Graduate coordinator: Dr. Kineret Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Assistant Graduate Director: Prof. Jeffrey Perl (email@example.com)
- What is involved in studying for a PhD in Literature and where does it lead?
- Who is eligible for the PhD program in Literature?
- What are the Department strengths?
- Timing: How long does it take?
- Proposal Submission
- Dissertation Submission
- What are the course requirements?
- University requirements in Basic Jewish Studies
- What are the writing requirements?
- Is there any financial aid available?
- Can I talk to someone about possibilities?
- How do I apply?
The student who enrolls in a PhD program here, as all over the world, is primarily interested in completing an independent and original research project. The dissertation (in length anywhere from 150 - 250 pages) is the focus of the work. The preceding seminars you take will give you time to identify and explore your own interests and meet the English Department teaching staff. As soon as possible, you will need to choose a Dissertation Director. The Graduate Coordinators can help you find a Director who will then guide you in the preparation of a Dissertation Proposal. (See below for a description of how one writes a dissertation proposal.)
Graduates of our Department are now teaching in universities and colleges around Israel. Many of them are involved in the higher levels of administration and teacher training within prestigious high schools, and within the Ministry of Education. Just until recently, most PhD graduates could have expected to find teaching and research jobs at the university level, but this is no longer the situation, due to the current economy.
The PhD program normally accepts students with an MA in English Literature in which they have written an MA thesis. Exceptions are sometimes made. For example, students who have an MA in a field other than English Literature, but have an undergraduate English major, may be admitted, and students who have never studied English literature as a major subject may be admitted on condition that they make up necessary literature courses. Students without an MA thesis can write a long essay that will count as the equivalent of the thesis and will also become part of their PhD dissertation.
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The Literature Faculty boasts excellent programs in Early Modern British Literature (1500-1800), Nineteenth Century American Literature, Modern British and American Literature, Literary Theory, and Jewish Studies. We encourage and try to accommodate interdisciplinary research. Each student constructs his or her own program in consultation with an advisor, and may include (for example) course work or independent research in psychology, history, Jewish studies, cultural studies, (including art history), hermeneutics, philosophy, and gender studies."Teaching the Conflicts" Program
Experienced teachers of English and teacher trainers are welcome to consider applying to the Department's special program for PhD students, called "Teaching the Conflicts." They will choose their required seminars from among the regular graduate literature seminars. Then, according to their inclination, the research undertaken for the dissertation will investigate the relevance of any of several aspects of recent literary theory (e.g., reader-response, feminist theory, cognitive theory, new (or old) historicism, performance theory, rhetorical theory) to the teaching of literature in Israeli classrooms.
Literary studies today are concerned with many kinds of conflicts: over how to interpret and teach texts, about the role of literature in the curriculum, and especially about the role of literary study in the understanding of social, gender, cultural, and political conflicts. For example, Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT displays gender conflicts, Mark Twain's HUCKLEBERRY FINN displays race conflict, Joyce's EVELINE displays family and religious conflicts. Instead of skirting these difficult issues, program participants will be trying to find ways of letting their students enter the debates, and by extension, understand better the debates that are all around them in Israeli society, and that they will very soon have to deal with as adults.
The challenge is to exploit the positive potential of conflict. Are there better ways than we now have to teach students to disagree and yet listen to others? To adjudicate between competing arguments, to make informed choices on points of contention, and to compose their own arguments in a convincing manner? Our answer is yes: through the proper study of literary texts, and a study of the debates about them. Though our aim is not to teach specific methods of teaching, there are profound ramifications for teaching methods in the material we will study. "Teaching the Conflicts" aims to give teachers the tools to rethink and develop their own teaching, and to appreciate the importance of their work in Israeli society.
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The combined MA/PhD program (mishulav) allows students with interest and appropriately strong undergraduate qualifications to proceed through the MA program directly to the PhD without writing an MA thesis. This is sometimes the right program for students who have MA in fields other than English literature.
The University has a direct PhD program allowing very exceptional students to proceed directly from the BA to the PhD degree. This is rarely a good choice for a literature student.
The coordinators of the Graduate Programs in Literature-Dr. Kineret Meyer and Assistant Graduate Director, Professor Jeffrey Perl - will be happy to correspond by e-mail and/ or meet with all prospective graduate students, after you've read the information on these pages. Personal contact is the best way to explore the possibilities for you in our department. You are welcome to come to campus and attend a seminar or two, and we will be happy to put you in touch with current or former students.
