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Department Ph.D. Guidelines

PhD Degree

The PhD is awarded upon demonstrating a breadth of knowledge in Scandinavian Studies and an ability to make an original contribution to the field. Upon admission to the program, the student will spend at least three quarters taking approved courses and seminars. The student will then prepare for the general examinations. When the student has passed the qualifying exams and complied with other requirements for the PhD, she or he is admitted to candidacy. Successful completion and defense of the dissertation results in the granting of the degree.

Graduate students seeking the PhD degree in the Department of Scandinavian Studies are considered for admission only after they have obtained an MA degree. The work for the MA degree forms an integral part of the requirements for the PhD degree, and students coming from other institutions are advised to familiarize themselves with the guidelines for the UW Scandinavian Studies MA program.

Graduate School Requirements

All PhD candidates in Scandinavian Studies must fulfill these graduate school requirements. 

Departmental PhD Degree Requirements

  1. The Department requires the student to take 40 approved credits in courses and seminars, and to register for 27 credits of 800 (dissertation) credits. At least two SCAND prefix graduate seminars must be taken after the student has completed all requirements for the M.A. degree.
  2. Advanced graduate students interested in completing PhD dissertation work abroad, while under the direct supervision of their graduate committee chair, may register for Independent Learning credits without taking academic leave. Contact Katherine Kroeger ( at UW Study Abroad for further information.
  3. Ten of the 40 credits may be 600 (Independent Study or Research) credits. Five of the ten credits may be ungraded.
  4. A graduate student usually serves as a Teaching Assistant. All Teaching Assistants are required to enroll in SCAND 595 (TA Workshop) each Autumn Quarter. Those students who are new to the PhD program are required to take SCAND 518 (Teaching Methodology).
  5. The student must demonstrate language proficiency to teach and conduct research at the superior level as defined by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines and approved by the supervisory committee.
  6. SCAND 503 (Methods of Scandinavian Study) is required for students new to the graduate program.
  7. The student must demonstrate a reading knowledge of two non-Scandinavian foreign languages determined, in consultation with the committee, to be useful for research purposes.
  8. The student must establish a supervisory committee at least three quarters prior to the quarter scheduled for the General Examination.
  9. As a prerequisite to Advancement to Candidacy for the PhD, the student is required to submit a dissertation prospectus to the supervisory committee. The prospectus must be accepted by the committee before the general examinations are held. The prospectus must include a narrative outline of the intended dissertation including a description of the proposed methodology and a prelimiary bibliography.
  10. As a prerequisite to Advancement to Candidacy, the student should demonstrate scholarship in the field by submitting at least one scholarly article. "Scholarly article" would mean an academic paper which has been submitted to a scholarly journal. The student's committee will determine what constitutes a "scholarly article" in the individual case.
  11. It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with the Graduate School requirements and guidelines as published in the University of Washington General Catalog.

The PhD Degree Reading List

The PhD reading list assumes a background equivalent to the departmental MA reading list as well as a three-part reading list on which the three written examinations will be based. The relevant works from the MA reading list may be incorporated into the three-part PhD reading list. The student is responsible for developing the three-part PhD reading list, which must be approved by the committee no later than three months (12 weeks) prior to the date of the General Examination.

A three-part reading list serves as the basis for three six-hour written exams. At least two of the three lists should be directly relevant to the student’s proposed dissertation project.  At least two of the lists should be defined as literary, and each such list might consist of a genre, one or more periods, a significant area in Nordic literature.  Baltic literature may be included.

The General Examination for the PhD Degree

Pre-Dissertation Paper

Prior to the General Examination, the student prepares a pre-dissertation colloquium to be presented to  faculty, graduate students and others. This colloquium presentation is based on an intregal aspect of the candidate's disseration proposal.

The General Examination

The General Examination is in two parts, written and oral, conducted over a two week period. The three written examinations are six hours each and shall be administered over three separate days. In addition to questions approved by the Supervisory Committee, the General Exam may include questions regarding the reading lists for the three fields identified by the student and the Supervisory Committee. With the approval of the Supervisory Committee, the exams may be taken at a non-departmental site. On each exam day, the student receives the questions as determined by the Supervisory Committee. After six hours, the completed exam must be delivered by the student to the departmental office in person or electronically via email. The oral examination, which follows the three written exams, is two hours in length and includes a discussion of the prospectus as well as questions about the written exams and the student’s reading list.


PhD dissertation approval and a reading schedule must be arranged with the students’s Supervisory Committee.

Equal Opportunity

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran. This policy applies to all programs and facilities, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs, employment, and patient and hospital services. Any discriminatory action can be a cause for disciplinary action. Discrimination is prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 11246 as amended, Washington State Gubernatorial Executive Orders 89-01 and 93-07, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Washington State Law Against Discrimination RCW 49-60, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, State of Washington Gender Equity in Higher Education Act of 1989, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as amended, Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972 as amended, other federal and state statutes, regulations, and University policy. Coordination of the compliance efforts of the University of Washington with respect to all of these laws and regulations is under the direction Dr. Helen Remick, Assistant Provost for Equal Opportunity, Box 354560, 4045 Brooklyn Avenue N.E., University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-6261, telephone (206) 685-3263/V or 543-6452/TTY.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance at: (206) 543-6450/V, (206) 543-6452/TTY, (206) 685-7264 (FAX), or

Revised 11/15

Related Forms and Reading Lists