Comprehensive Exams

Our Comprehensive Exams are intended to prepare students to teach in their specialties and launch them towards their dissertation research. Doctoral students usually take their exams some time in their third year.

Ph.D. students at Georgetown prepare four fields: a Major field, a Research field within the Major, and two separate Minor fields. While the Major field must be one of our formal fields of study, students have a great deal of leeway and creative license to determine their other three fields. This flexibility is a hallmark of our program of study.

Students prepare written exams in the Research field and in a Minor field of their own choosing. Passing the written exams qualifies a student to move on to a two-hour oral exam. Passing the oral exam qualifies the student as a Doctoral Candidate.