Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Comprehensive Exams


Comprehensive exams are taken between the third and fourth years of the doctoral program. These exams test a student’s analytical and research skills through the completion of a series of essays followed by an oral defense.

 

Comprehensive Exam Prep 

 

Timeline

Prerequisites

Purpose

Preparation

1 academic year (two semesters)

Complete all coursework requirements;
Ascertain whether students possess a breadth of knowledge outside the dissertation specialization and at the level expected of a new assistant professor;
three to eight months before taking the exam the student will collect preliminary reading lists from each committee member;
Pass all language exams, including a) the research language reading exam;
Evaluate whether students have the breadth and depth of knowledge to participate in professional discussions in Middle Eastern studies and in their major field;
Establish an approved 3-person exam committee;
Prepare students for academic job interviews.
Prepare an abstract outlining a preliminary idea for a dissertation project.
 

Written Examination 

Timeline

 

30 days

During the examination process students might be asked to prepare the following: analytical reviews, answer synthesis questions, response papers.
 

Oral Examination 

Timeline

 

2-3 weeks after submission of written exam

An oral examination is held in which the student defends before the committee their research, analyses, and arguments presented in their written exam.
The committee will assign a grade of pass, fail, or pass with conditions. Any conditions imposed must be met before the student advances to candidacy. 
 

After the Comprehensive Exams

The dissertation prospectus defense follows successful completion of the comprehensive examinations. Please proceed to the Prospectus Defense page for more information.
 

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