Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Major Williams contains offices for various departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. It was converted from a residence hall in the late 1990s. Entire building housed 352; contains 64,673 sq. ft. The building is named for Marine Maj. Lloyd W. Williams, class of 1907, alumnus hero of World War I, to which has been attributed one of the more famous statements of that war: "Retreat? Hell, no!..."
220 Stanger Street MC 0192 202 Major Williams Blacksburg VA 24061
Major Williams Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought
Minimum GPA: 3.5
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Feb 01
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Program Director : Francois Debrix
Graduate Program Director : Francois Debrix (Program Director)
Emeriti Faculty: Elizabeth Fine (Religion and Culture); Richard Rich (Political Science); Richard Shingles (Political Science); Robert Siegle (English)
Professors: Francois Debrix (Political Science); Brett Shadle (History)
Associate Professors: Danna Agmon (History); Bettina Koch (Political Science); Rachel Scott (Religion and Culture)
Assistant Professors: Mauro Caraccioli (Political Science); Bikrum Gill (Political Science); Desiree Poets (Political Science); Audrey Reeves (Political Science); Balbir Singh (Religion and Culture)
Affiliated Faculty: Onwubiko Agozino (Africana Studies); Aaron Ansell (Religion and Culture); Clair Apodaca (Political Science); Paul Avey (Political Science); Andrea Baldwin (Sociology); Mark Barrow (History); France Belanger (Accounting and Information Systems); Shannon Bell (Sociology); Binio Binev (Political Science); Cermetrius Bohannon (Architecture); Aaron Brantly (Political Science); Daniel Breslau (Science Technology and Society); Brian Britt (Religion and Culture); Letisha Brown (Sociology); David Brunsma (Sociology); Danille Christensen (Religion and Culture); Carolyn Commer (English); Nicholas Copeland (Sociology); Cara Daggett (Political Science); Giselle Datz (GIA); Priya Dixit (Political Science); Arthur Ekirch (History); Edward Ewing (History); Jessica Folkart (Modern Classical Languages); Matthew Gabriele (Religion and Culture); Thomas Gardner (English); James Garrison (Education); Edward Gitre (History); Carmen Gitre (History); Nicholas Goedert (Political Science); Heather Gumbert (History); Saul Halfon (Science Technology and Society); Anthony Harrison (Sociology); Matthew Heaton (History); Ashley Heflin (STS); Rebecca Hester (Science Technology and Society); Karen Hult (Political Science); Benjamin Jantzen (Philosophy); Eric Jardine (Political Science); Caitlin Jewitt (Political Science); Sharon Johnson (Modern Classical Languages); Sylvester Johnson (Humanities); Melanie Kiechle (History); Karin Kitchens (Political Science); James Klagge (Philosophy); Karen Kovaka (Philosophy); Christine Labuski (Sociology); Robert Leonard (Theatre and Cinema); Douglas Lind (Philosophy); Ilja Luciak (Political Science); Timothy Luke (Political Science); Allan Lumba (History); Jordan MacKenzie (Philosophy); Michael Moehler (Philosophy); Marian Mollin (History); Wayne Moore (Political Science); Amy Nelson (History); Scott Nelson (Political Science); Zhange Ni (Religion and Culture); Shaily Patel (Religion and Culture); Lydia Patton (Philosophy); Joseph Pitt (Philosophy); Paulo Polanah (Sociology); Katrina Powell (Sociology); Karl Precoda (Theatre and Cinema); Anita Puckett (Religion and Culture); Besnik Pula (Political Science); Patrick Roberts (SPIA); John Ryan (Sociology); Michael Saffle (Religion and Culture); Emily Satterwhite (Religion and Culture); Andrew Scerri (Political Science); Peter Schmitthenner (Religion and Culture); Helen Schneider (History); Paula Seniors (Sociology); Robert Stephens (History); Max Stephenson (Institute for Policy and Governance); Ioannis Stivachtis (Political Science); Jessica Taylor (History); Gresilda Tilley-Lubbs (Education); Gerard Toal (Government and International Affairs); Sharone Tomer (Architecture); Kelly Trogdon (Philosophy); Vinodh Venkatesh (Modern Classical Languages); Peter Wallenstein (History); Ronda Watson (Modern Classical Languages); Edward Weisband (Political Science); Laura Zanotti (Political Science)

Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought Introduction

The Ph.D. in Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) prepares graduate students to undertake theory-based, problem-centered, and interdisciplinary analysis informed by social, political, ethical and cultural thought. ASPECT is designed to interest those seeking a program of study with a framework wider than that of a specialized traditional disciplinary department. The program is unique in offering a curriculum that fosters research and teaching that communicates theory across the limits that frequently divide between units in the social sciences, humanities, and professional schools. The program promises to place in tandem bodies of thought and their research applications that have frequently cast divisions along fault line of political theory vs. cultural studies, social theory vs. ethical thought, etc. It is the modest ambition of the ASPECT curriculum, by contrast, to foster a research and teaching program that enables Ph.D. students to pursue appropriate course work and research commensurate with the complexities of the issues they aim to investigate.

The curriculum stresses flexibility and originality. It permits a focus on overarching questions by offering training in areas of concentration as well as education in interdisciplinary ways of knowing. Each area of concentration, in turn, is composed of a cluster of multidisciplinary offerings. Students will be prepared to teach introductory and required courses in particular disciplines through their graduate teaching assistantships. However, their Ph.D research will address questions that span a number of different approaches and fields in a truly interdisciplinary manner.

The ASPECT Ph.D. curriculum is supported both by some seventy faculty affiliates (see: with tenure homes in twelve campus departments and three colleges:  the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, including the four core departments of History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion and Culture.
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.5
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE

The ASPECT doctoral program at Virginia Tech is for students who have previously earned an M.A. or equivalent (e.g. JD, MBA, MS) before pursuing doctoral study. Under the assumption that students accepted into the ASPECT program with a Masters 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 interdisciplinary methodological and theoretical issues.  Therefore, ASPECT is where social, political, ethical, and cultural thought are put to work in understanding social and individual transformations in contemporary and historical contexts.

Course requirements for the Ph.D. can ordinarily be completed during two years of residency and entail successful completion of 42 credit hours, leading to the defense of a Ph.D. dissertation proposal and preliminary exams during the fourth semester. Thereafter, dissertation research will be undertaken under the supervision of a multidisciplinary advisory committee and remaining credits may be earned either by taking additional classroom courses or research and dissertation credits.
Students pursuing the ASPECT Ph.D. select a major and a minor concentration chosen from among four areas: 1) social thought, 2) political thought, 3) ethical thought, and 4) cultural thought. Additional ASPECT courses requirements offer education in interdisciplinary theory, methodology, and professional development.

The ASPECT curriculum consists of four kinds of classroom courses: 1) All candidates will take 12 credit hours of core ASPT courses (ASPT 6004, ASPT 6104, ASPT 6204, and ASPT 6904); 2) 21 credit hours selected from ASPECT cross listed departmental offerings (six of the latter are brand new courses expressly designed to support program goals), 3) six credit hours in social science or humanistic research methods; and, 4) three credit hours in pedagogical practices (GRAD 5114).

All students are required to identify a major and minor field (one each selected from the four concentration areas). The 21 credit hours mentioned in (2), are selected to fulfill the major and the minor areas of concentration, with 12 credit hours in the major and 9 credit hours in the minor area. No more than 9 credit hours can be taken in one department in fulfillment of the major area, no more than 6 from one department in the minor area.

Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought Facilities Introduction

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Course Listing for Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought