Year 1:

Students should take a minimum of 4 semester-long courses and a maximum of 6 semester-long courses, including the required course, COL 1000F: “Faculty Seminar: The Basis of Comparison.”

  • Students should begin to consult with potential dissertation supervisors and committee members in the second semester. It is helpful to have a preliminary thesis proposal or the description of research prepared for a fellowship application to show to faculty members.
  • Satisfactory Progress: You must maintain at least at A- average and complete each course with at least a grade of B.

Year 2:

  • Course work and language requirements must be completed by the end of the second year of the Doctoral Program (PhD2). Students should complete their coursework during the first semester of year 2, and all their language requirements by the end of summer of year 2. Courses that teach language do not count toward the required number of courses. If a student takes a graduate seminar in literature or a related topic taught in the original language, that course does count toward the required number of courses.
  • Students must enroll in COL 4000Y at the beginning of the second term of the second year of the Doctoral Program (PhD2).
  • It is the responsibility of the student to approach faculty members and invite them to serve as their supervisor, or advisory committee members, and to serve on the Field Examination committee. Students should begin by informally consulting potential members whose area(s) of specialization and interest seem closest to the proposed thesis subject, during the first year of the Doctoral Program, or in the Fall term of PhD2 at the latest. However, it is the Director who officially appoints the supervisor (or co-supervisors) and the members of the Field Examination Advisory Committees, once thesis proposals have been submitted and approved. A faculty member with an appointment in Comparative Literature will  serve as supervisor or co-supervisor. There must be at least one faculty member from Comparative Literature on a committee composed of three members.
  • Field Proposal. This proposal is drafted during the 2nd semester of Year 2. This is a 5-7 page document outlining the field into which the thesis falls and the nature of the thesis. It defines the topic area for the oral Fields exam, and it should therefore include a reading list. It should be drawn up primarily in conjunction with the supervisor but include input from the other committee members. A preliminary meeting, which is normally the first time the committee meets, should take place before the end of May. At this meeting, the committee discusses and approves the document (with potential still for modification), and sets dates in the Fall of Year 3 for the submission of the Field Paper and the Field Examination The Field Proposal Approval form must be submitted by Spring of the second year. The Field Paper should be in progress during the summer of Year 2.
  • Satisfactory Progress: By the end of Year 2, a student should have 1) completed all coursework with at least an A- average, with no grade lower than a B in any course; 2) completed all language requirements 3) have a supervisory committee; 4) have a Field Proposal approved by the supervisory committee; 5) have held an preliminary meeting with the supervisory committee by the end of May and have dates fixed for the submission of the Field Paper and Field Examination.

Year 3

  • Field Paper. This is a 30-page paper (7,500 words) that discusses the texts on the reading list and their relation to your research question. In advance of writing the Paper, the student must consult with the supervisor to determine the expectations for and parameters of the paper. Once the parameters are established, the student writes the paper on her or his own. This paper is due to the Graduate Administration in the Fall of the third year, and it forms the basis of the Field Exam.
  • Field Exam.The Field Exam is a 2-hour oral exam based on the Field Paper and the reading list established with the Field Proposal. This exam takes place two to three weeks after the submission of the Field Paper in the Fall of the third year.
  • In the case of failure, the advisory committee may recommend that the examination be retaken within a specific period of time; it may also recommend termination of the student’s program.
  • Thesis Proposal. After the student has passed the field exam, the committee may judge that he or she should consolidate the reading and responses received at the oral exam into a more focused and detailed thesis proposal. This document should be 5-7 pages and should be submitted 2 months after the Field Paper (ca. 6 weeks after the Field Exam). The thesis proposal should be drawn up in consultation with the supervisor. It should outline the main questions and issues with which the thesis will be concerned, and briefly explain the methodology. The bulk of the proposal should be focused on setting out in detail the structure of the thesis. A rationale should be provided for the structure of the thesis, and each chapter should be outlined in enough detail to make clear the trajectory of the argument, the primary materials to be used in each chapter, which questions animate the chapter, and the kinds of conclusions or answers that may arise. A copy should be submitted to the Centre.
  • Candidacy: Completion of all program requirements other than Thesis Research means that a student is now officially a “PhD Candidate.”
  • The spring term of Ph.D.3 and the subsequent years of the Ph.D. program should be devoted to the writing of the dissertation. Students who need more time to finish may continue in the program through a maximum of six years (beyond which a formal and motivated extension is needed).
  • Once constituted, the advisory committee will meet with the student once a year or more frequently, as needed. Meeting at least once a year is required to remain in good standing. The Centre will automatically schedule advisory committee meetings in March for new PhD candidates and for all students who have achieved candidacy and have not had an advisory committee meeting during the previous eleven months. In the spring following the Field Examination, the advisory committee must meet again in late spring (ideally March) of Year 3 and submit the required progress reports both from the committee and the student. This meeting is compulsory.
  • Satisfactory Progress: A PhD student has made Satisfactory Progress for Year 3 if by the end of the third year in the program the student has completed all of the course and language requirements, has successfully passed the Field Examination, and has submitted a thesis proposal.
  • Good Standing: Failure to satisfy and complete the various requirements for the Ph.D. (including completion of courses with an average grade of at least an A-, completion of language requirements, registering a thesis topic, completion of Field Examination, yearly meetings with the advisory committee) in a manner consistent with the above time-line will result in loss of good academic standing and guaranteed funding.
  • Time-Limit to Completion: “A student enrolled in a full-time PhD program will be denied further registration in that program and will have their eligibility terminated at the end of the third year of registration if by that time either: 1) the student has not completed all requirements for the degree exclusive of thesis research – including course requirements, language requirements, qualifying departmental examinations – or 2) the student does not have an approved thesis topic, supervisor, or supervisory committee. In exceptional circumstances, a student who has not met these requirements may be permitted to register in the program for two further sessions at the discretion of the graduate unit concerned. Continuation beyond two sessions will require the approval of both the graduate unit and the SGS Admissions and Program Committee.” (SGS Calendar)

