Please note that all students are strongly advised to read the School of Graduate Studies Handbook carefully with respect to the Department but also with regard to general policies, procedures, requirements, and the Code of Academic Conduct.
Upon admission to the Department all students will be assigned an Academic Advisor in a field related to the student’s stated area of interest. The role of the Advisor will be to counsel the student with regard to his/her selection of courses and language requirements, keeping in mind the student’s academic goals, program requirements, and other academic concerns. This should occur in the early phases of his/her graduate program. Eventually, the advisor will be replaced by the Thesis Supervisor (see below), who will be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator when the thesis topic has been selected. Students are required to meet with the Graduate Coordinator at the start of the school year.
Master of Arts Program
The requirement for admission to this degree is a four-year B.A. in a relevant program from a recognized university with an average of at least B+ or equivalent in the final year. All applicants must have some prior background in Ancient Near Eastern and/or Islamic Middle Eastern Civilizations. Applicants for admission to the Middle Eastern and Islamic programs are expected to have adequate reading knowledge of at least one of the primary source languages: Arabic, Persian, and/or Turkish. Applicants for admission to some programs in Ancient Near Eastern Studies such as Hebrew Bible and Rabbinics/Hebrew and Judaic Studies are required to have prior training in a primary source language: Hebrew or Aramaic (two-three years at the MA level and three-four years at the PhD level for biblical studies and in Rabbinics/Hebrew and Judaic Studies at least three or more at the MA level and four or more years at the PhD level).
Courses: The one-year M.A. program normally requires at least three full-year graduate courses, or the equivalent, selected in consultation with the Academic Advisor. The two-year M.A. program normally requires at least six full graduate courses, or the equivalent.
If a student intends to go on to the Ph.D. program, it is especially important that courses should be chosen in consultation with the Academic Advisor and Graduate Coordinator. Please read the section on course registration.
MA Thesis Option:
It is offered to students in the one-year and the two-year M.A. programs. The thesis option allows students to conduct a substantial research project beyond the format of a term paper. It is important for those who intend to apply to an institution where the M.A. thesis is a requirement. Students who choose this option must complete a thesis that will be credited as 1 FCE. The thesis must be on a topic that is agreed on with a faculty member who is willing to act as supervisor for the student and can meet deadlines in order for the student to graduate within the usual timeframe of the one-year or the two-year M.A. program. For students in the two-year M.A. program the thesis must be researched and written in the second year of the program. The thesis must be at least 50 pages. The thesis is read and approved by an Examination Committee composed of the student’s supervisor and at least one other reader. When the thesis option is selected, the requirement of 6 FCEs for the two-year M.A. program is fulfilled as follows: 5 FCE’s in the student’s chosen field of studies (including courses than can be taken outside the NMC Department), and 1 FCE for the thesis. The requirement for the one-year M.A. program is fulfilled as follows: 2 FCE’s in the student’s chosen field of studies and 1 FCE for the thesis.
Languages of Modern Scholarship: There are no requirements for previous training in languages of modern scholarship for admission to the Master of Arts program in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. However, students continuing on to the Ph.D. program will be required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of two languages of modern scholarship, in addition to English, by the time of their General Examinations. Therefore, students intending to go on to the Ph.D. level are strongly encouraged to begin acquiring immediately, if they have not already done so, at least one pertinent language of modern scholarship (typically French or German).
Languages of Primary Sources: Applicants for admission to the M.A degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic programs must have adequate reading knowledge of at least one of the languages of primary sources (Arabic, Persian, Turkish). Applicants to some Ancient Near Eastern programs, may be required to have previous training in a primary source language. Students intending to go on to the Ph.D. level should continue their study of the primary source language(s) during their M.A. program.
Doctor of Philosophy Program
Before being considered for admission to the Ph.D. program, applicants shall normally have obtained an M.A. degree in a relevant program from a recognized university with at least an A- average or the equivalent in the courses taken for the M.A. program, and must also satisfy the Department of their ability to do independent research. In addition, candidates must have sufficient relevant background in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, and training in the appropriate primary source languages. The Department, at its discretion, may offer direct entry from a bachelor’s degree to the Ph.D. program to exceptionally qualified students. Program requirements for doctoral candidates, while following the general guidelines and program stages outlined below, may differ on an individual basis with regard to details. The determining factor in an individual’s program is the training (course work, languages) that is considered essential preparation for him/her to be able to carry out research in a particular area.
Residency: Candidates for the degree are required to be registered “on campus” for the period during which course work requirements are being fulfilled, and in no case for less than two academic years.
Ph.D. Program Memorandum: In consultation with the Academic Advisor, the student who intends to go on to the Ph.D. level will fill out a Program Memorandum regarding his/her intended studies. The Program Memorandum will serve as a guide for both Advisor and student to ensure the timely completion of program requirements. The Program Memorandum records the decisions about the student’s program and covers the pre-thesis components of the doctoral program. The Program Memorandum should be brought with the student when meeting with the Graduate Coordinator at the beginning of the school year. These components are listed in the order in which decisions about them are normally made.
All requirements, including the doctoral thesis, must be completed within six years of first enrolment. An extension may be possible in exceptional circumstances. Please note, however, that funding opportunities drastically diminish after year 5 of the program. A copy of the Program Memorandum should be filed with the Graduate Coordinator. The student and Advisor should keep a copy for reference as well. Changes in a student’s program may be recorded in a revised memorandum at any time. Program Memorandum forms may be obtained from the Graduate Administrator.
Course Work: The minimum course requirement will normally be 6.0 FCEs as follows:
* Coherent major (3.0 FCEs)
* Coherent first minor (2.0 FCEs)
* A second Minor (1.0 FCE)
Students who have previously completed a two-year MA in the department may apply for a course reduction that will be granted at the discretion of the department. The reduction should normally be 1.0 FCE, but may be up to 3.0 FCEs in cases of students who also have an exception preparation in their field of study at the BA level. Coursework and all language requirements are to be completed by the end of year 2.
Languages of Modern Scholarship: Students are required to demonstrate reading comprehension in two languages of modern scholarship (typically French and German), the first by the end of their first year in residence, and the second by the end of their second year of residence. A language other than French or German may be substituted with approval of the Academic Advisor and the Graduate Coordinator. In addition to the languages of modern scholarship, the department requires competence in a source language relevant to the student’s program. The choice of languages must be approved by the department. Students are strongly encouraged to adhere to the Timetable for fulfilling language requirements given below (see Timeline, p. 26).
Proficiency Exams in Languages of Modern Scholarship:
The Department will administer two-hour language proficiency exams three times only during the academic year. In 2016-2017 the proficiency exams in French and German will be offered on:
Friday, October 21, 2016; Friday, January 20, 2017; and Friday, April 21, 2017.
A student who fails to achieve a grade of 70% on a language proficiency exam may retake the exam no earlier than the next scheduled exam date. The two-hour exam will consist of texts which are directly related to the student’s field of interest and which the student would be expected to use in the normal course of his/her research. The student should be able to translate into good English a passage of at least 450-500 words within the two-hour period. The student should demonstrate that he/she has correctly understood the text. The minimum passing grade is 70%.
Students may also take the French and German reading proficiency courses outside of our Department. The following courses would fulfill the language requirements:
FSL6000H – Open only to PhD graduate students who need to fulfill their graduate language requirements. For further information, visit: http://french.utoronto.ca/courses/154
GER6000H – Open to graduate students at U of T who need to fulfill their language requirement. For further information, visit: http://german.utoronto.ca/graduate/index.html
Languages of Primary Sources: Students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program shall have already gained facility in one of the primary source languages. The Academic Advisor may deem that additional languages are required, depending on the field of thesis research.
Proficiency Exams in Primary Source Languages: A candidate for the Ph.D. degree will either take a separate minor area examination in a primary source language or be examined in it in the context of a major area examination taken as one of the General Examinations. In this examination the student shall demonstrate facility in using primary resources for research purposes.
Timetable for Language Requirements (Languages of Modern Scholarship and Primary Sources)
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree may not proceed to their General Examinations unless and until they have satisfied their language requirements. Therefore, the Department requires students in the Ph.D. stream to adhere to the timetable below:
Ph.D. Year 1 Exam: First language of modern scholarship passed by end of year 1 or earlier
Ph.D. Year 2 Exam: Second language of modern scholarship passed by end of year 2 or earlier
Ph.D. Year 3 General Examinations, including examination in a primary source language as one of the examinations or part of an examination.
Ancient Near East Studies: Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to two pertinent languages of scholarship, typically French and German. However, other languages, such as Latin, Arabic, and Modern Hebrew, may be substituted for one of these.
