Graduate Student Handbook

Overview

The doctoral program has two stages. The first involves the acquisition of substantive knowledge and research skills through course work.  This stage ends with satisfactory completion of examinations in the student’s major field of study and an examination or the required course work in the student’s minor field of study.  The second is devoted to the research and writing of a dissertation.  This stage begins with an oral defense of the thesis proposal and ends with formal approval of the completed dissertation.

First Stage (Coursework)

1) During the first stage of doctoral training, a student must fulfill the following requirements:
 
a) The student must successfully complete 12 graduate-level courses (totaling 48 credits) in Government or related fields. All of these courses must have been awarded letter grades. Students who plan to take more than 4 courses per semester will need the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
 
b) The student must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language or methods. See (3) below.
 
c) The student must pass a written examination in his/her major field.  This exam must be in one of four the major fields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Thought).

d) The student must also minor in a second field by fulfilling the requirements specified in the Subfield Requirements below (either by passing a written examination or “coursing out” by fulfilling the required coursework).

e) Students in International Relations or Comparative Politics must write a field paper before the start of their third year. This paper must be of publishable quality and receive approval from the student’s chair and another faculty member in the department.
 
2) Courses:
 
a) Graduate-level courses at Cornell begin at the 6000-level, but 4000-level courses can also satisfy course requirements.  A 3000-level course can only be used for this purpose if special  arrangements are made with the instructor to bring the student’s course work up to the graduate level (e.g., by requiring additional reading and/or research papers). The student must submit a brief account of such arrangements, signed by the instructor of the course in question. If the student does extra work in a 3000- or 4000- level course to bring it up to grad level, they need to enroll for an Independent Study 7999. Both 4000- and, particularly, 3000-level courses should be taken sparingly. Normally, undergraduate classes should be used only when no 6000-level course equivalent is offered at Cornell.
 
b) Government 7999:  Independent Study courses involve individualized readings and research for graduate students. Topics, readings, and writing requirements are designed through consultation between the student and the instructor. Students who are considering such a course should seek approval from their advisors to be certain that this option appropriately complements their program of study. Applications must be completed and signed by the instructor and by the chairs of their special committees.  A maximum of two Independent Study classes can count toward the overall course requirement. Click here for GOVT 7999/Independent Study Application/category: other (restricted access)

c) With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), students may receive recognition for up to three courses from comparable graduate programs at other institutions. In very exceptional circumstances, the number of recognized courses may be higher. In either case, the DGS will require copies of the relevant course syllabi, an official transcript, and approval from the student’s temporary or permanent advisor. Click here for steps in requesting course credits/category: Courses (restricted access)

d) The dissertation colloquium aids students who have advanced to candidacy with dissertation writing and preparing for the job market.
 
Methods Requirement or Foreign Language Proficiency:  
 
a) Before advancing to candidacy by defending a prospectus in the A examination, the student must become proficient in either a foreign language or in methods. Completion of two semester-long graduate-level methods courses will satisfy the methods requirement.  

b) Students whose native language is other than English and who will use their native tongue in their dissertation research automatically satisfy the language requirement.  Native English-speaking students must take a written examination, administered by a competent Cornell instructor chosen by the student and approved by the DGS. Completing a language course taught at Cornell does not satisfy the proficiency requirement. However, a final written examination administered as part of such a course may be considered sufficient for satisfying this requirement. Any such examination must be reviewed and pre-approved by the DGS. A brief statement by the faculty member administering the examination is to be included in the student’s file.

c) A methods class is any seminar in which one of the primary purposes is training in those skills necessary for the conduct of research for any of the four subfields. Students must take a minimum of two full semesters of such classes. Among those which satisfy this requirement are:
 
* 6019 Introductory Probability & Applied Statistics
* 6029 Advanced Regression Analysis
* 6053 Comparative Methods in International & Comparative Politics
* 6039 Adv. Topics in Quant Empirical Methodology
* 6433 Quantitative Text Analysis
* 6049-69 Advanced Quantitative Methods Modules (each counts as a half-semester)
* 6089 Time Series Analysis
* 6122 Foundations of the Social Sciences
* 6242 Experiment and Survey Design
* 7073 Game Theory I
* 7074 Game Theory 2

d) With the approval of the DGS, courses offered by other departments (e.g., Sociology, Biometry, Applied Economics and Management) or other institutions may also satisfy this requirement. Courses must be taken for a grade. In particular, two courses in other departments at Cornell (Biometry 601 or Sociology 505) are frequently taken as an intro stats course and make good preparation for Government 6029.

e) Students may elect to pursue a quantitative and formal methods minor in addition to fulfilling the requirements of a major and a minor in two of the four traditional subfields (American, Comparative, International Relations, and Political Theory). The quantitative and formal methods minor requires the completion of 5 graduate-level methods courses. Courses that count toward the minor which have recently been offered in the department are listed above. Courses taught outside the department may count toward the minor as approved by the DGS.
 
f) Breadth requirement: Students must take at least one course in three of the four major fields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Thought, or International Relations) during their first four semesters.
 
g) First-year students are strongly encouraged to take seven graduate-level courses in Government and related fields. However, students for whom English is a second language and students engaged in full credit course work in a foreign language may take six courses. (Language courses do not satisfy the graduate program course requirement). No more than four graduate-level courses per semester may be taken without the approval of the student’s temporary or permanent advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
 
h) With the permission of the instructor, students may choose to take an “incomplete” in a class and fulfill the course requirements at a later time. However, a student’s transcript will indicate that an Incomplete was taken by an asterisk next to the letter grade. In addition, all course requirements must be completed within one year. For example, an incomplete taken in the Fall semester of 2014 must be made up by the end of the Fall semester of 2015. If this deadline is not met, the incomplete becomes “frozen.” According to the University Code of Legislation, “Course grades of Incomplete and No Grade Reported (which appear on transcripts as “INC” and “NGR,” respectively) can be removed only within one year from the date of the end of the course in which the grade was given. After that time they become a permanent part of the transcript. A student can retake a course for a grade, which would then appear on the transcript along with the INC or NGR.

i) More than two outstanding incompletes will place a student on academic probation. A reasonable time frame will be given for the student to resolve all outstanding incompletes. Otherwise, funding will be withdrawn at the end of this probationary period, and the student will be asked to withdraw from the program. The Graduate Field Assistant and Director of Graduate Studies will review all outstanding incompletes at the end of every semester.

j) According to University policy, the grade of incomplete is appropriate only when two basic conditions are met: 1. the student has a substantial equity at a passing level in the course with respect to work completed; and 2. the student has been prevented by circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness or family emergency, from completing all of the course requirements on time. An incomplete may not be given merely because a student fails to complete all course requirements on time. This is not an option that may be elected at the student’s own discretion. While it is the student’s responsibility to initiate a request for a grade of incomplete, reasons for requesting one must be acceptable to the instructor, who establishes specific make-up requirements.
 
3) Course of Study:
 
a) Instead of completing the minor with coursework in a second field, students may choose to design a Course of Study around a closely-related set of intellectual concerns and research problems. This Course of Study should be as broadly conceived as a major field and should not overlap with the student’s major field.  Most Courses of Study will link topics from several of the major fields, as well as related disciplines.
 
b) All Courses of Study comprise a minimum of five courses (all taken for grades). Only one of these may be a course from the student’s major field (for example, if the student’s major field is international relations, then the student’s Course of Study can include at most one course from that field).
 
c) Students who choose to pursue the Course of Study option must submit a proposal to the Graduate Committee before the end of June of their first year. In some instances, the Graduate Committee may return the proposal for revision and elaboration. If the student’s proposal is not approved by the Graduate Committee before the end of the following September, the student must course out for a minor instead.
 
d) The Course of Study proposal must:
 
i. provide a title;
ii. describe the core topics and issues which will be addressed;
iii. list the five (or more) classes which will comprise the program outlined in the proposal;     
iv. identify the three or more faculty who will direct the student’s study (those faculty become the Course of Study Committee).
 
e) Before submitting the proposal to the Graduate Committee, the student should meet with
their Course of Study Committee as a group to discuss the content and design the program. After the proposal has been approved by the Graduate Committee, any subsequent changes must be approved by the student’s Course of Study Committee.
 
f) Those students undertaking a Course of Study may be required to take a written exam, administered by their Course of Study Committee. Like the regular field exam, this is an open-book, take home exam that must be completed within 72 hours. The Course of Study Committee may impose an upper limit on the length of student answers.
 
g) Regulations governing grading and notification of results of regular field exams also apply to Course of Study exams (see Section 5 below). Course of Study exams can be scheduled at any time that is mutually convenient for the student and the faculty members of the Course of Study Committee.

h) As with regular field exams, a student has two opportunities to pass their Course of Study exam. Should a student fail on the first attempt, she/he may choose to take a second, regular field exam instead of retaking the Course of Study exam. But she/he cannot design a new Course of Study. In any case, failure on either a second attempt on the Course of Study exam or the first attempt on a regular field exam (after previously failing on a Course of Study exam) will constitute grounds for dismissal from the graduate program.

Qualifying Field Exams

4) Qualifying Field Exams:

a) Students must pass at least one written field qualifying exam (Q exam) in one of the four major fields (American Politics, Political Thought, Comparative Politics, and International Relations).

b) The faculty committees that oversee the field examinations are appointed by the DGS and
their composition varies from year to year. The committee collectively prepares the examination and evaluates the student’s essays. If possible, committee members should not be able to identify the students who authored the essays. The grades which may be assigned are: Distinction, High Pass, Pass, and Fail.
 
c) In the event that an examining committee is unable to agree on whether a particular exam merits a passing or failing mark, the committee may arrange an oral examination in order to reach a decision.
 
d) Unless students have been notified in advance that there will be a delay, exam results must be communicated by the chair of the examining committee within two weeks of the exam; written evaluation of each exam must be given to the student and the DGS within three weeks. The committee chair submits the overall grade for each student’s exam to the graduate field coordinator, along with the combined comments of the three examiners for each question the student answered.
 
e) The scheduling of field exams and the appointment of committees is announced by the DGS at the end of the academic year. American Politics exams are generally offered twice a year, in September and February. The Comparative Politics and International Relations exams are offered in May. The Political Theory exam is offered in September following the end of a student’s second year. Click here for current schedule/category: Qualifying Exams (restricted access)
 
f) Students must notify the Graduate Field Assistant (Tina Slater) of their intention to take a field examination at least two weeks prior to the examination.
 
g) A student who fails a field exam is allowed to retake the exam once. A second failure in the same field is final and constitutes grounds for dismissal from the program. Such cases are decided by the Graduate Committee in consultation with the student’s special committee.
 
h) A student who fails a field exam may opt to change fields rather than attempt the same exam again. However, a change of field is permitted only once and the student has only one opportunity to pass the field exam in the new field.

Field Paper

6)  Field Paper:

Students in International Relations and Comparative Politics must complete a field paper. This paper must be of publishable quality, making a theoretical and/or empirical contribution. The field paper is read by the student’s chair and one reader chosen by the chair and graded on a pass/fail basis. If the initial submission is not given a passing grade, the student will have an opportunity to turn in a revised version within 6 months of receiving the initial decision. If the revised version does not receive a passing grade, the student may be asked to leave the program.

Satisfaction of coursework requirements:
 
Students are expected to have fulfilled all coursework requirements and to have successfully defended their dissertation proposal by the beginning of their seventh semester. Students failing to do so must petition to continue in the program (see D.3 below).  
 
B) Second stage (dissertation writing):
 
1) Overview: The student enters into research and writing his/her doctoral thesis by satisfactorily completing the “A Exam.” The completed thesis is approved in the “B Examination.” The student’s special committee administers both examinations.
 
2) The A Exam (dissertation proposal):
 
a) The A Examination focuses on a dissertation prospectus written by the student and distributed to his/her special committee in advance of the exam. In determining whether a student is adequately prepared to undertake the proposed research, the special committee may consider all dimensions of a student’s abilities and training.
 
b) The A Examination must be scheduled with the Graduate School at least seven (7) working days in advance of the date agreed to by the student and his/her special committee. Please to be sure to work with the GFA (Tina Slater) to get your paperwork in on time.
 
c) If a special committee minor member is unable to personally attend the exam, he/she may either designate a proxy or participate from a remote location. A proxy must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in the same concentration as the member being represented. When a proxy agrees to participate, the regular member must notify the DGS. A proxy form is signed by the member not attending and submitted to the Graduate School.

d) The special committee chair must participate in the A exam. For A exams, the chair may participate from a remote location via conference call.

e) In order to schedule the A Examination, the student must have fulfilled all the requirements detailed in the coursework section of these regulations. Satisfactory performance in this examination admits the student to “doctoral candidacy.”
 
3) The B Examination (dissertation defense):
 
a) The B Examination must be scheduled with the Graduate School seven (7) working days in advance of the date agreed to by the student and his/her special committee. Please to be sure to work with the GFA (Tina Slater) to get your paperwork in on time.
 
b) The chair of the student’s special committee appoints an external reader for the thesis defense. This external reader can be a faculty member from outside the Department of Government but should, in any case, be someone who has some familiarity with the thesis topic. The external reader must be given at least one month to read the thesis prior to the B Examination. (Note: The appointment of an external reader is required by the Department of Government, not the Cornell Graduate School).
 
c) If a minor member of the special committee is unable to attend the B Examination, he or she may either designate a proxy or participate from a remote location. A proxy must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in the same concentration as the member being represented. When a proxy agrees to participate, the regular member must notify the DGS. A proxy form is signed by the member not attending and submitted to the Graduate School.

d) The special committee chair must participate in the B exam. The chair cannot designate a proxy to participate on his/her behalf.
 
e) At the time of this examination, the student must be properly registered with the Graduate School. The Degree Coordinator at the Graduate School should be consulted with respect to Graduate School regulations pertaining to thesis format, preparation, and submission as well as deadlines for submission to meet degree conferral dates.

Second Stage (Dissertation Writing)

B) Second stage (dissertation writing):
 
1) Overview: The student enters into research and writing his/her doctoral thesis by satisfactorily completing the “A Exam.” The completed thesis is approved in the “B Examination.” The student’s special committee administers both examinations.
 
2) The A Exam (dissertation proposal):
 
a) The A Examination focuses on a dissertation prospectus written by the student and distributed to his/her special committee in advance of the exam. In determining whether a student is adequately prepared to undertake the proposed research, the special committee may consider all dimensions of a student’s abilities and training. Click here for category: Examples of Prospectuses (restricted access)
 
b) The A Examination must be scheduled with the Graduate School at least seven (7) working days in advance of the date agreed to by the student and his/her special committee. Please to be sure to work with the GFA (Tina Slater) to get your paperwork in on time.Click here for category: STEPS --Administrative Milestones (restricted access)
 
c) If a special committee minor member is unable to personally attend the exam, he/she may either designate a proxy or participate from a remote location. A proxy must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in the same concentration as the member being represented. When a proxy agrees to participate, the regular member must notify the DGS. A proxy form is signed by the member not attending and submitted to the Graduate School.
 

d) The special committee chair must participate in the A exam. For A exams, the chair may participate from a remote location via conference call.

e) In order to schedule the A Examination, the student must have fulfilled all the requirements detailed in the coursework section of these regulations. Satisfactory performance in this examination admits the student to “doctoral candidacy.” Click here for category: A Exam Applications (restricted access)
 
3) The B Examination (dissertation defense):
 
a) The B Examination must be scheduled with the Graduate School seven (7) working days in advance of the date agreed to by the student and his/her special committee. Please to be sure to work with the GFA (Tina Slater) to get your paperwork in on time. Click here for category: STEPS -- Administrative Milestones (restricted access)
 
b) The chair of the student’s special committee appoints an external reader for the thesis defense. This external reader can be a faculty member from outside the Department of Government but should, in any case, be someone who has some familiarity with the
thesis topic. The external reader must be given at least one month to read the thesis prior to the B Examination. (Note: The appointment of an external reader is required by the Department of Government, not the Cornell Graduate School).
 
c) If a minor member of the special committee is unable to attend the B Examination, he or she may either designate a proxy or participate from a remote location. A proxy must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in the same concentration as the member being represented. When a proxy agrees to participate, the regular member must notify the DGS. A proxy form is signed by the member not attending and submitted to the Graduate School.

d) The special committee chair must participate in the B exam. The chair cannot designate a proxy to participate on his/her behalf.
 
e) At the time of this examination, the student must be properly registered with the Graduate School. The Degree Coordinator at the Graduate School should be consulted with respect to Graduate School regulations pertaining to thesis format, preparation, and submission as well as deadlines for submission to meet degree conferral dates.

Special Committees

C) Special committees:
 
1) The Director of Graduate Studies serves as advisor to all first-year students. Based on substantive interests identified in their applications for admission, the DGS assigns a second, temporary advisor to each student. These two advisors constitute the student’s “provisional” special committee. Their primary tasks are advising and approval of the student’s course selections.
 
2) Before the end of their third semester, the student must have appointed a “permanent” special committee of their own choosing. The special committee serves three specific purposes:
 
a) to advise the student regarding course selections and otherwise supervise their academic progress;
 
b) to administer the student’s A and B Examinations;
 
c) to supervise the research and writing of the dissertation.
 
3) The permanent special committee must have at least three and no more than five members. At least two members must be appointed within the Graduate Field of Government. All must belong to the Graduate Faculty. In rare instances, a student may also appoint a member from another university. Subject to the approval of the Graduate School, the student may add or drop special committee members at any point in the course of the program (although not within three months
of the B Exam). However, the Graduate School discourages changes in the special committee once the student has passed the A Examination.
 
4) Students who wish to delay naming a chair for their special committee may keep the DGS as pro forma chair until the end of their second year. However, the student still must have a valid special committee consisting of at least three people in place by the end of the third semester. category: STEPS---Administrative Milestones in creating your special committee (restricted access)

Maintaining Good Standing in the Program

1) The Department reviews the academic performance of all students each year in conjunction with the Student Progress Review (SPR) administered by the Graduate School. In addition, students who accrue incompletes will be brought to the attention of the DGS at the end of each semester. Where a student’s performance is unsatisfactory, several actions may be taken. First, because funding is contingent on continued satisfactory academic progress and completion of any TA assignments, funding may be withheld. In the worst case, a student is terminated; the student must leave the program. A student may also be placed on probation, in which the Department warns the student that they are not in good academic standing, sets forth expectations for resolution or improvement of outstanding problems, and provides a reasonable time frame for such resolution. In this case, a Probation Committee consisting of the Chair, DGS, and Graduate Committee will monitor the student’s progress and review the case. If the terms of probation are not met, funding will be withheld and the Probation Committee may require the student to leave the program.
 
2) A student who fails a written field examination or field paper for the second time can be required to leave the program without first being placed on probation.
 
3) In order to maintain good standing in the program, students must advance to doctoral candidacy by the beginning of their seventh semester (for most students, this will be the end of their third year) in the program. In order to continue in the program, students failing to do so must petition the Graduate Committee for an extension. The petition must include a timetable for advancing to candidacy and completing the degree. The petition must be signed by the student’s entire special committee.

4) Students who are dismissed from the program or choose to leave for other reasons may receive a Non-thesis master’s degree. A student may receive this degree in one of two ways, provided that they have completed at least four semesters of registration and depending on how far along they are in the program: (a) successfully completed the A Exam, or (b) withdrawn from the program after failing the Q Exam or A Exam, but performed at the level of a passed Final Exam.

5) Detailed policies on leaves of absence are available in the University Code of Legislation. A leave of absence can be granted for personal or health reasons. Leaves run for a period of up to 12 months and may be renewed annually to a maximum of four calendar years. Time spent on leave of absence does not count toward time to degree limits.
    
6) Plagiarism and other breaches of the code of academic integrity constitute grounds for immediate dismissal.

7) Graduate students must comply with University policies and prohibitions on sexual harassment and assault. For complaints regarding staff and faculty conduct, please see Cornell University Policy 6.4, “Prohibited Discrimination, Protected-Status Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault and Violence.” Further university resources on harassment, discrimination, and bias reporting are available here.

Teaching and funding packages

1) All students are expected to do at least one semester of undergraduate teaching or teaching assistance as part of their graduate training and are strongly urged to do more.
 
2) Students cannot, under any circumstances, receive any of their Sage Dissertation Completion funds prior to being advanced to doctoral candidacy (passing the A exam) and meeting the deadlines for their committee formation.

3) In order to receive Sage Dissertation Completion funds, students must apply for one external award or fellowship, as described on the Graduate School website.

4) Students who are making progress and have the support of their committee and the DGS can mix TAships, outside funding, and their Sage Completion fellowship in a variety of combinations. For example, a student may take one semester of the Sage Completion fellowship to finish field work, come back and TA, and then take the final semester of the Sage Completion fellowship.

5) Students who have been enrolled for less than seven years and still have a TA package may TA after taking the Sage Completion Fellowship. After 7 years, no Graduate School funds can be used.

6) Summer funding is conditional on students submitting a short summary of their study plans.

Department Practice

Although they are not part of the formal rules for the graduate program, the following resolutions express the intent of the faculty with respect to department practice.
 
1)     Regular offering of essential courses: The Department will make a good- faith effort to offer the following seminars and classes once every academic year:
 
   Sub-field core seminars:
 
   Government 6031: Field Seminar in American Politics
   Government 6353: Field Seminar in Comparative Politics
   Government 6067: Field Seminar in International Relations
   Government 6075: Field Seminar in Political Thought
 
   Methods classes:
 
   Government 6019: Introduction to Statistics
   Government 7073: Game Theory I
   Government 6053: Comparative Methods in International & Comparative Politics
 
   The Department aspires to offer the following every other year:
 
   Government 6xx: Topics in Statistics
   Government 7xx: Topics in Game Theory
   
In order to facilitate these offerings on a regular basis, the Director of Graduate Studies will monitor the teaching intentions of the faculty for the up-coming academic year and help coordinate the staffing of these classes. The DGS will also poll graduate student interested in these classes, particularly the topics courses, to help determine when they should be offered.  If student demand appears to be insufficient, the class will probably be postponed.2
 
2) Evaluations of teaching assistant performance:  Summary averages from the course evaluations of all teaching assistants will be collected from the previous semester.  The Director of Graduate Studies will consult with those students who appear to be having some difficulty in their teaching assignments, and poor teaching performance can be grounds for being placed on probation. Superb teaching may be recognized through one of a number of teaching awards.
 
3) Size of graduate classes:  In the past, graduate students have reported that large seminars (those in excess of 15 or so students) do not work very well, primarily because opportunities for the exchange of ideas in discussion are limited. The faculty generally agrees with this sentiment. Although this does not seem to be an appropriate topic for a rigid rule, an informal expectation that graduate seminars not exceed 15 students does seem to be a good idea. For over-large classes, this can be achieved placing a cap on enrollment, privileging our department’s students when they sign up, or arranging the format in such a way that our department’s students receive additional attention.  This proposal is entirely hortatory in nature, intended only to influence practice by highlighting a legitimate concern raised by past students.

Subfield Requirements for International Relations

International Relations

Requirements differ for students taking IR as their first field as opposed to their second field. For students using IR as their major field, requirements that must be fulfilled prior to the prospectus defense (The A exam) consist of three parts: coursework, a written exam based on the core 3 course sequence, and a field paper. Students taking IR as their second field of study have a choice between the existing exam requirements or taking the 3 IR courses within the subfield.

Coursework: Three seminars constitute the core: Government 6067, the field seminar in International Relations; Government 6857, International Political Economy; and Government 6897, International Security. Students taking IR as their minor field are required to take two of these three courses, with the third course in consultation with an IR faculty member. Students taking IR as their major field are required to take these three courses, plus two additional courses in international relations. The three core courses will all be offered in a steady rotation, ensuring that all three are offered over each Fall-Spring-Fall cycle. Thus students are expected to have completed all three core courses by the end of their third semester in the program. The faculty’s expectation is that students taking the exam at the end of the fourth semester will spend a substantial amount of time during the fourth semester reading more deeply into various topics, reviewing material and notes, and integrating the material covered in all three seminars to gain a perspective of the whole field of international relations. A week or two of exam preparations at the end of the fourth semester are a recipe for failing the exam.

Written Exam: A written examination is the culminating assignment of the three course core sequence. Students are expected to take the three core courses in their first three semesters in the program, if possible. The culminating exam will then be held in May of the second year, after the conclusion of the spring semester. The exam has the following general structure, each weighted equally, roughly corresponding to the substance of the three core courses. Typically students have a choice of two questions for each part, of which they must answer one. The examination will be closed book, with students having three hours to write an answer (on a computer) for each of the three parts. The exam will span two days. On the first day, student will answer one question in the morning (9 – noon) followed by a lunch break. They will then answer a second question in the afternoon (2 – 5), and a third question on the morning of the following day (9 – noon). These times are examples and may differ in a given year. The exam will be held in May during “senior week:” that is, the week after finals have concluded and prior to commencement ceremonies. This is usually the week before Memorial Day weekend. The exam will typically be held on two consecutive days of that week, usually some combination of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Students who do not pass the exam will have an opportunity to take it again the following May.
The possible grades are: Fail, Pass, High Pass, Pass with Distinction for written exams.

Field Paper: Students taking IR as their major field are required to complete a field paper. This consists of a significant piece of original research in which students strive to produce a paper that they might present at a conference and ultimately attempt to publish. In most cases, the paper will emerge out of a seminar paper written in the first three semesters in the program and subsequently revised, expanded, and improved via participation in the required 2nd year research colloquium and over the summer (or summers). The paper will be developed under the supervision of a faculty advisor, and the end product will be read and evaluated by one reader within the faculty.

Key deadlines are as follows:
* Student submits paper to the chair and field office by August 15th.
* Chair finds one reader, sends field paper to reader, and notifies student and field office by August 22.
* Reader delivers written comments to student and chair including ideas about publication by September 15. Chair contacts student and the field office to deliver pass/fail results.
* Chair meets with students to discuss comments and publication strategy with a firm deadline when the paper will be either revised once more or submitted by October 15.

Summary of Requirements for International Politics sub-field

RequirementsMajor Field StudentsMinor Field Students
Course Work 5
(6067, 6857, 6897 plus two electives)
3
(two out of 3 courses: 6067, 6857, 6897, with the third course in consultation with an IR faculty member)
Written ExamYes
(to be taken at the end of fourth semester)
No
Field PaperYes
(turned in prior to start of fifth semester)
No

* Further details are provided in the appendix.

Subfield Requirements for Political Thought

Political Thought

The political thought sub-field’s requirements consist of coursework and a field examination. Students majoring and minoring in political thought are required to take the Field Seminar (GOVT 6075), as well as four electives courses in political theory chosen in consultation with subfield faculty. Only students majoring in political thought take the field exam, which is a 72-hour, open book, take home exam. Students are required to write essays answering three questions out of a menu of six, selected from two sections, one of which invites students to engage in political theorizing, the other to reflect on the practice of political theory. The exam is offered in early September. Students are expected to take the exam at the start of the semester of their third year in the program.

Summary of Requirements for Political Thought sub-field

RequirementsMajor Field StudentsMinor Field Students
Course Work 6075 and two PT electives6075 and two PT electives
Written ExamYes
(to be taken at the end of fourth semester)
No
Field PaperNoNo

*Futher details are provided in the appendix.

Subfield Requirements for American Politics

American Politics

The American Politics sub-field’s requirements consist of coursework and a written field examination assessing command of the core literature in the sub-field. Students majoring in American politics must take the field seminar (GOVT 6031) and four AP electives to be selected in consultation with the student’s adviser and other sub-field members. No more than one of these electives can be an independent study.  Students minoring in American politics must take the field seminar (GOVT 6031) and two AP electives to be selected in consultation with the student's advisor and other sub-field members. The written exam is a 72 hour, open book, take home exam. The exam will be offered twice each academic year: once in September and once in January or February.

Summary of Requirements for American Politics sub-field

RequirementsMajor Field StudentsMinor Field Students
Course Work 

6031 plus four others

(chosen in consultation with sub-field members)

6031, plus two others (chosen in consultation with subfield member)
Written xamYes
(to be taken at the end of fourth semester)
No
Field PaperNoNo

* Further details are provided in the appendix.

Subfield Requirements for Comparative Politics

Requirements differ for students taking comparative as their first field as opposed to their second field. For majors, requirements that must be fulfilled prior to the prospectus defense (The A exam) consist of three parts: coursework, a written exam based on the core two course sequence, and a field paper. Students taking comparative as their second field of study have a choice between the existing exam requirements or taking three CP courses within the subfield.

Coursework: All students majoring or minoring in comparative politics are required to take the core two-course sequence in their first year in the program: Govt 6353 (the field seminar) and Govt 6053 (comparative methods). They will be offered every year. Beyond these two core courses, which are required of all students majoring or minoring in comparative, students take a number of additional electives. Students minoring in comparative must take at least one elective. Students majoring in comparative must take at least three electives; however, one of these three may be a methods course if that methods course is in addition to the general two course methods requirement. For example, suppose a student majoring in comparative completes her departmental methods requirement by taking Govt 6053 and Govt 6029. Then she may count a course such as Govt 7073 (to take one example) as one of the three electives.  

Written Exam: A culminating written exam will be held in May of the second year, after the conclusion of the spring semester. The exam will be closed book and consist of two portions. Typically students have a choice of three questions for each part, of which they must answer one. Students will have three hours to write an answer (on a computer) for each of the two parts, separated by a one hour lunch break. The exam will be held in May during “senior week:” that is, the week after finals have concluded and prior to commencement ceremonies. This is usually the week before Memorial Day weekend. The exam will typically be held on Wednesday or Thursday of that week, although days may be different in a given year due to (for example) faculty travel schedules, special event scheduling, or coordination with the offering of the IR A exam (to ensure sufficient computer lab space). Students who do not pass the exam will have an opportunity to take it again prior to the start of the fall semester. More details about the exam are provided in the appendix.

The possible grades are: Fail, Pass, High Pass, Pass with Distinction.

Field Paper: Students taking comparative as their major field are also required to complete a field paper. The field paper allows students to demonstrate that they can conduct original research in the field of comparative politics.  It also gives students a chance to work under the supervision of a faculty member to develop relevant research skills before embarking on the dissertation.  Students are expected to take a seminar or colloquium paper and refine it into a paper (in the 2nd year colloquium and over the summer), aiming at publishable quality. The paper will be evaluated by one reader within the faculty.

Key deadlines are as follows:
* Student submits paper to chair and field office by August 15th.
* Chair finds one reader, sends field paper to reader, and notifies field office and student by August 22.
* Reader delivers written comments to student and chair including ideas about publication by September 15. Chair contacts students and the field office to deliver pass/fail results.
* Chair meets with students to discuss comments and publication strategy with a firm deadline when the paper will be either revised once more or submitted by October 15.

Summary of Requirements for Comparative Politics sub-field

RequirementsMajor Field StudentsMinor Field Students
Course Work 5 (6353 and 6053 plus three electives)3 (6353 and 6053 plus one elective)
Written examYes
(to be taken at the end of fourth semester)
No
Field PaperYes
(turned in prior to start of fifth semester)
No

*Further details are provided in the appendix.

