Tutorial Ph.D.

Why choose this Ph.D. in Basque Studies?

The Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno is the leading academic and research institution for Basque Studies in the United States. The University library has one of the world's largest collections of Basque-related materials outside of the Basque Country, currently at 55,000 volumes. The Center for Basque Studies faculty and visiting scholars undertake original research in a range of disciplines and participate in international and national networks of scholarship. The Center has produced seven series of books on Basque culture that were edited by faculty members.

The tutorial Ph.D. program in Basque Studies is intended to provide students in the humanities and social sciences with an opportunity to pursue doctoral studies emphasizing Basque-related courses and dissertation research. The successful student will be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Basque Studies with an emphasis in one of the following disciplines at the University of Nevada, Reno: anthropology, world languages and literatures, geography, political science, English, or history. The degree is in Basque Studies but entails specialization in one of these subject areas and involves close collaboration with participating departments at the University.

The tutorial Ph.D. program represents a unique opportunity for the right student. However, given that it lacks the structure of a traditional doctoral program, the tutorial Ph.D. only suits those students who have clear goals and who are willing to assume responsibility for formulating, presenting and justifying a program of study and a dissertation topic. The Center for Basque Studies highly recommends that potential applicants contact Xabier Irujo, the Director of the Center for Basque Studies, to discuss their proposed research and to verify that a mentor will be available for their topic.

General requirements

The following general requirements apply to all students in the tutorial Ph.D. program:

  1. Time limit: All requirements must be satisfied during the eight calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree.
  2. Advisory-examining committee: As soon as practical and in consultation with the Center's Director of Graduate Studies, the student should choose an advisory/examining committee and complete the Graduate School's program of study, which is tailored to each student's interests. The student should discuss this program with the faculty mentor, the Center’s Director and Director of Graduate Studies and the advisory/examining committee, which should be constituted by the end of the fourth semester of enrollment.
    1. The tutorial Ph.D. in Basque Studies emphasizes a close working relationship between the student and his/her faculty mentor and advisory-examining committee, which consists of the committee chair (the faculty mentor), two other faculty members from Basque Studies, two other graduate faculty from the department to which the student's program of study relates and one Graduate School representative, who ensures that all Graduate School policies and procedures are followed but does not vote on passing/failing the comprehensive examination or dissertation.
  3. Residence: The tutorial Ph.D. requires an absolute minimum of four semesters of full-time study and four consecutive semesters (excluding summer sessions) must be spent in full-time residence at the University of Nevada, Reno. Full-time residence requires a minimum of nine credits per semester unless the student has a graduate assistantship. Once the faculty mentor, the Director of Graduate Studies, the advisory examining committee and the participating degree-awarding department have approved a student's program of study, any coursework completed by a non-resident student will be validated by the Graduate School of the University and applied to the coursework requirements for the Basque tutorial Ph.D.
  4. Continuous registration: Graduate School regulations require students to maintain continuous registration of at least three credit hours per semester to remain active in the pursuit of a degree. This means that students studying for the comprehensive exam or writing a dissertation must, even if they are not in residence, register for at least three credit hours each semester until they graduate. The doctoral program must be completed within eight years.
  5. Total credits and transfer credits: The tutorial Ph.D. requires a minimum of 72 credits beyond the Bachelor's degree (B.A.). A maximum of 24 credits (with grades of "B" or better) earned at the Master's level at another university may be applied toward requirements for the tutorial Ph.D. Transfer credit requests must be approved by the student's faculty mentor, the Director of Graduate Studies at the Center, and the Graduate School. As many as 18 700-level credits may be used from a Master's degree program.
    1. Of the remaining 48 credits, 24 must involve coursework and a further 24 apply to dissertation research and preparation. At least 30 of the 48 credits must be 700-level. The comprehensive examination credit does not count toward this requirement.
    2. Note: Courses numbered 600 and above are for graduate credit. A dual-numbered (400-600) course completed at the 400 level for undergraduate credit may not be retaken at the 600 level for graduate credit. Each graduate course must be completed with a grade of "C" or better for the credit to be applied to an advanced degree. Students must maintain good standing with an overall graduate credit GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.
  6. Supervision and reports on progress: In order to establish and to maintain effective, regular communication between the student and the faculty mentor, monthly tutorials are recommended. Tutorials enable students and their mentors to discuss course work, written work, the student's timetable for completion, as well as any problems that have arisen. At the end of each semester, the faculty mentor will submit a report to the Director of the Center (with copies for the Director of Graduate Studies, who keeps student files, and the student) on the student's progress during the semester. The report will provide the following information: how many times the mentor saw the student and whether objectives (agreed with the mentor the previous semester) for the semester were met; whether the student submitted any written work and if so, its overall quality; whether the student had any academic, financial or personal problems that affected his/her/their scholarly work, and whether he/she/they had given any seminar or conference papers or had participated in any such events at the University or elsewhere. The faculty mentor and student should set agreed objectives for the next semester; these should be indicated in the end-of-semester report.
  7. Comprehensive examination (written): Toward the end of the fourth semester of course work, the student must pass a comprehensive examination, consisting of a written test compiled by members of the advisory-examining committee, who are responsible for evaluating the exam. Graduate School regulations stipulate that an examination is failed if more than one negative vote is cast by that committee. If this occurs, the student may be allowed to repeat specific parts of the exam, or the entire exam. However, no part may be retaken more than once and three months must elapse between attempts.
  8. Dissertation: Candidates for the tutorial Ph.D. must present a dissertation that makes a significant scholarly contribution to knowledge. A dissertation prospectus must be submitted to and approved by the candidate's advisory-examining committee before work begins on the dissertation. The prospectus normally includes a bibliography and an extensive description of contents. When considerable progress has been made, the candidate may be permitted to complete the dissertation elsewhere, under such arrangements as his/her/their advisory committee may specify and the Dean of the Graduate School approves.
    1. Students should follow the current information from the Graduate School about strict regulations governing the format and submission of the dissertation. Students doing research involving human subjects must consult the Office of Human Subjects Research, meet all Institutional Review Board requirements before research is conducted and ensure that all protocols are followed.
  9. Defense (final oral examination): After the dissertation has been accepted by the candidate's advisory-examining committee, an oral examination is administered by that committee. The candidate must pass this exam with not more than one dissenting vote from the committee. The oral exam may be repeated once, but at least three months must elapse between attempts.
  10. Graduation: Upon passage of the oral exam and acceptance of the dissertation, the advisory committee members sign the doctoral degree notice of completion. To graduate in any given semester, the candidate must purchase and complete an online application for graduation. The application is available on the Graduate School web site. Applications are due March 1st for graduation in May, May 1st for graduation in August and October 1st for graduation in December. The student must also submit the notice of completion and the approved dissertation to the Graduate School 10 days before the end of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Deadlines are published on the Graduate School's website and in each semester's course schedule. The student is responsible for meeting these deadlines.
    1. The application for graduation provides a final list of all courses the student has taken in order to complete the program. If that list in any way deviates from the one on the program of study form, the student must attach a change in program of study form (available at the Graduate School) detailing any changes. If the student's advisory-examining committee has changed, the student must attach the change of advisory committee form.
  11. Paperwork: The student is responsible for gaining a thorough knowledge of the degree requirements and for the timely submission of all Graduate School forms. Early in their graduate careers, students should become familiar with the most important forms: the graduate credit transfer evaluation request, the program of study, the admission to candidacy/comprehensive examination report, the notice of completion and the application for graduation.

