Qualifying Exams

For students entering the program as of Fall 2020

Qualifying examination

Students will take an exam in two formats: a written examination and an additional oral examination conducted over the course of their fifth semester.

  1. Part 1 of the written examination will cover the history and methods of American Studies. It will comprise of a critical examination and analysis of key texts in American Studies from the past, present, and emerging scholarship. The exam will cover the G603 and G604 readings as well as key texts agreed upon by the exam committee, from the larger list generated by the whole faculty annually. If there are extenuating circumstances, this timeline may be pushed back one semester.
  2. Part 2 of the written examination will focus on the student’s area of concentration with the expressed goal of outlining the intersections between the area of concentration and American Studies scholarship. Students will prepare a 50-text list in consultation with their respective examination committees.

The administration of the examination will be a month-long process for all students, with the written examination (Parts 1 and 2) administered over a 7-day week on the first Monday-Sunday week in October. The faculty comprising the examination committee will have 2 weeks to evaluate the written exam, and the oral exam will take place during the fourth week of October after the completion of the written exams. Students who fail to meet the standards of passing the qualifying examination must take it again during the following semester based on a mutually agreeable schedule of the examination committee and student. The examination committee is composed of the student’s Advisory Committee.