All students must pass a preliminary examination subsequent to successfully completing all required course work and prior to being admitted to doctoral candidacy. In consultation with the student’s advisory committee and with the approval of the doctoral program coordinator, one or a combination of the following formats will be required:

  • a paper that consists of three sections: a) critical literature review in a discrete area of study, b) discussion of the relevant theory and its application, and c) description and critique of research methodologies and analytic strategies;
  • an alternative preliminary examination that includes both a written and oral component. The written preliminary examination will be designed to assess the breadth and depth of a student’s knowledge in the core curriculum and area of concentration along with his/her ability to conduct independent research. At least one semester prior to the examination, the student will develop a reading list in consultation with her/his major professor that covers: a) critical literature in a discrete area of study, b) the relevant theory and its application in this area, and c) description and critique of research methodologies and analytic strategies common to the area. Potential examination questions will be submitted by the members of the examining committee and will be based on the sources appearing on the reading list. The final set of examination items will be selected by the chair of the examination committee;
  • regardless of format, the preliminary examination is comprehensive and integrative, reflective of the student’s individual course of study, and requiring independent work beyond the course requirements.