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Language, Reading & Culture: Graduate Programs

Doctoral exams

Target Population: Doctoral candidates

Participation Rate: 100% of Target Population

Successful completion of 3 examinations: the Qualifying Examination; the Written comprehensive exam, and the Oral comprehensive exam. These exams are described in Appendix LRC-C.

1. Qualifying exam: This exam is taken within the initial two semesters of the student’s enrollment in the program, with the participation of a full graduate committee—major and minor professors selected by the student. In preparation, the student submits a dossier to each committee member that includes a statement of purpose, transcripts, proposed plan of study, and a sample manuscript written by the student.

The qualifying exam consists of two parts. The first is an evaluation of the student’s knowledge, including a careful review of the sample paper, and what he or she has learned in the courses taken during the first semester in the program. At the conclusion of part one, the faculty decides whether there is a consensus for the student to continue in the program. If the student passes the first part of the qualifying, the second part is a review of the proposed plan of study, with suggestions for modifications.

2. Written comprehensive exam: This exam is taken near or at the completion of coursework. The nature of the exam is decided by discussions between the student and committee members. There are two options: the first one is a well-documented scholarly paper on a topic approved by the major or minor committee (usually, separate papers are required for the major and minor areas), which is written toward publication. The second option is an essay or essays in response to specific faculty questions. Faculty each submits evaluations of the written exam to the appropriate department prior to the scheduling of the oral exam.

3. Oral comprehension exam: This exam follows Graduate College procedures.

In addition, after a student passes the written and oral exams, LRC schedules a committee meeting to evaluate the student’s dissertation proposal. The most common outcome of such an evaluation is a thorough revision of the proposal based on faculty recommendations. The student is not allowed to start data collection until the proposal has been approved. The department maintains a file on each student’s dissertation progress.

The final outcome measure is the dissertation defense.

Academic Degree Programs: