Ph.D. Program Handbook

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1 Ph.D. Program Handbook School of International Service American University Academic Year Edition

2 Table of Contents Academic Year Edition... i Introduction... ivv Purpose of this Handbook... ivv Courses & Credit Requirements... 2 Credit Requirements... 2 Transfer Credits... 2 For Students with No Transfer Credits... 2 Core Courses... 2 Fourth Credit Option... 3 Dissertation Credits... 3 Examinations... 3 Written Comprehensive Examinations... 3 International Communication... 4 Examination in another School or College at American University... 5 Self-Constructed Examination... 5 Defenses of the Prospectus and Dissertation... 6 Language Requirement (also known as the Tool of Research)... 6 There are five ways in which this requirement can be met:... 6 Dissertation... 8 Assembling a Dissertation Committee... 8 Changes to Committee... 8 Departure of Faculty... 9 Writing the Dissertation Prospectus... 9 The Prospectus Defense... 9 Human Subjects Research Dissertation Fieldwork/Study Abroad Dissertation Format The Dissertation Defense Submission Process ii

3 Registration and Academic Progress Requirements Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress Maintaining Matriculation Grade Point Average (GPA) Statute of Limitations Funding Dean s Fellowship Assistantship Assignments Changes in Assistantship Assignments Travel Grants Additional Information Greenberg Teaching Seminar Teaching Ph.D. Website/Electronic Resources Academic Advising All But Dissertation (ABD) Status Appendix I: Language Course Resources in the Washington, DC area iii

4 Introduction Purpose of this Handbook This publication serves as a comprehensive resource for students and faculty delineating the components, policies, and procedures for earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in International Relations at American University s School of International Service (SIS). Ph.D. students and faculty should refer to this Handbook for answers to questions they might have regarding Ph.D. degree requirements and for information regarding other SIS Ph.D. Program procedures and practices. American University Academic Regulations and the American University Catalogue establish the framework for this Handbook. American University regulations take precedence over the SIS Ph.D. Program Handbook. This information is subject to change. If American University Academic Regulations, the American University Catalogue, or other American University or SIS documents and procedures change in ways that affect the SIS Ph.D. Program Handbook, the University documents and procedures immediately supersede this Handbook. If the SIS Ph.D. Committee, SIS Council or SIS Dean change the SIS Ph.D. program, the Handbook will be updated to reflect the new procedures. The Director of Doctoral Studies also reserves the right to make minor changes the Handbook in order to make the description of existing procedures and practices clearer or to eliminate errors in the Handbook text. Only the most recent version of the Handbook is valid. The SIS Ph.D. website always has the most recent version of the SIS Ph.D. Program Handbook. Please refer any questions, comments, or suggestions to the Director of Doctoral Studies or the Academic Advisor for the Ph.D. program. iv

5 Courses & Credit Requirements Credit Requirements Students are required to complete a total of 72 credits in order to satisfy the program s credit requirements. Credits fall into two categories, coursework credits and dissertation supervision credits. Students must complete a minimum of 48 coursework credits (including, if applicable, any credits transferred in from prior graduate study). Each student is encouraged to schedule a meeting with the Ph.D. Academic Advisor early on in the first semester to develop a plan for completing the credit requirements of the Ph.D. program. Subsequently, each student should meet with the Ph.D. Academic Advisor at least once a year to insure that the student is making good progress toward completing the required credits. Transfer Credits Students entering the Ph.D. program with graduate coursework may transfer up to 30 credits completed at an accredited university (the Ph.D. Academic Advisor will consider and articulate transfer credits from universities outside of the United States, subject to American University and SIS regulations, established practice, and the review of the Director of Doctoral Studies). Only those credits earned through coursework may be transferred. These transfer credits will be directly applied to the 48 coursework credit requirement and to the 72 credits required for the degree. An official copy of the student s graduate transcript(s) must be delivered to the Ph.D. Academic Advisor, so that it may be included in the student s official records. Transfer credits and grades earned do not appear on the American University transcript. Students who have undertaken graduate study at American University automatically have up to 30 credits of coursework applied to their Ph.D. program, as these courses already exist on the student s academic record. No additional transcript or articulation is required. For Students with No Transfer Credits Students entering the program with a Bachelor s degree but no graduate coursework should develop a plan with the Ph.D. Academic Advisor for satisfying the credit requirements for the program in a mutually satisfactory fashion to expedite good progress in the program. Options available include taking elective courses for four credits and/or studying during a summer session. Core Courses The SIS Ph.D. program has developed a set of core courses intended to provide students 2

