Program Requirements: Ph.D. Degree

Doctoral Degree


The general graduate adviser is the chair of the interdepartmental degree committee. When students have determined clearly the area of specialization in which they will work (usually by the end of the second year), a personal adviser is assigned. Students are expected to be in close touch with their adviser regarding their progress in the program. When the time for the doctoral examinations approaches, a doctoral committee selected by the student in close consultation with the personal adviser is nominated and formally appointed by the Graduate Division.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Course work and research is determined in close consultation with the adviser.

Foreign Language Requirement

French and German are required, one during the first year. Proficiency in a language may be demonstrated by (1) previous coursework equivalent to two years of university instruction with a minimum grade of B, (2) completing a UCLA level five course with a minimum grade of B or better, or (3) passing a one-hour written translation examination administered by the department.

Course Requirements

General requirements for all students include Indo-European Studies 200, knowledge of Vedic Sanskrit and Homeric Greek, basic competence in Indo-European linguistics (including Indo-European Studies 205, 210, and 215), Indo-European mythology/poetics (Indo-European Studies C260), and an advanced seminar in Indo-European comparative grammar. The core courses IES 205, 210, and 215 must be taken for a letter grade; other courses may be taken with S/U grading. In addition, students should be able to demonstrate familiarity with one or more non-Indo-European languages; this can be satisfied on the basis of prior experience, or by appropriate language courses in other departments, or by course work in the Linguistics Department, such as courses in language typology or field methods with a significant non-Indo-European component. (For the third and fourth ancient or medieval Indo-European language, see below under “Examinations.”)

Teaching Experience

Teaching experience is highly desired, but not always available within the program. Therefore, it is not required. The program works closely with its constituent departments to provide teaching experience in relevant courses.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

Qualifying paper. Students are required to submit a qualifying paper that demonstrates their ability to conduct original research. The paper may be related to the dissertation prospectus, but must be received and approved by the faculty adviser and the chair of the interdepartmental committee before the University Oral Qualifying Examination is scheduled.

Examinations. Students are required to successfully complete a series of written examinations prior to advancement to candidacy. Students should normally complete at least one of these examinations before the end of their second year in the graduate program. Four of these examinations are based on set texts from four ancient Indo-European languages (Vedic Sanskrit, Homeric Greek, and two other ancient or medieval Indo-European languages chosen in consultation with the adviser); the fifth examination is on Indo-European Linguistics. Following successful completion of the written examinations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination, based on the written examinations and the dissertation prospectus, is administered by the doctoral committee. Should the student fail either the written or oral examinations, one retake is permitted. Should the student fail the retake, the student may petition the interdepartmental degree committee for a second retake.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.


Full-time students with no deficiencies in the program should complete their course work and be prepared for the doctoral examinations within twelve quarters. Following advancement to candidacy, the dissertation should be completed within six additional quarters. The degree should be completed within 18 quarters. These time lines are approximate because the program is unique and the qualifications of incoming students vary considerably. Therefore, time to degree will vary by student.

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