Graduate Program Designated Emphasis

Requirements (12 units)

The DE in Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science is open to Ph.D. candidates in any field of study. Students pursuing the DE in must complete its requirements before they advance to candidacy in their field, and they must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be awarded the DE.

The Designated Emphasis is a 12-unit interdisciplinary graduate course of study, requiring coursework across at least two departments. Two of the three required courses, if otherwise eligible, may count towards the student’s PhD requirements.

  • All students must complete an ENGL 297 graduate course (4 units) with an affiliated faculty member that produces an approximately 25-page research paper. This course will fulfill the research requirement of the Designated Emphasis.
    • The 297 course can be taken in any of the departments of affiliated faculty members. See the People page for affiliated faculty and a list of their home departments.
  • Two (2) courses (8 units) selected from ANTH 262; CPLT 272; CPLT 273; CPLT 275; CPLT 276; CWPA 255; ENGL 246; ENGL 247; ENGL 248; ETST 243F; HIST 287A; MUS 251; MUS 264; PHIL 237.
    • Students may ask to count another course with relevant content as approved by the Designated Emphasis Director.
    • Students must select courses from at least two different departments or programs, one of which may be their home department.
    • Undergraduate courses taken to fulfill these requirements must be accompanied by a 292 course with extra work mutually agreed upon by professor and student. For a list of undergraduate courses associated with the DE, please see the Minor page.

All requirements for the Designated Emphasis must be satisfied before a student advances to candidacy in their PhD field; a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the award of the Designated Emphasis.

DE Degree Check Form

Course Offerings

ENGL 247: Seminar in Science, Literature, and Media

Click here for detailed course descriptions.

ENGL 246: Seminar in Digital Media and Technocultural Studies

ENGL 247: Seminar in Science, Literature, and Media

ANTH 262: Seminar in Medical Anthropology

Click here for detailed course descriptions.

ENGL 246: Seminar in Digital Media and Technocultural Studies

ETST 243F: Race, Utopia, the Human in Sci-Fi

Click here for detailed course descriptions.

Course Descriptions

  • Fine Arts

    CWPA 255 The Graphic Novel (4): An in-depth consideration of the historical development and craft of graphic novels. Examines the intellectual, literary, and artistic evolution of this narrative form.

    MUS 251 Music in Computer Gaming (4): Introduces students to the history and theory of music use in computer games, including the development of classical commercial gaming and game design and the related use of dramatic music. Topics cover adventure game history, narrative underscoring, commercial computer game genres, and contemporary issues related to interactivity, performance, and reception.

    MUS 264 Music in Fantasy and Science Fiction (4): A survey of the use of music in science fiction and fantasy. Covers Tales of Hoffmann and Aniara to Star Trek and Solaris. Examines music's textural, sonic, and political roles in terms of traditional functions, as well as those associated with the explication of the synthetic and fantastic.

  • Humanities

    CPLT 272 The Origins and Promise of Science Fiction (4): Studies the literary, scientific, and social origins of the science fiction genre and how it generates new themes, narrative structures, and perspectives on the human condition.

    CPLT 273 Genre and Method in Science Fiction Studies (4): An introduction to the critical debate within the field of science fiction and to some of the early and fundamental concepts of what science fiction is and what it does. Examines the development of science fiction from its origins through its influence on critical theory in twentieth- and twenty-first century texts.

    CPLT 275 Science Fiction Authors (4): Examines the work of one of the core authors of science fiction and the reception of that work in either the initial formation or later development of the genre.

    CPLT 276 Science Meets the Fiction (4): Examines how changing scientific views of the world impact the science fiction genre. Studies the evolution of travel narratives and the historical novel into new adaptations of scientific visions of space and time. More broadly, examines how the genre reflects changing social and scientific contexts.

    ENGL 246 Seminar in Digital Media and Technocultural Studies (4): Explores the history, theories, and practices of technoculture. Includes studies of computational or combinatorial texts and media. Brings together issues and contexts related to technological innovation, including industrial production, refraction in aesthetic practices or popular cultural texts, and sociopolitical deployment.

    ENGL 247 Seminar in Science, Literature, and Media (4): Combines perspectives from the cultural study of technology and the social study of science with an analysis of cultural texts. Includes readings from significant primary texts alongside work from the history of science, technology, and medicine.

    ENGL 248 Seminar in Science Fiction (4): Intensive research in the history and theory of science fiction. Includes readings of significant primary texts and examinations of the genre from various critical perspectives (e.g. structuralist, Marxist, feminist).

    ETST 243F Race, Utopia, the Human in Sci-Fi (4): Explores through an afrofuturist lens how the concepts of utopia and of human life (collective and individual) have been imagined and practiced in science fiction literature and music.

    HIST 287A Research Seminar in Nature, Place, and Space: Environmental and Spatial Approaches to History (4): Surveys historical literature and methodologies involved in spatial and environmental analyses of the past. Examines technical and methodological issues involved in using spatial documents (maps). Discusses applications of historical research to environmental remediation.

    PHIL 237 Philosophy of Science (4): Topics discussed include understanding scientific objectivity in the light of the history and sociology of science; realism and antirealism about scientific theories; scientific methodology and its logic; and the nature of scientific explanation.

  • Social Sciences

    ANTH 262 Seminar in Medical Anthropology (4): Surveys major topics in medical anthropology. Examines the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of medical anthropology, including the cultural construction of health and disease, the nature of the therapeutic process, and how social structures contribute to inequality and suffering.