Work toward a PhD is normally completed within 4 or 5 years, although holders of Presidential Scholarships must finish within 4 years. Most students in the program hold jobs (though teachers will usually try to arrange a sabbatical to be taken when they reach the stage of writing the dissertation). To combine outside work with PhD study is very demanding, but the rewards are great. We'll be happy to put you in touch with some of our current or past students if you want to find out more about the life of a doctoral student.
Students normally finish their coursework within the first year or year and a half, and begin working on their proposal in the second semester of the first year. They are expected to submit the proposal one year after the date of acceptance to the program. Students work closely with their advisors toward this end, while reading broadly and deeply.
How to Write a Ph.D. Proposal
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After the proposal is approved by the advisor the student first submits 3 hard copies + an electronic one to the department and fills out the accompanying form. The proposal is then sent out to 2 readers, suggested by the advisor,one inside Bar Ilan and one outside Bar Ilan. If corrections are required it is returned to the student who revises it and writes a letter to the PhD committee referring to the revisions requested and how they were done, one by one. As well, a short email is written by the student's advisor to the effect that the revisions were made according to his satisfaction. Then the student submits 5 copies + a disc in Word of the proposal to the department. The proposal + the evaluations of the readers, the accompanying form + the letter from the student re revisions, if needed, and email from advisor approving them, is then forwarded to the Faculty who must approve it as well. Upon approval the Faculty forwards the proposal + enclosures to the PhD Committee for final approval. The student, the advisor, and the department will receive a letter from the PhD Committee informing that it has been approved, or that something further needs to be amended.
Please note that if the proposal is based on the Masters thesis, 2 copies of the thesis have to be submitted as well.
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The Ph.D. dissertation, when completed, is submitted to the advisor for approval, and then is submitted by the student to the Ph.D. committee for approval, which solicits anonymous reviews from two outside reviewers. This process usually takes from two to six months.
PhD students take 4 graduate seminars and the course in Contemporary Literary Theory (829). They write seminar papers for two of the graduate seminars according to the student's choice. Where appropriate, these papers can become chapters in the dissertation. In the other two courses, the student attends and participates, as required by the instructor. According to the university regulations, the minimum grade that can be counted toward a degree is a 60. Students in the English Department, however, must maintain an average of 80 to remain in the program.
All PhD students must sign up for at least one seminar each semester until their proposal is submitted, even if they have fulfilled the requirement of 4 seminars as specified above.
Students who have their BA and MA degrees from Bar-Ilan are not required to take any further Jewish Studies courses. Students who have only one of their previous degrees from Bar-Ilan are required to take one further course (2 hours), and students who have never studied at Bar-Ilan must take two courses (4 hours) in Jewish studies.
PhD students take 4 seminars. In two seminars (students' choice) they write a short (due before midterm) and a long paper and receive a numerical grade. In the other two, they write no papers, participate fully in class work (reading, short assignments, etc) and receive a grade of "pass." [Clarification: If, after you've written a short paper for a seminar, you decide that you will not write one of your long papers for that course, you just keep coming and keep participating, but are not required to hand in a second short paper. You will receive a grade of "pass."]
Students are responsible for keeping track of how many long papers they owe.
Students in the mishulav program (combined MA/PHD): for courses that will count for your MA degree, you follow the rules for MA Track A above. Once you've got your MA you follow the rules for the PhD.
A seminar paper is between 17 and 20 pages in length, and provides evidence of a student's ability to do independent research. Expectations will differ for different courses, and students are expected to consult with instructors on topics and approaches. The instructor sets the due date for the paper and the grading criteria. Permission to submit a late paper is not automatic. Both the instructor and the PhD Committee have to agree.
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Every year one or two of our best students are supported by Presidential Fellowships, which provide four years of support plus a remission of tuition fees. Students who accept this scholarship must commit themselves to full-time study. Extra work is limited to no more than 4 hours a week, with permission of the fellowship committee.
The University Scholarship committee grants awards on the basis of academic merit and financial need. Unfortunately, these awards are not announced until after the time at which you have to decide to enroll and make your first payments.
The graduate advisors (their e-mails are at the top of this page) will be glad to correspond with you about your particular situation. If you can make time, we'd be glad to meet you on campus where you can sit in on some classes and talk to currently enrolled students.
The English Department will want to see a copy of the MA thesis while considering the application for a PhD.
Applications for the PhD program are available from the Vaada l'Toar Shlishi Bld. 409, Sunday-Thursday from 9:00 to 13:00. They will mail the packet to you upon request (call the office: 03-531-8556). If, after discussion with one of the coordinators, you decide to apply to the combined MA/PhD program, you need to apply through the MA Committee. Application forms can be purchased at the University book store or at any Steimatzky branch.
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