW... 6

COURSEWORK.. 6

INCOMPLETE POLICY.. 7

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, OGS. 7

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT AND ALTERNATIVE RESEARCH TOOL. 8

ENROLLMENT.. 8

AMERICAN CULTURE STUDIES (ACS) COMPONENT.. 9

ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY.. 10

COMMITTEE ON STUDIES. 11

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS. 11

THESIS AND DISSERTATION.. 15

GRADUATION.. 19

TIME LIMITS. 19

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS. 20

LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND READMISSION.. 20

 

 


ABOUT THE GRADUATE HANDBOOK

This Handbook (http://www.unm.edu/~amstudy/Handbook%202010-11.htm) and the UNM Catalog (available at the UNM Bookstore) contain information essential to your successful graduate career at UNM. It is strongly suggested that they be included in your “required reading.” Ignorance of a rule does not constitute a basis for waiving that rule.

Students must comply with the procedures and meet the requirements stated in the Graduate Handbook for the year in which they began their graduate work in the department. A student may choose to follow requirements stated in the most recently revised version of the Handbook, but must notify his/her advisor of that decision upon successful completion of the ACS Exam. The department reserves the right to correct errors that appear in the print or online versions of the Handbook.

Note the pre-2010 version is available online at www.unm.edu/~amstudy/handbook.shtml.

INTRODUCTION

For over sixty years, the Department of American Studies has provided graduate students at the University of New Mexico with a unique opportunity for pursuing interdisciplinary studies. First chartered as an interdepartmental post-master's PhD program in 1944, American Studies was reconstituted as a regular department in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1975. A Master of Arts degree was added three years later. The Department currently offers the only PhD in American Studies in the Rocky Mountain region. Since 1979, when an undergraduate major was added to the minor course of study, American Studies graduate students have been able to teach a variety of our introductory courses.

The graduate program in American Studies is designed to familiarize students with a wide range of scholarship as a basis for their pursuit of specific programs of study. Recent American Studies graduates have pursued careers in academia, public policy, secondary education and cultural institutions in the arts and government.

Foremost, among the American Studies Department’s many areas of distinction in research and teaching are:

1) Transnationalism and Globalization
2) Critical Regionalism and Southwest Studies
3) Critical Race and Class Studies
4) Environment, Science and Technology Studies
5) Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
6) Comparative Cultural and Popular Culture Studies

Students have the opportunity to develop a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to historical, literary, visual, and ethnographic theory and methods.

While students are required to complete seminars within the department in two or more of the above concentrations, the department encourages students to develop programs of study that creatively combine resources of multiple colleges and departments.

This Graduate Handbook is designed to provide students with technical information about requirements for completing each stage of the graduate degree process. Graduate students are expected to exercise initiative and responsibility in fashioning their curricula, constituting their faculty committees, and maintaining contact with their faculty advisor as they determine a course of study and a timeline for completion of the degree.

THE DEPARTMENT

During the academic year, the Department periodically sponsors scholarly presentations by guest lecturers, faculty, and graduate students. Presentations include reports on current research, previews of papers to be read at off-campus professional meetings, and seminar or course materials.

Over fifty MA and PhD candidates – many of the latter in the dissertation writing stage – are currently enrolled in the American Studies Department. Those already enrolled are governed by the rules in effect when they were advanced to candidacy.

Since the American Studies Department is relatively small, the faculty usually acts as a committee of the whole to make most policy decisions about admissions, curriculum, and financial assistance.

OFFICE OF GRADUATE STUDIES (OGS)

The first Committee on Graduate Study was formed at UNM in 1916. A year later the first Master's degrees were awarded in Chemistry and Latin. In 1919 the Graduate School was formally constituted, and in 1947 the University's first PhDs were graduated in American Studies and Latin American Studies. For 2010-11 it is expected that at least 450 Master's and 300 Doctoral degrees will be earned.

In 1977 the Graduate School was decentralized, and the Office of Graduate Studies was created. The Faculty Senate Graduate Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies in conjunction with the college graduate committees are now responsible for coordinating and monitoring graduate student activities throughout the University. To this end OGS has created a myriad of policies, forms, and regulations to which the unsuspecting graduate student must adhere if she/he hopes to survive. The most important of these are explicated in this handbook. OGS, however, believes that the UNM Catalog constitutes a written contract (see "About This Catalog" in the Catalog, p. 4). When in doubt, always consult this student guide, which may be purchased at the UNM Bookstore or accessed online at http://registrar.unm.edu/catalog.htm.

Students may fulfill the requirements for graduation stated in the UNM Catalog (previously called the Graduate Bulletin) for the year in which they were enrolled for the first time in a degree-granting graduate program at the University of New Mexico, provided they complete the graduation requirements for the degree sought within the time scale prescribed in that Catalog. Students transferring to American Studies from another UNM degree-granting program must graduate under the Catalog in effect at the time of their transfer. Alternatively, a student may elect to graduate under a later version of the Catalog; in this event, the student must meet all the requirements for graduation in the Catalog chosen. The Catalog under which the student will graduate must be specified on the Application for Candidacy.

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION (GPSA)

GPSA is the independent service organization that was established in 1969 to serve all part-time and full-time graduate students. The GPSA is governed by a Council comprised of representatives from all graduate student departments on campus (American Studies has one GPSA representative). In addition, the GPSA Student Research Allocation Committee (SRAC) provides funds for student research projects (thesis and dissertation) and travel to research-associated conferences such as the national American Studies Association conference.

GPSA provides other services and regularly appoints graduate representatives to some eighteen standing university committees and policy-making boards. Currently, GPSA is located in the Student Union Building 60, Suite 1021 at the Plaza Level.

ADMISSIONS

Students applying from outside the Department or University should contact American Studies and the Admissions Office for information and an application. Application information is also available on the Department website at http://www.unm.edu/~amstudy/.

