Students pass two written preliminary comprehensive field examinations administered in a format determined by each field by the third year/sixth semester of their enrolment in the program. Fields are chosen from the following list (any two): American Politics; Comparative Politics; Contemporary Social and Political Theory; History of Political Thought; International Relations; Intradisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Political Studies; Public Law; Public Policy.
Field examinations test a student's comprehension of the substance, theories, methods, and literature in that field. Examinations tend to be general in character, designed to cover a field. Normally, a student will take at least three courses in a field before being examined, but field examinations are not necessarily related directly to courses. Copies of previous examination questions are available in the office of the Graduate Secretary.
Field examinations are offered twice a year during the first week of the Fall and Spring Semesters. Students are required to sign up for these examinations prior to the end of the preceding semester.
The grading scale for these examinations is "Distinction," "Pass," and "Fail." A student who fails an examination may, on the recommendation of faculty in that field and with the permission of the Graduate Studies Committee, repeat the exam. Permission to retake a field examination may be granted only once, and in all cases where a re-examination is authorized, the entire examination must be retaken.
The format of field examinations and field papers is determined by the faculty in each field subject to approval by the Graduate Studies Committee. The currently approved formats for written examinations, by field, are listed in Appendix 1.
Oral exams should be held within two weeks of the written exam or the submission of the final research paper. No oral examination will be scheduled until the committee members agree that an oral examination is merited following a review of the written examination or research paper. All members of the examination committee will be present for the oral examination. If this condition cannot be met for the originally scheduled date, the oral examination shall be rescheduled.