Jul 25, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2023-2024 
University of Alberta Calendar 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)

All students are required to declare a specialization at the time of admission.

Students specializing in Applied Linguistics or Translation Studies will engage in research in a language other than English chosen from any of the languages in which the Department has sufficient current expertise.

Students specializing in Media and Cultural Studies or Transnational and Comparative Literatures will engage in research in at least one language or culture other than or in addition to the English-speaking context chosen from any of the areas in which the Department has sufficient current expertise.

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 units, including 21 units in coursework, a 3-unit portfolio, 6 units in colloquia and a thesis.

Required courses

  • 18 units in graduate-level courses in the area of specialization. Courses chosen will depend on the student’s background and must be approved by the Associate Chair (Graduate).


The portfolio course consists of three modules tailored to the student’s professional goals. See The Portfolio on the Department website for further information.


  • Registration in 900-level THES.

Comprehensive Exams

The comprehensive exam tests the student’s knowledge in areas related to their specialization. That knowledge will be gathered from 2 reading lists prepared by the student in consultation with the supervisor and approved by the supervisory committee. See Candidacy on the Department website for further information.

Candidacy Exam

The candidacy exam is an oral defense of the thesis proposal. Students are expected to complete the candidacy exam successfully in their second year of study. The candidacy exam must be successfully completed by the end of the student’s third year in the program.

Professional Development Requirement

All students in MLCS fulfill the FGSR Professional Development  requirement through completion of the portfolio.

Language Requirement

PhD students must demonstrate at least a reading knowledge of two languages other than English. Credits taken to satisfy the language requirements do not count toward the degree.

Length of Program

The time necessary to complete the requirements for the PhD depends upon the student’s progress. The expected time to completion is five to six years.

The maximum time to complete the PhD program as set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is six years.