For students currently enrolled in the American Studies MA program at UNM who wish to pursue a PhD in the department, the faculty admissions committee meets to evaluate applications twice a year: in September for the spring term and in February for the fall term. Admission is contingent upon finishing the degree in the semester in which students apply for the PhD. If, for any reason, the student does not complete the MA requirements in the specified semester, s/he must petition the faculty to carry over acceptance into the PhD program to the semester following completion of MA requirements. The following materials are required of those MA students seeking to continue on to the PhD at UNM:

1.     A substantive letter of intent (3-5 double-spaced pages) summarizing prior academic training, explaining current academic and professional objectives, and justifying how these goals might be met in the Department of American Studies. Applicants should outline a tentative, interdisciplinary course of study, including the types of courses and the thematic concerns they would like to explore in American Studies and other designated departments.

2.     Two letters of recommendation, one letter from a faculty member within the department and one letter from a faculty member outside the department.

3.     Fill out Change of Degree Level form (available at the OGS website and submitted to the American Studies department)

4.     Application should be turned in by February 1 for fall consideration and September 1 for spring consideration

NEW MEXICO RESIDENCY DEFINITIONS

A student who enters and remains in New Mexico principally to obtain an education is presumed to be a non-resident for tuition purposes.

A student is classified as a resident or non-resident for tuition purposes based on information supplied on the application at the time of admission. The residence is only changed upon re-application for admission or submission of a petition to the Office of the Registrar in the Student Services Center. Residency petitions will be accepted until the second Friday of each fall and spring semester. No petitions will be accepted after that date. State law establishes residency requirements for tuition purposes. Each person must meet the requirements individually (marriage is not a factor in deciding residency).

To become a legal resident of New Mexico, the student must satisfy four basic requirements:
1. Twelve months consecutive presence
2. Financial independence
3. Written declaration of "Intent"
4. Overt acts

Other relevant factors may be considered along with those itemized above.
See the UNM Catalog for more detailed information on basic requirements as well as guidelines on exceptions and additional regulations.

Second-year students who receive fellowships, assistantships, or other awards do not automatically attain resident status. Awards including tuition and fees cover resident tuition rates only. To ensure in-state tuition rates, students must file a petition establishing New Mexico residency. See below ("Financial Aid, Awards, and Assistantships") for resident tuition status available to qualified teaching/graduate assistants.

A brochure explaining all requirements for establishing New Mexico residency and residency petitions is available from the Office of the Registrar, Student Service Center, Room 261. Persons who have special problems concerning residency should arrange for a conference with the Registrar.

FINANCIAL AID, AWARDS, AND ASSISTANTSHIPS

Department Aid
The faculty meets as a committee of the whole to review resources and award financial assistance to as many students as possible. The department offers approximately twelve (12) quarter time (10 hours of work per week) teaching assistantships (PhD and advanced MA students) and graduate assistantships (MA or PhD students) each semester. These include a stipend, remission of tuition for graduate coursework up to six hours and health insurance benefits. Teaching and graduate assistants paying for hours beyond the tuition waiver are eligible for the resident tuition rate provided they are employed at least quarter-time. The TA usually teaches American Studies 182, 183, 184,185, and 186. Advanced graduate students may apply to design their own 200-level course. The GA has different responsibilities each semester, but often assists in one of the large introductory courses. TAs/GAs must be registered for at least six (6) hours of graduate credit, and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in graduate work. PhD students are eligible for a total of six (6) semesters of financial aid from the department; MA students are eligible for a total of four (4) semesters of aid.

Advanced doctoral students at the dissertation stage may also apply to teach a 300-level course as a Teaching Associate. Teaching Associates do not receive a tuition waver. Teaching Associates must be registered for at least six (6) hours of graduate credit and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in graduate work.

Specific guidelines for financial aid applications are distributed to all students each year in time for every student who so desires to apply for departmental aid. Departmental aid awards are highly competitive and are based on students’ demonstrated accomplishments and departmental needs.

Other Sources of Aid
The Office of Graduate Studies offers a limited number of financial aid fellowships and awards. Some may be held concurrently with other forms of aid. Contact: Office of Graduate Studies, Humanities 107, 505/277-2711.

The University administers National Direct/Perkins Loans and Federal Direct Student Loans and cooperates in the administration of a number of other such funds, as well as work study and student employment programs. Short-term emergency loans are also available to currently enrolled full-time graduate students. Contact: Student Financial Aid Office, Mesa Vista North, 505/277-4953.

The Student Research Allocations Committee provides money for student research projects and for travel expenses to conferences and workshops directly related to the student's degree program. Contact: SRAC, Graduate & Professional Student Association, Student Union Building (SUB), Room 1021, 505/277-3803.

Student members of the American Studies Association who have had papers accepted for the annual meeting may enter the ASA-wide competition for the Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize, which includes a certificate and $500 in cash awarded for the best paper presented by a graduate student at the meeting. Annette K. Baxter travel grants are awarded to up to five graduate students in national competition and provide reimbursement for travel expenses up to a maximum of $300 per recipient. Deadlines are in early September.

Some funding for travel and/or research is usually available through the Department’s American Studies Graduate Student Association.

The Department encourages graduate students to investigate outside sources of funding for study/research. Various listings of grant opportunities are available through the Office of Research, 102 Scholes Hall 505/277-2256.

ADVISEMENT
Each semester, during the months of October and April (before registering for classes), all students should consult with their faculty advisors.

New students are assigned temporary faculty advisors during their first semester of study. After two semesters of coursework, NO LATER THAN the completion of twelve (12) hours of coursework, students must choose a faculty advisor and notify the Graduate Director in writing of the faculty member's agreement to oversee their progress and exams. The Graduate Director should be apprised in writing of any changes in this selection, and should then notify the department administrator as well.

All students should meet at least once a semester with their faculty advisors to discuss appropriate coursework. The faculty advisor will assist the student in planning a program of studies fostering mastery of fundamental knowledge of their interdisciplinary areas through full exploitation of the resources of the University.

