International Letters and Cultures, PhD

Design your own education with a PhD in International Letters and Cultures. This program lets you combine multiple fields in cultural and language studies, finding solutions to the challenges facing our global society.

Through courses and supervision of research, this degree offers professional training that is linguistically well-grounded, historically and culturally informed, and methodologically trans-disciplinary. Central to the program is the critical inquiry of primary texts, media and cultural expressions, aiming at an original understanding of cultures and social groups—in their formations, interactions and transformations throughout history.

The program is attentive to the various roles of language in societies, in the different perspectives language can be studied—in, among other aspects, its variations, transformations, hybridizations and processes of acquisition. With a world-class faculty, you will be receiving a robust education to earn a PhD in International Letters and Cultures.  

43 faculty members
84% funded
84 credit required

Degree Overview

The PhD in International Letters and Cultures offers, through courses and supervision of research, a training that is linguistically well-rounded, historically and culturally informed, and methodologically trans-disciplinary. Central to the program is the critical inquiry of primary texts, media and cultural expressions, aiming at an original understanding of cultures and social groups—in their formations, interactions and transformations throughout history.

With this degree, students can confidently move into academic and international fields. You will serve as an expert on whatever topics you concentrate in. With this PhD, you will be prepared for teaching positions, translation work or work in a larger sector such as governmental, diplomatic and international business career opportunities.

Areas of Interest

In consultation with their advisor, students will do their coursework in a primary and a secondary area of emphasis. Both areas will be organized around interdisciplinary study and research in more than one language. For example, a student might choose to study medieval theater for the primary area of emphasis and medieval book culture for the secondary area, with a focus on France and Italy.

The student would be required to have advanced proficiency in English and French, or Italian, or both, depending on the requirements of his research; for the third language, the student would have at least reading knowledge.

Faculty members are drawn from various departments and programs in the humanities and social sciences.

How to apply

All candidates for the PhD in International Letters and Cultures must fulfill the general requirements of the Graduate College concerning admission and residence. Please visit here to learn about what materials are needed to apply.

Students who wish to be considered for a teaching assistant position must apply by January 15, for the Fall semester. All other applications for the Fall semester are due by April 15.

Application Information

"The ILC program is ideal for mature, self-driven students who are passionate about constructing a comparative approach to cultural analysis. As an ILC student, you have an opportunity to build a unique international research focus and carve your own career path in academia or in the private or non-profit sectors."

-- Angeline Young

Curriculum

As approved by the student’s supervisory committee, the program can allow 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for the International Letters and Cultures PhD.

If admitted with a bachelor’s degree, students must complete a minimum of 84 semester hours. If admitted with a master’s degree, they must complete a minimum of 54 hours.

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
Core Course3
Restricted Electives36
Electives and Research33
Culminating Experience12
Total Credit Hours84

Courses and electives

The coursework for each student is individualized and based upon the student's previous training, research goals, and mentor and committee consensus. Our research heavy program requires students to complete a written comprehensive exam, prospectus, and dissertation.

1- Core Course

  • SLC 602 Literary and Cultural Theory

12- Restricted Electives

  • 6 Courses in Primary Field of Study (at least 2 must involve primary texts in a language other than English). Three of these courses must be taken in SILC.
  • 6 Courses in Secondary Field of Study  (at least 2 must involve primary texts in a language other than English). Three of these courses must be taken in SILC.

Electives and Research Requirements 

Electives/Research (must be approved by faculty advisor). 4 courses should be related to student’s primary and/or secondary field of study, and 4 courses involving primary texts in a language other than English to ensure proficiency in English and two foreign languages.

1- course

  • SLC 799 Dissertation

Dissertation

The dissertation is the document presented by a candidate for the PhD to demonstrate the ability to conduct research in conformance with the prevailing standards of scholarship.

Milestones

Second Language Proficiency Requirement

Students will demonstrate advanced proficiency in their primary (non-English) language of study during the program application process. Students must also have competency in a second (non-English) language, either upon application to the program or to be acquired during the course of the program.

Written and Oral Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive examination will be given at the completion of the student’s coursework. Students will demonstrate their command of the relevant languages, areas of emphasis, and methodologies.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus should be developed by the student in consultation with the supervisory committee. The prospectus should specify the primary documents examined, the theoretical models to be engaged, and the significance of the proposed research.

35%
Under Represented Minorities
77
Students in PhD Programs
61%
International Students

The School of International Letters and Cultures is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, located on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. From Broadway plays at Gammage Auditorium to games at the Sun Devils’ athletic complex, there’s no shortage of things to do in Tempe.

Just a short walk from campus, you’ll have access to hundreds of restaurants and miles of hiking and walking trails (including the hike up “A” Mountain). Go paddle boarding at Tempe Town Lake or enjoy some stand-up comedy at Tempe Improv. You can explore the Valley of the Sun easily with two light rail stops on campus.

 

Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures draws diverse and sophisticated faculty to its classrooms, all able to help students explore topics through a global lens. In the Chinese department, Qian Liu is a shining example of this effort.

“When I came to ASU, it had a great language program, especially in East Asian Studies,” Liu said. “They really wanted to bring up a strong program … it was a great opportunity and I still believe it’s a great opportunity.”

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