Translation Studies, PhD

PhD in Translation Studies

The doctoral program is primarily designed to prepare its graduates for careers in both the academic field and scholarly research, including research-informed translation. It offers individualized interdisciplinary tracks to accommodate a variety of backgrounds. The doctoral program offers the following features:

  • Inclusive curriculum comprising, but not limited to, history and traditions of translation studies, literary studies, cultural and postcolonial studies and philosophy;

  • Individualized interdisciplinary tracks, with the option to take courses in other academic departments; 

  • Learner-centered atmosphere through discussion seminars and independent studies to make learning an enriching exchange among students and faculty.

Guidelines & Checklists For Current Students

  • Admission

    Students pursuing the PhD in Translation Studies must follow the standard Graduate School matriculation procedures.

    Admission decisions are made by the TRIP Director, in consultation with the advisory committee and any other faculty member whose expertise seems appropriate for the applicant.

    Graduate applicants should demonstrate the following background, as attested by transcripts, standard exam scores, letters of recommendation, personal statement and a writing sample.

    1. Near-native fluency in English, as well as (and especially) the ability to write academic texts in English, as demonstrated by high GREs (310+) (GMAT or LSAT will be accepted in place of the GRE), and high TOEFL scores (100+);
    2. Near-native fluency in a second language;
    3. Optionally, but desirable: a good reading knowledge of a third language, meaning the applicant can read reliably with a dictionary;
    4. Previous immersion in a culture where the second language is spoken;
    5. A Master's degree in a relevant area; applicants with no graduate course work in languages should also be prepared for a diagnostic examination during the application process.
    6. 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 after passing the certificate examination.

    Note: The Translation Studies doctorate is part of the Translation Research and Instruction Program (TRIP), and is not managed by the Department of Comparative Literature. Please direct any questions about the doctorate to TRIP.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Students completing the Translation Research and Instruction Program (TRIP) Ph.D. in Translation Studies will obtain the following abilities:

    1. Broaden and deepen knowledge of areas relevant to their research interests, including interdisciplinary knowledge and skills appropriate to the field; 
    2. Define a research project in translation studies of appropriate scope or develop a substantial translation with an accompanying analysis; 
    3. Develop as a scholar in the field through the practice of independent research and writing. 
  • PhD Requirements

    Program of Courses (Required Core Curriculum)

    Translation Practice

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

    Translation Theory

    • TRIP 560: Intro to Translation Studies - (4 credits)
    • TRIP 562: Scholarly Methods in Translation Studies - (4 credits)

    (Students who present workshop credits from Binghamton University or elsewhere may petition to have the required workshop courses waived. However, if a waiver is granted, these credits must still be fulfilled with other relevant classes.)

    Allied and Disciplinary Electives - (20 credits)

    Depending on their interests, students will be able to choose electives from a variety of courses in other academic departments, encompassing disciplines such as:

    • Criticism and textual analysis (e.g., Comparative Literature, 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)


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

    Total Credits

    • Total Credits Required (without a previous master's degree in a related field) - (48 credits)
    • Total Credits Required (with a previous master's degree in a related field) - (36 credits)
    • The total number of credits required should remain the same, even when students are exempted from taking workshop classes (TRIP 572 and TRIP 573).

    Note: TRIP does not accept graduate-level transfer credits.

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

  • Determination of Academic Standing 

    A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 is required for a graduate degree. To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students are required to earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses that the Graduate School counts toward a degree. Further, doctoral students in TRIP maintain satisfactory academic progress by meeting program requirements to secure a committee chair by the end of their second semester in the program and to have taken at least one written comprehensive exam by the end of their fifth semester. Students who do not pass a comprehensive exam have one chance to retake and pass the exam. 

    When students have not achieved satisfactory academic progress, as outlined by the Graduate School and TRIP, they may be placed on Jeopardy status. In this case, students receive a warning and typically are expected to meet requirements for degree progress by the end of the next semester. These requirements are shared with the student in writing. Failing this, the program may recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student be severed. In this case, the student will be informed that they are being severed. Exceptions will be considered only in cases of extraordinary circumstances and students are responsible for having discussions with the program director in advance. 

    The Graduate School may sever a student when, in the estimation of the Dean of the Graduate School (or the Dean's designee), the student is not maintaining a satisfactory GPA, as required for graduation. Refer to the Graduate School Manual for additional information regarding academic standing, probation/jeopardy status, and severance. Students receiving a probation or jeopardy academic status should work closely with their advisor and/or the Director of TRIP to develop a plan to return to good academic standing.

    If a student’s academic progress does not meet expectations of the TRIP guidelines as documented publicly on TRIP’s webpages, the program will not register the student and will recommend to the Graduate School Dean the student be severed. If they are severed, students are encouraged to reapply if they decide to pursue their degree again. This must be done within five years, before credits expire. 

  • Learning Contract

    Once doctoral students have secured a committee chair, students are encouraged to develop a learning contract with their chair. The purpose of the learning contract is to define the knowledge and skills required in order to pass the comprehensive examination. Toward that, the learning contract will identify likely courses, texts, and/or concepts, which must be mastered in order to provide breadth of background, as well as specialized concepts that are germane to the proposed area of research. The learning contract may be modified later if additional knowledge is required, or if the field of research is changed.

  • Examination

    The comprehensive examination consists of four parts, detailed below: a dissertation prospectus, two written take-home exams, and an oral examination. Students need to form an exam committee consisting of an academic advisor (who will usually serve as their dissertation director (chair of the committee) and who supervises the dissertation prospectus) and two additional faculty members from Binghamton University, whose work is relevant to their project, each of whom will be responsible for one of the written take-home exams.

    1. Dissertation Prospectus. This is a longer paper (approximately 30-50 pages) 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 and show that 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 serves as a dissertation proposal in that it defines the areas that the student will be focusing on for their research.
    2. Main Area of Concentration. Students are required to define an area and build a reading list with one of their committee members that reflects students' main interests 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 the student.)
    3. Minor Field. This section of the exam focuses 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, the minor field might be contemporary approaches to education or the training of translators in medieval Spain. Students will build a reading list for this field with one of their committee members that reflect students' main interests in the field. (This is a 72-hour take-home examination scheduled by the student.)
    4. Oral Examination. This final component of the comprehensive exam involves all committee examiners and requires the student to explain choices made in each written exam, including the prospectus.

    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 the part (or those parts) in which the grade was below B+. All exam procedures and evaluations follow the Graduate School Manual. 

  • Dissertation

    The dissertation is an original research project, which may consist of a case study, an annotated translation, a speculative essay, a literature survey or some other form approved by the student's committee, presented and defended in a public forum. The dissertation should be at least 200 pages, not including bibliography and appendices. If students choose to include a translation as part of the dissertation, their theory-guided analysis of the translation must comprise at least one-quarter, or 50 pages, of the total dissertation. 

  • Sample Courses Offered 
    • TRIP 572: Translation Workshop, Literary
    • TRIP 573: Translation Workshop, Non-Literary
    • TRIP 560: Intro to Translation Studies
    • TRIP 562: Scholarly Methods in Translation
    • TRIP 580D: Postcolonial Theory & Arabic Literature
    • TRIP 580E: Translation and Creativity
    • TRIP 580H: Translators in History/Fiction
    • TRIP 580P: Taboos in Translation
  • Coursework and Degree Progress

    36 credits of coursework are required for the doctoral degree. TRIP students take an average of 4.5 years to complete the degree. For more information download the document below.phD Student Coursework & Degree Flow Chart