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Prospectus for the Doctoral Program
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Contents | Rationale for Exam 3 | Procedure for Exam 3

Exam 3: Integrative Specialty

Contents

Rationale for Exam

Procedure for Exam

Rationale for Exam 3

The aim of the integrative specialty exam is to allow us to assess a candidate’s competence in multidisciplinary research by means of the student’s work in one specific multi-disciplinary area. This area will normally be that within which the dissertation topic is constructed. The specialty examination should be a natural step toward writing the dissertation prospectus as well as an important step in assembling a committee of willing professors with a suitable combination of competencies (finding the right committee is a more complex process for multidisciplinary dissertations than for “guild” dissertations).

Procedure for Exam 3

The routine for managing the Integrative Specialty Examination is as follows:

  • The student in consultation with his or her main advisor will devise an examination proposal in the form of a brief description of a multi-disciplinary research project laid out on a single page together with ideas for relevant and willing faculty advisors.
  • This proposal involves justifying the student’s selection of either a four-hour closed-book examination or a long research paper.
  • The core faculty needs to approve the topic on the recommendation of the advisor before the student proceeds. The involvement of the core faculty in the approval process matters because multidisciplinary work needs to be evaluated from multiple perspectives. If a long prospectus were involved, this approval process could become burdensome for faculty and students alike. A one-page statement of an idea should keep things simple while producing helpful suggestions from core faculty members that will speed the process along.
  • When the basic idea is approved, the student will assemble a bibliography on the topic and either take the closed-book examination or write the examination research paper in consultation with this group of faculty advisors and readers. The paper will be completed by the time of the examinations in the semester after his or her previous two examinations were completed (students have to complete the first two examinations in the same examination week of a single semester).
  • The exam will be read and evaluated by the multi-disciplinary faculty group listed on the initial proposal. If passed, the student proceeds to the oral exam. If failed, the student is either retired from the program or given one chance to retake the examination, at the discretion of the core faculty on the recommendation of the multi-disciplinary faculty group of advisors who read the exam.

Once the student passes this exam, he or she should be in a good position to write a dissertation prospectus and should also have a flying start on the dissertation research itself.

Contents | Rationale for Exam 3 | Procedure for Exam 3

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