Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Graduate Programs at Duke University

Computational Media, Arts & Cultures

Preliminary Exam

The preliminary exam is taken after the completion of course work and all language requirements. It should be taken by the sixth semester of residence or, at the latest, at the very

beginning of the seventh semester of residence. Graduate School regulations are specific in the matter of timing of the preliminary exam: ordinarily, a student registered for full-time study should pass the preliminary exam by the end of the third year. A student who has not passed the exam by this time must request an extension in writing from the program DGS AND the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The student should explain the reason(s) for the delay and set a date for the exam within the first semester of the 4th year. Except under highly unusual circumstances, extensions will not be granted beyond the first semester of the 4th year.

Credit is not generally allowed for graduate courses or foreign language exams that are more than six years old at the date of the preliminary exam. Similarly, credit will not be allowed for a preliminary exam that is more than five years old at the date of the final exam. In cases of exceptional merit, the Dean of the Graduate School may extend these limits. Should either of these limits be exceeded without the Dean’s permission, students must submit to the Dean specific mechanisms for revalidating credits or exams.

Students will develop a bibliography of works to be read in preparation for the preliminary exam with each member of his or her committee. The advisor solicits questions for the exam from all the members of the student’s committee.

The qualifying exam consists of two distinct parts, a written and an oral exam.

The written examination consists of two (2) six-hour take-home papers, over the course of two days, in response to questions developed by the student’s committee. The written component of the exam will be followed by an oral defense of the written exam and of the dissertation prospectus. The oral defense of the exam must be scheduled within two weeks of completion of the written preliminary exam, except under extraordinary circumstances. The prospectus defense is usually scheduled at the same time, but occasionally separately. The preliminary exam should be scheduled at least 3 months before being taken to ensure your committee can all be present at that time.

Should the student’s performance be considered unsatisfactory after this exam, the student will have failed. He or she may apply to retake the preliminary exam as provided in the Graduate School regulations.

The Prospectus

The prospectus of 10-15 pages will be developed by the candidate in close consultation with the Chair of the committee, and will have been read and commented upon by the Chair prior to its being circulated to other members of the committee. The purpose of the oral discussion on the prospectus is to explore the larger intellectual project represented by the dissertation prospectus.

Once the committee has met with the candidate to discuss the dissertation prospectus, it will determine whether the candidate is prepared to proceed to the dissertation stage. If at least two members of the committee feel that the candidate is unprepared to proceed, the dissertation prospectus will be revised in consultation with the committee and will be re-submitted for a second discussion. If for a second time, more than one member of the committee feels that the candidate does not have a viable dissertation project, the candidate will be deemed not to have qualified for the dissertation stage. It is understood, however, that such disqualification must center on the dissertation prospectus.

Comments are closed.