Graduate Exams

Examination Committee

The Examination Committee must consist of a Committee Chair, an outside member, and at least two members of the Rhetoric faculty. The outside member must be a member of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. The outside member cannot serve as the chair, and the chair may not serve as the Dissertation Committee Chair, but may serve as a Dissertation Committee Co-Chair.

Qualifying Examination Areas of Study

Three areas of examination are established and supervised by members of the committee. The supervisors work with the student to establish a reading list of major texts and relevant scholarship in each area, which must be submitted to the Graduate Administrative Advisor prior to the Qualifying Examination. 

Preliminary Examination 

The student must complete a departmental Preliminary Examination which consists of two written Field Statements and one written Research Statement. The Preliminary Examination must be completed and approved by the examination committee three weeks and five days before the date of the Qualifying Exam. 

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination is an oral examination given by all members of the examination committee and tests the breadth and depth of knowledge in all three areas of study. Students who have passed the Qualifying Examination are eligible for Advancement to Candidacy for the PhD. Upon successful passing of the Qualifying Examination, the student should file for Application for Candidacy with the Graduate Division.
For a more detailed checklist of steps that need to be taken by students to arrange the exams, from identifying a committee to submitting a dissertation prospectus, see the Qualifying Exam Steps tab of this site. Further preliminary steps required by the Rhetoric program for embarking on the Qualifying Examinations are outlined under the Timeline tab of this site and the linked document, “Graduate Program Guidelines and Timeline.”