International Relations Field Exam

International Relations written field exam:
   The IR Q exam is intended to serve two purposes, one associated with teaching and the other with research -- the two main activities that constitute an academic career in political science. By awarding a grade of Pass or higher on the exam, the Cornell IR faculty indicates to the field at large that an individual has command over material covered in the three core courses and is thus qualified to teach basic courses in International Relations.  A student who successfully passes the exam has also demonstrated an ability to characterize the literature in the field, relate it to substantive debates and empirical questions, and have something original or interesting to say – to “mobilize” the literature to craft an argument. These skills represent the starting point for preparing grant proposals, literature reviews, and a dissertation proposal.
   
Preparation for the exam.
   
     However vast the scholarship in International Relations, the IR faculty believes that a basic theoretical literature should be familiar to all specialists in the field and that they should also have an understanding of key substantive issues. Preparation for the exam is based on the department’s three core seminars: Government 6067, the field seminar in International Relations; Government 6857, International Political Economy; and Government 6897, International Security. The three core courses are developed in consultation with all the IR faculty members, even though they are taught by different people over time, so the readings (especially Government 6067) tend to represent the consensus in the subfield about what is the most important literature. Students would also be advised to broaden their reading beyond the material covered in the three classes by collecting review articles and consulting online syllabi and reading lists. As you prepare for your exam, you should continue to pay attention to current issues in international politics. We expect students to be able to draw on the IR tool-kit in order to understand and explain these important issues, or to show how existing tools are inadequate for the task. Some students find it useful to work together to prepare for the exams by forming study groups, sharing notes, and the like. The faculty strongly encourages joint study but not the joint drafting of essays or outlines.  Click here for past IR Q Exams/category: Qualifying Exams (restricted access)
   
Structure of the exam.
   
   The exam consists of three parts, each weighted equally.  Typically students have a choice of two questions for each part, of which they must answer one. By tradition the first question has addressed a broad theoretical debate in the field and the next two have been more directly related to substantive issues in security policy or international political economy (IPE).  Because we recognize that the field of International Relations does not divide cleanly into just two subject areas of security and IPE, we frequently include questions that integrate those two areas or go beyond them into domains such as human rights, international law and ethics, environmental policy, immigration, or transnational politics. Despite the possibility to answer questions about these other topics, all students should be prepared to write knowledgeably about core issues in IPE and security.  
   
   The exam committee consists of different members each time an exam is offered, and is intended to be representative of the subfield at Cornell. At least some of the instructors of the most recent cycle of the three core courses will be on the committee. All members of the subfield, including those not serving on the committee, contribute questions for consideration by the exam committee. Exams are rather similar in the nature of the questions and the material they cover from one time to the next, and variants of especially good questions are sometimes used more than once (but usually with a different focus the second time – so read carefully!).  Past exams are available from the graduate field coordinator (Tina Slater) for students to consult.

Writing a successful exam.  
   
    The exam must consist of original answers that address the question posed. A successful answer will address each component of the question, demonstrate knowledge of the relevant theoretical arguments, and offer empirical support. In answering the question, make sure to define your terms. Even if you are taking basic terms (e.g. “stability” or “identity”) from the question itself, do not assume that the drafters of the question understand the terms the same way you do. Tell us how you understand them.
   
   One way to think about drafting a successful answer is to remember the purposes of the exam: to show your ability to teach IR, to survey the literature in a particular area, and to demonstrate your ability to craft a discernable argument. As in preparing a lecture for a class, organization is key to a successful answer. Give a clear introduction, indicating what you intend to argue and the main points you will make. Do not treat your answer as a mystery story or joke – saving the punch line for the end. Tell us your basic argument up front and elaborate it in your answer.  Do not assume too much knowledge on the part of the reader by using a lot of undefined jargon, crowding too much into your sentences, or using telegraphic speech or excessive name-dropping as a substitute for explaining authors’ ideas and arguments. Thinking about your audience as a class of advanced undergraduates might be helpful. Give clear, straightforward, and basic arguments first. Then fill in the necessary nuances and qualifications.
   
   We do not expect your answers to be full of original insights – that would be hard to do in an exam that is supposed to evaluate your command of the existing literature.  Nevertheless, a dry, superficial summary of debates in the field is unlikely to earn a high grade. The best exams combine a strong grasp of the literature with some interesting contributions of your own – some “spark” that indicates your thoughtful engagement with the material.
   
Evaluation of the exam.  
   
   Committee members read the exams independently, prepare short comments on each answer, and propose grades. They then consult among themselves to reconcile any disagreements.  The exams are anonymous, discussed as those of Student #1, Student #2, etc.  The committee chair submits the overall grade for each student’s exam to the graduate field coordinator, along with the combined comments of the three examiners for each question the student answered (usually, although not necessarily, synthesized by the chair into a single set of comments). These comments usually amount to about a paragraph per question.  Once the comments and grades have been submitted, the committee members learn the names of the students and who got which grade. Although the examiners may give grades to each question in the course of evaluation, the students receive, in addition to the detailed comments, only an overall grade for the exam. Although it is technically possible to “fail” one question and still pass an exam with two other very strong answers, the expectation is that all of the answers will be of at least passing quality. The possible grades are, from lowest to highest:  Fail, Pass, High Pass, Pass with Distinction. Students who do not pass the exam will need to take it again the following May.
   
Final word.
   
   We prepared this document with the goal of clearing up some of the mystery and alleviating some of the anxiety associated with the field exam process.  We hope it has achieved that purpose and would welcome suggestions for how to make it do so better.  In any case, we wish you success in preparing and taking your exam.  Good luck!

Political Theory Field Exam

Political Thought written field exam:

The political theory/thought Q exam is a 72-hour “open book” exam held over Labor Day weekend in August. It is intended to serve two purposes, one associated with teaching and the other with research -- the two main activities that constitute an academic career in political science. By awarding a grade of Pass or higher on the exam, the faculty on the examination committee indicate that an individual has mastered key texts, interpretive traditions, and conceptual paradigms of political thought, and is thus qualified to teach courses in the field. A student who successfully passes the exam has also demonstrated an ability to characterize and evaluate primary literature in the field, and to draw on this literature, in conversation with secondary literature where appropriate, to say something original and interesting about a substantive political and/or theoretical question. “Mobilizing” literatures to craft arguments in this way is a required skill for preparing a successful dissertation proposal and writing a good dissertation. Click here for past PT Q exams (restricted access)

Preparation for the Exam

Students should demonstrate both knowledge of the range of approaches characteristic of political theory and an understanding of how to engage in theoretical analysis. This includes a deep understanding of “canonical” texts in the history of political thought, such as those covered in GOVT 6075, but is not limited to these texts alone. Students should also demonstrate a familiarity with the range of approaches deployed in political theory (including various approaches to and combinations of historical analysis, textual interpretation, and normative evaluation), and knowledge of a reasonable range of periods, places, and paradigms.

