Curriculum & Tracks
The doctoral program presents a lean, flexible curriculum and the possibility to choose between two specialized career tracks and a dual degree option:
- A research-focused track Culture, Criticism, and Contemporary Thought (C3T) is for scholars oriented toward the academy, museums, and other institutions and organizations employing doctoral degree recipients.
- A public-facing track Public Arts and Letters (PAL) is for artists, writers, and practitioners and allows them to do a ‘creative’ or alternative dissertation with a rigorous scholarly component.
- A dual degree in Health Care Ethics/Medical Humanities with a focus on either cultural studies or creative expression, the PhD in Humanities offers the possibility of complementing the study of Health Care Ethics and the Humanities at the doctoral level: https://louisville.edu/healthcareethics/dual-degree-pages/phd-humanities-ma.
Students in these tracks will take a combination of courses required for all students (Foundations courses) together with elective courses in the areas of study in which they plan to write their Dissertation. Each semester, courses are mapped out on a form called the Degree Plan. Students work with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss the courses to take and their relation to their broader goals. The Director will also help students find faculty experts in the university with whom they should meet for field-specific advice.
HUM 660*: Introduction to Global Humanities provides grounding for doctoral study and for the study of the Global Humanities.
HUM 661* and HUM 662*: Historical Perspectives on the Arts and Culture I and II each explore human experience and expression along a temporal axis.
HUM 663*: Global Perspectives on the Arts and Culture explores human experience and expression along a spatial axis.
*These courses are team-taught by professors in different disciplines.
Theories and Methodologies:
Students must take a Research & Methodology class in the field/discipline they want to write their dissertation in.
Theories of Culture (HUM 673) or an approved substitute. There are many courses offered by Faculty in the various departments of the Division of Humanities and the College of Arts and Sciences that can be used to satisfy this requirement. Completion of the HUM 673 course requirement will ensure that students are exposed to, understand, and are able to employ advanced theory.
Just to give an example, courses as diverse as Linguistic Anthropology; Urban Theory and Public Affairs; Queer Performance; Colonial Africa; Gender and Science Fiction; Gender, Race, Culture and Healthcare—and the list is much longer!—are approved substitutes for HUM 673.
Theories of Aesthetics (HUM 674) or an approved substitute. There are many courses offered by Faculty in the various departments of the Division of Humanities and the College of Arts and Sciences that can be used to satisfy this requirement. Completion of the HUM 674 course requirement will ensure that students are exposed to, understand, and are able to employ successfully advanced theory and issues in aesthetic approaches to culture.
Just to give an example, courses as diverse as Aesthetics; Museums and Culture; Black Music and Its Discourses; Curatorial Studies; Metaphor; Rhetoric of Race in Medieval England—and the list is much longer!—are approved substitutes for HUM 674.
There are three types of activities aimed at professionalizing our graduate students built into the coursework. They are:
HUM 650-03: Professional Project
The Professional Project is an engagement our graduate students undertake with a campus or community institution or organization on a short-term basis to share and further develop their specific knowledge and skill-sets. This might include organizing an event or series of events, teaching a brief workshop, offering a series of lectures, helping classify or prepare a set of research or other materials.
The Professional Project differs from a standard internship in that it is intellectually intensive and custom-designed.
HUM 653: Doctoral Project I: Book Reviews
This is an independent but faculty-supervised learning and credentials-development project in which students write four book reviews in a chosen field to learn the practice of literature review and to prepare for the ‘service to the profession’ component of their future academic careers.
HUM 654: Doctoral Project II: Journal Article.
This is an independent but faculty-supervised learning and credentials-development project aimed at guiding students through the steps of the journal article publication process. Students are encouraged to send their articles to journals for publication while in the program.
These are courses in any disciplines across the university that lie in the areas students plan to explore in their Dissertation. Each track requires four electives (12 credit hours). The electives provide the Area of Specialization for students in our PhD and should, therefore, be selected with care. Possible areas of specialization include but are by no means limited to: Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, the Global Humanities, Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Medical Humanities, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Translation Studies, and more. A new track in Public Humanities is envisioned for the future.
To get an idea of areas and topics that our alumni have explored, browse through the titles of .
Foreign Language Requirement:
Our Program rests solidly on the recognition of the importance of foreign language competency and translation for Humanities scholarship. Every student must fulfill the Foreign Language Requirement, which entails either basic proficiency in two languages or advanced proficiency in one language.