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies: Students in this area are not normally admitted to the program unless they have already gained facility in one of the languages of research (e.g. Arabic, Persian, or Turkish). Students in this area are required to demonstrate evidence of ability to read two pertinent languages of scholarship, typically French and German, prior to taking their General Exams, and will be examined in a research language (e.g. Arabic, Persian, or Turkish) at the time of their general exams.
The requirements should be met, no later than January in the year following the completion of course work for the Ph.D. programme.
HOW TO ORGANIZE THE GENERAL EXAMINATIONS
The student should discuss the configuration of his/her examinations first with his/her Advisor and then with the Graduate Coordinator.
The areas examined correspond to the major (two examinations), first minor, and second minor areas of concentration. Thus the student will write at least four examinations. The Program Memorandum (see p. 20) form should be helpful in determining the areas to be examined.
– The primary source language exam may also be given as part of the General Examinations.
– In consultation with the Advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, the student should set up an examination schedule.
– The written examinations are normally scheduled every other day.
– The oral examination should follow the written examinations by a week or so and be scheduled at a time convenient to the student, the examiners, and the Graduate Coordinator, all of whom must be present.
– The Advisor should coordinate the examinations with the other examiners.
The Advisor must notify the Graduate Administrator, in writing or by email, of the examination schedule, including dates and titles of exams. The Graduate Administrator will reserve an examination room and confirm the dates with the Graduate Coordinator.
The student may wish to discuss the nature of the examination (e.g., length, closed or open book or aids allowed, anticipated number of questions, location) with the examiner in each field.
If the student passes the General Examinations, he or she will be expected to present his/her thesis proposal following the Oral General Examination. Written copies of the proposal, even if in preliminary form, must be distributed to all examiners and to the Graduate Coordinator at least one week in advance of the Oral General Examination. Please see guidelines for thesis proposal contents below.
PROTOCOLS FOR THE GENERAL EXAMINATIONS:
1. The General Examinations comprise both the written exams and the oral exam.
2. Typically the Major Exams are 4-8 hours long spread over two days.
3. The Minor Exams are typically four hours long.
4. All exams must be handed in before 5 pm when the Graduate Office closes unless other arrangements have been made.
5. The Oral exam is based on material covered by or closely related to the written exams and is normally scheduled one week or so after the final written exam. If the student has passed his/her General Exams, the thesis proposal will also be discussed.
6. Location: The General Examinations, both written and oral, take place at The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations in a room assigned by the Graduate Administrator.
7. Exam Questions are provided to the student on paper, and the student writes responses directly into a file on the computer or into an exam book, if by hand.
8. Answers: At the exam’s conclusion, the administrator copies the answers to a key, if exams are written on the computer. The answers are emailed to all examiners, and a printed copy of the answers is given to the student. If written by hand, photocopies of the original are made and distributed.
9. Material Covered: The written examinations cover material based on courses the student has taken in relation to his/her Major and Minor fields (see Program Memorandum form), material relevant to the student’s intended research and reading lists that have been agreed on by the student and the members of his/her examining committee. The oral examination questions are normally based on the student’s written answers, but questions may extend to other matters contained in the reading lists agreed upon or questions not selected from the written exams.
10. Interim Grade for Written Exam: Once the written portions are successfully completed, the oral exam proceeds as scheduled.
11. Final Grade: Following the Oral exam, professors are asked to confer and record a final letter grade on the grade sheet, as well as a pass/fail decision. A grade of CR appears on the transcript, when a student is successful. (Please see the Policies for contingencies should a student be unsuccessful).
1. Examination Papers: Please provide the General Examination questions for the
written portion of the exam to the Graduate Administrator at least one day before the date on which the exam is to be written. The questions can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Questions: Where two professors are submitting questions for the same exam, they will need to confer about that exam and decide on the questions. Only the finally agreed-upon questions need be forwarded to the Graduate Administrator.
3. Aids: Please indicate whether the student is to be allowed aids, such as dictionaries or reference materials, during the examination.
4. All graded exams must be returned to the Graduate Administrator.
1. Exam start time: Please check in with the Graduate Administrator prior to the exam.
2. Materials: Unless specifically advised, no materials or aids will be allowed in the examination room. The student may bring food and drink. All other personal belongings will be stored in the Graduate Administration office during the exam.
3. Writing the Exam: Please indicate in advance of the examination date if you would prefer to write the examination by hand.
4. The Exam Room: To be determined by the Graduate Administrator.
5. The Oral Exam: The Oral Examination Committee will establish the Thesis Advisory Committee in part or in whole in consultation with the student in the context of the thesis proposal discussion.