6 with a broad understanding of the debates within international relations scholarship and to provide students with the foundations for acquiring the methodological skills needed to assess and produce advanced scholarship. These courses, which are taken during the first three semesters, are: SIS-700 Comparative and Regional Studies Proseminar SIS-701 International Relations Proseminar Quantitative SIS-705 Social Theory in Comparative and International Relations SIS-714 Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations SIS-715 Seminar in Advanced Research Design SIS-716 IR Quantitative Methods Proseminar Each course is worth a total of four credits. The student will register for the three credits that are available in the course registration system. The PhD program advisor will register each student for an additional single credit per core course. Fourth Credit Option For all non-core graduate courses offered in SIS, students have the option of taking an additional credit. This is designed to aid the student in expediting the completion of coursework. The student will need to discuss with the faculty member teaching the class the additional assignments required to earn a fourth credit for the course. Once the student and the instructor have agreed on the additional work, the student will need to register for one credit of SIS-790. Dissertation Credits Students should plan to register for all required dissertation credits prior to the end of their fourth year. This should be done so that the student will have to pay for as few credits as possible once the fellowship ends after the completion of the fourth year, if necessary. Examinations A Ph.D. student must pass two written comprehensive examinations, and oral defenses of the dissertation prospectus and doctoral dissertation (which are delineated in the Dissertation section of this handbook). Written Comprehensive Examinations Each student is required to pass two written comprehensive examinations. All established SIS programs listed below are required to offer an examination two times a year. Comparative and Regional Studies Global Environmental Policy 3

7 International Communication International Development International Economic Relations International Peace & Conflict Resolution International Politics US Foreign Policy There is a set examination schedule. In both the Fall and Spring semesters, the exams will be offered early in the semester, normally during the fourth week of classes. For the Fall examination students must inform the Ph.D. Academic Advisor by June 15. The notification date for the Spring examination is November 15. Individual Program Directors are required to have prepared comprehensive examinations at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters whenever at least one student makes a timely request to take the examination. An individual program also has the discretion, but no obligation, to offer comprehensive examinations at additional times, The Ph.D. Academic Advisor will inform the director of the individual programs of the number of students who will be taking the exam. Each will supply to the Ph.D. Academic Advisor a copy of the exam questions one week prior to the date of the examination. Programs have discretion in the construction of their exams, subject to approval by the Director of Doctoral Studies. Most commonly, students will have four to six hours to select and answer three or four questions from a larger list of questions on the exam. Students normally write comprehensive examinations on personal computers. A student is permitted to write the exam by hand; the student must notify the Ph.D. Academic Advisor prior to the exam if he/she plans to do so. Each student will be assigned an ID number; this is done to maintain the anonymity of the student during grading. The only exceptions to the anonymity rule are in the cases of selfconstructed examination fields. The following business day, the Ph.D. Academic Advisor will distribute the exams to the readers from each program. Initially, there will be two readers for each exam question (it is up to each individual Program whether different readers will be employed for different questions, or if the entire exam will be graded by two readers). The appropriate Program Director determines these readers. The first two readers will be given four weeks to read and grade the exams. If both readers agree on the results, the Ph.D. Academic Advisor will inform the student once the paperwork has been completed. If there is disagreement on the results, a third reader will be given two weeks to grade the exam. In this case, the majority decision will be the final result, and the student will be informed once the Ph.D. Academic Advisor receives the results from the readers. Ultimately, the student should receive his/her results within six weeks of the completion of the exam. 4

8 The possible results are distinction, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory. Unsatisfactory results will not appear in any way on the student s transcript. A student is normally permitted no more than two opportunities to pass a written Ph.D. comprehensive examination. The Director of Doctoral Studies may permit exceptions if there are extenuating circumstances involved. A student who fails to pass after a second attempt may take comprehensive examinations in the remaining programs or write a selfconstructed examination. A student who is unable to pass two written Ph.D. examinations will be given an opportunity to obtain a terminal Master s degree from SIS. Examination in another School or College at American University A student may pursue a comprehensive exam in another School or College at American University with the approval of the SIS Ph.D. Program Director as well as the Dean or Dean s Designee at the School/College. In such cases, exam policies and procedures are established by the other School/College and the student is expected to adhere to those requirements. The Ph.D. Academic Advisor in SIS will be notified and maintain records of the student s comprehensive examination attempts and will record any passed comprehensive examination results on the student s transcript. Self-Constructed Examination Instead of taking a second written comprehensive examination in one of the established SIS programs, a student has the option of constructing a written exam that is tailored to a student s particular interests. If a student chooses this option, it is his/her responsibility to identify and confirm three faculty members to develop, write, and read the exam. The three faculty members involved determine the format for the construction and administration of a self-constructed exam in consultation with the student. The exam must be written and conform to American University Academic Regulations as well as SIS procedures for comprehensive examinations. In order for a self-constructed exam to be approved, the student must submit to the Director of Doctoral Studies the following information in the format of a memorandum: 1. The title of the examination field 2. Intellectual rationale for the independent field of study (written in prose and not to exceed one page, single spaced) 3. A list of relevant courses associated with the subject matter of the exam 4. A comprehensive list of literature associated with the exam subject matter 5

9 5. A statement outlining the format for administering the exam, including: a. Format: sit down or take home? (If the exam is to have a sit down format, the Ph.D. Academic Advisor needs at least three weeks notice to arrange for a room and proctoring) b. Means and media of submission c. The order of readers (i.e., who are the two initial readers and who is the third reader?) 6. A signature page listing participating faculty members, including the Director of Doctoral studies. The Director of Doctoral Studies or Ph.D. Academic Advisor will provide to a student upon request a example of a self-constructed comprehensive exam memorandum to help the student. The student first works with the three faculty members to develop the exam and then provides the Director of Doctoral Studies with a completed draft. The Director of Doctoral Studies either approves it or sends it back for revisions. A student may wish to consult with the Director of Doctoral Studies at the outset to receive a preliminary assessment whether the scope and content of the proposed field is appropriate. In the case of self-constructed exams, the student is not bound by the standard examination dates. However, the student, faculty readers and the Ph.D. Academic Advisor must all agree on an appropriate time for the administering of a sit down exam. Upon completion of the exam, the reading and grading processes will be the same as the standard comprehensive exams. Defenses of the Prospectus and Dissertation The defenses of the Dissertation Prospectus and ultimately of the Doctoral Dissertation serve as comprehensive exams required for the Ph.D. program. For more information, see The Prospectus Defense and The Dissertation Defense below. Language Requirement (also known as the Tool of Research) Each Ph.D. student is required to demonstrate intermediate-level reading proficiency in a modern foreign language in order to satisfy degree requirements. Please consult the SIS Graduate Advising website for more detailed information. There are five ways in which this requirement can be met: 6

10 Students who are nationals of a country where English is not the native language can meet this requirement by presenting a valid passport to the Ph.D. Academic Advisor. Language Proficiency Examination: Students can meet the language requirement by passing a language proficiency examination offered by the American University Language Resource Center. For details regarding the languages for which students may take examinations, as well as schedules of exams can be obtained at the Language Resource Center s website: Bachelor s or Master s degree in a language other than English, or a Bachelor s or Master s degree in which the student successfully completed a foreign language major Pass an intermediate or higher university-level language class: Students receiving a grade of B or better in any foreign language class offered by an accredited institution will satisfy the language requirement. The School accepts certifications from a number of programs in the Washington, DC area-consult Appendix I for more information With the approval of the Director of Doctoral Studies, an SIS faculty member with sufficient foreign language skills may construct and administer an examination to a Ph.D. student 7

