As part of the preparation for writing the thesis, all PhD candidates in EALC and HEAL must pass a two-hour oral examination in three fields of knowledge, one of which should be chosen to demonstrate breadth in regard to a different geographical area, discipline, or period. There is no written examination. The purpose of the examination is to determine if the student is qualified, a) to carry out advanced research in the field and b) to begin teaching. Hence they are sometimes also known as “qualifying examinations.” Students are tested both on their control of information and on their mastery of the scholarship in a range of fields. At the end of the second year of study (preferably at the end of the first year for transfer students from the RSEA AM program), students must submit to the DGS an Intent to Take the General Examination statement listing the proposed fields and examiners. Of the usual three fields, one must be chosen from outside the student’s primary regional, temporal, or disciplinary focus.
Preparing for Generals
While most faculty will work with students to develop a syllabus of readings that will serve as the basis of the examination, they differ in the particulars of how they go about preparing students for examinations. You are advised to consult carefully with prospective examiners as to their expectations.