Doctoral Degree in Politics and International Affairs

Doctoral Comprehensive Exam

Doctoral students will take comprehensive examinations during the fourth week of the fall term of her/his third year. They will be based on the following sources: material covered in the pertinent four core and related courses, reading lists created by the field committees, and syllabi from prior offerings of relevant courses. The examination process will be coordinated by the Graduate Director and a member of the standing committee designated by the Graduate Director.

An oral exam will be administered to all students with the exception of those whose written answers fail to meet minimal standards. Those students whose answers fail to meet these minimal standards will have the option of retaking the exam in the following academic semester at a date and time to be announced by the director in consultation with the standing committee(s).

The exams will be based on the following grading scale: Pass (with distinction), Pass, or Fail. A passing grade will demonstrate both breadth and depth of knowledge in the student’s chosen fields of specialization and evidence a critical ability to connect, synthesize, and apply the various theories and debates in the fields and subfield.  A Pass (with distinction) will reflect the student’s exceptional command of the knowledge in the areas of specialization and subfield and demonstrate an ability to move beyond the problems and limits of the literature in the tested areas.

Students should review the reading lists for the comprehensive exam.