11 Dissertation Writing a dissertation is the cornerstone of the doctoral program. There are five phases of this process: assembling a dissertation committee, the prospectus defense (which, as stated above, serves as the fourth comprehensive exam), researching the dissertation, writing the dissertation and the dissertation defense. The student is responsible for coordinating and completing each phase. Assembling a Dissertation Committee Each student is responsible for initiating the construction of her/his dissertation committee. This permits each student to shape the process to meet specific needs. The committee must conform to the following University requirements: All committee members must have received a doctoral degree from an accredited university. A committee must consist of at least three members, including an agreed upon chair The committee chair must be a faculty member in the School of International Service. Two of the committee members must be from American University. It is permissible for a student to have one or more committee members from outside the university. If a student chooses to have a committee member from outside the university, the student is solely responsible for obtaining comments on the dissertation as it progresses, and making arrangements for the external members to be present physically or virtually for the prospectus and dissertation defenses. The student will complete a form (available from the Academic Advisor and on the Ph.D. program website) listing the members of the committee. The student will inform the Director of Doctoral Studies of the composition of the committee by submitting the completed Committee Member Form (available online at The Director of Doctoral Studies and the Dean of SIS must approve all dissertation committees and changes to dissertation committees. Changes to Committee A student may change the composition of a dissertation committee at any time. The student is required to notify the Director of Doctoral Studies in writing of any change immediately by resubmitting a Committee Member Form with the relevant updates. The Director of Doctoral Studies and the Dean of SIS must approve a change in the composition of a dissertation committee for it to be official. 8

12 Departure of Faculty Should an American University faculty member serving on a committee resign his/her position at the University, the School permits him/her to remain as a standing committee member for the duration of the dissertation process. The faculty member may also continue to chair the committee, if he or she had been serving in that capacity. Should the faculty member opt remove him/herself from the committee, it is the student s responsibility to identify and confirm a new member if necessary. Writing the Dissertation Prospectus The dissertation prospectus is intended to articulate the planned approach for the writing of the dissertation. The body of the text of the prospectus should not exceed 3,000 words, and should address the following questions: What is the question the dissertation is to address? What do (we) know about this issue now (i.e., the state of the literature)? How am I going to investigate it (i.e., methodology and forms of evidence)? What is my dissertation going to contribute to the field? The prospectus should also contain the following: An appendix that includes a timeline detailing a schedule for completion of the dissertation. A bibliography that contains relevant works. The committee will ensure that the prospectus meets these guidelines in terms of length, content and format. The Prospectus Defense As stated above, the prospectus defense is one of the four comprehensive exams that the University requires of all Ph.D. students (see the Examinations section of this Handbook for a description of the other three). The purpose of the prospectus defense is twofold. It is an assessment of student s readiness to proceed with the research portion of the dissertation. It is also an opportunity for the dissertation committee and the Director of Doctoral Studies to provide the student with the constructive advice in a collective format regarding the project. The dissertation committee and the Director of Doctoral Studies must approve the prospectus. The student will submit a copy of the prospectus to the Director of Doctoral Studies four weeks prior to the proposed date of the prospectus defense. The Director of 9

13 Doctoral Studies will have one week to read the prospectus. Within two weeks of the initial submission, the Director of Doctoral Studies will consult with the committee chair to determine whether the student is ready to move forward with the defense. If it is determined that the prospectus needs further revisions, the committee chair and Director of Doctoral Studies will discuss with the student what issues must be addressed. At this time, the committee chair and the Director of Doctoral Studies, in consultation with the student, will also determine a course of action for moving forward. A new two week period of reading and consultation as described above will commence when the student submits a revised draft of the prospectus. Upon receiving approval to proceed with the defense, the student will find a time during which the examiners can all attend and a room for the defense. To reserve a room in the SIS building, call (202) Alternatively, call Bender Library Archives Reading Room at (202) Once the time and place have been confirmed, the student must inform the Director of Doctoral Studies so that an announcement can go out to the academic community, normally at least two weeks prior to the defense itself. The prospectus examination committee consists of the student s dissertation committee and the Director of Doctoral Studies. The Director of Doctoral Studies serves as the Chair of the prospectus examination committee. The prospectus defense is open to the academic community at large. Students are welcome to invite individuals to attend. If the student has selected one or more committee members from outside American University, the student must arrange for that person to attend, or to be present via conference call. The student should inform all of the members of the prospectus examination committee when such measures are necessary and take this into account when selecting a room for the defense. The prospectus defense and evaluation takes approximately two hours. The format of the prospectus defense is: 1. The student is given 15 minutes to present a brief summary of the prospectus. The student should construct the presentation based on the knowledge that the committee has already read the prospectus. 2. Each member of the prospectus examination committee will be given 15 minutes to question the student about the proposed research (other committee members 10

