Mentoring Quick Guide for the LTC Program:

LTC is here! If you’ve not met the new students yet, be on the lookout for them; they’re positively wonderful, and are going to do great things:

But the rules are just a bit different for the LTC students than for Lit or TCS, so we’ve put together this cheat-sheet to help you in preparing to mentor our new class of bright young scholars.

(Sometimes the human memory is imperfect; hence this handy document. For the real nitty-gritty or the detailed Plan of Study Rationale, we refer you to the TA Manual, which is always available in the DGS office and online.)

Here, you will find answers to these questions:

  1. What are the four main LTC tracks?
  2. What are the basic requirements for an MA in LTC?
  3. What are the basic requirements for a PhD in LTC?
  4. What are the breadth requirements for LTC students?
  5. Are there required courses in LTC?
  6. Can you remind me of the new prelim exam format?
  7. Can existing Lit students use the new prelim format?
  8. When should we be ready with the reading lists for the new prelim?
  9. When should we be ready with the field questions for the new prelim?
  10. Whom should I talk to about my other LTC questions?

1. What are the four main LTC tracks?

Within the LTC program, students may specialize in any of four main areas, while acquiring breadth in all of them. Students indicate which track interests them most when they apply. Please note that they are not required to prelim in any of these tracks – prelim fields may be somewhat more concentrated than what you see below.

  • Medieval & Early Modern Studies
  • Transatlantic & Early Atlantic Studies (17th – 19th centuries)
  • 20th- & 21st-Century Literary Studies
  • Theory & Cultural Studies

2. What are the basic requirements for an MA in LTC?

Students should finish their 30 credits of coursework, including ENGL 501, the breadth requirement, and the language requirement within two years, at the end of which they may either take the MA exam or defend a thesis.

The MA exam list contains 20 works. Only generally recognized major texts will be chosen, 5 in each of 4 areas: Medieval and Early Modern Literature; Transatlantic and Early Atlantic Literature; 20th Century and Contemporary Literature; and Theory and Cultural Studies. Students write for 3 hours, usually on 3 questions chosen from a list of 5 or 6 options. The questions may deal with any of the books on the list, or any combination of those books. The second part of the examination, taken by all M.A. candidates, consists of the explication of a passage of prose or poetry.

3. What are the basic requirements for a PhD in LTC?

Think 2:1:2 – Students have two years for 30 credits of coursework (including ENGL 501 and the breadth requirement), one for exams (in a perfect world, prelims in the fall and the prospectus defense in the spring), and two years for dissertating. Ideally the language requirement will also be completed within the two coursework years, but, in any case, students cannot advance to ABD status without it.

As with all of our programs, students have only ten months following the prelim to defend the prospectus. Once those ten months have elapsed, students will not be permitted to register or to teach until the prospectus is defended. Please keep that in mind.

4. What are the breadth requirements for LTC students?

Both MA and PhD students share the same requirement: they must take at least one class in each of the four LTC tracks. No exceptions, and no transfers are allowed.

1) Medieval & Early Modern Studies

2) Transatlantic & Early Atlantic Studies (17th – 19th centuries)

3)  20th- & 21st-Century Literary Studies

4)  Theory & Cultural Studies

Overlap is not allowed for the breadth requirement. That is, it is theoretically possible for a class to fulfill more than one track requirement in the abstract, but an individual student may use any given class only once towards a given requirement. For example, imagine a class on Queer Readings and Renaissance Literature. It could conceivably fulfill either Track 1 or Track 4 on an individual’s Plan of Study, but could not satisfy both on the same PoS.

5. Are there required courses in LTC?

All LTC students are required to take ENGL 501. This is true of both MA and PhD students. No exceptions or transfers are permissible.

6. Can you remind me of the new prelim exam format?

 Sure can!  General sequence of exams:

  1. Field Exam, written component (5 days)
  2. Focus Exam (7 days—during which time the committee will evaluate the written component of the Field Exam)
  3. Field Exam, oral component (2 hours)
General scheduling of exams:
  • Examinations will be scheduled 2 times a year: in August (7-day portion to coincide with the week before orientation) and in March (7-day portion to coincide with Spring break).
  • The oral component of the Field exam will be scheduled by the student, in consultation with the committee members, during the two-week period following the submission of Focus exams.
Reading Lists:

A Master Field Exam reading list is to be kept in the DGS office.

  • Faculty in each area will consult with each other to craft a Master Field Exam Reading List of 75 authors/texts (up to 15 of these texts can be secondary works), designed to show breadth of coverage in that area.
  • Master Field Reading Lists should include a mix of genres with the aim of preparing students to teach standard surveys as well as upper-division undergraduate courses. So, for example, we could accept a Master Field List in Women’s Writing, but not in Renaissance Poetry. 
  • Students may offer additions/substitutions to the Master Field list as they build their Individual Field Exam Reading Lists, but the final list must be approved by the entire committee. See grad manual for more on this process.
  • Students examining in a Designated Major Field with no master list should seek the approval of the major professor and DGS for that field. They will then work with the major advisor to construct a field list. Once approved by the entire committee, the Designated Major Field list will also be kept on file in the DGS Office for future reference.

Focus Exam reading lists should be constructed by the student and should include between 20 and 30 texts. There may be no overlap between the field and focus lists. As with individualized Field Reading lists, Focus lists must be circulated to and approved by all committee members.

Constructing the Exam:

Field Exam Questions: Committees will provide students with 7 possible questions for the written component of the Field exam, 3 of which will be chosen later by the committee to be included on the exam itself. Field questions should prompt students to read for breadth of knowledge of authors/texts/genres on their Individual Field Reading Lists in preparation to teach both standard surveys and upper-division undergraduate courses in their area. Questions must be approved by all members of the committee. 

Oral component of the Field Exam: the aim of the oral component is to provide students with an opportunity to discuss authors/texts/genres not addressed in the written component; the overall goal is to better assess students’ preparation for and approaches to teaching both standard surveys and upper-division undergraduate courses in their areas. The atmosphere should be that of a conversation rather than an interrogation. Conversations during the oral component should deal exclusively with works on the student’s Individual Field Reading List. 

Focus Exam Question Students and committee members will work together to formulate one question for the Focus Exam that addresses the student’s topic of research interest. The Focus question should prompt students to examine both primary and secondary works with the aim of demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a particular research topic. The Focus question must be approved by all members of the committee.

NB: Students whose focus lists are in medieval, Old English, or Middle English language or literature may, at the discretion of the major professor, have a translation requirement on the preliminary exam. See the grad manual for details.

7. Can existing Lit students use the new prelim format?

Yes, provided they have the permission of the major professor, all committee members, and the DGS. However, the Master List for the Field Exam must be on file with the DGS office before permission can be granted.

8. When should we be ready with the reading lists for the new prelim?

As we are asking faculty to switch over to set reading lists, as opposed to building them with students, the field lists will ideally be ready as soon as possible. But here are the hard deadlines:

  • For those taking the exam in August, the reading lists must be approved and recorded in the English Graduate Office by the end of the previous March.
  • For those taking the exam in March, the reading lists must be approved and recorded in the English Graduate Office by the end of the previous November.
  • Master Field Reading Lists will be kept on file in the Graduate Office and will be reviewed for update by faculty every 2 years.

9. When should we be ready with the questions for the new prelim?

  • For those taking the exam in August, this material must be finalized and sent to the DGS office no later than April 15th.
  • For those taking the exam in March, this material must be finalized and sent to the DGS office no later than January 31.

10. Whom should I talk to about my other LTC questions?

Mike Johnston is the Director of LTC, and Nush and Jill are always ready and happy to help out with any graduate questions. Grab any of us.

 

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