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Graduate Calendar
Spring 2018

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PhD in Argumentation Studies

The program provides expertise in the history, methods, and applications of argumentation scholarship as this interdisciplinary field has developed in the last six decades. Argumentation is defined as collaborative or competitive reasoning through verbal or visual means by which people strive to persuade others on any topic where information, knowledge, or claims conflict or are inconsistent. Different ways for analyzing and evaluating people’s arguments address the methods and principles that may be involved, and provide the core subject matter for Argumentation Studies. This will include some attention to policy agendas, interpersonal reasoning, and individual cognition.

Admission Requirements
Students identified for the program will specify which research cluster they wish to work with, or detail a project that can be assigned to one of the clusters. This interest should be communicated in a personal statement provided by each student. The members of that cluster will give advice to the program’s steering committee of the student’s suitability with respect to their background and their intended research. This decision will be based on the statement, their CV and letters of reference. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, we would not expect a common background, so decisions will be made on the basis of past performance and letters of reference. Students will also be expected to have achieved a Master’s degree (or equivalent professional experience) with an 80% or higher standing. Appropriate Master’s programs for admission would include English or Communication Studies (with an emphasis on rhetoric), Rhetoric (with an emphasis on rhetorical theory or debate), Psychology (with an emphasis on reasoning, or bias), Computer Science (with an emphasis on modelling artificial intelligence), Law (with an interest in dimensions of evidence), Political Science (with an emphasis on conflict resolution or political reasoning), Philosophy (with an emphasis on informal logic), Linguistics (with an emphasis on discourse analysis), or Women’s Studies (with an emphasis on gender bias and reasoning).

Equivalent professional experience will be assessed in terms of its relevance to Argumentation Studies and presence of background knowledge required for success on the planned project.. But all admitted students will have to have shown evidence in their application that they have the requisite requirements for success in the program in terms of both their past education and having experience in a profession (such as law or policy analysis) that uses principles and methods characteristic of our program. The student’s Advisory Committee will be drawn from the Research Cluster with which he or she is associated with on admission The supervisory committee will determine the number of qualifying graduate courses (if any, to a maximum of three) and students will be informed of these requirements as part of their offer of admission.

Program of Study
Within the first term of the student's registration, his/her Advisory Committee will be formed except for the external examiner, who will be appointed during the final year of a student's study and research (unless the student’s Advisory Committee wishes to bring the external in at the proposal stage) . The Advisory Committee will be chosen in the manner detailed in Section ”PhD Program Requirements” of the University of Windsor’s Graduate Calendar and consist of the following members as a minimum: an independent examiner external to the university (chosen at the time of the proposal or prior to the final defence), one member from the university faculty but outside of the Argumentation Studies Graduate Program, and three Argumentation Studies Graduate Program members, drawn from the appropriate Research Cluster. The external examiner must be a Full or Associate Professor with expertise in the area being examined and a proven research record. He/she must be impartial to both the student’s supervisor and the student. The Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies will choose the external examiner on the recommendation of the Argumentation Studies Graduate Program Steering Committee. The external examiner will normally attend the defence and submit a written report on the dissertation to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The final oral defence will be chaired by a designate of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

In order to complete the program:

Degree Requirements
79-500 History and Theories of Argumentation
79-501. Advanced Studies in Argumentation
79-798. Dissertation (To be developed)

Students must successfully complete History of Theories of Argumentation and Advanced Studies in Argumentation. However, in order to progress from fall to winter students must have a 77% average. The courses will be led by the Directors of the program with full faculty involvement on a rotating basis. The courses will be graded in accordance with university standards. All Ph.D. students who have successfully completed the course with a minimum grade of 77% will be expected to attend the courses as auditors in a subsequent year of their program.

Requirements to complete the degree are the two multi-disciplinary graduate seminar courses; preparation and defence of a Research Proposal; preparation and defence of an original dissertation.

Oral Qualifying Exam
Students will successfully complete during the first two years of enrolment in the program, an oral qualifying exam, administered by the student’s Advisory Committee. Students will be required to possess comprehensive knowledge of their field of study as well as any ancillary fields relevant to the dissertation topic (as determined in advance by the Advisory Committee). It is in terms of ensuring success in this requirement that some students may be directed to take supplementary courses. Students will be evaluated on a satisfactory, unsatisfactory basis. Should a student be unsuccessful in the first attempt at the oral qualifying exam, they will be provided a detailed assessment by their committee and have the opportunity to take a second exam within six months. Students must be judged satisfactory on this background exam before completing their research proposal.

Students must successfully complete and defend a Research Proposal. The dissertation proposal is submitted to and evaluated by the student’s Advisory Committee, including the faculty member from another program. Students are evaluated on a pass, fail basis. They will be required to submit a Research Progress Report to the Advisory Committee annually and meet with the committee every six months to discuss progress and research plans.
Following this, students must complete an original research project reported in a dissertation. They must then defend the dissertation in a public lecture before the Advisory Committee, including external members.