Before the beginning of classes the following fall, the beginning of your fourth year, the student will, in consultation with your committee and the DGS, schedule an exam date sometime in September. At 9:00 on the morning the day before the exam, the student will receive from the graduate secretary several questions prepared by your committee. If the exam has been scheduled for a Monday, then the chair of the committee will arrange for the student to receive the questions on Sunday. The questions will follow the model of essay questions. The student will prepare a roughly 20-minute presentation in response to one question selected from the list. You may consult books and notes, and you may prepare your answers in the place most convenient to your.
On the following day, the student will meet with the committee for a two-hour examination. The first hour of the exam will consist of the student’s presentation and the committee’s questions in response to that presentation. Notes are allowed, but the presentation is to be primarily an oral performance. The second half of the exam meeting will be concerned with questions about the student’s chosen field, in an effort to assess the student’s knowledge of the works on your list, your agility with the leading concepts in your field, and the quality of your ideas about the field.
At the completion of two hours, the student will leave the room to give the committee time to consult. After a short consultation, they will call your back into the room and report whether you have failed, passed or passed with distinction this part of the qualifying exam. The chair of the committee will report this news in writing to the DGS.
If you pass, you will take the second part of the exam the subsequent spring. In the case of a failed exam, the student will meet with each member of the committee for feedback and advice. The committee chair’s report to the DGS will include a justification for the failing grade. The student will schedule a retake for the beginning of the following semester. Students are allowed one re-take for each section of the exam.