Financial aid and graduate assistantships

Students interested in financial assistance are urged to review the financial aid section of the current general catalog of the University of Nevada, Reno. In most cases, students are eligible to receive GSLs, NDSLs (student loans) and certain scholarships. The Center for Basque Studies has two graduate assistantships. Successful applicants are selected by the Center's faculty, although the assistantships are funded by the University. Each assistantship has a stipend of $17,000 (including health insurance but before taxes are deducted) and entails a 10-month employment contract with the University. Graduate assistants are exempt from out-of-state tuition fees and also receive a substantial fee waiver for courses. The state pays $166.21 for each credit and the student must therefore pay $63.29 per credit. In addition, international students who receive an assistantship must pay certain compulsory fees for services such as counseling, access to the health center and OISS fees.

Graduate assistants must be enrolled in at least six graduate-level credits per semester. In the Center for Basque Studies, graduate assistants work 20 hours per week on designated projects, or with individual professors in research. Duties may include occasional routine clerical work (such as preparing information packs for conferences and assisting with technical and catering arrangements for such events) but more commonly consist of assisting faculty with their courses (grading some assignments, giving guest lectures, participating in small group discussions, and preparing PowerPoint presentations). Students who teach are required to receive the appropriate training before teaching duties are undertaken. The Center is committed to mentoring graduate assistants in the classroom.

On a competitive basis, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) offers international awards to international graduate students currently enrolled at the University. The GSA also invites applications for travel grants (up to $500) for conferences, research grants of up to $2,500, computer loans of up to $1,500 and emergency loans from $500. Students must apply and be selected for these awards.

How do I apply?

Applicants to the Basque Studies Ph.D. must meet the admissions standards of the University’s Graduate School. The Basque Studies Ph.D. program recommends submitting the following materials with the Graduate School application:

  • A detailed Statement of Purpose
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Contact information for three academic referees

The program supports admissions in both the fall and spring semesters. The application deadline for fall admission is April 15. The application deadline for spring is Nov. 1.

What's next?

You can apply now if you are ready to begin at the University. To learn more about the Basque Studies Ph.D., visit the Center for Basque Studies or contact the Director of Graduate Studies for more information:

Mariann Vaczi, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies, Center for Basque Studies
(775) 682-5575