Jump to content

Recommended Posts

So, I thought I got this, but can someone tell me what (if any) differences there are between Prelims, Comps and Quals?

I don't think there is any special meaning to each term, but their use probably differs from field to field. That is, one field may tend to use prelims, another comps. I know in political science, both at my MA school and the school I'll be going to for PhD, uses comps. The actual differences in content vary between fields, departments, schools, etc. In short, I don't think those various terms carry any differences in meaning in themselves.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my program we don't have any of the above - we have "generals papers"; other programs in my field have "qualifying papers". The requirements change from program to program so that's something to read on each department's website. The general idea is probably similar in all cases, though: demonstrating familiarity with one's chosen field - either by passing exams or by writing papers that show enough knowledge and/or originality and/or ability to produce publishable work - all of which is design to make sure that the student has received sufficient training, and is capable of launching his/her dissertation research and eventually producing a compelling final result.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have two: Cumulative Exams, and Prospectus...

Our cumes are general exams in each major sub-discipline given once per month. Subjects are completely random, and the exam rotates between professors in each sub-discipline. You have to pass 2 within your first two years, and a total of 6 by the end of your third year, three must be from your chosen sub-discipline. They're kinda soul-crushing, just because the pass rate is so low- and the topics can be completely out of nowhere.

Our Prospectus is where we have to give an overview of our work so far and our planned work to finish our dissertation to our committee, and have them pick it apart over the course of an afternoon or so.

Edited by Eigen
Link to post
Share on other sites

Dang Eigen!

That's intense! Are you at a US school?

We have two: Cumulative Exams, and Prospectus...

Our cumes are general exams in each major sub-discipline given once per month. Subjects are completely random, and the exam rotates between professors in each sub-discipline. You have to pass 2 within your first two years, and a total of 6 by the end of your third year, three must be from your chosen sub-discipline. They're kinda soul-crushing, just because the pass rate is so low- and the topics can be completely out of nowhere.

Our Prospectus is where we have to give an overview of our work so far and our planned work to finish our dissertation to our committee, and have them pick it apart over the course of an afternoon or so.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah.

At least there aren't "penalties" for failing a cume, so you get a lot of tries... But it can be demoralizing after you fail your first half dozen or so.

We also have a presentation we have to give in our second year- we have to give a departmental seminar (as part of our normal seminar series) that's a comprehensive review of a field *not* directly related to our research. It's always fun to prepare :D

Edited by Eigen
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 years later...

At my institution, the folks I know who are in the sciences call them comps, and the humanities people call them quals ... no idea why, as our qualifying exams are much more "comprehensive" in terms of scope than the scientists' comps, which largely focus on their own research. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.