The Dissertation Bottleneck

There are a lot of weird things about dissertations. Some of them are just inherent in the writing process (#writingisweird) but some of them have to do with the fact that dissertations are an especially difficult genre of writing. If you are in a PhD program, or grad school generally, chances are your social mediaContinue reading “The Dissertation Bottleneck”

Taking The Exam

You’ve picked your fields, made your list, and read (most of) the things. Now it’s time to actually take the exams. Taking the exams is going to be different depending on your program. In my program students had three exam questions issued over three days. The questions were sent by email and the student hadContinue reading “Taking The Exam”

Reading for Prelims

So far this month we’ve covered what prelims are, what work prelims are supposed to do, and how to prepare the first draft of your list. Today, we are covering how to read for prelims. The first thing to know, of course, is how your program does prelims. I recently heard of a philosophy program inContinue reading “Reading for Prelims”

Making the List: Best Practices

Now that you’ve thought about what work your prelims reading list is doing for you it’s time to actually draft the list. Remember that the reading list is a collaborative work between you and your committee, the structure of which is dictated by your program requirements. Some programs archive the reading lists of past students.Continue reading “Making the List: Best Practices”

Prelims: WTF Are They?

In my program, it is customary for students taking their prelim exams to kick off the blessed event by sending their committee a list of question they, the graduate student, thinks would be good questions for their exams. Some committees use these questions as a guide for the questions they send to the student. Mine,Continue reading “Prelims: WTF Are They?”

WTF: Prelims

As with all things related to a humanities PhD,  requirements vary from program to program, department to department, school to school, and university to university. The advice contained in this column is not intended as a supplement for your graduate student handbook.  It’s February and we are introducing our WTF Topic of the Month. We’veContinue reading “WTF: Prelims”