ANNUAL PROGRESS REVIEW
The faculty is concerned that all students make consistent and timely progress toward their degrees. To this end, the entire faculty reviews the previous semester's grade reports on each master's and doctoral student, hears the faculty advisors’ report, and checks student progress in forming exam committees and/or completing degree requirements. This review is done once annually. Students whose record appears to indicate current or potential difficulty are notified in writing.

If a student shows little promise of completing the degree program, the department will notify the student and the Dean of Graduate Studies in writing that the student is disenrolled from further work in that program. Disenrolled students are not eligible to continue work in any graduate degree program in the University for a period of one calendar year from the date of disenrollment. Readmission after the disenrollment period requires the approval of the department to which the student has applied for readmission and of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Note: A student record reflecting two incompletes, which extend beyond one semester, will be considered grounds for automatic disenrollment.

COURSEWORK
All courses must carry graduate credit within their particular department. In the case of American Studies, this means courses numbered 500 and above.

All American Studies graduate students are required to take at least six (6) graduate seminars offered within the Department. One of these must be the American Culture Studies pro-seminar [see "American Culture Studies (ACS) Component" below]. The five remaining seminars should address two areas of emphasis in the department. Students should take these required American Studies graduate seminars from among several different faculty in the department. Note: not all courses with 500-level course numbers are graduate seminars! It is your responsibility to check the course’s status.

Students who are admitted to the PhD after completing an MA in American Studies at UNM are not required to repeat the ACS seminar, but must have a total of 12 graduate seminars (36 hours total) offered within the department in their combined MA and PhD coursework. Students must also meet academic residence requirements and continuous enrollment regulations appropriate to their degree program (see "Residence Requirements, OGS" and "Thesis and Dissertation" below).

Master of Arts

Plan I (Thesis)

1. A minimum of 27 hours of coursework.
2. A minimum of 6 additional hours of thesis (AMST 599) credit.
3. At least 18 hours completed in residence at UNM.
4. No more than 3 hours of independent study credit (AMST 597).

Plan II (Non-thesis)

1. A minimum of 33 hours of coursework.
2. No more than 3 hours of independent study credit.
3. At least 26 of these credit hours must be completed in residence at UNM.

Doctorate

1. A minimum of 30 hours post-MA coursework

2. At least 18 additional hours of dissertation credit (AMST 699)

3. Only 6 hours of PhD coursework may be in individual study (AMST 697), for a maximum total of 9 hours individual study in combined MA and PhD coursework.

4. At least 24 of the total 48 PhD credit hours must be completed at UNM.

5. Doctoral candidates must be enrolled the semester in which they complete their degrees, including summer sessions.

Minors

American Studies offers a minor to MA students in other departments. Please consult the UNM catalog for details.

American Studies graduate students wishing to complete a minor in another department may do so in consultation with their advisors, and must contact the other department for specific guidelines. American Studies faculty will not serve on committees of studies for minors in other departments. Plan I students may take no more than 9 hours of graduate coursework in a single other department; Plan II students are limited to 15 hours of graduate coursework in a single department other than American Studies.

INCOMPLETE POLICY

A student record reflecting two incompletes, which extend beyond one semester, will be considered grounds for automatic disenrollment.

 

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, OGS

Note: The following residency requirements refer to credits taken prior to admission to the Department of American Studies. The graduate school allows MA applicants to transfer credits from a comparable MA program at the discretion of the American Studies Department. The following OGS residence requirements do not apply to coursework taken after admission to the Department. The American Studies Department requires that all courses taken after admission to the Department be taken at the University of New Mexico.

Master's
At the master's level, candidates must complete at least 50% of their coursework at UNM after admission into the MA program. (Translation: Students enrolled in an MA program outside of UNM may petition to have courses transfer to the department should they be admitted. The decision to accept courses taken prior to admission is at the discretion of the Department of American Studies).

Doctorate
For the PhD, the minimum residence requirement is at least eighteen (18) credit hours completed at UNM after the admission into the PhD program.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT AND ALTERNATIVE RESEARCH TOOL

Master's
At the present time there is no foreign language requirement for the MA.

Doctorate
Before a student may take the comprehensive exam, s/he must satisfy the OGS language or research skill requirement and file the “Certification of Language or Research Skill Requirement” form. Students who select the language option should, if possible, choose a language that may be useful in their research. Language competency may be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

Š       4 semesters of coursework in the language with a grade of B or above (may be part of undergraduate coursework or other coursework taken elsewhere)

Š       A graduate-level course in that language with a grade of B or above

Š       A minor or its equivalent in the language (may be completed elsewhere)

Š       Passing the ETS examination in the chosen language

Š       Passing an exam given by the Foreign Languages and Literatures or the Spanish and Portuguese department

Š       Student speaks the language with near-native ability as certified by UNM

Š       Student is a foreign student with a good command of English and his/her native language meets the language requirement

Š       Other options by petition to the department. Please see below:

The alternate methodology option allows a student to pursue proficiency in research skills appropriate to his or her dissertation. Students electing this option must complete 6 to 12 hours of graded coursework, which does not apply to course credits for the doctorate. (In some cases, coursework completed previously, elsewhere, may be acceptable.) Students who choose the Alternative Research Tool option must, after consultation with their faculty advisors, submit a proposal (1-2 pages) explaining and justifying the alternate research skill and specifying the coursework that satisfies this requirement. This proposal must be accepted by the department and approved by the student’s advisor, the graduate advisor, and the department chair.

ENROLLMENT

Frequently, in order to verify enrollment for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid and loan deferment, the University is required to certify the enrollment status of a student. In such instances one's load is described as full-time, half time, or part-time according to the following:

A. Academic Year
1. Full-time
9 or more credit hours per semester
6 credit hours per semester and an assistantship

2. Half-time

5 – 8 credit hours per semester

3. Less than half-time
4 or fewer credit hours per semester

B. Summer Session
1. Full-time
6 credit hours or more
3 credit hours and an assistantship

2. Half-time
3 – 5 credit hours

3. Less than half-time

1 – 2 credit hours

Note: Students with loans are encouraged to verify what is considered full-time status with their lender, as it may be different from University standards.

