The department offers the following guidelines for comprehensive exams in the subfields of Theory, American, Comparative, International Relations, and Methodology.

  • The Exam Period for all subfields is one to three days, with continuous blocks not to exceed 8 hours each.
  • Each year the department chair will appoint one person in each subfield to coordinate exams in that field, on a rotating basis.
  • All subfields will have readings lists, for which students are held responsible.
  • Reading lists in Comparative, and in part Theory, will be negotiated between student and faculty; in other fields they will be provided by the faculty. Students may satisfy the requirements for the comprehensive field exam in methodology by passing an exam in one of the three areas of the subfield: formal theory, quantitative methods, or qualitative methods. Format, timing, and prerequisites for each exam vary by the three areas.
  • Reading lists will be revised at least every three years, with student input.
  • Exams will be offered twice a year: during the 10th week of Spring Quarter and the week before the beginning of Autumn Quarter classes. The exception is Comparative, the time of which students will negotiate with their readers.
  • The deadline for completing comprehensive exam requirements is by the beginning of the 7th quarter (Autumn Quarter of the third year).
  • Subfields will retain autonomy over all aspects of the exam process not specifically addressed above.

The rules for each specific sub-field can be found below.