Doctor of Philosophy Program Guide: Examinations

Timeline and Satisfactory Progress:
Students should complete the Ph.D. exams in of the fourth year of graduate study (third year for those entering with a master’s degree) but must complete the Ph.D. exams by the end of the fourth year (third year for those entering with a master’s degree) in order to be making satisfactory progress.
Examinations are not administered during the summer.

The Ph.D. exams consist of written and oral components, to be completed within a three-week period. A syllabus designed by the student is required and turned in with the written examinations.

Ph.D. exams play a central role in the professional development of graduate students as scholars and teachers. They help students:

  • Develop areas of expertise for teaching and scholarship.
  • Understand and demonstrate knowledge of the history, stakes, and conversations occurring within a chosen field.
  • Cultivate the critical reading, writing, research, and professional skills required for deadline-driven academic projects and long-term independent research.
  • Discover and refine research inquiries that emerge from a contextualized understanding of a field as a prelude to intervening in and contributing to this field.