AMERICAN CULTURE STUDIES (ACS) COMPONENT

Before advancement to candidacy, all graduate students must successfully complete the American Culture Studies (ACS) component. There are two requirements:

1. A passing grade of B or higher in the fall pro-seminar AMST 500, American Culture Studies.
The ACS pro-seminar must be taken during the first fall semester of each student's graduate career.

The ACS pro-seminar introduces students to the American Studies Association, American Studies nationally, and American Studies at UNM since the 1940s. It is conducted as a "workshop" designed to introduce students to the ACS reading list (#2 following) through discussion and critical/analytical writing assignments. One or two faculty members lead the pro-seminar; each of the other American Studies faculty members participates in at least one session, discussing reading list books appropriate to their interests.

Students who receive less than a B in the ACS pro-seminar must retake the class the following fall. The class may be repeated only once and only during the fall semester subsequent to initial enrollment in the course. The repeated ACS seminar does apply toward the nine-hour full-time status requirement, but the course will be listed only once for credit toward the American Studies degree. Grades from both enrollments in the ACS seminar will be calculated in the student's overall GPA. See (2) below for information on taking the ACS exam upon successful completion of the ACS seminar.

2. A pass on the ACS examination (based on the ACS reading list). All books on the ACS reading list are required for both MA and PhD students. These books "serve as case studies or models of one or more exemplary approaches to material that falls within the realm of American studies…[and] are not intended to comprise an overview of American history, society and culture but a range of approaches to its study… chosen for their range, variety, heuristic value, pertinence of problems addressed, interdisciplinarity and potential for provoking constructive and fruitful dialogue."

All students who have passed the ACS pro-seminar with a grade of B or higher must take the ACS exam the week before the start of classes the following fall semester. The exam will be given as a four-day take-home between 12:00 p.m. on Monday and 12:00 p.m. on Friday. Results (pass or retake) will be returned three Fridays later at noon.

Students who receive a "retake" on the exam may retake it once. The make-up exam will be given as a four-day take-home between 12:00 p.m. Monday and 12:00 p.m. Friday in the week before the start of classes in the spring semester. Results (pass or fail) will be available three Fridays later at noon. Students who must retake the ACS seminar for insufficient grade points (below a B) have the option of taking the ACS exam in the spring semester directly following their successful (a grade of B or higher) completion of the pro-seminar or in the subsequent fall semester.

Students who fail to pass either the ACS pro-seminar or the ACS examination after two attempts have not made sufficient progress toward the degree and will be subject to automatic disenrollment.

ACS Exam

The ACS exam consists of three questions, from which students must choose one. It is a take-home exam scheduled for the week before fall semester classes begin. Questions are usually written and graded by the faculty members who taught the pro-seminar for the cohort of graduate students taking the exam. The examination questions cover important themes and critical theoretical and/or methodological dimensions in a good number of books from the ACS reading list. Students will be instructed on exam submission procedures when the exam is handed out. The department administrator formats all exams so that the cover page identifies the student only by a number in order to insure that exams are graded anonymously. The Departmental style sheet is the Chicago Manual of Style, which can be referenced in the Department office.

 

ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY

Before advancement to candidacy, all graduate students must successfully complete the American Culture Studies (ACS) component. Students are advised to make a list of proposed coursework to submit to their advisor and the Graduate Director after their completion of 15-18 credit hours.

Master's
At the MA level, after completion of the ACS component and 27 hours of resident graduate credit, students secure a Program of Studies form from the Office of Graduate Studies website (www.unm.edu/grad). In consultation with the student's faculty advisor, the candidate lists completed and projected coursework and declares election of either Plan I (thesis) or Plan II (non-thesis). The form is then signed by the faculty advisor and by the Chair of the Department before being sent to OGS for the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. OGS requires that the approved Program of Studies form is received in their office at least one semester before the student plans to graduate.

Doctorate
At the PhD level, after successful completion of coursework and the comprehensive examination, students secure an Application for Candidacy from the Office of Graduate Studies website (www.unm.edu/grad). In consultation with the student's faculty advisor, the candidate lists completed and projected coursework. The entire Committee on Studies (comprehensive examination committee) and the department chair must sign the application before it is sent to OGS for the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The PhD residence requirements and foreign language requirement (see above "Residence Requirements, OGS" and "Language Requirement and Alternative Research Tool") must be completed and reported before doctoral students may take the comprehensive exam. After successful completion of the comprehensive examination the student will be formally advanced to candidacy.

COMMITTEE ON STUDIES

Master's
All MA students must form a comprehensive exam committee, following the guidelines listed under "Comprehensive Examinations" below. Only those who select the Thesis option (Plan I) for the MA are required to form a Committee on Studies (see "Thesis and Dissertation – Thesis Committee").

Doctorate
Each doctoral student is required to have a Committee on Studies. The Committee on Studies, which will also serve as the Examination Committee, must be formed in consultation with the faculty advisor. The committee should consist of three UNM faculty members who hold regular, full time appointments, at least two of which must be from the American Studies core faculty. Normally, the student's faculty advisor serves as chair of the Committee on Studies.

Committee composition requires final approval by the department chair and the graduate school dean. Students may arrange changes or additions to the committee membership in consultation with the chair of her/his committee, the graduate advisor, and the department chair. If a committee member is not UNM faculty, her/his vita will need to be secured for approval for committee service by OGS.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS

The comprehensive exam at both the MA and PhD levels is designed to test depth and breadth of knowledge in American Studies teaching and research fields. In consultation with the faculty exam committee, students are expected to develop a bibliography and write an exam that crosses two of the department’s fields of study. Once the student has identified the fields of study, he/she then defines the research concentrations that emerge out of his/her specific set of courses and research projects completed while pursuing the degree. MA students are expected to develop two research concentrations and PhD students are expected to develop three research concentrations. The exam fields and research concentrations should be designed around academic specializations with which the students have established familiarity.

