The doctoral program in ASPECT at Virginia Tech is targeted to students who have previously earned an M.A. or equivalent (e.g. JD, MBA, MArch) before pursuing doctoral study. Under the assumption that students accepted into the ASPECT program with a Master's degree or equivalent either from Virginia Tech or elsewhere have received credit for 30 credit hours, they then will undertake a minimum of 60 semester hours of further study, leading to the defense of a Ph.D.
The Ph.D. curriculum concentrates on methodological and theoretical issues, as well as on domains where social, political, ethical, and cultural thought are put to work in understanding social and individual transformations in contemporary and historical contexts.
Degree requirements can be found in the ASPECT Graduate Program Handbook.
Graduates of the ASPECT Ph.D. program will develop an advanced level of knowledge about a particular problem in social, political, ethical, and cultural thought and their contributions to knowledge will be made evident through the innovative questions they pose and through the analytical ways they devise to “solve” the problem they have selected from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. They will be encouraged to undertake original, creative, interdisciplinary, and theoretically-informed research based on the development of a varied set of analytic skills. They will know how to work with various kinds of print and non-print objects of analysis, as well as with the methodologies required to interrelate them. They will be able to apply for grants, prepare and publish research findings, and contribute to the planning of research venues such as graduate conferences and workshops (already, throughout their course of study in ASPECT, students will have been encouraged to present their research at regional, national, and international professional conferences). They can be expected, with these accomplishments, to apply these skills to related or new projects. Furthermore, graduates who intend to pursue a postsecondary teaching career will be prepared to teach core courses in the departments or disciplines most related to their research/teaching interests.