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PhD Program Handbook

PhD in Film and Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz
2020-21 Program Handbook

WELCOME

Beginning the Program
FDM PH.D. Degree Requirements

THE FIRST YEAR

Coursework
Incompletes
Transfer Credit and Substitution for Students with Master's Degrees
Foreign Language Requirement
Designated Emphasis (D.E.)
Annual Review Before Advancing to Candidacy

THE SECOND YEAR

Coursework
Preparing for the Second-Year Review
Thinking Ahead to the QE

THE THIRD AND FOURTH YEARS

Preparing for the Qualifying Exam
QE Committee
Topic Areas
Exam
Foreign Language Requirement
Assembling a Dissertation Committee
Dissertation Prospectus
Colloquium
Advancing to Candidacy

AFTER ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY

Required Course Enrollment and Fees
Annual Evaluation After Advancing to Candidacy
Time to Completion of Dissertation
The Dissertation
The Oral Dissertation Defense

OTHER RESOURCES

Teaching Opportunities in the Program
Funding Opportunities
Facilities

APPENDIX

TIMELINES AND CHECKLISTS

How To Advance to Candidacy
Status Options After Advancing to Candidacy
Sample PhD Timelines

FORMS

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Welcome

Welcome to the Ph.D. program in Film and Digital Media! We hope that this handbook will help you navigate the terrain of the Ph.D. When it comes to highly specific program information and regulations, we refer you to both the program statement in the UCSC Catalog, which is the document of record for this and all academic programs at UCSC, and to the Graduate Division website: http://graddiv.ucsc.edu/. If you need the official wording on some aspect of graduate study at Santa Cruz or within FDM, it’s found in one of those places. This handbook supplements that information by providing more detail on our program.

Your FDM faculty adviser, the Graduate Programs Coordinator (Rachel Grad) and the Director of Graduate Studies (Prof. Sharon Daniel) will be your three key resource people to further amplify the information found here: they will work to help with the campus procedures and, most importantly, will assist you in satisfying the requirements of the program and carving out your own directions in research and practice.

By now you probably know well why this program is unique among graduate programs in film and media studies: our integration of theory and practice as related forms of knowledge places us at the vanguard of academic programs. Whatever your methodologies or terrains of research, you will leave here with a dissertation (or, as we often refer to it, a “project,” because it won’t resemble a traditional dissertation) that will be an original contribution to knowledge and an embodiment of research and practice conceived and conducted together. There is no exact template for how it should look or how to create it: just as with a typical dissertation, your particular approach to scholarship will differ from that of your colleagues, and will determine the form of your final project.

Beginning The Program

Email:

  • Your @ucsc.edu email address is your official email address for everything to do with the campus, department, and program. You need to check it every day.
    • The department and grad division do not keep track of other email addresses you use, and our primary method of communicating with you will be your official ucsc address.
  • The fdmphdgrads@ucsc.edu email group is available to use to contact all of the FDM Ph.D. students.
  • The alias fdmgrads@ucsc.edu includes all graduate students in the department: Ph.D. and M.F.A (SocDoc) program.

Web Profile and Outreach:

As one of our students, you will have a profile on our website at https://film.ucsc.edu/phd/students. The Graduate Programs Coordinator will maintain and update that profile quarterly (or any time you wish) to make a change. You are welcome to provide links to other websites or social media profiles that you maintain. When you write your bio or profile in other places, such as publications, residencies, websites, interviews, etc., please mention your affiliation with the department! We are proud of you and mentioning your affiliation in these ways helps to raise our department’s profile and increase support for our programs. (Before you advance to candidacy, the correct terminology is “Ph.D. student.” After you’re ABD, you can call yourself a “doctoral candidate” or “Ph.D. candidate.”) Please also update the Graduate Programs Coordinator when you have news of an award, fellowship, or achievement and provide images or links if you can; we will use this info in our news and outreach.

Your FDM adviser:

  • As you enter the program, you will be assigned a faculty adviser from among the FDM faculty.
    • Your adviser will be your primary source of information and advice on your academic program. The DGS is also available for consultation on matters to do with your overall program of study and requirements.
    • You are expected to meet with your adviser at the beginning and end of each quarter, at minimum.
  • Your initial adviser may turn out to be your permanent adviser and chair of your dissertation committee. It is also possible that, as you move through the program, you will identify another faculty member to serve that role. Please discuss any potential change of adviser with your current and potential adviser and the DGS. You must then use the change of adviser form (see the “forms” section at the end of this document) to change advisers.

Enrolling for courses:

  • Enrollment for Fall courses opens in Spring of the preceding year.
  • For incoming students, enrollment in FILM 200C (Theory and Praxis of Film and Digital Media) in Fall is required as well as the 2-unit course FILM 202 (Graduate Pedagogy). Typically you take a film and digital media elective in that first quarter also. Other requirements for the year are described below.

Financial details:

Your financial package is confirmed at the time of your acceptance. Financial offers differ and the best source of information on your offer is the Graduate Programs Coordinator.

  • Funding is usually provided in a mixture of grants, fellowships, TAships, and Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) or Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) positions.
  • The Graduate Programs Coordinator can advise you on possible options for future funding.
  • Starting in 2020-21, the Chancellor has guaranteed five years of funding for all doctoral students. Departments award that funding, with support from the campus when necessary. The details of the offer are publicly available here.

Residency for out-of-state students:

Take immediate steps to establish California state residency!

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who moved to California from another state, you will need to establish CA state residency as soon as possible, since the department cannot cover out-of-state tuition. Please review the Registrar’s Office Website about the specific details to establish residency: http://registrar.ucsc.edu/fees/residency/

 

FDM Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Our official Ph.D. Program Statement is found in the UCSC catalog. The information in this handbook amplifies that statement with more detail on specific elements of the program, such as advising, electives, the QE, and oral defense.

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THE FIRST YEAR

First, review the degree requirements on the department website: http://film.ucsc.edu/phd_program/requirements

You should also review the Division of Graduate Studies Graduate Student Handbook: https://graddiv.ucsc.edu/current-students/academic-regulations/graduate-... handbook/index.html

Coursework

A student who has not yet advanced to candidacy is expected to take 12 credits per quarter. You will usually take two 5-credit graduate courses. You will also enroll for a 2- unit advising course with your assigned adviser each quarter until advancement to candidacy. You should meet with your adviser at the beginning and end of each quarter to discuss your plans and progress. They will ensure you’re taking best advantage of what’s available and to make sure you’re on track with the required electives. If you wish, you and your adviser can use this form to keep track of your progress through the year. It does not need to be submitted to the Graduate Programs Coordinator since all this info will be contained in your end of year review.

All first-year students must take the three core FDM Ph.D. courses (200C-B-A), and the 2-unit Graduate Pedagogy Seminar (FILM 202). In addition, they must take at least two film and digital media Ph.D. elective courses during the first year. FDM Ph.D. elective courses are coded FILM2xx. Please note that enrollment in FILM 237 is restricted to students in their second year and above. With the approval of the DGS, MFA (SocDoc) courses (coded SOCD2xx) and non-film and digital media graduate courses that are taught by film and digital media faculty and affiliated faculty can also count as FDM Ph.D. electives.

In addition to the two FDM Ph.D. electives, you may take other graduate electives in our department, Visual Studies, DANM, or other graduate programs on campus. The Graduate Programs Coordinator will circulate a list of graduate courses in other programs each quarter or you can find them through UCSC department websites.

You are encouraged to take FDM elective courses even if a course’s topic does not line up neatly or precisely with your research interests. Exposure to a breadth of topics and approaches is an essential experience for your intellectual and creative development.

The FDM Ph.D. program has relatively few required courses and, because we do not have tracks or emphases within the degree, students have relative freedom in crafting an appropriate program. But you must craft this program in consultation with your faculty adviser.

Students are not permitted to enroll in FILM 295 (Directed Reading) classes during their first year, since those are reserved for QE preparation. But you can take an independent study with a faculty member for either two or five credits (this would not replace the requirement to take three core courses and two Ph.D. electives). Students who have already taken a large number of Independent Study courses (more than three) are discouraged from taking additional independent studies.

Incompletes

We strongly discourage Incompletes in FDM Ph.D. courses. We also recommend that our students do not request incomplete grades for courses taken outside the department. We understand that an Incomplete may be appropriate in some instances, particularly in cases of serious medical and personal emergencies. In such cases, we require that the instructor and student make a firm deadline to complete the work and that both parties notify the student’s advisor and the Graduate Programs Coordinator.

In no case should the student submit the required coursework to the instructor later than Week 6 of the Quarter following the issuing of the “I” grade. Per university policy, if the coursework is not completed within one calendar year, the incomplete grade will automatically revert to an Unsatisfactory or (U) grade which is grounds for immediate review by the department with the likely outcome of academic probation. No student is allowed to advance to candidacy with outstanding incomplete grades on his/her transcript.

Transfer Credit and Substitution for Students with Master’s Degrees

Applicants who already hold an M.A. or M.F.A. degree may petition to waive up to 30 credits of coursework, including up to two of the six required FDM Ph.D. electives; such a waiver is subject to the approval of the director of Graduate Studies. You should already have submitted these materials before the fall of your first year; if not, please attend to it shortly after you arrive.

Foreign Language Requirement

The foreign language requirements are outlined in our program statement: you’ll need to fulfill this requirement in order advance to candidacy. Start thinking now about what language you wish to use to pass your language exam. You may need to find language classes on campus and it’s best to start early.

Designated Emphasis (D.E.)

Students who wish to develop a secondary field of expertise are encouraged to consider a Designated Emphasis. This enables the student to officially add a field to their FDM Ph.D., e.g. “a Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media with a Designated Emphasis in Visual Studies,” or similar. To find out more, students should explore the designated emphasis requirements for the department or program in question and discuss the prospect with their adviser and their grad program advisers.

Annual Review Before Advancing to Candidacy

An annual review is due at the end of each academic year. The review will describe your academic activities over the course of the year and evaluate your progress during that time, and it will address your plans for the following year.

By the deadline established by the Graduate Programs Coordinator, you should submit your review form to your adviser. The Graduate Programs Coordinator will send you a form which will ask for the following information:

  1. Name, adviser, second-year review or QE committee (if already known)
  2. Accomplishments in the last year. This should include as many of the following as are relevant:
  • Coursework completed (include as an attachment any narrative evaluations you received in those courses). Highlight FDM Ph.D. electives and other courses.
  • Independent research conducted and the progress or results thereof: conference presentations, screenings, exhibitions, publications, etc.
  • Progress towards language requirement
  • Funding received and how it was spent (e.g. conference travel, research etc)
  • TAships, GSIships, GSR positions.
  1. Plans for the following year:
    • Proposed courses
    • Any other research or professional activities from the above categories.

Your faculty adviser will respond to the report with comments about your progress and accomplishments and will then share the report with the Graduate Programs Coordinator. Reviews will be due in subsequent years, too; see under “after advancement to candidacy.”

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THE SECOND YEAR

Coursework

There are no core FDM Ph.D. courses in the second year, but you must take at least four film and digital media Ph.D. elective courses (unless substitutions have been granted; see above). With the approval of the DGS, M.F.A. (SocDoc) courses and non- film and digital media graduate courses that are taught by film and digital media faculty can also count as film and digital media Ph.D. electives. While continuing to meet the Ph.D. elective requirements in the second year, students may, in addition, take other film and digital media graduate courses or graduate courses other departments, subject to approval from the student’s faculty adviser. Students must obtain permission from the Director of Graduate Studies and their faculty adviser if they wish to take advanced undergraduate courses.

Students are limited to one FILM 295 (Directed Reading) course during their second year, unless they enter the program with an M.A. or M.F.A.

Preparing for the Second-Year Review

During the winter quarter, you and your adviser should be preparing for the second year review, which should be scheduled for the spring of year 2 (or fall or winter if you have a Master’s degree; see below under Preparing for the QE). You can nominate faculty members to the review committee, and your adviser and the DGS will confirm them. The exact requirements for how to constitute the committee are in our program statement. You must submit four or five coursework projects, including your final project from 200C, and a statement (described further below) about that work and its contexts, which will form the basis for oral examination questions by faculty members. As you assemble these materials, you should contact the Graduate Programs Coordinator, who will organize a shared folder where all your committee

members can access your materials. You should also reserve a room for the exam with the department assistant, Nicole Nolte. Your adviser should send out final confirmation of the exam time, access to materials, and should direct faculty members to the program statement where the rules for the examination and its outcomes are to be found. In addition to its function as an exam, the review allows a committee to better advise students as they contemplate the Qualifying Exam and their preparation for it.

Items to Submit

  • Submit the 2nd Year Review/Master’s Exam Form to the FDM Graduate Coordinator by April 15.*
  • Submit the following items to the designated Google Drive folder by May 1:*
  • Written Statement (1,000 words)
  • Four or five coursework projects/papers, including your final project from FILM 200C
  • Unofficial transcript, which can be printed from my.ucsc.edu

* If you have a Master’s degree and are preparing for a fall or winter review, please submit materials by the same relative dates for those quarters.

Review/Exam Committee

  • Students may nominate faculty members to serve on their review committee using the 2nd Year Review/Master’s Exam form. Prior to nominating committee members, students should confirm their ability to serve on the committee during Spring quarter. The student’s adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies will assemble the committee, taking into account the student’s nominations.
  • The committee should have a minimum of three faculty members.
  • One must be the student’s primary adviser, who should chair the meeting.
  • The Director of Graduate Studies will also serve on the committee.
  • At least two committee members should be Film and Digital Media faculty.

Written Statement

In addition to the coursework submitted for the 2nd Year Review, you will also prepare a written statement contextualizing that work, approximately 1,000 words in length. Your statement should explain the creative and scholarly work you have produced in your degree thus far, contextualizing the curricular choices you've made, both within and beyond FDM, and placing the work completed in and around your courses, both regular classes and individual (directed and independent) studies. As well, it should explain how this work has prepared the ground for new projects and how it has extended your competence beyond what you brought to the program; it should outline areas you feel confident within and how those areas relate to your intended dissertation project; and it should address any areas that need further development and how you intend to compensate for those in remaining coursework or study. (Areas for further work might be a language skill, an area of scholarship, a technical or creative aspect of art practice, etc.) This statement about your work and its contexts will form the basis for oral examination questions by your faculty committee. The committee may ask for a revised statement before or after the oral exam.

Oral Exam

At the beginning of the oral exam students will have twenty to thirty minutes to present their statement and work to the committee. Committee members will then conduct an interview with the student in which they pose questions about the statement/presentation and about the work. These questions will have been generated partially in advance and are intended to allow the student to explore and contextualize the work and the way it is situated in the statement.  The goal is for students to be able to talk meaningfully about the connections and implications of their work and to place it within a wider critical, theoretical, and creative context. This exam also functions as a space for the student to map out their possible future trajectory in the program, with specific attention given to preparation for the Qualifying Examination. The oral exam is closed; only the student and the faculty committee will be present. The Graduate Coordinator will join the exam at the end if any administrative or logistical questions arise regarding the student’s future preparations.

Possible Results of 2nd Year Review / Master’s Exam

At the conclusion of the oral exam, you’ll be asked to leave the room briefly while the committee discusses the exam. You will be called back in for a discussion about the results and the committee’s recommendations for future directions.

For students entering without a Master’s degree:

The committee will recommend one of three grades for the MA exam: fail, pass, or conditional pass with permission to proceed. Students who fail may retake the oral component of the exam one time. A student with a pass only may leave the program with the degree of Master of Arts. Students who pass with permission to proceed may enter the third year of coursework towards the Ph.D. The decision on permission to proceed with take into account the examination result and input from faculty whose courses the student has completed. The student’s adviser must be attentive to the conditional pass, and help facilitate the student’s regaining a stronger footing in the program (advising the student in revising the personal statement, for example).

For students entering with a Master’s degree:

The committee will discuss the result of the review and its recommendations for further progress in the program, including the timeline to the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam and possible QE topic areas.

Thinking Ahead to the QE

During your advising meetings in the first and second year, you and your adviser should be noting your progress through the coursework requirements and should be starting to think about your QE areas and the constitution of your QE committee. The requirements for a qualifying examination committee at UCSC are very particular, and most are set by the Graduate Division. You can find them outlined in detail in our program statement.

It’s important to read these carefully, along with this handbook, as you think about your committee. Students with Master’s degrees who receive a full thirty units of transfer credit should be ready to QE in the fall or winter of year three, subject to a positive second year review in the fall or winter of year two, so it is important to be thinking ahead and beginning the directed reading series (see under Third/Fourth year for more information). Students without a Master’s degree will usually QE in fall of year four.

Supervised Teaching

Students are expected to complete at least one year of supervised teaching as part of the degree requirements. For most students, this will come through at least three quarters of TAships. Any GSI (graduate student instructor)-ships undertaken will also count towards this requirement.

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THE THIRD AND FOURTH YEARS

There is one required course in the third year: FILM 203 in the fall. This 3-unit course focuses on professional development including grant applications, abstracts, applying for jobs, etc. We also strongly recommend that you take FILM 237, Graduate Critique this year and, if desired, in future years after advancement to candidacy. This course will help you in the integration of the practice component for your dissertation.

The remainder of your program will be made up of any remaining electives and preparation for the QE.

The third year will be spent developing three qualifying exam topics that will lead to the dissertation in close consultation with the your faculty adviser. (This will occur earlier for students who enter with a Master’s degree.) Students work with three faculty members to develop three distinct topic areas with a corresponding bibliography/mediagraphy in 295 (Directed Reading). Topic areas must be pre-approved by the director of Graduate Studies who will ensure that the breadth requirement is met.

