Students must complete one major and one minor comprehensive examination, each in a field of scholarship defined in consultation with their comprehensives committee. It is expected that the comprehensive committee will be formed at the end of students’ first year, and by the time the annual progress report is submitted. The committee may define these fields so as to display competence across a range of disciplinary approaches; students may also use these fields to display in-depth mastery of a single discipline (e.g. English or Anthropology). The major examination will be based on a comprehensive list of 80-100 sources; it will help situate a student’s dissertation project within the relevant literature. The minor exam will be based on a comprehensive list of 30-50 sources. Lists for the two exams will be developed in consultation with the advisor and at least one other assessor from the comprehensives committee . The sources may be books or articles, primary or secondary sources. Other works (e.g. films) may be useful and appropriate within a given list.
The major comprehensive examination may be satisfied in one of the following ways: (a) submission of a paper which serves as a literature review, followed by an oral exam; (b) submission of a research paper for publication, followed by an oral exam; or (c) a take-home written exam followed by an oral exam. Satisfactory completion of the major field comprehensive requirement will be assessed by the advisor and one other faculty member on the supervisory committee with the relevant area of expertise. To support students with preparing for the major comprehensive requirements, students will attend scheduled group meetings leading up to the final exam. The minor comprehensive examination may be satisfied in one of the following ways: (a) submission of a paper which serves as a literature review; (b) submission of a research paper for publication; (c) a take-home written exam; or (d) the submission of a teaching dossier. Satisfactory completion of the minor field will be assessed by the supervisory committee. Examinations are marked on a pass/fail basis. Candidates are allowed two attempts to pass a comprehensive examination. A failure to pass on the second attempt results in either the student’s voluntary withdrawal from the program or in a recommendation for termination of the student’s registration in the program by WGSI.
The major comprehensive exam should be completed by January 31st of the second year of Ph.D. studies and the minor comprehensive exam must be completed by May 31st of the second year of Ph.D. studies. For direct-entry students, the major comprehensive should be completed by September 30th of the third year of Ph.D. studies and the minor comprehensive exam must be completed by January 31st of the third year of Ph.D. studies.
In order to remain in good standing all requirements, except the dissertation, must be completed by the end of Year 3 for students admitted with a Master’s degree and by the end of Year 4 for direct-entry students.