Green Book

Exam 1
Exam 2
Exam 3


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Prospectus for the Doctoral Program
in Science, Philosophy, and Religion
at Boston University
(a.k.a. constantly updated, hyperlinked "Green Book")

Exam 1 | Exam 2 | Exam 3 | Exam 4 | Role of Core Faculty

Overview of SPR Qualifying Examinations

There will be three written qualifying examinations followed by an oral qualifying examination focusing on the previous examination material.

Exam 1: Philosophy of Science

More precisely, the title is History and Philosophy of Science and Religion but nobody will remember that. This is a written, closed book, proctored examination. Six hours will be allowed; one-and-a-half extra hours for students whose first language is not English. Each exam involves a choice of questions but everyone in a sitting gets the same exam. The reading list for this exam is complex, with some sections being short and required and other sections long and indicative of the material to be mastered by the student.

Exam 2: Philosophy of Religion

This involves themes in philosophy of religion and also philosophical theology, in the sense of making persuasive, constructive arguments about religious topics. This exam is similar in most respects to the first exam except that four hours are allowed and the reading list is more straightforward. Again, there is one extra hour for students whose first language is not English.

Exam 3: Integrative Specialty

This exam is focused on one particular area of the interaction among science, philosophy, and religion; ordinarily this area would be that of the proposed dissertation. Each student chooses between a closed-book, four-hour examination or a long research paper, in part depending on the nature of the topic. In either case, the student must draw up a bibliography customized to the topic in consultation with his or her core faculty advisor and tentative dissertation advisors. This examination can be taken only after the first two exams are passed.

Exam 4: Comprehensive Oral

This oral examination is conducted in the presence of at least two core SPR faculty members; other relevant faculty members are optional. This exam is taken only after the first three exams are passed.

Role of the Core Faculty

The procedures described assume that the SPR core faculty has both an oversight and an inspirational role. Oversight is important in the SPR program to regularize standards for diverse students and projects, as well as a large and diverse group of associated faculty drawn to work with our students. Both oversight and inspiration are important for fostering and guiding the idiosyncratic projects that emerge. The core faculty meet periodically to handle the obligations that oversight brings (oral exams, evaluation of proposals for the third exam, reading examinations, policy setting, etc.). Inspiration is the fun part.

The SPR core faculty presently numbers Alisa Bokulich (CAS-Philosophy), Robert Neville (CAS-Philosophy, CAS-Religion, STH), Jon Roberts (CAS-History), Wesley Wildman (STH), and Kirk Wegter-McNelly (STH).

There are, of course, many other faculty involved in student programs, and in many different ways.

Overview | Exam 1 | Exam 2 | Exam 3 | Exam 4 | Role of Core Faculty

The information on this page is copyright 1994 onwards, Wesley Wildman (basic information here), unless otherwise noted. If you want to use ideas that you find here, please be careful to acknowledge this site as your source, and remember also to credit the original author of what you use, where that is applicable. If you want to use text or stories from these pages, please contact me at the feedback address for permission.