Krieger Hall


Click on a question to see the answer:

• Can I apply to the program if I have a B.S. not a B.A.?

Yes. A B.S. is fine, and indeed will be helpful if you wish to work on issues related to science, information technology or math. If you are not interested in working on anything relating to science or math do make sure that you can show some evidence that you can do the project that you wish to undertake for the Ph.D.

• How long does the Statement of Purpose need to be?

A reasonable length to get your point across. Try not to make it any longer than 2-3 pages unless necessary. We prefer to have both the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement included in your online application rather than submitted under separate cover, so that your online application is complete.

• Could we get a bibliography sampling of some of the recent publications of Culture and Theory faculty?

We don't really have the information in one bibliographic list but many of the faculty listed on our website have links to their personal or department websites where you may get this information. We also list their research interests next to their names. If you find anyone whose interests you want to research, you can go to any library website and search them out by author. Journal databases (either Humanities or Social Science) can also help.

• Aside from familiarizing oneself with the publications of professors in the field, how else would you suggest I prepare myself to be more likely accepted to a Ph.D. program in this field?

Every program is looking for students who are a good match for their program. Aside from the usual, i.e. grades and taking the GRE, we are looking for students interested in what the program is about (see our description on the web) and in working with our faculty. A good statement of purpose and a writing sample are also essential; you could ask your undergraduate professors for advice as well, since you will probably ask them for recommendations. Make sure you give them all the information so they can write you a good recommendation. Ideally, give them a draft of your statement, your transcripts, a resume, and perhaps a copy of a paper you wrote for them --- this will ensure a good, detailed recommendation. If you are in the area in the fall, do come by and meet us and see if we are suited to you. Since a Ph.D is a long haul, make sure that this program is right for you.

• Would one of the professors be willing to offer me any advice, and if so do you know who is most approachable in this respect?

Yes, of course. In the summer, many of the professors are not around so this is not the ideal time to meet or contact the faculty. The best time to meet us is the fall and the earlier the better. UCI's fall quarter begins late September so if you write to us the last week of September, you will be sure to reach us.

• How hard it is to be admitted to your program?

For the 2007-2008 year we received approximately 40 applications for 4 places. For the 2008-2009 year, the 2009-2010 and the 2011-2012 academic year we received over 90 applications each admissions cycle for another 4 spots each year.

• What kind of applicant are you looking for?

Please see the discussion on the General Program Requirements page.

• Do I need an M.A. degree?

No. Although, in general, students who hold an MA degree can make more speedy progress through the program since they arrive with more advanced education “under their belt” and they usually have more focus in relation to their dissertation project. An MA degree is excellent preparation for a Ph.D program. On the other hand, we have many outstanding students who have not obtained an MA. It is not required.

• Do you recognize M.A.’s from other programs?

Typically, we do not recognize MA degrees from other institutions as substitution for our required units. We appreciate the training and experience that an MA from another program provides an applicant but we cannot waive our requirements.

• Can I be admitted to your program in Winter or Spring quarter?

We admit in the fall quarter only

• How do I pay for Graduate School?

We offer TAships and fellowships that can go towards tuition and support. We hope to continue to offer financial support but if you take longer, than outlined to complete the program, continued support may not be offered. Many students seek other opportunities to TA until their 18 allocated TA quarters run out. We also urge you to write for research and other grant and fellowship opportunities that come your way. If you wish to do research away from Irvine, seeking grants is critical. UCI has many ways to support your grant and fellowship applications, either within UCI or UC or outside. Check with the fellowship office about these opportunities. Our program does not have its own undergraduate program so most of our students support themselves by working as TA’s (teaching assistants) in other programs and departments up to 3 quarters per year. Fee remission and other benefits accompany teaching and research assistantships. Summer support is usually not available. Typically, out of state tuition waivers are offered to incoming students who are not state residents (depending on our block grant allotment). We ask all out of state students to register as California residents after the first year (although international students are not eligible to do so and will need to pay the out of state tuition outright for the duration of their graduate studies or our program will have to pay for the waiver out of our block grant—this is on a case by case basis). Check the UC Irvine Office of Graduate Studies website for more detailed and helpful information.The 18-quarter limit for TA-ships is absolute and no exceptions will be granted. A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA is required to hold an academic appointment.

• Do you accept international students?

Our campus greatly values the participation of international students in our graduate programs and we welcome such applications. However, many financial aid programs are limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. International students pay out-of-state tuition throughout the duration of their degree program. However, after advancing to candidacy (usually in the third or fourth year of the program), tuition is reduced by 75 percent. We also recommend that international applicants apply to their government for support.

• Is it possible to participate in the program on a part-time basis?

Not at this time. Because it is very challenging to complete required Ph.D. level course work on a part-time basis, students need to present a very strong and compelling case for this request. Please note that for purposes of student employment and internal funding (fellowships, block grants, etc.), only full-time students (meaning enrolled in 12 units or more) are eligible.

• Do I have to be in residence?

Yes. For at least the first 3 years (until you complete your required course work), you must attend seminars and participate in required program activities. After you advance to candidacy, you may conduct your dissertation research anywhere (although you must pay filing fees, etc. as required by Graduate Studies).

• What can I do with a Ph.D. in Culture and Theory?

Most people pursue a Ph.D. degree in order to continue on an academic career path. Most permanent teaching positions in 4 year universities and colleges require a Ph.D. as a condition of employment (or proof that the degree is almost complete). Dissertations in our field can lead to drafts of book manuscripts that can be considered for academic (and rarely, but occasionally, commercial) publication and such publications are also required in the academic career path. Ph.D.’s are also employed by governmental and non-governmental organizations. There are many possible choices for a degree holder. But it is important to consider your long-term goals very carefully before embarking on this process. The academic (and non-academic) job market is very uncertain and the long years involved in the pursuit of the Ph.D. require sacrifices and commitment on the part of student as well as, in many cases, the extended family. We offer training and resources to help our students enter the academic and non-academic job market but this long-term process is not for the faint of heart! On the other hand, don’t let the uncertainty discourage you. With realistic expectations, hard work, and good mentoring, most Ph.D.s in interdisciplinary fields find the kind of work they are seeking after they finish their degrees. Interdisciplinary training and lots of TA experience gives our graduates a lot to offer any number of programs and departments.

• What are your placement percentages?

Our program admitted its first class of 4 students in 2007. We admitted our second and third class of 4 more students in 2008/2009 respectively. This past admissions cycle (2011) we accepted our fourth class,of 4 more students. As we graduate more Ph.D.’s in larger numbers, we will post statistics.

• When can I expect to receive a response by phone or e-mail? Can I make an appointment to see faculty in their offices during the summer/winter break, etc?

We make every effort to answer inquiries quickly. Here is some information that might help you understand the occasional time when you might encounter a delay of some kind:
• We are a small program. Our staff person, works 30% time. The office is open year round but there are always times when our office is closed for a variety of reasons. We recommend contacting us by e-mail at
• Faculty in research universities use the time when classes are not in session to conduct their own research and writing and they are not required to hold office hours at those times (although many faculty will be happy to see you if they are around and working in their offices). If you need to contact faculty, try e-mailing them first but expect that between the end of June and the end of September or between mid-December and the first week of January, you may not receive a reply.

• What code do I use to have my GRE and TOEFL scores sent to the Culture and Theory Program?

Use Code 4859 and the scores will be sent to the appropriate place.

• For program information:

• Read the website thoroughly
• E-mail or make a short appointment with the program coordinator
• E-mail faculty first to make an appointment unless they have posted office hours during the time period of your visit or call
• If referred to the program chair or one of the graduate advisers, please e-mail first if classes are not in session
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. We are eager to provide you with information about our program and we are happy to answer your questions. We appreciate your interest in the Ph.D. Program in Culture and Theory at UC Irvine.

• Do the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement need to be included as part of the on-line application or can they be submitted separately?

It is strongly recommended that both the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement be submitted on-line as part of your completed application. This allows the entire application to be reviewed easily by the Admissions Committee. Please note that once your application has been submitted, you cannot add additional information at a later date.

• Do you have a preference about whether Letters of Recommendation are submitted online or by mail?

Yes we do. We much prefer Letters of Recommendation to be submitted online. This allows your entire application packet to be more easily reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

You will find complete directions for online letters of recommendation at The Graduate Division offers the following advice for online letter of recommendation submission:

For the Applicant
Letters of recommendation may be submitted online by your recommenders at any time after you start your online application. It is strongly recommended that you waive or decline to waive your rights of access to your letters of recommendation (using the online application system) BEFORE you start inviting recommenders to submit their information for you. Once you have started your application, you can either use the "LOR & Waiver of Access" section of the online application system or you can use the UCI Application Progress Review System to specify your recommenders and send automated invitation emails to them. The automated invitation emails include all the information needed by your recommenders to submit your recommendation online. After you have completed and submitted your application, you may continue to manage your list of recommenders and monitor the status of their submissions using the UCI Application Progress Review System. Please note that this feature does not reflect the status of letters of recommendation that are submitted on paper.

For the Recommender
Please ask your student to use the UCI Application Progress Review System to send you an automated invitation email for submitting an online recommendation. That email will include a secure web link for you to access the online Letter of Recommendation system and submit your recommendation for their application. Please note that the online Letter of Recommendation system does not yet support the upload of letter files, but you can copy/paste the text of your letter for the online submission.

• Will I be notified if my application is not complete?

Depending on time available, we try to contact you if your application is missing anything, but it is your responsibility to make sure that your application is complete by the December 15th due date. You can always verify on-line that your GRE scores and on-line letters of recommendation have been received by the University. You can also contact the Program Administrator, (, to verify that the Culture and Theory Program has received your transcripts and writing sample.

• What is the difference between the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement?

That is a good question and one that is asked often by prospective students. The Statement of Purpose is an academic statement, i.e., what kind of project do you seek to pursue, who might you want to work with here, what has been your prior training and what are your career plans/goals? The Personal History Statement is about your background. It is very important for fellowship consideration. Economic hardship during one's formative years is the single most important factor, followed closely by diversity-related experiences (e.g., underrepresented minority status, physical or mental disability, military experience, raised by single parent, other challenges or barriers faced or overcome, etc.).

• I did not see a request for the Personal History Statement on the application. Where is it?

The tab for the Personal History Statement will only appear on the online application for applicants who indicate that they are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. Please upload your Personal History Statement on that page if the tab appears. For international applicants, you do not need to submit the Personal History Statement.