MA/Qualifying Exams

Written Qualifying Examination consists of two essays based on the student’s course work, research
interests, and familiarity with the field. Students have two weeks to complete both essays.

  • First essay: seeks to evaluate the student’s knowledge of the CCS field. It will consist of a literature
    review based on a reading list of a minimum of 50 texts drawn up by the student in consultation with
    his/her/their dissertation advisor. The core part of this bibliography will be based on the department
    reading list.
  • Second essay: related to the student’s dissertation research; it will require a theoretical grounding in the student’s areas of specialization, an ability to define and apply interdisciplinary methodology, and a well-supported argument. Advisors should work closely with students to discuss the focus of Question 2.

Oral Qualifying Examination: focused on the student’s dissertation proposal; should draw from Essay 2 of the Written Qualifying Exam. Open only to the members of the doctoral committee (typically 4 faculty) and the student.

  • The dissertation proposal of approximately 30 pages, excluding bibliography, will be presented to the entire dissertation committee in a two-hour meeting. For more information about the proposal, students and advisors should consult Graduate Handbook (2020, p. 34).
  • In consultation with the dissertation advisor, students choose three other committee members who will collectively be responsible for supervising, reviewing, and approving the doctoral dissertation. Faculty interests and fields of expertise should align with the proposed area of the dissertation. The exact constitution of the committee must follow Grad Division guidelines.