Folklore & Folklife
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The Degree Programs in Folklore and Folklife

Requirements for the MA degree

  • Eight courses taken at Penn including FOLK 500, FOLK 502, FOLK 503, and FOLK 606
  • Successful completion of the Graduate Qualifying Exam
  • One foreign language
  • An MA thesis (the thesis is commonly the development of a term assignment written for one of the courses, meeting the standards of a publishable article in a scholarly journal).

One of the eight courses for the MA may be an independent study course (Folk 999).

Ph.D. students may elect to take the Master's degree en route to the doctorate by meeting the above requirements.

Requirements for the Ph.D. degree

  • Twenty courses, including the four required courses (Folk 500, 503, 502 and 606)
  • Successful completion of the First-Year Qualifying Exam
  • Two foreign languages (see The Foreign Language Requirement)
  • The comprehensive examination, to be taken within a year of finishing course work
  • The dissertation proposal, to be written and accepted within six months of the completion of the comprehensive examination
  • The dissertation, to be completed within three years of the completion of the comprehensive examination (including the time necessary to write and have accepted the dissertation proposal)

Successful completion of the MA degree does not automatically qualify one to continue for the Ph.D. The faculty as a group assesses the overall performance of each first-year student in coursework and the Qualifying Examination, to determine their eligibility for further study.

Those students who enter with an MA may be able to transfer up to eight course units towards the Ph.D. for this work. Courses taken at other institutions prior to admission to the folklore program at Penn may be transferred for credit towards the Ph.D; no more than eight such courses can be transferred upon approval by the Associate Dean for Graduate Study.

A minimum of 12 courses must be taken at Penn, including at least two semesters of full-time attendance.

Courses for the Ph.D. may include no more than two appropriate Independent Study (999) topics; one additional course may be a Fieldwork Practicum (702) which may serve as a preparation for the Ph.D. dissertation fieldwork.

These regulations conform to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences standards. Any variation from this pattern--such as the need to extend the time needed for the dissertation because of engaging in extensive fieldwork--must be approved in writing by a committee within the Program consisting of the chair, the graduate chair and the head of the student's dissertation committee. Requests for such variation should be sent in a letter to the graduate chair.

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