   Successful exams demonstrate "breadth" — familiarity across several of these interpretive and paradigmatic differences — and "depth" of knowledge by engaging with primary political theoretical sources and also with secondary literatures, where appropriate.
   
   Students are expected to check in with subfield faculty members -- throughout the period of their coursework -- about the kinds of approaches, texts, and debates in which they should be fluent. Students will take GOVT 6075 and two electives. On its own, coursework completed in the Cornell graduate program will provide only a partial preparation for the Q exam. Students are also expected to gain further training by attending political theory and political science colloquia and job talks, serving as teaching assistants, discussing and sharing work with more advanced graduate students, reading political theory journals, etc.  Since intellectual trajectories vary during the period leading up to exams, students are encouraged to take the initiative in seeking out the intellectual resources necessary to ensure well-rounded preparation, and are expected to demonstrate the capacity to communicate their work with political theorists and political scientists working in a broad range of approaches.

Structure of the Exam:

The exam consists of six questions, distributed across two sections (A and B). Students are required to write essays in response to three questions of their choice, including at least one from each section.     

   Questions in Section A focus on political thinkers (historical and contemporary) and political concepts. They ask you too critically compare thinkers, and place them in dialogue over key concepts in the study of political thought, such as justice, property, freedom, democracy, rights, the rule of law, the social contract, etc. Your answers to questions in Section A should demonstrate a nuanced reading of particular thinkers with an eye to their points of agreement and disagreement, as well as the implications of these overlaps and differences.

   Questions in Section B concern political traditions, genres, and issues of methodology. These questions ask you to explain and compare different historical traditions of political thought, identify and evaluate competing paradigms and methods of analysis, and/or critically survey important historical and contemporary debates in the field.

   In short: section A asks you do political theory; section B asks you to reflect on what it means to do political theory.  

   The exam committee consists of different members each time an exam is offered. At least some of the instructors of the most recent cycle of courses will be on the committee. All members of the subfield, including those not serving on the committee, contribute questions to the exam committee. Variants of especially good questions are sometimes used more than once from one exam to another (but usually with a different focus the second time – so read carefully!). Past exams are available from the graduate field coordinator (Tina Slater) for students to consult.

Writing a Successful Exam
   
The exam must consist of original answers that address the question posed. Successful answers will address each component of the question, demonstrate knowledge of the relevant theoretical arguments, and offer textual support. In answering exam questions, make sure to define your terms. Even if you are taking basic terms (e.g. “justice” or “democracy”) from the question itself, do not assume that the drafters of the question understand the terms the same way you do. Tell us how you understand them.
   
   One way to think about drafting a successful answer is to remember the purposes of the exam: to show your ability to teach political theory, to survey the literature in a particular area, and to demonstrate your ability to craft a discernable and contributive argument. As in preparing a lecture for a class, organization is key to a successful answer. Give a clear introduction, indicating what you intend to argue and the main points you will make. Do not treat your answer as a mystery story or joke – saving the punch line for the end. Tell us your basic argument up front and elaborate it in your answer. Do not assume too much knowledge on the part of the reader by using a lot of undefined jargon, crowding too much into your sentences, or using telegraphic speech or excessive name-dropping as a substitute for explaining authors’ ideas and arguments. Thinking about your audience as a class of advanced undergraduates might be helpful. Give clear, straightforward, and basic arguments first. Then fill in the necessary nuances and qualifications.
   
   It is imperative that you avoid repetition across the answers. Do not discuss the same thinker or texts across multiple answers, unless you are very careful to focus on different aspects of their corpus in different answers and avoid overlap. It is also advised that you do not recycle material that you have already prepared for other purposes (e.g. seminar presentations, research papers, and so on); this sort of ‘cutting and pasting’ usually falls short where an adequate answer is concerned.
   
Evaluation of the exam
   
Committee members read the exams independently, prepare short comments on each answer, and propose grades. They then consult to reconcile any disagreements. The exams are anonymous, discussed as those of Student #1, Student #2, etc. Students are first informed whether they have passed the exam and, afterwards, the committee chair submits the overall grade for each student’s exam to the Director of Graduate Studies, along with the combined comments of the three examiners for each question the student answered (usually, although not necessarily, synthesized by the chair into a single set of comments). Once the comments and grades have been submitted, the committee members learn the names of the students and who got which grade. Although the examiners may give grades to each question in the course of evaluation, students receive, in addition to the detailed comments, only an overall grade for the exam. Although it is technically possible to “fail” one question and still pass an exam with two other very strong answers, the expectation is that all of the answers will be of at least passing quality. The possible grades are, from lowest to highest: Fail, Pass, High Pass, Pass with Distinction. Students who do not pass the exam will need to take it again the following August. Students who fail the exam twice will not be permitted to move forward to the dissertation prospectus stage, and will be asked to leave the program.

American Politics Field Exam

American Politics written field exam

The American Politics written field exam is intended to serve two purposes, one associated with teaching and the other with research.  By awarding a grade of Pass or higher on the exam, the faculty indicate that an individual is qualified to teach basic courses in the field. A student who successfully passes the exam has also demonstrated an ability to characterize the literature in the field, relate it to substantive debates and empirical questions, and have something original and/or interesting to say. These skills represent the starting point for preparing grant proposals, literature reviews, and a dissertation proposal. Click here for past AP Q Exams (restricted access)

Preparation for the exam.  

However vast the literature in American politics, basic analytical approaches should be familiar to all specialists in the field and they should also have an understanding of key historical events and substantive issues. Preparation for the exam begins with the department’s field seminar in American politics, which is required of all students taking the A exam. Beyond this, students can choose a variety of courses in American politics, and are advised to develop some basic understanding of American political development, political institutions, political behavior in the U.S. context, and public policy. They are also advised to read literature beyond what is covered in the classes in which they have enrolled; collecting syllabi from other faculty may assist in identifying readings.

Some students find it useful to work together to prepare for the exams by forming study groups, sharing notes, and the like. Students should also practice how they would formulate answers to questions, following the advice presented below on ‘writing a successful exam’.   Outlining or writing of practice essays can be a useful way of preparing for the exam. The faculty strongly encourages joint study but not the joint drafting of essays or outlines.

Structure of the exam.  

The exam will consist of not more than seven questions, typically distributed between two sections. Students are required to write essays in response to three questions of their choice, including at least one from each section.     