14 may ask questions during another member s time if it is a question or answer clarification or specifically relevant to the issue at hand). 3. A final 10 minutes will be given for questions from other members of the academic community in attendance. 4. The student and others in attendance will be asked to leave the room while the members of the prospectus examination committee discuss the merits of the prospectus defense. 5. Within 30 minutes, the student will be asked to return to the room so that the Director of Doctoral Studies can inform the student of the outcome of the defense. 6. A consensus decision determines the result of the defense. The possible outcomes are as follows: Pass the student may go forward with the proposed research. Provisional Pass the student will be given specific areas of the prospectus that must be addressed before the research can proceed. The examining committee also determines by whom the revisions must be approved in order for the results of the defense to be changed to Pass. Fail the student will be informed of the specific deficiencies of the prospectus so that they may move forward with developing another draft, and the process can be initiated again. No entry will be made in a student s record until the student receives a Pass from the committee; provisional passes and failures will not appear on the student s transcript at anytime. A student is expected to update her/his dissertation design as the project evolves as a result of research. Under most circumstances, the student should simply keep the dissertation committee informed of these developments. The dissertation committee Chair has the discretion to ask for a new proposal if the research question, method or subject matter changes so substantially that it can only be considered a different research project. There will be no new prospectus defense in such instances. The dissertation committee has the responsibility to ensure that the content, scope and method of the new proposal are appropriate for a Ph.D. dissertation. Human Subjects Research Any American University student who plans to conduct research that involves human subjects must have his/her research program cleared by the American University 11

15 Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB). The SIS IRB representative may refer the prospectus to the full IRB. Information about guidelines and procedures can be found at the IRB s website: Dissertation Fieldwork/Study Abroad Students are encouraged to carry out dissertation fieldwork in whatever site is appropriate and safe for the completion of the dissertation. As mentioned above, students must gain approval from the University Institutional Review Board if their research involves human subjects. Students must also complete the School s Graduate Global Practicum paperwork (available at before travelling abroad to conduct fieldwork. Dissertation Format The University has detailed set of requirements for formatting and submitting a dissertation. Many aspects of it are to meet the specifications set out by University Microfilms International (UMI), the organization that indexes and disseminates all dissertations in the United States in a variety of formats. The University only accepts dissertations that conform to its requirements and that are submitted in conformance with its timetable. The American University Library maintains a website with approved formatting requirements: The website also includes a Checklist for AU/Dissertation Completion. The Dissertation Defense Once the student has completed the research and written the dissertation, it must be submitted it to the student s dissertation committee for review. The format of the final product must adhere to American University guidelines, as identified above. The final draft of the dissertation must be submitted for review to the dissertation committee members four weeks prior to the date of the proposed defense. The committee will have two weeks to read the dissertation. Within that two week period, the committee will inform the student if the dissertation is ready to move forward to the defense. If revisions need to be made, the student will be provided with details of what items need to be addressed. If the committee believes that the student may move forward, the date for the defense can be set. As with the prospectus defense, the student must find a time when the dissertation committee members are all available and arrange a room for the defense of the dissertation. All committee members must participate in the defense, including members 12

16 from outside American University, either in person or via a conference call. It is the student s responsibility to insure that all members are in attendance. If the student has selected one or more committee member from outside American University, the student must arrange for that person to attend or be present via conference call. Once the date, time, and location of the defense are confirmed, the student must notify the Ph.D. Academic Advisor at least two weeks before the defense is to take place. The advisor will make public notification of the defense. The procedure of the dissertation defense is as follows: 1. The student is given 20 minutes to present a summary of the dissertation findings. 2. Each committee member has 15 minutes to question the student about the dissertation (other committee members may ask questions specifically relevant to the issue at hand during this time). 3. Other members of the academic community in attendance have 10 minutes to ask questions. 4. The student and others in attendance are asked to leave the room while the committee members discuss the merits of the dissertation. 5. A consensus decision determines the result of the defense. 6. Within 30 minutes, the student is asked to return to the room so that the committee chair can inform the student of the outcome of the defense. The possible outcomes are as follows: Distinction the dissertation is approved for submission pending any final adjustments Pass the dissertation is approved for submission pending any final adjustments Provisional Pass the student will be given specific areas of the dissertation that must be addressed before the dissertation is passed. Revisions may have to be submitted to the entire committee or only to the committee chair. The student will be informed of the follow-up process at the time of the defense. 13

17 Fail the student will be informed of the specific deficiencies of the dissertation so that they may move forward with addressing the issues so that the defense process can be initiated again. No entry will be made on the student s transcript until they receive at least a Pass from the committee; provisional passes and failures will not appear on the student s transcript at anytime. Once a dissertation receives a grade of Distinction or Pass, the student or committee chair must submit the completed Dissertation Results Report form to the Ph.D. Academic Advisor. The student must also have all members of his/her committee sign the title page of the dissertation, and the committee chair must also sign the Thesis/Dissertation Completion Form. Submission Process Once the committee has approved the dissertation, the student must complete a formal submission process. It is the student s responsibility to format the dissertation to meet all American University requirements for the submission of the final draft of the dissertation. In order to graduate, the student must complete all graduation paperwork at the University Registrar s Office and arrange for the deposit of the correctly formatted dissertation with the University library. The student must also have applied to graduate for the semester in which he/she is defending. There are two forms required for submission of the dissertation, both available from the Ph.D. advisor: Thesis/Dissertation Completion Form The Survey of Earned Doctorates The student should pick up the Completion Form from the SIS Graduate Advising Office prior to defending his/her dissertation and obtain the signature of his/her committee chair at the time of the defense if the dissertation is approved. The student should then deliver the form to the SIS Graduate Advising Office in SIS 250 for the Ph.D. Program Academic Advisor will arrange for the Dean s signature on the Completion Form. Upon successful defense of the dissertation, the student must download and complete The 14

18 Survey of Earned Doctorates (available online at The SED must be submitted to the registrar s office in order to obtain the registrar s signature on the Completion Form. To complete this process, the student must schedule an appointment with the Office of the Registrar to complete final processing (current contact is Michael Hunnicutt, Associate Registrar, ). The student must also submit a money order or check for $55 with the Office of Student Accounts to cover the costs of microfilming the dissertation. Once the student has met with the Office of the Registrar, he/she will need to complete the electronic dissertation submission process at 15

19 Registration and Academic Progress Requirements Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress Each student is expected to make satisfactory progress toward completion of the Ph.D. degree. This is determined by the Director of Doctoral Studies, who assesses the progress of all active students on a regular basis using the criteria established in the academic regulations of American University (available at: The Director of Doctoral Studies will inform any student who is not making satisfactory progress of that finding, so that the issues concerning the student s progress can be addressed. Persistent failure to maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the degree is sufficient grounds for termination from the program. The Director of Doctoral Studies will consult with the Chair of the SIS Ph.D. Committee, the Dean of SIS and other relevant faculty before making such a recommendation. The Dean of SIS makes the final decision regarding termination. Maintaining Matriculation Students must continue to register each fall and spring semester until they have successfully defended their dissertation. This can be achieved by registering for one credit of dissertation supervision per semester in both the fall and spring semesters. Students who no longer have tuition assistance must pay for the credit to maintain matriculation. Students who are unable to make progress on the dissertation at any point may be granted a leave of absence, which suspends the need to maintain matriculation. Requests for a leave of absence must be submitted to the Director of Doctoral Studies and approved by the Dean of SIS, and must include a statement that the student will undertake no academic work during the period of leave. The combined total duration of officially designated leaves of absence for any student may not exceed one year. No University facilities may be used nor faculty consulted during a leave of absence. Grade Point Average (GPA) Students are expected not only to complete all course requirements but to perform well in all courses. At a minimum, a student in the Ph.D. Program should maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. A student failing to attain this standard may be removed from the program at the discretion of the Director of Doctoral Studies and Dean of SIS. 16

