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Revitalize Learning Outcomes

Consideration of a new model for the humanities Ph.D. must begin by re-imagining the learning outcomes our students aim to achieve. What will Ph.D. holders of the future be required to know? What will they be required to know how to do? How will their experience as Ph.D. students be transformative for themselves and the public sphere?

  • What are the key student learning objectives (SLOs) for the Ph.D. in a humanities discipline today and for the future?
  • How must the design of the doctorate be re-imagined to meet these new SLOs?
  • What types of requirements will be helpful in facilitating the achievement of these SLOs?
    • Is the dissertation still the necessary formative experience of the Ph.D. in the humanities? If not, what other formative experiences might be proposed? If yes, what alternative formats might the dissertation take? What are the SLOs for the dissertation in particular?
    • What role might experiential and practical learning play in a new humanities Ph.D.?
    • How might collaboration and team approaches figure into a new humanities Ph.D.?
    • How will a model humanities Ph.D. ensure the mastery of the discipline while remaining open to interdisciplinary possibilities? Or is this a false opposition?
    • What might the progression of requirements look like in a particular discipline?
    • What is the ideal time to degree for a humanities Ph.D., assuming that there is consensus that current average times to degree are too long? How will the SLOs be met in that new time frame?


  • Smith, Sidonie. Manifesto for the Humanities: Transforming Doctoral Education in Good Enough Times Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. 1-32 & 111-174.

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