Doctoral FAQ – for all students starting in 2014 and thereafter. Please consult the website and the student handbook for additional information.
1. Are there any required courses for doctoral students?
All doctoral students must take 500/501: Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture and 502: Approaches to the Object in their first term, unless they have had this course as part of their BGC MA program. In addition, all doctoral students take three Directed Readings in their final semester of classes to prepare for qualifying exams. If an external student has had the equivalent to our Survey or Approaches class in their MA program, they may petition the faculty to be waived.
2. Have field exams changed?
No, the list of field exam options is listed on the BGC website.
3. When are exams held?
All doctoral exams are held during finals week at the end of the spring term.
4. What is the format of the exams?
Students must sit three written field exams early in the week, and one oral exam covering all three areas on Thursday or Friday of exam week.
5. Does the program only accept full-time students?
Part-time enrollment may be permitted on a case-by-case basis, but without eligibility for funding. Part-time status applies only while taking courses and exams; once past exam stage, all students follow the same track to completion.
6. What if someone starts as a full-time student and then decides to shift to part-time?
Any departure from full-time status must be done by petition and entails the loss of funding. Similarly, students who begin as part-time and switch to full-time are not subsequently eligible for funding. All awards are determined at the time of entry into the program and contingent on maintaining full-time status.
7. Will there be workshops for students to help decide their areas for exams and Directed Readings and on how to prepare a dissertation proposal?
Yes, the Director of Doctoral Studies will lead a workshop every year. Students are also always advised to consult regularly with the DDS for additional help with this and other PhD issues.
8. Are there opportunities for doctoral students to teach, and are all doctoral students required to do so?
Yes, there are opportunities for doctoral students to teach at the BGC both as teaching assistants and as competitively-selected doctoral teaching fellows who offer their own graduate seminar. There are further undergraduate teaching possibilities at Bard College. Doctoral students are not required to teach, nor can it be guaranteed, but it is strongly encouraged as part of professional training.
9. BGC Students are now required to apply for outside funding in either their second (for internal MAs) or third (for external MAs) year. How does this impact their aid packages?
The BGC requires students to apply for outside grants as part of their funding package. In most cases, students receiving outside awards will be able to keep their internal funding, but the BGC examines each instance on a case-by-case basis.
10. Will there be a workshop for students on applying for grants?
Yes, the DDS and invited guests will lead an annual workshop open to all doctoral students.
11. Are leaves of absence possible? If a leave is approved, is funding held for the student?
Leaves are granted upon petition only in cases of documented major illness. If approved, the BGC will hold funding during an official LoA.
12. What are the time limits for the degree?
Internal students who have completed the BGC MA will have four years to complete the doctoral degree; external students arriving with any other MA will have five years to complete the doctoral degree.
13. Are extensions possible?
It may be possible to petition for an extension of one year, and no more than two. Students should refer to the guidelines in the BGC student handbook, as well as consulting with the DDS. A limited amount of reduced funding may be available on a competitive basis for students who can demonstrate that they will complete the degree within one year.
14. When do doctoral students register for classes?
Doctoral students at the BGC register first each semester and are given priority in their choice of classes.
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