Preparation for the Comprehensive Exams

For those of you thinking about going to graduate school, this article is a necessary read. Even at the master’s level, comprehensive exams are usually required, although they are not as intense.

The purpose of comprehensive exams hasn’t changed much since the early 19th century, when German scholars systematized the Ph.D. degree by defining its four basic elements: the application process, seminars, a set of exams, and a dissertation. Ostensibly that sequence of tasks identifies talent, teaches the art of asking and answering good questions, provides a foundation in the relevant literature, and then creates some new knowledge.

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