The final version of the proposal must be submitted two months after the successful completion of the General Examinations. It should be 10 pages in length, plus bibliography on a topic for which the Department is able to provide supervision.
THE DOCTORAL THESIS OR DISSERTATION
Upon successful completion of course work, language requirements, the General Examinations, and approval of his/her thesis proposal, the student will proceed to his/her preparation of doctoral thesis research. The thesis must embody the results of original investigation and constitute a significant contribution to knowledge in the field. It must be based on research conducted while registered for the Ph.D. program. The thesis must be successfully defended at a Final Oral Examination. For further details see the SGS Handbook.
The thesis should be as concise as possible and should be formatted according to the guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies. For further information on technical requirements please refer to the Guidelines for the Preparation of the Thesis for Microfilming and Binding. The guidelines are available on the School of Graduate Studies’ website: www.sgs.utoronto.ca/informationfor/students/finup/producingthesis.htm.
Thesis research that involves the use of human subjects, for instance, in the case of informants, interview subjects, survey respondents, and other uses, must conform to University policy. Please see the Graduate Administrator for further details.
Thesis research that involves archaeological fieldwork must respect the regulations of the country involved.
The Thesis Supervisor
The Supervisor is responsible for the direction of the thesis and is the principal member of the Thesis Advisory Committee (see below). The Supervisor determines whether additional course work, languages, or other preparation is necessary in order for the student to complete the thesis successfully. The Supervisor shall call a meeting of the Thesis Advisory Committee at least once a year or more often as required.
When the Supervisor and the other members of the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee have read the thesis in its entirety and agree that the thesis is defensible and ready to go to examination, the Supervisor will notify the Graduate Coordinator of this in writing. The student will then bring copies of the completed thesis to the office of the Graduate Administrator. In addition, the student will submit an abstract of the thesis, a brief biographical sketch, and a list of scholarly publications, if any.
The Supervisor will nominate three potential external examiners to the Graduate Coordinator and, in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, the student and the examiner selected, will set a convenient date for the examination. Students must allow at least eight to nine weeks from submission to the date of the oral defense.
The Thesis Advisory Committee
Students are required to meet with their Thesis Advisory Committee at least once a year. The composition of the Thesis Advisory Committee usually emerges as the thesis proposal develops. The Thesis Advisory Committee is composed of the Supervisor who directs the thesis and two or three other faculty members who are able to offer expert advice in fields related to the thesis topic but whose role is secondary to that of the Supervisor. Faculty from outside the Department may be invited to sit on the Committee.
The first job of the Thesis Advisory Committee is to consider the thesis proposal and, when it has been finalized, to approve the final version of the thesis proposal. The Committee should notify the Graduate Coordinator of the approval and file a copy of the final proposal with the office of the Graduate Administrator. The Thesis Advisory Committee shall meet with the candidate at least once a year to consider progress made, next steps, revisions of material, etc. A meeting at which all members are present is most desirable so that the student does not receive contradictory advice. If this is not possible, other arrangements should be made (e.g., a conference call). The meeting might begin with a brief presentation of work by the student, followed by discussion and recommendations. The results of the meeting should be summarized on the Thesis Advisory Committee Assessment form, which can be obtained from the office of the Graduate Administrator and then filed with the Graduate Coordinator. A Thesis Advisory Committee Assessment (report) must be filed each year before May 15. The Committee reports will be used in assessing the academic standing of post-program doctoral students for funding purposes. The Assessment forms will normally replace letters of recommendation for this purpose.
Supervision of Doctoral Students:
Checklist For Supervisors in Division I:
The supervisor’s primary task consists of guiding and inspiring students to realize their scholarly potential. At the same time, the supervisor must ensure (to the best of his or her ability) that the rules and regulations of the university are met. A checklist on good supervisory practice might include the following questions:
Mutual Expectations: Have you developed an understanding with your doctoral students concerning the mechanics of supervision, the kind and amount of advice you are able and willing to offer, the frequency and regularity with which you expect to see them, a “plan of campaign” (e.g., the timing of submission of a dissertation outline, of draft chapters), and your mutual expectations concerning the quality and originality of the completed dissertation?
Definition of Project: Has the topic of research been refined in the initial stages of work? Is the scope of the dissertation project excessively ambitious? Too narrow? Are you satisfied with the student’s progress and background knowledge of the subject?
Arrangements for Return of Work: Do you make and observe clearly stated arrangements for the return of work within a reasonable period of time after it is submitted to you?
