Each doctoral candidate is required to write Field Examinations in both their fields of study. In every field except Political Theory, the Field Examination is based on the Core Course in the field. It may be an entirely written exam, but in some fields the written component will be accompanied by an oral examination. In most fields, the Field Examination extends somewhat beyond the material covered in the Core Course. The exam for Field 1 is normally taken in May or August of the first year and the exam for Field 2 is taken either by the end of the first year or by the end of the second year. (A May sitting requires that all assignments in the core course be completed.) The Major Field Examination in Political Theory is based on a list of texts made available to students in the Fall.
To continue in the doctoral program a student must receive a grade of A- or better in the Field Examinations. A student who fails to achieve an A- has the opportunity to take the exam one more time. The make-up exam must be taken at the next available sitting (August for a student whose first attempt was in May; December for a student whose first attempt was in August). Failure in the make-up examination means that the student may no longer continue in the doctoral program.