As mentioned already, QE committee composition is very particular. You can find the requirements outlined in detail in our program statement. In particular, note the need for one of the three examiners to be both outside the department and have tenure (i.e.

Associate Professor or Professor; not Assistant Professor; you can check website profiles if you need to). Also note the requirement that the chair of the QE committee cannot be your current adviser or the person who will advise (chair) your dissertation; they must be in FDM, have tenure, and have a Ph.D. They don’t have to be close to your work; their role is to facilitate the meeting, take into account the opinions of the three examiners, and write the report on the exam afterwards. You should meet with the DGS as you put this committee together; DGS approval is required, and it’s best to use that requirement as an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about committee composition and the timing of the exam.

As you begin to schedule the QE, please be in touch with the Graduate Programs Coordinator to indicate your plans. Scheduling the QE is, like other exams and the defense, the responsibility of the student. You should find a time that your examiners and QE chair can be physically present. Only in exceptional circumstances (like a global pandemic, or when an examiner is on sabbatical and unable to attend in person) should video-conferencing be used. Doodle often proves to be a useful tool for coordinating people’s availability.

Preparing for the Qualifying Exam

Timeline (see the Appendix for more detailed timelines for students with/without a Master’s)

At the Second-Year Review

  • Discuss possible QE topic areas with your 2nd Year Review Committee
  • Discuss possible faculty examiners for each topic
  • Discuss possible QE Chair
  • Identify potential quarter for QE

Two quarters prior to the QE

  • Have 3 topic areas approved by your adviser and the DGS
  • Finalize selection of faculty examiners for each topic (including non- FDM faculty member), as well as QE Chair
  • Ensure availability of committee members during quarter of intended QE
  • Enroll in 1 or 2 Directed Reading classes (FILM 295) with faculty examiner(s) to develop and study topic area bibliographies
  • Continue enrollment in elective seminars and FILM 297F advising course
  • Produce first drafts of area bibliographies

One quarter prior to the QE

  • Enroll in remaining Directed Reading classes (FILM 295) with faculty examiner(s) to develop and study topic area bibliographies
  • Continue enrollment in elective seminars and FILM 297F advising course
  • Submit 3 approved bibliographies to DGS by the end of the quarter
  • Confirm availability of all exam committee members
  • Submit Grad Division QE Committee Nomination Form to FDM Graduate Coordinator
  • Schedule dates for written and oral exam in the following quarter
  • Complete Language Requirement
  • Make sure you’ve completed 108 Units of coursework (including any transfer credits) with 3 FDM core courses and at least 6 FDM electives (unless you’ve had substitutions approved) among them.

QE Quarter

  • Enroll in ten units of Thesis Research (FILM 299) courses to continue studying for and writing exam, plus FILM 197F advising course
  • Exam questions will be given approximately mid-quarter
  • Written essays will be due two weeks later
  • Oral exam will be given approximately two weeks after written exam is submitted
  • The Report on Qualifying Examination Form should be completed by the committee chair and signed by all committee members. It can be sent to the graduate programs coordinator for submission to Graduate Division.

Overview

The aim of the Qualifying Exam is to ensure that you are prepared to go on in your field at an advanced level and that you are ready for the very particular integration of production and critical studies work that will constitute your dissertation. The QE itself is divided into three topic areas, with each area including a bibliography, a written exam, and an oral exam. You will work with three faculty members (whom you select and who will be members of the QE Committee) to develop three distinct topic areas with a corresponding bibliography. Each list will include 30- 50 texts (written/film/video/digital media). The lists should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (Notes-Bibliography format). A quick guide to Chicago is here; the full edition is held in the library.

QE Committee

Your QE committee will be comprised of four faculty members (including the chair), at least one of whom must be from another discipline at UCSC or from another campus (and must have tenure). The chair of the QE committee must be a tenured faculty member from FDM, holding a Ph.D., and cannot be your primary faculty adviser or the person who you will chair your dissertation. The chair cannot also be one of the examiners. The composition of your QE Committee must be approved by your faculty adviser and the DGS no later than one quarter prior to the Qualifying Examination.

The QE Committee must also be approved by the Graduate Division, and the Graduate Dean; the QE Committee Nomination Form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Coordinator no later than the end of the quarter prior to the exam.

Topic Areas

Each topic area should display historical or theoretical breadth and engage with a variety of media. Two of the topic areas should ideally relate to the future dissertation topic, while one of the remaining should constitute an outside area, examining a topic that is methodologically and/or distinct from the other two. It is important that the topic areas be pre-approved by the DGS (who will ensure that the breadth requirement is met). Approval can be sought in a meeting or by email.

Exam

Written Exam

For the written portion of your exam, each of the three faculty members on your QE Committee will provide the chair with one question on the topic area you worked on with them. After receiving and approving the format of the questions, the chair will circulate them to you and the written exam period will begin. You will not see the questions prior to the exam, but they will be general enough to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of each topic area, rather than (for example) to test your knowledge of a specific article or work.  Over a two-week period you will write an essay response to each question (each essay 3,500-5,000 words in length). Your exam may be a written-only document or you may also incorporate media into your exam responses. The oral component of the exam follows after a minimum two-week break, allowing the faculty time to carefully read and evaluate your written exam.

Oral Exam

At the beginning of the exam you will be asked to briefly discuss the written responses you have submitted, for a maximum of twenty minutes. Then members of the QE Committee will begin asking questions about the responses you have submitted for each topic area. Normally the faculty examiner for each question will lead the discussion on the response you have written; however any committee member may ask questions of any paper. Approximately 45 minutes is given to each response.

The committee chair will moderate the overall event and keep time.

Possible Results of the Qualifying Exam

Once the oral exam is completed, you will be asked to leave the testing area while the committee confers. You will return to the testing area and be informed of the committee decision and next steps.  A student who fails the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam will be permitted to re-take it one time. Following the exam, the QE chair drafts and submits the Report on Qualifying Exam to the FDM Graduate Coordinator who will forward it to the Graduate Division.