Absences from Toronto: Do you inform your students when you plan to be on research leave or absent for an extended period of time from the university? Have you made satisfactory arrangements for supervision of the student during this time?
Requirements for Successful Submission: Is your student aware of university, faculty, and program requirements and standards to which the dissertation is expected to conform?
Funding and Professional Activities: Do you support your students in their effort to acquire external funding, to publish scholarly articles, or to present conference papers?
Checklist For Students in Division I:
By entering into a doctoral program, the student has made a commitment to devote the time and energy necessary to engage in research and write a dissertation that makes a substantial and original contribution to knowledge. It is the responsibility of the student to conform to university and program requirements and procedures with regard to such matters as research ethics, dissertation style, etc. Although it is the duty of the supervisor to be reasonably available for consultation, the primary responsibility for keeping in touch rests with the student. A checklist on how to build a good supervisor/supervisee relationship might include the following questions:
Appropriateness of Supervisor: Have you determined whether the program and area in which you wish to concentrate are staffed by several active faculty members? Before choosing a supervisor, have you consulted the list (available through your department) of faculty research interests and publications? Have you asked students in the program currently working with a prospective supervisor what their experience has been?
Communications: Does your supervisor know how to reach you (mail, telephone, other) or when you have to go off-campus for any significant period of time? Do you respond promptly to all communications received?
Mutual Understanding: Have you developed an understanding with your supervisor concerning both the mechanics of supervision and the kind and amount of direction you wish and expect to receive? Are you in agreement about the frequency and regularity with which you plan to see each other and about a “plan of campaign” (choosing a thesis topic, the timing of submission of a dissertation outline, of draft chapters, etc.)? Have you discussed your mutual expectations concerning the quality and originality of the completed dissertation?
Planning and Consulting: Have you spent some time in devising a plan for writing the dissertation that can be discussed with your supervisor? (Remember that by and large the dissertation should be the student’s unaided effort.) Have you obtained any indication that your research is beginning to yield new and interesting material? Are you meeting regularly with your supervisor to review progress? Do you consult with other members of the advisory committee as appropriate?
Submission and Return of Work: Are you presenting your work to your supervisor chapter-by-chapter (or section-by-section) in an approved format? The typescript should be legible and, unless you and your supervisor agree otherwise, accompanied by notes. Do you make and observe clearly stated arrangements for the submission and return of your written work?
Timing: If you are working towards a deadline, are you allowing sufficient time for your supervisor to read all parts of the thesis in the final form? The responsibility for proofreading the final clean copy is yours, and this reading, too, may take some time.
Moving Along: Are you aware that the doctoral dissertation, though important to your career, is the beginning rather than the sum of your academic life, and should be completed without undue delays? In other words, the dissertation should be no longer than necessary.
TIMELINE FOR THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM
The doctoral program requires a student to spend at least two whole academic years on campus in full-time study, normally those of the first two academic years of the program residence. Here is a typical timetable for students required to complete two years of Ph.D. course work and for students who have been offered direct entry from the bachelor’s degree to the Ph.D. program with a variant for students who have received permission to apply up to 3 M.A. courses to their Ph.D. requirements:
Typical two-year Ph.D. course work program and direct entry program:
Sept-May Course work in progress
First modern language requirement met by the end of the academic year
Sept-May Course work in progress
Oct. 15 Submit Ph.D. thesis topic and name of proposed supervisor
May Second modern language requirement met by the end of the academic year
Sept.-Jan General Examinations and presentation of Thesis Proposal
March Final version of Thesis Proposal submitted no later than 2 months following successful completion of General Examinations
Years 3, 4, 5 (and 6)
A Thesis Advisory Committee Assessment (report) must be filed each year by May 15. Please see p. 20 for further details.
SUBMISSION OF THESIS
Final Oral Examination/Defense:
Departmental policy requires that all the Ph.D. program requirements, with the exception of the thesis, be completed by the end of Ph.D. 3. Failure to meet these requirements in timely fashion can result in termination of the program.
All program requirements for the doctorate, including submission of the thesis, must be completed within six years. The School of Graduate Studies may permit the time limit for the doctorate to be extended in exceptional circumstances.
M.A. candidates who are pursuing the thesis option and all Ph.D. candidates must upload a PDF of their completed and approved thesis or dissertation to the University of Toronto’s Digital Library Repository. This is a degree requirement. For instructions, please see: http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/currentstudents/Pages/Producing-Your-Thesis.aspx