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Doctoral Program in Translation Studies

The TRIP doctoral degree is the first PhD in Translation Studies in the U.S. It prepares students both for the professoriate and for scholarly research-including research-informed translation and offers individualized interdisciplinary tracks to accommodate a variety of backgrounds. The features of the doctoral program are:

  • Inclusive curriculum including, but not limited to, history and traditions of Translation Studies, comparative literature, cultural and postcolonial studies, national literatures and major figures, philosophy, and pedagogy.
  • Individualized interdisciplinary tracks.

Admission Requirements:

Graduate students should demonstrate the following upon entering the program:

  • A near-native fluency in English, as well as (and especially) the ability to write academic texts in English.
  • A near-native fluency in a second language.
  • Optional, but desirable: a good reading knowledge of a third language. This means the applicant can read reliably with a dictionary.
  • Previous immersion in a culture where the second language is spoken.
  • A Master's degree, high GRE, GMAT or LSAT scores, TOEFL scores of 700+, as well as a writing sample and letters of recommendation. Applicants with no graduate course work in languages should also be prepared for a diagnostic examination during the application process.
  • Background in Translation Studies. Applicants who do not have a documented background in Translation Studies, or who do not have any formal certification in translation, may be provisionally admitted. Full admission will be granted only after they pass the graduate translation Certificate examination.

Admission decisions are made by the TRIP Admissions Committee in consultation with any other faculty member whose expertise seems in line with the applicant's interests.

Those interested in pursuing the PhD must formally apply through the Graduate School Admissions and follow their standard matriculation procedures.

Course Requirements:

Required Core Curriculum (16 credits)

Translation Practice:

  • Translation Workshop - Literary (TRIP 572, 4 credits)
  • Translation Workshop - Non-Literary (TRIP 573, 4 credits)

Students who present workshop credits from Binghamton University or elsewhere may petition to have the preceding courses waived. However, the total number of credits (48) required remains the same even when students are exempted from taking TRIP 572 and 573.

Translation Studies:

  • Introduction to Translation Studies (TRIP 580A, 4 credits)
  • Topics in Translation Studies (TRIP 580B, 4 credits)
  • Independent Study Research (TRIP 597 variable credits)

Dissertation Disciplines:

  • Pre-Dissertation Research (TRIP 698, 1+ credits)
  • Dissertation (TRIP 699, 1+ credits)

Electives (24 credits)

Allied Electives:

Students are expected to choose electives from the basic knowledge structures briefly outlined below. They constitute some of the broad bases on which the interdiscipline of Translation Studies usually relies:

  • Criticism and textual analysis (e.g. comparative literature and philosophy);
  • Cultural studies (e.g. Anthropology, Sociology, area-specific studies);
  • World languages and literatures;
  • Technical fields (e.g. business or the sciences, for those specializing in non-literary translation);
  • Pedagogy (education and language departments)

Disciplinary Electives:

Depending on their interests, students will be able to choose electives from a variety of courses encompassing disciplines such as history, political science, sociology, linguistics, or theater, so that they can be better prepared to develop their research.

For students who want to deepen their knowledge and practice of translation pedagogy, TRIP 580 (variable credit) is highly recommended.

Total credits required (without a previous master's degree in a related field) - 48

Total credits required (with a previous master's degree in a related field - 36

Residency Requirement:

Students are expected to be in residence for their formal coursework, which will usually take two academic years. It is also advisable that they stay in residence during the parallel requirements described below.

Parallel Academic Requirements:

Comprehensive Examination
After finishing their required credits and courses, doctoral students are expected to take the TRIP PhD comprehensive examination, which will be evaluated by an examination committee composed of three examiners chosen by the students in conjunction with the TRIP Co-directors. This examination is divided into four parts:

  • Dissertation Prospectus. This is a 40-50-page paper devoted to a theoretical issue, or sub area explicitly related to Translation Studies, which will help students establish the direction of their dissertations. It should involve substantial scholarship that shows students are familiar with the current bibliography on the topic selected and are able to articulate their arguments in an academically acceptable format. The paper also serves as a dissertation proposal in that it defines the areas that the student will be focusing on for their research.
  • Main Area of Concentration. Students are required to define an area that reflects their main interest in the field. Suitable topics might be, for example, translation pedagogy, political aspects of translation theory, translation and ethics, linguistic approaches to translation, translation criticism, or a focus on the literary works of a particular period/language. (This is a 72-hour take-home examination scheduled by student.)
  • Minor Field. This section of the examination will focus on a field that either complements or expands the student's main area of concentration. Thus, if a student's main area of concentration is, for example, translation pedagogy, her/his minor field might be contemporary approaches to education or the training of translators in Medieval Spain. (This is a 72-hour take-home exam scheduled by the student.)
  • Oral Examination. This component will be based on the preceding parts of the examination, and will involve all the examiners.

In order to pass their PhD comprehensive examination, students must achieve a grade of B+ or better on each part. At the discretion of the examiners and in consultation with the graduate advisor, a student who has failed to achieve this standard may retake that part (or those parts) in which the grade was below B+.


  • Original research project, involving original research which may comprise of a case study, an annotated translation, a speculative essay, a literature survey, or some other form approved by the student's committee presented in a public forum.

Last Updated: 9/2/16