Foreign Language Requirement

The language requirement is outlined in full in our program statement. Where a language exam is administered in the department, a specialist in the given language designs an appropriate test in the target language. For example, for a natural language, this would involve being given a passage of text to translate with the aid of a dictionary. Two weeks before your exam, your examiner will provide you with an academic-length article or book chapter in the appropriate language, so that you can study it in advance. Approximately 700 words of this text will be used for your exam. You will be given three hours to translate. You may use a laptop computer but not the internet, and you may bring a dictionary. You are expected to show that your command of the language is good enough to allow you to conduct independent research. Your grade will be pass or no pass. For a coding exam, the appropriate format should be worked out with the examiner, with the approval of the DGS.

Assembling A Dissertation Committee

The dissertation must be approved by a committee consisting of a minimum of three faculty members. The dissertation chair must be a film and digital media faculty member and at least two committee members must be from the film and digital media faculty. If the dissertation chair does not hold a Ph.D. degree, then the majority of the remaining committee members must hold Ph.D.s. Also, the majority of the dissertation committee membership shall be members of the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate.

Dissertation Prospectus

A dissertation prospectus, outlining your doctoral thesis project, is due no later than two quarters after you successfully pass your Qualifying Exam. You must pass a prospectus defense in order to advance to candidacy.

The prospectus will be drafted in consultation with your dissertation chair and committee members. When the chair has deemed the prospectus as ready to defend, it is then circulated to all members of your dissertation committee one month before the prospectus defense is scheduled. The defense is conducted by the dissertation committee and chair and will take place over two hours; the candidate should open with a brief statement of 10-15minutes, after which the committee poses questions and comments. Any external (non-UCSC) committee members are permitted to be present by videoconference if they cannot be present in person. At the conclusion of the defense, the prospectus will receive a judgment of pass, pass with revisions (major or minor), or no pass. If the prospectus passes with revisions, the student may advance to candidacy but is still responsible for making the requested changes within a month. If the revisions are sufficiently minor, committee members may indicate that they waive their right to consider them and entrust the revision approval process to the dissertation chair. Major revisions may require the approval of the entire committee. If the prospectus does not pass, the candidate will revise the prospectus in consultation with their dissertation chair. They may then retake the prospectus defense one time, within a year of the first attempt.

A complete prospectus should be 3,000-4,000 words will include the following elements:

  • a concise statement of your research topic
  • a brief outline of previous scholarly and creative work in this area
  • a statement of how your dissertation will add to this body of work, particularly through a critical practice approach
  • an outline of the theoretical and methodological approaches you will take
  • an outline of the research you plan to undertake
  • an outline of the “chapters” of your dissertation that clearly identifies its written and media components
  • a bibliography, in Chicago Manual of Style format.

Please note: all dissertations must include a written component of no less than 75 pages.

Once approved, a copy of the prospectus along with a signed Dissertation Prospectus Approval Form should be submitted to the Graduate Programs Coordinator.

Colloquium

After the dissertation prospectus has been approved, the student will schedule a dissertation colloquium open to all film and digital media faculty and graduate students. This is neither an exam nor a workshop, but a presentation of your project that outlines your research questions, your methodologies, and your critical practice approach. You should expect to present your project for approximately 30- 45 minutes, then the colloquium will be open for questions, comments, and general discussion. Media works may be shown in conjunction with the colloquium. The colloquium can be scheduled for the same quarter as the prospectus defense, but at the latest it must be completed within one quarter of advancement to candidacy.

Advancing to Candidacy

Students will advance to candidacy once they have successfully:

  • Completed all required coursework with satisfactory grades
  • Satisfied the language requirement
  • Passed the Ph.D. qualifying exam
  • Organized an approved dissertation committee, through the Dissertation Committee Nomination form
  • Submitted a dissertation prospectus and had it approved by their dissertation committee.

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AFTER ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY

After you have successfully advanced to candidacy, you will be “ABD” (all but dissertation).

Required Course Enrollment and Fees

  • Please see the graduate division website at https://graddiv.ucsc.edu/current- students/academic-regulations/graduate-student-handbook/section-six.html for full information regarding full-time, part-time, or in-absentia status. The Graduate Programs Coordinator can help you with the relevant forms and requirements.
  • International students: as part of the International Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship, a non-resident tuition (NRT) waiver is available for 3 calendar years (9 quarters) from the time of advancement. (That's the maximum normative time to complete the dissertation after advancement to candidacy. NB: in 2020-21, the normative time to degree has been extended to four years post-advancement to candidacy because of the coronavirus pandemic but the NRT waiver currently remains at three years.) After nine quarters, you will need to find a source of non- resident tuition funds or pay out of pocket.

Annual Evaluation After Advancing to Candidacy

An annual evaluation will be due at the end of each academic year. The report will describe your academic activities over the course of the year and evaluate your progress during that time, and it will address your plans for the following year. The Graduate Programs Coordinator will send you a form which will ask for the following information:

  1. Name, dissertation chair, dissertation committee members
  2. Accomplishments in the last year. This should include as many of the following as are relevant:
    • Progress on the dissertation.
    • Independent research conducted and the progress or results thereof: conference presentations, screenings, exhibitions, publications, etc.
    • TAships, GSIships, GSR positions undertaken.
    • Research funding received and how it was spent (eg conference travel, research etc)
    • Funding sought from other sources (extramural)

The dissertation chair will respond to the report with comments about the student’s progress and accomplishments and will then forward the report to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Time to Completion of Dissertation

Three years is the normative time to completion after advancing to candidacy, for students enrolled full-time. NB: in 2020-21, the normative time to degree has been extended to four years post-advancement to candidacy because of the coronavirus pandemic, but many related deadlines have not changed accordingly. You should be in touch with your adviser at a minimum of once per quarter while you are “ABD” to ensure you remain in good academic standing and that you meet relevant deadlines for funding. See the Graduate Division guidelines about this at https://graddiv.ucsc.edu/current-students/academic-regulations/graduate-... handbook/section-nine.html#10

The Dissertation

Your doctoral dissertation must be an original contribution of high quality to the field of film and digital media. You and your advisors will determine its shape and form.