20 Statute of Limitations American University's Academic Regulations provide that all work for the doctorate must be completed within five years from the date of first enrollment as doctoral student (seven years if the student entered a doctoral program with a bachelor's degree). Prior to the expiration of the time limit specified (or to the expiration of approved extensions) a student may petition for an extension of candidacy. Extensions are approved by the Dean of the School of International Service, upon recommendation of the Ph.D. Academic Advisor and the Director of Doctoral Studies. In any event, the combined total of extensions will normally not exceed three years beyond the applicable duration of five or seven years. 17

21 Funding Students admitted to the program will have a number of means to receive funding throughout the course of their studies. Normally each student admitted for full-time study receives a Dean s Fellowship. Dean s Fellowship All those admitted to the SIS Ph.D. program as full-time students and who maintain good progress toward completing the degree are granted a Dean s Fellowship in each of the first four years of study, unless a student opts to waive financial aid. There are two components to the award. First, the School of International Service provides a scholarship for full tuition remission for graduate course work to meet the requirements of the Ph.D. program. The fellowship can extend to courses taken in summer sessions during the first four years of study. Students interested in taking classes during the summer should make arrangements directly with the Ph.D. Academic Advisor. The second component of the Dean s Fellowship is a stipend. The stipend is paid to the student in monthly increments during the academic year. Students work directly for a member of the SIS faculty as a either a Research or a Teaching Assistant for a maximum of 20 hours per week, during the fall and spring semesters (15 weeks per semester; 30 weeks for the year). Stipends are paid out in nine monthly installments. Students may opt out of the work requirement only with the approval of the Director of Doctoral Studies, the SIS Dean and the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research. Students choosing to do so will forego the stipend and only receive tuition remission unless extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., significant documented health issues). Assistantship Assignments The Director of Doctoral Studies, Ph.D. Academic Advisor, and Director of Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid work together to propose assignments, and make recommendations to the Dean of SIS for FA assignments of incoming students to faculty. The Director and Advisor endeavor to recommend assignments for each student to a faculty member whose work is linked as closely as possible to that of the student. Only members of full-time permanent (tenure or tenure-line) faculty are eligible to receive a doctoral assistant. A faculty member who is on leave may not be assigned a new doctoral assistant, but may continue working with an assistant who has already been assigned. Faculty assistantship assignment notifications are handled by the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Office. 18

22 Assistantship responsibilities may include teaching, research, and, as needed, administrative support. Students are not permitted to work in excess of the 20 hours per week for which they are assigned, including time spent in classes in a Teaching Assistant Capacity. If a student finds that an issue arises regarding the nature of an assignment, working conditions, or the working relationship that needs to be addressed, the student is strongly encouraged to speak with the Director of Doctoral Studies as soon as possible. Changes in Assistantship Assignments A second, third, or fourth-year student continues working for the faculty member with whom he/she has worked in the previous year(s) unless either the student or faculty member requests a change of work assignment. A student seeking to change his/her assignment must discuss this with the Director of Doctoral Studies, the faculty member for whom the student would like to work in the following year and the current faculty supervisor. The Director of Doctoral Studies will recommend whenever possible changes that have the support of both the current and proposed future faculty supervisor. If a student finds that an issue arises regarding the nature of an assignment, working conditions, or the working relationship that needs to be addressed, the student is strongly encouraged to speak with the Director of Doctoral Studies as soon as possible. Travel Grants Each academic year SIS provides the Ph.D. program with funds to be used to defray up to $250 of the costs doctoral students incur when traveling to conferences to present scholarly papers. Students are only reimbursed for actual travel expenses that they can document with receipts. Disbursements are only made for conferences occurring from May 1 to April 30 of the relevant academic year. The budget is limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis. To be eligible, the student must have had a paper accepted for presentation at an academic conference or workshop. Those interested in receiving travel funds should indicate to the Director of Doctoral Studies the following information for the conference that they will be attending: The conference that they will be attending (or have attended in the ongoing academic year), including the location and dates of the conference, the title and abstract of the paper that they will be presenting. Confirmation that the student has been accepted to present at the conference. 19

