Krieger Hall


Click on a question to see the answer:

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.).