Year 4 

  • Continuing research and writing of the dissertation.
  • Satisfactory Progress: A Phd student has made Satisfactory Progress for Year 4 if by the end of the fourth year in the program the student has completed all of the requirements for satisfactory progress for Years 1, 2 and 3 and also has received a notice of satisfactory progress from the supervisory committee.

Year 5 

  • Ongoing writing of thesis with completion by the end of Year 5. 
  • Satisfactory Progress: A PhD student has made Satisfactory Progress for Year 5 if by the end of the fifth year in the program the student has completed all of the requirements for Satisfactory Progress for Years 1 through 4 and also has received a notice of satisfactory progress from the supervisory committee. 
  • Funding Ends: The Faculty of Arts and Science provides a funding commitment to PhD students so that they receive a basic minimum of income from a combination of sources, including the University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF), External Fellowships, or Teaching Assistantships (note that almost all PhD students in the Centre for Comparative Literature must work some hours as a TA as part of their funding package). The funding commitment from the Faculty of Arts and Science is in place for 5 years. By the end of year 5, this funding will come to an end. It may become more difficult to find the time to get your academic work done as you may have to take on teaching or other jobs to support yourself. It is strongly recommended that students submit the dissertation by the end of Year 5. Note also that SSHRC Fellowships cannot be held after Year 5, OGS Fellowships are rarely awarded after Year 6, and Teaching Assistantship entitlements are for a total of six years at the level of hours worked, with greatly reduced entitled hours in Years 7-10. It is imperative you make the most of your years of funding and get as far ahead with the writing of the dissertation as possible.
  • Doctoral Completion Award: Students are eligible to hold the award in Year 6. Note that the amount of the award is much less than any basic funding package. To be eligible to apply for the award, a student must have completed at least one chapter of the dissertation (to the satisfaction of the supervisory committee) and must be in good standing, having received a positive report at the last supervisory committee meeting.

Thesis Submission and Final Oral Examination: When the thesis is completed, the Supervisor should send an email to the Director stating that all the committee members have signed off on the thesis and that the student is ready to submit. The Supervisor suggests possible external and external/internal examiners. The student should submit a thesis abstract approved by the supervisor as well as six hard copies and an electronic copy of the thesis. The Centre will then proceed to organize the Thesis Defense (also known as the Final Oral Exam). The thesis must be submitted a minimum of ten weeks before the defense takes place in order to allow sufficient time for securing the external and internal readers. Until the final corrected version of the thesis is uploaded to the thesis repository (ETD), the student continues to pay fees. SGS also has deadlines for convocation. Students planning on a March convocation should make sure they submit the thesis to the Centre before November 1; for a June convocation, before Feb. 1; for a November convocation, before July 1. There may be corrections that need to be made to the thesis after the defense which may add more time to the progress.

Updated September 9, 2022