The dissertation must include a minimum of 75 pages of written content. The written component of your dissertation must be prepared using the Graduate Division’s Dissertation Preparation Guidelines and Dissertation and Thesis Checklist. These guidelines also include information about submitting a formal copy of your dissertation once it is approved.

As you get close to finishing, you must think through the timing of your dissertation submission and defense, described below.

The Oral Dissertation Defense

Students are responsible for verifying the exact filing and submission deadlines set by the Grad Division, for the quarter they wish to graduate. Dates are listed on the Academic and Administrative Calendar. https://registrar.ucsc.edu/calendar/academiccalendar.html

Because of the many steps in the scheduling of the defense (see below), it is not practically possible to complete the process in one quarter. Students should consult the timeline below and begin their preparations before the quarter in which they wish to defend and submit the dissertation.

The oral defense is conducted by the student’s dissertation committee and is facilitated by a moderator agreed upon by the student and chair of the dissertation committee. The moderator must be a tenured FDM faculty member with a Ph.D. and will likely be someone not close to the student’s work.

One quarter before the defense is scheduled:

Timeline summary:

  • Weeks 1-6 of quarter: student secures a moderator for the defense.
  • Week 6 of quarter, or earlier: student sends a polished dissertation to the dissertation committee and moderator.
  • When committee deems it “ready to defend,” student schedules the defense for the following quarter, no later than 4 weeks before end of quarter.

Timeline detail:

When the chair of the dissertation committee has determined that the dissertation is sufficiently polished and ready for the entire committee’s consideration, the Ph.D. candidate shall circulate it to the entire committee so that they may assess whether it is ready to defend. To ensure that there is enough time to make any revisions before a final, defendable version is reached, the student should send the polished dissertation to the committee and moderator no later than the sixth week of the quarter before the quarter in which the student wishes to defend (and preferably earlier). Once the committee has deemed the dissertation “ready to defend,” the candidate will schedule the oral dissertation defense, taking into account the schedules of the committee members, dissertation chair, and moderator. A three-hour time block should be reserved.

The quarter of the oral defense:

Timeline summary:

  • Week 1 of quarter: student circulates final, defendable version to committee and moderator. Grad coordinator/DGS circulate these guidelines. Student prepares title page.
  • By Week 2 of quarter: student submits “filing fee” request to Grad Division, signed by all committee members, along with the top half of the Application for Doctor or Philosophy Degree form, to be submitted by the Graduate Coordinator to Graduate Division. This is later completed and approved after a successful defense.
  • Confirm defense: no later than 4 weeks before filing deadline for the quarter.

Timeline detail:

Filing fee: Students may apply to pay a filing fee (in lieu of registration and paying tuition and fees) in the quarter in which they plan to receive their degree. The deadline to submit the filing fee form to the Graduate Division is the end of the second week of the quarter in which the dissertation will be filed. The form must be signed by all members of the dissertation committee. The filing fee option is granted only once; if the dissertation is not submitted that quarter, the student will have to enroll for the following quarter to complete submission.

The oral defense must be scheduled to take place at least four weeks before the Graduate Division’s filing deadline for the quarter, to provide time for the student to make any revisions required by the dissertation committee at the defense. The candidate must circulate the final, defendable version of the dissertation to the dissertation committee and moderator at least eight weeks before the filing deadline and at least four weeks before the scheduled defense. (In other words, students should circulate it in the first week of quarter). At this time, the graduate coordinator circulates these oral defense guidelines to the entire committee, and the DGS sends the guidelines to any off-campus members. The student must prepare the title page of the dissertation before the defense so that it is ready to sign at the defense. Please note: the title page requires original signatures in ink. If any member of the dissertation committee cannot be physically present at the defense, the student needs to make plans ahead of time to obtain their original signature on the document.

Participants

The defense is conducted by the dissertation committee and chair and facilitated by the moderator. All committee members must be physically present for the defense unless exceptional circumstances, such as travel, make it truly impossible to convene in person, in which case a videoconferencing presence for a committee member is allowed (students must pay particular attention to the room facilities for this to be viable). Any external (non-UCSC) committee members are permitted to be present by videoconference if they cannot be present in person (the department does not have funds to fly them in). Oral defenses are not open to the public or advertised. The candidate may invite individual members of the academic community to attend the defense, but the discussion will remain between the candidate and the committee.

Procedure

At the beginning of the defense, the moderator will welcome the student and committee and the student will leave the room while the moderator confirms the process for the meeting. When the student returns, the moderator will summarize the process for the student and the defense will begin. The student will open with a fifteen-minute presentation of the dissertation, summarizing its argument and key interventions, and placing the project in context as a contribution to knowledge.

The committee then proceeds to questions and discussion. Each committee member will have no longer than twenty minutes for discussion, during which time they will pose questions to the candidate and engage in further discussion of the candidate’s answers; other committee members may join in, but the focus for each period is on that committee member’s questions and concerns. At the end of that process, the student makes any concluding remarks they wish to, for a maximum of five minutes, and leaves the room.

Result

The committee then discusses the student’s performance and the chair of the dissertation committee makes notes on the required or optional revisions. At this time, the committee must recommend one of the following outcomes: (a) the dissertation is passed with no revisions necessary, (b) revisions are required and the committee must approve them before submission is allowed or (c) the dissertation is not passed. The committee may require minor typographical changes; these must be completed to the chair’s satisfaction before the dissertation is filed.

While consensus among the committee and the dissertation chair is always hoped for, there may be differences in opinion about the result of the defense or the extent of revisions required. If such differences in opinion arise, or if the chair is in disagreement with the rest of the committee, the moderator will be to attempt to mediate the differences so that a consensus outcome is reached. However, in the event that consensus among all the committee and the chair is not possible, the dissertation chair will be the final authority on readiness and revision.

