Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements | Direct Entry from Bachelors to the Doctorate | Course of Study | Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations | General Examination | Reading List for the Special Field Examination | Special Field Examination (Part I) | Special Field Examination (Part II) | Course Offerings and Course List | Collaborative Programs

The objective of the PhD program is to prepare candidates for a career in teaching and scholarship. Graduates are expected to have acquired autonomy in conducting research, preparing scholarly publications, teaching undergraduate courses in all areas of Italian studies, and in designing and teaching graduate courses in their fields of specialisation.  The program is designed to provide (i) a broad knowledge of the discipline, (ii) specialized knowledge of a single field, and (iii) training in all aspects of scholarly research in the discipline.

These objectives are achieved through a combination of courses (8 half-year courses in addition to those taken in the M.A. program), preparation for general and special field examinations, teaching or research assistantships, and a thesis.


Admission Requirements: 

To be admitted, applicants must have obtained an overall average of at least A minus (A-) in the courses taken for the M.A. degree in Italian. An A- average must be maintained in the Ph.D. courses in order for candidates to remain in the program.

A minimum TOEFL score of 100 is required for acceptance into the Ph.D. program.

NOTE: Applicants with a degree equivalent to a Ph.D. (e.g. an Italian dottorato di ricerca, a PhD, a “diploma di perfezionamento”, etc.) cannot be accepted into the Ph.D. program.

Direct Entry from Bachelors to the Doctorate

Exceptional students may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program from the B.A. with a minimum A-minus average. Such applicants will apply to the M.A. program (see above), but indicate in a separate letter to the Graduate Co-ordinator of the Department that they wish to be considered for direct admission to the Ph.D. program. If accepted, students from the B.A. level will normally be expected to complete four full courses in addition to the Ph.D. requirements listed below for a total of 8 full courses plus the required half-credit ITA1000H.

Students accepted from the B.A. will be expected to maintain an A-minus average in their first four full courses (or equivalent) in order to continue in the program. Students may elect to transfer to the M.A. after the first year of study. Work completed in the Ph.D. program will then be credited toward the M.A.


Course of Study

The Ph.D. program consists of a total of eight full courses (or equivalent) plus ITA1000H  (including those courses taken for the M.A.), qualifying examinations (written partly in Italian and partly in English), a thesis, and an oral defence.  For the Ph.D. examinations no more than one failure is allowed.  Students are encouraged to complete the program within four years after their first enrolment as Ph.D. candidates.

Students must attain a reading knowledge of Latin and another suitable language approved by the Department. Preparation for the language requirement examinations should begin during the summer before the second Ph.D. year.  By no later than the beginning of the third Ph.D. year, and preferably earlier, candidates will take a reading knowledge examination in Latin and one other language approved by the Department.  A grade of B minus (70%) is required in the examinations administered by the appropriate Departments.

Please note that Ph.D. candidates must take one extra-departmental course (0.5 FCE).

Currently, the Ph.D. degree is offered in the following fields: Middle Ages and Renaissance, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations consist of:¹

1. Declaration of Major and Minor by April 30 of the first year of the program.

2. A written General Examination at the end of August of the second year of the program.

3. A Reading List for the Special Field Examination (Part I) by September 15 of the second year of the program.

4. A written Special Field Examination (Part I) at the end of November of the second year of the program.

5. An oral Special Field Examination (Part II) in March of the second year of the program.

The Examinations will be based on the following material:

General Examination

A general reading list is available at comps_reading _list-nov_2013.

Reading List for the Special Field Examination (Part I)

A Special Field Reading List, compiled by the student in collaboration with the members of the student’s Supervisory Committee. The student is expected to prepare the initial draft of the Reading List. The special field reading list should include a minimum of 25 items, covering (i) theory, (ii) method, (iii) scholarship in the field, and (iv) texts. The members of the Supervisory Committee will review and revise the Reading List as necessary. A copy of the Reading List approved by the Supervisory Committee will be signed by the supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Co-ordinator for the student’s file by September 15 of the second year of study. The purpose of the list is to get the student ready to start writing the first chapter of the thesis immediately after the examination.

Special Field Examination (Part I)

The purpose of the list is to get the student ready to start writing the first chapter of the thesis immediately after the examination. The examination is set and graded by the student’s Supervisory Committee. The supervisor will inform in writing the Graduate Coordinator of the result of the Special Field Exam (Part I).

Special Field Examination (Part II)

A thesis outline and a sample chapter of the thesis are to be submitted to the members of the Supervisory Committee two weeks before the date of the examination. The examination will be chaired by the supervisor. The outcome of the examination will go on record as the Supervisory Committee’s first progress report on the student.

Collaborative Programs

Book History and Print Culture – This program pools the expertise of U of T faculty members in this field from several disciplines. Students will acquire a thorough knowledge of the emerging field of book history and print culture and will have demonstrated an ability to incorporate that knowledge into their research.

Specialization in the Editing of Ancient and Medieval Texts – This program provides a framework for PhD students enrolled in different graduate departments to pursue interests in editorial work, offering a level of coherence of training that students would not otherwise be likely to obtain. As the only program of its kind in North America, it has become a recognized part of Toronto’s strong commitment to the study of the Middle Ages.

Sexual Diversity Studies – From their home departments, students may take up questions from their own disciplinary or programmatic perspective, but explore it through the theoretical and methodological lens of sexuality studies.