In addition to coursework, students are required to pass a foreign language exam along with three additional exams.

The Specialized Paper and Theorization of Learning exams are designed to help students prepare to write the dissertation, and the Prospectus Exam assures that students are ready to undertake independent research for their dissertations.

The Specialized Paper Examination consists of a long paper based on a specific area of interest. Although it may develop out of a seminar paper, this examination goes beyond the paper to demonstrate capacity to do independent scholarly research of publishable quality. The exam is designed to allow the student to map an area of scholarly inquiry and make an original intervention in that area. It is typically completed by the fall of the second year.

The Theorization of Learning Examination is usually completed in the spring/summer of the second year and requires a critical reading of learning experiences during the first two years. Although the format may vary, it generally consists of a long paper that creates a coherent intellectual trajectory out of the student’s program of study and explores the intellectual consequences of doing this work, typically in the form of scholarly problems or questions the student foresees focusing on in future work.

The Prospectus Examination includes both oral and written components. The written prospectus defines the subject, research questions, and theoretical and methodological approach planned for the dissertation. It also includes an extensive bibliography of relevant work and explains how the dissertation will make an original contribution to scholarship. The prospectus is defended orally to a four-member dissertation committee. Completion of this examination, along with coursework and the Foreign Language requirement described below, entitles a student to Candidate Status.

Foreign Language requirement. Students are encouraged to fulfill the language requirement as early as possible after enrollment in order to gain its maximum educational benefit. Students in the program must demonstrate advanced competence in one foreign language or basic competency in two foreign languages, the study of which complements the students’ educational and professional goals.

Typical goals include: to gain competence in a language that will provide access to research literatures pertinent to a student’s major area of specialization; to gain competence (including speaking ability) in a language spoken by one of America’s linguistic minorities (such as Spanish); to gain competence in a language (or a literature in that language) that will be a focus of a student’s advanced research or dissertation.

You may do so in one of three ways: by taking coursework in one language at an advanced level or two at the basic level; by taking and passing one advanced language exam or two basic language exams; or by taking coursework in one language at the basic level and passing one basic language exam.

In addition, you may petition the Program Committee to fulfill the requirement in another way that will better fit your individual background or academic plans.

To make timely progress toward the degree, students should complete all examinations and meet the foreign language requirement by the beginning of winter term of the third year. Students who do not adhere to this schedule are not eligible for some fellowships.