If the dissertation is passed with no revision required, the committee signs the title page of the dissertation, which the student has already prepared and brought to the defense. If revisions are required, the title page may be signed by all the committee members except the dissertation chair and held in the FDM Graduate Programs Coordinator’s office (to better facilitate the final filing after revisions are complete).

Revisions

In the case that revisions are required, the dissertation committee chair is to write a report that clearly stipulates the revisions required and circulates that report to the committee for its approval within 48 hours of the defense. As soon as the committee approves the report, it is sent to the student, who must complete the revisions and send them to the dissertation chair no later than twelve days before the Graduate Division filing deadline. At this time, the student must make prospective arrangements with the chair and Graduate Programs Coordinator for obtaining the chair’s signature on the title page, since the remaining days before the deadline are critical. After the dissertation chair circulates the revisions to the committee members, members must advise the dissertation chair of their opinions on the revisions; the chair may then approve the revisions, or not, before the submission deadline. (If the revisions are sufficiently minor, all or some committee members may indicate at the defense that they waive their right to consider them and entrust the revision approval process to any remaining committee members and the chair).

After obtaining the committee members’ approval for the revisions, the dissertation chair signs the title page of the thesis, which is then released to the student so that the filing process can be completed.

If the revisions are not completed to the satisfaction of the committee and chair in time for that quarter’s filing, or if they are too extensive to be completed within that timeline, the student must enroll for the following quarter and complete within that quarter’s deadlines.

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OTHER RESOURCES

Teaching Opportunities in the Program TAships

You will hold at least three teaching assistantships during your time in the program (to ensure your one year of supervised teaching, a degree requirement), and likely many more. TAships are granted to the department by the Arts Division based on our projected undergraduate student numbers. Each year, usually in winter, the department learns how many TAships it will have for the following year, and distributes them around the relevant undergraduate courses.

In spring, the department manager, Graduate Programs Coordinator, and the DGSs collaborate to assign TAships to students based on an allocation of TAships we receive from the Arts Division. You will receive a call with information about the available TAships. The graduate programs office will assign TAships to individual students based on your availability, promised funding packages, previous TA evaluations, and field interest/fit. We do this in as timely a manner as possible, but the results are not usually finalized until sometime late in spring quarter. Please note that the department can only “recommend” a student for a TAship; the actual hiring is completed by the Arts Division.

Starting in 2020, the Chancellor has guaranteed five years of funding for all doctoral students, subject to some criteria. Departments award that funding, with support from the campus when necessary. The details of the offer are publicly available here.

In late spring, we also receive word as to whether there are TAships available for summer session courses. We circulate a call for these, too, and assign them in a similar manner to academic year TAships.

GSI-ships (Graduate Student Instructor positions)

You may be eligible to teach a course in the department if openings arise. To be qualified for consideration, you must hold an MA or MFA, or have advanced to candidacy, or be scheduled to advance to candidacy prior to the quarter that the GSI position will be offered. The process is competitive, and there are generally two mechanisms by which teaching a course is possible.

  • Every year, we propose courses for UCSC summer session. We invite advanced graduate students to propose courses for summer session and select some every year (often between 4-6) based on the strength of the proposal (including the student’s experience, teaching evaluations, and progress through the degree) and the fit of the proposed course with the curricular needs of summer session.
  • Occasionally, we also have openings for GSIs in our regular academic year curriculum, though these are usually fewer in number.

The Graduate Programs Coordinator and DGS will keep you in touch about any such openings. Establishing a good track record as an FDM Teaching Assistant is an important way to prepare to apply for GSIships after you advance to candidacy.

Funding Opportunities

Opportunities for on-campus and external funding are found on our website and will be updated regularly. See http://film.ucsc.edu/phd_program/

Facilities

Equipment: PhD students have access to media production equipment via our Checkout Lab. A full listing of the equipment available and the procedures for checkout is available here: http://slugfilm.ucsc.edu/production_support/?page_id=4012

Workspaces: FDM Ph.D. students currently have access to the following spaces in Kresge (contact fdmoperations@ucsc.edu to have your card access activated).

Here’s a list of rooms and equipment available in them. These spaces are shared with M.F.A. students:

Kresge Library area 348 Seminar room

354 Office space with iMac and printer 356 Grad commons, with flat-screen TV

Kresge Annex B

115 Seminar room - 15 seat Table , 1 Mac Pro editing station. 101 Seminar room, 12 seat table, 4 iMac editing stations

106 Editing bay, iMac 108 iMac editing space

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APPENDIX:

Timelines and checklists

How to Advance to Candidacy

The following items need to be completed/submitted in order to advance to candidacy:

  • Language Requirement Form
    • Completed form must be submitted to the F+DM Graduate Coordinator no later than the quarter prior to the intended advancement.
  • Ph.D. Qualifying Exam completed
    • The department will send your QE Report to the Graduate Division
  • Dissertation Prospectus Approved
    • After you pass your Prospectus Defense, you can submit the prospectus and the Dissertation Prospectus Approval Form to the department.
  • Dissertation Reading Committee Nomination Form
    • Due to the F+DM Graduate Coordinator no later than the quarter prior to the intended advancement. Note the requirements for the dissertation committee mentioned above and in our program statement.
  • All Incompletes cleared from your transcript.
  • 108 units of coursework completed, including transfer credits.
  • Pay the $90 Advancement Fee

After Advancing to Candidacy

  • Once you advance to candidacy, you will only need to enroll in 5 units/quarter to maintain full-time status.
  • You will continue to owe full in-state tuition if you remain in California.
  • If you will be outside the state doing work/research, you can qualify for In- Absentia status and reduced tuition. See Student Status Options, below for more info.
  • The Graduate Division offers a six-quarter in-candidacy fee offset grant (ICFOG) that covers campus fees for the first two years you are advanced.
  • Once advanced, international nonresident students no longer have to pay Non-Resident Tuition, but only for a period of three years following advancement.
  • Nominative time to completion of the Ph.D. is three years after advancement.Status Options After Advancing to Candidacy

Status Options After Advancing to Candidacy

Part-Time

A part-time graduate student is one who has approval to enroll for one-half (or less) of the regular course load.