 

Each research concentration should be organized around a distinct scholarly literature with authors engaged in a related set of questions and subject of inquiry. The bibliography for each concentration is expected to reflect the major contours and current issues of the scholarly literature in the area of concentration. In general, the scope of a concentration should be narrow enough to allow the student to master the principal scholarly literature in the topic area and broad enough to define an undergraduate course. Examples include: Environmental Justice, Southwest Studies, Visual Culture, Queer Theory, Diaspora Literatures, and Theories of the Modern State. Keep in mind that the exam question incorporates and is addressed to the two or three concentrations together. Therefore it is to your advantage when designing the concentrations to consider ways that each list might in some way speak to or intersect with the other. At the same time, the concentrations should not be too closely aligned subconcentrations of a single literature (for example: subaltern studies, postcolonial theory, and United States imperialism).

 

The comprehensive exam is distinct from a research paper, wherein students develop and argue a particular thesis based on primary and/or secondary sources. In contrast to a research paper, the objective of the comprehensive exam is to show that you have read and understood the literature on your concentration list to the degree that you can discuss a broad spectrum of that literature in a synthetic and coherent manner.

 

American Studies teaching and research concentrations are often interdisciplinary; we therefore ask, at the outset, for each student taking a comprehensive exam to prepare a 2-3 page comprehensive exam statement in which he/she describes the exam concentrations.

 

After approving the comprehensive exam statement, the exam committee will work with the student to develop the bibliographies for each concentration. Once the comprehensive exam and bibliographies have been approved by the committee, the committee chair, in consultation with the committee, will write one exam question. The exam question will be addressed to the exam concentrations.

 

Comprehensive exams at the PhD level are intended both to prepare students to begin dissertation work and to demonstrate mastery of the breadth and depth of the exam concentrations.

MA Exam
Master’s students have the option of taking the MA exam or writing an MA Thesis. If the exam route is chosen, the process of preparing for and writing the MA exam should allow students to synthesize material drawn from MA coursework and to create areas of special concentration and knowledge. Students who plan to pursue a PhD may define their comprehensive concentrations in anticipation of their future course of study.

Examination Committee
After preliminary advancement to candidacy (following 27 hours and completion of the ACS exam) and at least four months before the anticipated date of the comps, master’s students should meet with their faculty advisor to determine membership of the Examination Committee. The committee will consist of at least three members with approval for graduate instruction, two of which must hold regular, full-time UNM faculty appointments. In addition, at least two committee members (one of whom is the Committee Chair) must be from American Studies.

Exam Schedule
MA students may schedule comprehensive exams for the semester in which they will finish coursework.

At least four (4) months before the anticipated date of the comprehensive exam, an MA student should meet with his or her faculty advisor to discuss potential areas of concentration and to plan how the student will work with his or her exam committee to prepare for the exam. Working with his/her exam committee, the student will develop a comprehensive exam statement (3-5 pages) in which he/she will define the parameters of and a rationale for the exam fields. Once the committee has agreed to the fields defined in the comprehensive exam statement, the student will work with the committee to develop a bibliography centered on his/her exam fields. We strongly urge students to work closely with the individual faculty member whose work is most closely related to each student’s defined areas of concentration to develop an appropriate bibliography that encompasses the significant literature on that field or topic.

Three (3) months before the anticipated date of the comps, students should have secured preliminary approval for each of the bibliographic sections from the faculty member with whom s/he has been working to develop it.

Students will submit to each exam committee member a “Comprehensive Examination Bibliography” with the following format:

(A) The comprehensive exam statement.
(B) A comprehensive set of fully cited bibliographic entries divided by area/field and arranged alphabetically within each section.

Exam committee members will have two weeks to suggest changes to the bibliography. In consultation with the committee chair, the student will incorporate these changes and produce a final version of the bibliography. All members of the committee must sign this version at least six (6) weeks prior to the examination.

As preparation for the exam, we urge students to meet regularly with committee members to discuss the readings included on the bibliography.

At least three weeks prior to the exam, students should inform the department administrator of their intention to take the exam, the scheduled date and time, and their exam committee membership. OGS must receive the “Announcement of Comprehensive Examination” form listing the exam committee members and signed by the department chair at least two weeks prior to the exam. No examination can be given unless this form has been properly completed and filed.

Between two and three weeks before the scheduled start of the exam, the exam committee, led by the student’s advisor, will develop the exam question and submit it to the department administrator. Both the graduate director and the department chair sign the final copy of the comps question. Within 24 hours after receiving the question, the student may contact the exam committee chair for clarification of this question.

MA comps must be completed and submitted to the department office in seven (7) days. They should be typed and double-spaced, with one-inch margins and standard font. The Departmental style sheet is the Chicago Manual of Style, which can be referenced in the Department office. The exam response should be 30-35 pages in length. The student is responsible for distributing copies of the exam response and question to each exam committee member and for providing a copy for the department file.

PhD Exam
The areas of concentration defined for the PhD comprehensive exam should provide the foundation for dissertation research and writing (including subject matter, methodology and/or theory), but should also be thought of as the fields in which the student plans to claim expertise as s/he seeks academic or other professional employment.

In consultation with his/her Committee on Studies, a student will develop a comprehensive exam statement in which he/she will define the parameters of and rationale for the exam fields. After each committee member has approved the statement, the student will work closely with the committee members to develop a bibliography covering his/her exam fields. This bibliography should not consist merely of texts the student has encountered in his/her coursework. Rather, it should represent a concerted attempt to develop expertise in several (commonly three or four) well-defined fields of knowledge.

Examination Committee
A doctoral candidate’s examination committee is composed of the three members of his or her Committee on Studies.

Exam Schedule
At least five (5) months before the anticipated date of the comprehensive exam, a PhD student should meet with his or her faculty advisor to discuss potential areas of concentration and to plan how the student will work with his or her exam committee to prepare for the exam. We strongly urge students to work closely with the individual faculty member whose work is most closely related to each student’s defined areas of concentration to develop the comprehensive exam statement and an appropriate bibliography that encompasses the significant literature on that field or topic.

Four (4) months before the anticipated date of the comps, students should have submitted and secured preliminary approval for the comprehensive exam statement and each of the bibliographic sections from the faculty member with whom s/he has been working to develop it.

At this point, students will submit to each exam committee member a “Comprehensive Examination Bibliography” with the following format:

(A) The comprehensive exam statement.
(B) A comprehensive set of fully cited bibliographic entries divided by area/field and arranged alphabetically within each section.

Exam committee members will have two weeks to suggest changes to the bibliography. In consultation with the committee chair, the student will incorporate these changes and produce a final version of the overview and bibliography. All members of the committee must sign this version at least six (6) weeks prior to the examination.

As preparation for the exam, we urge students to meet regularly with committee members to discuss the readings included on the bibliography.

At least three weeks prior to the exam, students should inform the department administrator of their intention to take the exam, the scheduled date and time, and their exam committee membership. OGS must receive the “Announcement of Comprehensive Examination” form listing the exam committee members and signed by the department chair at least two weeks prior to the exam. No examination can be given unless this form has been properly completed and filed. Note: If students are turning in their Announcement of Exam form for a subsequent semester, they must be registered for that semester before OGS will approve the form.

Between two and three weeks before the scheduled start of the exam, the exam committee will discuss and agree on a comprehensive examination question that the exam committee chair will finalize. Both the graduate director and the department chair sign the final copy of the comps question. Within 24 hours after receiving the question, the student may contact the Exam Committee Chair for clarification of this question.

PhD comps must be completed and submitted to the department office in fourteen (14) days. The Departmental style sheet is the Chicago Manual of Style, which can be referenced in the Department office. They should be typed and double-spaced, with one-inch margins. The exam response should be 40-45 pages in length. The student is responsible for distributing copies of the exam response and question to each exam committee member and for providing a copy for the department file.

Normally, comprehensive exams will be graded and the student notified of the results within two weeks of their completion. After formal notification of results by the department, students should contact their exam committee chair to arrange to review readers’ comments. Comps may be judged: Pass, Minor revisions required, or Fail. Minor revisions must be submitted within one week (Master’s) or two weeks (Doctorate) of notification. Students who fail their comps may retake them once within six months of the failed test. They must enroll for at least one semester of independent study with a faculty member in American Studies before retaking their exam. The second attempt at comps is a pass/fail situation; neither distinction nor minor revision will be possible.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Both MA and PhD comps are take-home. Students must back up computer files and keep hard copies of their exams-in-progress. Only with such evidence can judicious extensions be made to accommodate mechanical failure.

THESIS AND DISSERTATION
IMPORTANT NOTE: The following regulations supersede the minimum standards set by the Office of Graduate Studies, particularly in regard to the specific membership of committees.

The MA Thesis
MA students may choose to complete an MA thesis instead of writing a comprehensive exam. The thesis should be modeled on a scholarly journal article, and should be approximately 50 pages in length and based on original research.

The MA thesis is a semester-long project, equivalent to the work done for the MA comprehensive exam or to six hours of coursework.

Thesis Credit Hours
Students opting for the MA with thesis must complete a minimum of six (6) hours of thesis (599) credit. While working on the thesis, students must continue to register for a minimum of one hour of 599 each fall and spring semester until they submit the thesis and the dean of OGS approves it. Thesis candidates must be enrolled the semester in which they complete degree requirements, including summer sessions. Enrollment in 599 thesis hours may not begin prior to the semester in which the thesis is being written.

Important Dates
To receive a spring semester degree, a student must file his or her thesis with OGS by April 15. That means that thesis committee members should have the completed thesis in hand by mid-March, and the thesis defense should be scheduled by April 1. For a fall semester degree, the thesis must be filed with OGS by November 15, with the draft to the committee by mid-October. A student who wishes to complete his/her thesis during the spring semester but cannot meet a mid-March deadline may defend during the spring semester after the April OGS deadline, but will receive the degree in the summer semester. Faculty members are not available to serve on MA thesis committees during summer months.

MA Thesis Committee
Plan I (thesis) master’s students must formally constitute a Thesis Committee before enrolling for thesis (599) credit. Students initiate the formation of their committee by selecting a faculty member to serve as director of the thesis and chair of the committee. Then they agree upon the remainder of the committee and complete a departmental “Appointment of Thesis Committee” form, which must be endorsed by the department chair. (At this time, OGS has no form for constituting a thesis committee.) MA thesis committees must include at least three faculty members with approval for graduate instruction, two of whom must hold regular, full-time UNM faculty appointments; the chair of the committee must be from within the American Studies Department. If a committee member is not UNM faculty, her/his vita will need to be secured for approval for graduate instruction by OGS.

Thesis Prospectus
The thesis prospectus should be completed in the semester before the student plans to write the thesis. The prospectus should be 5-7 pages in length. It must offer a clear statement of topic and an explanation of the major research question or argument that will structure the thesis. The prospectus must also specify the primary sources, texts, or other data on which the thesis will be based, as well as information about the availability of the materials to the student. The prospectus should conclude with a brief statement discussing the significance of the project and a very specific plan (with target dates) for the research and writing stages of the thesis. A one-page bibliography of relevant secondary works and a one-page CV should be attached to the prospectus. If a student plans to do ethnographic research, oral histories, interviews, or surveys, s/he must receive approval from UNM’s IRB before conducting such research.

Approval of Prospectus
After the thesis chair has approved the proposal, it must be submitted (with the “Committee Evaluation Form” cover sheet, available through the department office) for the approval of other members of the committee. The graduate director (if s/he is not already a member of the committee) will also read the prospectus. Committee members will evaluate the prospectus and return it, with comments, within two weeks. The prospectus is not considered accepted until all committee members approve it. A copy of the approved prospectus should be filed in the student’s departmental file.

Thesis Style and Suggested Length
The Departmental style sheet is the Chicago Manual of Style, which can be referenced in the Department office. Suggested length for the MA Thesis is 50 pages. OGS manuscript guidelines and required front matter forms can be obtained from the OGS website.

Thesis Submission
A complete draft of the thesis should be submitted to the student’s committee chair and her/his faculty committee well in advance of the anticipated graduation date. The MA defense should be scheduled no later than the end of October in fall and the end of March in spring. After approval by the full thesis committee, one hardbound copy of the final draft is deposited with the department administrator, and an electronic copy is to be submitted to OGS for approval. In order for a student to graduate in a given semester, OGS must receive the thesis, all required forms, and all other degree requirements by November 15, April 15, or July 15, for fall, spring, or summer respectively.

Thesis Defense
The thesis defense is an hour-long discussion of the thesis and its significance and is required for completion of the degree.

Three weeks prior to the defense, students should inform the department administrator of their intention to defend, the scheduled date, time, and location, and the committee composition. As with the comprehensive exams, OGS must receive the “Announcement of Thesis Defense” form listing the exam committee members and signed by the department chair at least two weeks prior to the exam. No defense can be held unless this form is properly completed and filed.

The final defense is public and open to all who wish to attend. Candidates should note that the Catalog directs that a complete copy of the thesis must be submitted to each member of the committee at least two weeks before the final defense. The student is also responsible for giving each committee member a copy of the department “Guidelines for Thesis Defense” (available in the department office).

In order to graduate in a given semester, the student and/or department must provide OGS, by November 15, April 15, or July 15 for fall, spring or summer respectively, with the following:

1.     Report of Examination form indicating the results of the final oral defense

2.     Information Cover Sheet Form

3.     “Report on Thesis/Dissertation filled out and signed by each committee member and signed by the Committee Chair and Department Chair

4.     “Certification of Final Form” signed by the student, the Committee Chair, and all committee members

5.     One printed copy of the red-bordered signature page signed by the Committee Chair and all committee members

6.     Printed copy of the Red Border Title Page

7.     ETD Release form signed by the student

The student should meet with an OGS representative to ensure compliance with the electronic formatting and submission guidelines. All required forms can be found at the OGS website, www.unm.edu/grad. A hardbound copy of the thesis is deposited with the department administrator. Check with the manuscript coordinator at OGS about procedure for binding.

Dissertation Committee
The Dissertation Committee is constituted in the same way as the Thesis Committee. Doctoral students formally constitute a Dissertation Committee after successfully passing the comprehensive exam. Students initiate the formation of their committee by selecting a faculty member to serve as director of the dissertation and chair of the committee. Then they agree upon the remainder of the committee and complete an “Appointment of Dissertation Committee” form (available from the OGS website). This form requires the signature of the candidate, the committee chair, the department chair, and the dean of OGS.

Š       The dissertation committee must include at least four (4) members approved for graduate instruction.

Š       The committee chair must be a core (tenured or tenure-track) member of the American Studies department. A co-chair may be added, and may be from inside or outside UNM.

Š       At least two members (including the chair) must be regular, full-time faculty members in American Studies.

Š       One of the members must be “external,” meaning he or she must hold a regular (tenured or tenure-track) position outside the American Studies department. This member may be from another UNM department or from another university. Scholars who do not hold faculty positions in colleges or universities are not usually accepted by OGS to satisfy this requirement.

Š       One of the members may be a non-faculty expert in the student’s research area. This person need not hold a faculty position.

Š       Up to three of the members may be drawn from the American Studies department. Additional members beyond the required 4 may be appointed in consultation with the student.

If a committee member is not UNM faculty, the student will need to obtain his/her CV as OGS must approve non-UNM faculty for graduate committee service.

Dissertation Credit Hours
The program for the doctorate includes a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation (699) credit. While working on the dissertation, students must continue to register for at least three hours of 699 each fall and spring semester until the dean of OGS approves the dissertation. Doctoral candidates must be enrolled the semester in which they complete degree requirements, including summer sessions. Enrollment in 699 may not begin prior to the semester in which comprehensive exams are taken.

Dissertation Prospectus and Format
After passing comps and constituting a dissertation committee, students begin work on the prospectus, a 10-page exposition of topic, methodology, review of sources, and research plan with a 3-5 page bibliography. Only proposals of this length will be accepted. An outline for the dissertation proposal is available in the department office.

The Ph.D. dissertation prospectus is a 10-12 page exposition of topic, methodology, review of sources, and research plan with a 3-5 page bibliography. The prospectus should include the following sections: 1. an introduction that provides an overview of the topic, a statement on the significance of the project, as well as research questions; 2. a review of literature on the subject 3. an explication of the methodologies employed, as well as the main theoretical emphases of the project; and 4. a final section that includes a dissertation chapter outline, as well as a research plan with a schedule indicating time to completion. Finally, the prospectus should include a 3-5 page bibliography. If a student plans to do ethnographic research, oral histories, interviews, or surveys, s/he must receive approval from UNM’s IRB before conducting such research.

Within six (6) months of completing their PhD comprehensive exam, and after approval by their dissertation chair and committee (using the “Committee Evaluation Form” cover sheet available in the department office), students submit the dissertation prospectus to each member of the dissertation committee. The student should schedule a prospectus defense with the entire committee at least two weeks after each member has been given the prospectus. During the prospectus defense, the student will be expected to give the rationale for the project and talk in detail about the feasibility of completing the project as planned. Each member of the dissertation committee must approve the prospectus before the student may proceed to the ABD phase of their graduate career. Because of the importance of the prospectus in shaping the dissertation, students should expect to revise the prospectus multiple times before gaining the approval of the entire committee. The prospectus will have to be revised until the dissertation committee gives its unanimous approval. A copy of the approved prospectus should be filed in the student’s departmental file. Prospectus defenses shall be open to other faculty in the department, although only the student’s committee has a vote on whether to approve the prospectus.

Similarly, major topic changes and/or changes to the chair of a dissertation committee will require that the student reconvene the dissertation committee to approve the changes and the direction of the dissertation.

Dissertation Style
The Departmental style sheet is the Chicago Manual of Style, which can be referenced in the Department office. OGS manuscript guidelines and required front matter forms can be obtained from the OGS website.

Dissertation Final Defense and Submission
A final oral examination dealing with the dissertation and its relationship to American Studies is required.

Three weeks prior to the defense, students should inform the department administrator of their intention to defend, the scheduled date, time, and location, and the committee composition. As with the comprehensive exams, OGS must receive the “Announcement of Dissertation Defense” form listing the exam committee members and signed by the department chair at least two weeks prior to the exam. No defense can be held unless this form is properly completed and filed.

The final defense is public and open to all who wish to attend. Candidates should note that the Catalog directs that a complete copy of the dissertation must be submitted to each member of the committee at least two weeks before the final defense. The student is also responsible for giving each committee member a copy of the department “Guidelines for Dissertation Defense” (available in the department office).

In order to graduate in a given semester, the student and department must provide OGS, by November 15, April 15, or July 15 for fall, spring or summer respectively, with the following:

1.     Report of Examination form indicating the results of the final oral defense

2.     Information Cover Sheet Form

3.     “Report on Thesis/Dissertation” filled out and signed by each committee member and signed by the Committee Chair and the Department Chair

4.     “Certification of Final Form” signed by the student, Committee Chair, and all committee members

5.     One printed copy of the red-bordered signature page, signed by the Committee Chair and all committee members

6.     Printed copy of the Red Border Title Page

7.     ETD Release form signed by the student

8.     Survey of Earned Doctorate Form

9.     ProQuest UMI Microfilming fee

 

The student should meet with an OGS representative to ensure compliance with the electronic formatting and submission guidelines. All required forms can be found at the OGS website, www.unm.edu/grad. A hardbound copy of the dissertation is deposited with the department administrator. Check with the manuscript coordinator at OGS about procedure for binding.

GRADUATION
Deadlines
A. Notification of the Intent to Graduate
Both MA and PhD students must inform the Department of their intent to complete all degree requirements by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of the semester immediately preceding the semester in which they intend to graduate.

B. Report of Exam/Thesis/Dissertation
Results of exams and reports of theses and dissertations must be submitted to OGS on the appropriate form by November 15, April 15, or July 15 in order to complete graduation requirements in Fall, Spring, or Summer sessions respectively.

C. Graduation Ceremony
Degrees are awarded three times during the year. University Convocation is held in both December and May, and the annual Departmental Commencement takes place in May.

Academic Requirements for Graduation
Masters
Plan I (Thesis)

Master’s candidates under Plan I (thesis) complete their graduate work by fulfilling coursework requirements and submitting an approved thesis to their department and OGS.

Plan II (Non-thesis)
Master’s candidates under Plan II (non-thesis) complete their graduate work by fulfilling coursework requirements and successfully passing the comprehensive examination.

Doctorate
Doctoral candidates complete their graduate work by fulfilling coursework requirements, successfully passing the comprehensive examination, and submitting an approved dissertation and report of dissertation defense to their department and OGS.

TIME LIMITS
Master’s
Currently, OGS dictates that all work toward a master’s degree must be completed within a seven (7) year period, including any transfer credit from another institution. Those students on federal grants and loans should check carefully with the Student Financial Aid office for their regulations on progress toward the degree and credit hour caps.

Doctorate
A doctoral candidate will have five years for the completion of all degree requirements from the date she/he successfully passes their comprehensive examination. This time limit includes the oral defense and submission of final dissertation copies to OGS. Those students on federal grants and loans should check carefully with the Student Financial Aid office for their regulations on progress toward the degree and credit hour caps.

Note: A student must request an extension of this time limit in writing, the semester before the time limit expires. The request must be supported by the department and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Extensions are not automatic; students must demonstrate progress toward completion of degree requirements (refer to “Annual Progress Review” above and “Leave of Absence and Readmission” on this page).

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS
Should a policy grievance arise, students should secure the judgment first of their faculty advisor, next of the graduate advisor, and finally of the chair, who may or may not present the case to the faculty. The Office of Graduate Studies also stands ready to assist in questions of graduate student policies, and it is also possible to petition the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in exceptional instances.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND READMISSION
University policy on leaves of absence is covered in the UNM Catalog. There are two possible options for students.

Leave of Absence:
A student who is unable to continue his/her graduate studies due to exceptional circumstances may request, in advance, a leave of absence. The written request, along with a letter of support from the department chair or graduate director, will be sent to the Graduate Dean, who will make the final decision. Leaves of absence are granted on a semester-by-semester basis. Semesters of approved leave of absence are not counted toward the time to complete the degree so long as the student is not enrolled in any UNM course.

Stop Out:
The stop out is a less formal, but more limited, option than the leave of absence. Students may notify the graduate director in writing that they intend to “stop out” for up to two consecutive semesters (summer semester counts). If the student does not enroll for the third semester, s/he must reapply for admission. The time spent in a “stop out” does count toward the time in which a degree must be completed.

Students are not excused from completing any departmental or university requirements because of leaves of absence or stop-outs.

An absence of three or more semesters, excluding summer sessions, will result in a student being automatically dropped from the program. A student who is admitted and completes at least one semester of graduate studies in the Department will receive registration materials for three subsequent semesters (including summer sessions). An absence of more than three semesters (including summer sessions) requires that an application form for readmission be filed with the department at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student will be returning.