Process

This is the new process beginning Fall 2018.

Students sit two area exams, one in their primary area of study, one in a secondary area. One must be in a literary field, one in an area of broader language study.

PRIMARY EXAMS

The Primary Exam is written after the Secondary Exam. This takes place in the first month of semester six of the PhD.  Normally this will be May of Year 2. Normally, the exam committee will consist of the candidate's supervisor(s) and TWO dissertation readers.

Students writing the Primary Exam will be responsible for the materials on the reading list, plus an additional B List of thirty books (or the equivalent).  The B List will be selected with the assistance of the supervisor and examining committee, and it will be provided to the Graduate Coordinator three months prior to the exam for review by the Graduate Studies Committee.  It is recommended that the B List titles provide a cross-disciplinary link to the student's dissertation. 

The Primary Exam will be administered via LEARN.  Candidates will have a twelve hour window in which to complete the exam and upload it to the Dropbox. 

Approximately one month after the written exam, candidates will sit an oral examination of their primary area and their dissertation proposal. Normally this will occur in early July.

Additional details are below.

SECONDARY EXAMS

The Secondary Exam is written first. This takes place in the last month of semester four of the PhD.  Normally this will be December of Year 2. The exam committee consists of TWO members of the relevant Area Exam Standing Committee , plus the student’s supervisor.

Students writing the secondary exam will be responsible for the materials on the reading list, plus an additional ten books (or equivalent).  These additional titles will be selected with the assistance of the supervisor and examining committee, and the customized “B" list will be provided to the Graduate Coordinator two months prior to the exam.  It is recommended that the "B" list titles provide a cross-disciplinary link to the student's primary field.  For example: if your secondary exam is in Composition Theory and Pedagogy, and your primary exam is in Canadian Literature then the "B" list should include texts in which these areas intersect. Please note that some area exam standing committees have provided suggested supplemental reading lists for their field.

The secondary exam will be administered via Learn.  Candidates will have a twelve hour window in which to complete the exam and upload it to the Dropbox. 

Grading

Please use the webform to grade all exams.

Secondary exam timeline

Primary exam and proposal timeline

 

Examination committee responsibilities and expectations

Prior to the exam:

  • The reading lists are renewed regularly, and the exam format is occasionally updated, but neither can change later than six months before any exam sitting. 
  • The examination committee chair should meet with the candidates a minimum of four months prior to the exam in order to:
    • discuss exam format, regulations, and expectations;
    • ensure that the candidates have access to the most recent reading list and exam;
    • advise the candidates on study-strategies, exam-taking strategies, etc;
    • work with the candidates to develop secondary reading list;
    • if applicable, consult with the candidates to establish object texts (though the specific texts need not be finalized until two weeks before the exam).
  • The exam draft must be submitted to the graduate coordinator at least one month prior to the exam, with "B" lists and object texts, where relevant.
  • The exam committee chair, with feedback from the graduate studies committee, ensures that the exam questions, format, and "B" list meet exam regulations.
  • Where relevant, object texts are delivered to the candidates two weeks prior to the exam.

The day of the exam, the graduate coordinator will send the completed exams to the examination committee members.

Reading lists

Literature Language

19th century British Literature

20th century United Kingdom and Irish Literature

American Literature

Canadian Literature

History of Literary Theory and Criticism

Middle English Literature

Transnational Diaspora

Restoration and 18th Century Literature

Composition Theory and Pedagogy

Discourse and Text Analysis

Rhetorical Theory and Criticism

New Media

Sample exam formats

Sample exams