Need clear justification for part-time status based upon considerations of academic progress, career employment, family responsibilities, or health conditions.

A part-time graduate student will pay the full Registration Fee, one-half the Educational Fee, and all other campus fees including the Health Insurance Fee.

Students who wish to opt out of the mandatory health insurance should complete the online waiver.

Part-time students will be eligible for fellowship support at their department’s discretion, but appointments in student academic titles, such as Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Researcher, cannot exceed .25 FTE.

In-Absentia

Students whose research or study requires that they remain outside the State of California for an entire quarter may qualify for a reduction of the University Registration and Education Fees and exemption from all local campus fees.

In-absentia students pay 15% of the Registration Fee and Educational Fee. Non- residents of California must pay full non-resident tuition when applicable. Students who wish to opt out of the mandatory health insurance should complete the online waiver or contact UCSC Student Health Center for more information.

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence is granted for sound educational reasons, health reasons, financial problems, or family responsibilities and is valid for no more than one year, but may be extended if there is sufficient justification.

The use of University facilities is not permitted while on leave.

All financial aid (GSA, TA, Fellowships) terminates on the effective date of this leave and students may not apply for department travel funds or Florence French fellowships for this period.

Filing Fee

When ready to submit the dissertation, students may pay a filing fee for one quarter in lieu of registration fees.

Students will not be entitled to enroll in classes; hold any academic appointment or student employment position; use University facilities such as laboratories, libraries, health service, or the field house; make demands upon faculty time other than the time required for the final reading of the dissertation/thesis or for attendance at the formal final examination; or be considered a registered graduate student for the quarter on filing fee status. Filing Fee is valid only for the quarter indicated and may be used only once.

Sample Ph.D. Timelines

These are approximate timelines, subject to variation depending on previous degree(s), transfer credits, substitutions, progress in program, leaves and/or other factors. As always, be in close contact with your adviser and the DGS to confirm your own track through the degree.

For students entering without a Master’s degree:

First Year:

  • FILM 200A-B-C
  • FILM 202
  • FDM Electives (at least two) and a third grad elective (FDM or other)
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Start prep for Language Requirement, if applicable
  • Year-end review

Second Year:

  • FDM Electives (total six by end of year 2)
  • Other grad electives
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Continue work for Language Requirement
  • 2nd Year Review/Master’s Exam in Spring Quarter
  • Year-end review

Third Year:

  • Formulate three Qualifying Exam topic areas related to dissertation project
  • Three FILM 295 Directed Readings to formulate QE bibliographies/mediagraphies
  • FILM 203
  • Electives
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Complete Language Requirement by end of Spring quarter
  • Assemble Qualifying Exam committee and schedule exam for Fall of year 4.
  • Year-end review

Fourth Year:

  • Fall: FILM 299 & Qualifying Exam
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Assemble Dissertation Committee
  • Dissertation Prospectus and defense completed by end of Spring or earlier
  • Dissertation Colloquium
  • Advance to Candidacy
  • Year-end review

Fifth Year:

  • Dissertation Work
  • Year-end review

Sixth Year:

  • Complete Dissertation
  • Oral Dissertation Defense
  • File for Ph.D. Degree

For students entering with a Master’s degree:

This timeline will vary depending on the number of transfer credits granted (up to 30) and whether or not elective substitutions (up to 2) have been granted. Please talk to your adviser and DGS in your first year about these possible timelines.

First Year:

  • FILM 200A-B-C
  • FILM 202
  • FDM Electives (at least two) and a third grad elective (FDM or other)
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Start prep for Language Requirement, if applicable
  • Year-end review

Second Year:

  • FDM Electives (total 4-6 by end of year 2, depending on substitutions granted)
  • Other grad electives as needed
  • Formulate three Qualifying Exam topic areas related to dissertation project
  • Two options for second year review and directed readings:
    • 2nd Year Review in Fall (for a Fall, Year 3 QE). If successful, three FILM 295 Directed Readings in Winter/Spring to formulate QE bibliographies/mediagraphies. If more time needed for additional courses or study in winter, proceed as for a Winter Year 3 QE (below).
    • Or 2nd Year Review in Winter (for a Winter, Year 3 QE). If successful, up to two FILM 295 Directed Readings in Spring.
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Assemble Qualifying Exam committee and schedule exam for Fall or Winter of year 3
  • Complete Language Requirement by end of Spring quarter
  • Year-end review

Third Year:

For Fall QE:

  • Fall: FILM 299 & Qualifying Exam
  • FILM 203
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Assemble Dissertation Committee
  • Winter, Spring: Enroll for FILM 299 Thesis Research
  • FILM 237 recommended
  • Dissertation Prospectus and defense completed by end of Spring (or earlier).
  • Dissertation Colloquium
  • Advance to Candidacy
  • Year-end review

For Winter QE:

  • Fall: Remaining FILM 295 Directed Reading(s), schedule QE for Winter.
  • Winter: FILM 299 & Qualifying Exam
  • FILM 237 recommended
  • 2-unit advising course every quarter; meetings with adviser 2x per quarter
  • Spring: Enroll for FILM 299 Thesis Research. Dissertation Prospectus and defense completed by end of Spring to advance to candidacy, or by Fall of year 4 at latest (see below).
  • Year-end review

Fourth Year:

  • For a Fall Year 3 QE:
    • Dissertation Work
    • Year-end review
  • For a Winter Year 3 QE:
    • Dissertation Prospectus and defense completed by end of Fall
    • Dissertation Colloquium
    • Advance to Candidacy
    • Year-end review

Fifth Year:

  • Dissertation Work and/or completion.
    • Year-end review

Sixth Year:

  • Complete Dissertation
  • Oral Dissertation Defense
  • File for Ph.D. Degree

 

 

Forms