The exam committee is intended to be representative of the subfield at Cornell. All members of the subfield, including those not serving on the committee, may contribute questions for consideration by the exam committee. The role of the chair of the committee is to coordinate the selection of questions and the examiners’ evaluations. The general orientation of the exam should not vary according to who serves on the committee or who chairs it. Exams are rather similar in the nature of the questions and the material they cover from one time to the next, and variants of especially good questions are sometimes used more than once. Past exams are available from the graduate field coordinator (Tina Slater) for students to consult.

Although the exam committee seeks to prepare an exam that will offer students the opportunity to make use of their course work, the faculty does not believe in tailoring exams to meet an individual student’s particular course of study. Not only do students submit the exams anonymously, but we prefer not to know the names of the individuals taking the exam ahead of time.

Writing a successful exam.   

First and foremost, the writer should decide what problem or issue is raised by the question and then formulate a clear, coherent, and well-substantiated argument in response. The relevant literature should be engaged in response to the question, taking into account the strengths and limitations of various approaches. Excellent answers will demonstrate a breadth of knowledge of the relevant literature as well as the ability to think about it in a fresh and original manner.

Although students are expected to draw upon the readings they have done for their courses, they are heavily discouraged from simply recycling or “cutting and pasting” from prior written assignments. A successful answer will address each component of the question, demonstrate knowledge of the relevant theoretical arguments and offer empirical support for those argument.

Some general advice:

*  In answering the question, make sure to define your terms.  Even if you are taking basic terms (e.g. “democracy” or “polarization”) from the question itself, do not assume that the drafters of the question understand the terms the same way you do. Tell us how you understand them.
   
* One way to think about drafting a successful answer is to remember the purposes of the exam: to show your ability to teach American politics, to survey the literature in a particular area, and to demonstrate your ability to craft a discernable argument. As in preparing a lecture for a class, organization is key to a successful answer. Give a clear introduction, indicating what you intend to argue and the main points you will make. Elaborate on it in your answer. Do not assume too much knowledge on the part of the reader by using a lot of undefined jargon, crowding too much into your sentences, or using telegraphic speech or excessive name-dropping as a substitute for explaining authors’ ideas and arguments. Give clear, straightforward, and basic arguments first -- then fill in the necessary nuances and qualifications.
   
* We do not expect your answers to be full of original insights – that would be hard to do in an exam that is supposed to evaluate your command of the existing literature. Nevertheless, a dry, superficial summary of debates in the field is unlikely to earn a high grade. The best exams combine a strong grasp of the literature and how it fits together with some interesting contributions of your own – some “spark” that indicates your thoughtful engagement with the material.
   
*  In providing evidence that you have read widely in the field, you are not expected to include in your answers references to every author you have ever encountered, with summaries of all of their arguments. The art of “characterizing” debates in order to contribute to them inevitably entails grouping authors in understandable ways to both frame and support your argument.  Your judgment about how many authors to cite and in what detail should be guided by your understanding of what answering the question requires.

Evaluation of the exam.   

Committee members read the exams independently, prepare short comments on each answer, and propose grades. They then consult among themselves to reconcile any disagreements. The exams are anonymous, discussed as those of Student #1, Student #2, etc.  The committee chair submits the overall grade for each student’s exam to the graduate field coordinator, along with the combined comments of the three examiners for each question the student answered. These comments usually amount to about a paragraph per question. Only once the comments and grades have been submitted do the committee members learn the names of the students and their respective grades. Although the examiners may give grades to each question in the course of evaluation, the students receive, in addition to the detailed comments, only an overall grade for the exam. Although it is technically possible to “fail” one question and still pass an exam with two other very strong answers, the expectation is that all of the answers will be of at least passing quality. The possible grades are, from lowest to highest: Fail, Pass, High Pass, Pass with Distinction.

Comparative Field Exam

The Comparative Politics written exam:

The comparative politics Q exam is a closed book, closed note exam that will be held during “senior week” in May of each year. Students will select two questions from a limited menu of questions grouped into two sections. Students will have up to three hours to write each essay. The exam will be held on one day, with the two sections separated by a one hour lunch break.  Click here for past CP Q Exams (restricted access)
   
The exam will be based on the material covered in 6353 (the comparative politics field seminar) and 6053 (comparative methods) classes and all questions will require integration of material from both courses. Students will be asked to apply methods from the comparative politics tool-kit to address substantive problems and to justify their methodological choices.  In doing so, they will need to demonstrate that they understand the methodological and substantive debates under consideration. The substantive questions will be inspired by material covered in 6353. Students must write original answers to the questions (that is, no recycling of “canned” material written previously). Competent answers respond to each part of the question, clearly define concepts, and support arguments with empirical evidence. Competent answers must also demonstrate:
   
* Knowledge of fundamental areas of the comparative politics literature (e.g., political institutions, political culture, democracy and democratization, development and modernization, civil conflict and civil war, elections, political participation, processes of representation, etc.)
* Clear understanding of the key constructs and theories in these areas
* Knowledge of the work of key scholars who have written the important theoretical and empirical articles, chapters, and books in these areas (i.e., students should be able to back up characterizations with citations)
* Awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the methodological tools used in comparative politics
   
Demonstrating knowledge of relevant theories and methodologies is necessary but not sufficient. Field-exam answers should also give evidence of coherent and original thought processes.  Excellent answers will demonstrate the writer’s ability to:
   
* Identify points of connection across literatures
* Critically examine literatures, theories, and constructs
* Highlight inconsistencies, weaknesses, and problems in theories, or in the empirics used to test the theories
* Offer concrete suggestions of how these problems might be resolved
* Offer new questions and ideas for bridging areas that have yet to be brought together, or can suggest a theory from one sub-field that might shed light on contradictory findings in another literature
* Offer alternative methods of testing theories or in applying theories to new problems
   
Finally, the answers should be well-structured with an introduction that clearly states the argument, and with conclusions that are supported by the preceding discussion.
   
The field exam committee will be composed of three faculty members, including at least one instructor from each class (6353 and 6053) plus at least one additional member of the comparative faculty. All grading and comments on the exams is done anonymously; committee members will not know who wrote which exam when they make their assessments. The members of the exam committee each read and grade the exams independently, and then work together to determine the final grade and comments. The committee chair submits the overall grade and comments to the DGS. The possible grades are: Fail, Pass, High Pass, Pass with Distinction.

September 20, 2021

 

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