1st Year Ph.D. Preparation Seminar

Course Description: 

The PhD Preparation Seminar is a mandatory course for first-year PhD students in Comparative Gender Studies at CEU. It is a workshop-style course designed to guide probationary doctoral students through the conceptualization and development of the PhD Thesis Proposal and accompanying Fields and Themes Paper, the written materials required for the Comprehensive Exam and subsequent advancement to PhD Candidacy (i.e. proceeding to the research and writing of the doctoral thesis).

Learning Outcomes: 

The first meetings of the class will focus on understanding the form, function, and scope of the PhD Proposal as well as the practical considerations that go into preparation for the Comp Exam. We will discuss the components of a thorough and convincing proposal (central hypotheses, research questions, situating projects within relevant scholarly literatures and debates, methodological and theoretical approaches, methods and research design, scholarly significance), and students will give each other feedback on broad outlines of these elements. Subsequent sessions will concentrate on identifying key scholarly literatures and fields as well as underexplored or neglected areas/questions within those research fields, as a basis for identifying and developing each student’s Fields and Themes Paper (FTP), the accompanying bibliography, and ultimately a clear scholarly rationale for each thesis project.


A draft FTP must be completed by the end of the fall term. In the winter, attention will shift to the PhD Proposal itself, with a concentrated set of meetings in which we workshop student proposal drafts and exchange feedback on how to strengthen them. A final meeting will address Comprehensive Exam Committees and strategies for moving through the rest of the PhD program.