23 A proposed budget for conference attendance. An American University Travel Expenses form, which can be found in the myau.american.edu portal under Finances. Students must submit this information no later than two weeks after attending the conference. 20

24 Additional Information Greenberg Teaching Seminar The Greenberg Teaching Seminar is an optional component of the Ph.D. program, but is recommended, especially for those entering the program with an interest in teaching. Greenberg Seminars provide a hands-on, practical introduction to professional development and classroom techniques. The seminars, designed for first, second and third year Ph.D. and MFA students convene three to four times each semester. Information about the Seminars is distributed each summer. For more information visit: Completion of the seminars each year is noted on the student s transcript. Teaching Beyond opportunities to serve as a teaching assistant as a part of the fellowship, students may seek opportunities to allow them to gain classroom experience. Students who have achieved ABD status are eligible to request a teaching assignment. Students should notify the Director of Doctoral Studies of their interest. The Director of Doctoral Studies will notify all ABD students of any possible teaching opportunities and of a deadline for expressing interest. If more than one student expresses an interest, the Associate Dean will make a selection in consultation with the Director of Doctoral Studies and the students dissertation committee Chairs. Students who have not yet achieved ABD status are only granted permission to teach when an exceptional circumstance, specifically, if a special teaching need is identified by SIS that would be best filled by a particular Ph.D. student. In such a case, if it is determined that no ABD student is able or willing to fill a teaching opening, the Associate Dean will solicit suggestions from the faculty directly involved in filling the teaching slot. In other words, for students who have not reached ABD status, a faculty member must nominate them to teach for them to come into consideration. In most instances, this would be the Program Director or a faculty member responsible for filling a large number of sections. If a student who is not yet ABD is suggested, the name is forwarded to the Director of Doctoral Studies and to the student s dissertation Chair. If the student does not yet have a dissertation Chair, the student s faculty supervisor for her/his research assistantship may serve as a substitute. Permission to teach is only granted when the Director of Doctoral Studies and the student s dissertation committee Chair both are of the opinion that the teaching assignment will not interfere with the student s progress toward completing the degree. 21

25 Ph.D. Website/Electronic Resources The School of International Service maintains a website for doctoral students (http://www.american.edu/sis/admissions/phdprogram.cfm) that contains several pieces of useful information, including the latest version of the Ph.D. Handbook. The School will add or modify website resources as it sees fit to inform, equip, or support doctoral students. All questions or comments regarding the website should be directed to the PhD. Academic Advisor. The Ph.D. Advisor and Director of Doctoral Studies also maintain an electronic mailing list in which all students are automatically enrolled. These lists are employed to alert students to important deadlines and other matters within American University and the School of International Service, as well as to alert students to professional and academic publication, presentation, and career opportunities. Academic Advising The Academic Advisor for the Ph.D. Program works with the students and the Director to administer the program. He/she coordinates matters with students pertaining to registration, financial aid, and graduation, and is serves as a resource to students on various other matters. The Ph.D. Academic Advisor is responsible for ensuring that incoming doctoral students are registered, and for processing all dissertation credit registration. He/she is also expected to file all relevant documentation regarding completion of degree requirements (e.g. comprehensive examination completion, etc.). The Ph.D. Academic Advisor maintains an appointment calendar and offers walk-in hours each week to meet with doctoral students. Office hours and contact information for Ph.D. Academic Advisor can be found on the SIS Graduate Advising website at All But Dissertation (ABD) Status A student reaches the All But Dissertation (ABD) stage when he or she completes all course work, the language requirement and all four comprehensive exams. ABD is an informal, commonly used designation in academe. 22

26 Appendix I: Language Course Resources in the Washington, DC area N.B. These resources are provided for informational use only and based on the School of International Service accepting certification/transcripts from these institutions for language certification purposes only. Neither American University nor the School of International Service make any further claims regarding the quality or availability of course offerings and are in no way affiliated with any of the programs listed below. None of the programs of study included below offer courses that American University accepts for academic credit-these offerings may only be used to fulfill the Tool of Research (language) requirement and not towards meeting other degree requirements. The US Department of Agriculture Graduate School The Middle East Institute The Goethe Institut Alliance Française International Center for Language Study 23

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