Field Exam Policy Graduate Program

May 5, 2020

Exam description

This field exam has two parts. It will examine a major and a minor field relevant to the student's areas of research and teaching expertise. Both parts will be written as a take-home exam in essay form, responding to exam questions and requiring original interpretations of the exam material.

Exam Design

Exam reading lists
Each part of the field exam relies on a separate reading list. Students generate these lists in collaboration with their supervisor and committee members. Both lists need to be approved by the supervisor.

Reading items must reflect in approximately equal measure the following areas: theory and history of drama, theatre and performance; plays/scripts/notation; archival materials/objects.

Exam questions
In each exam, students will respond to a set of up to five questions. Students will submit to their supervisors two sets of five possible exam questions: one set for a major and one set for a minor area of their research. The deadline for this submission is April 15 of their second year. Supervisors are likely to revise those questions in order to make them suitable as exam questions. They will return the finalized exam questions to the students at the time of the exam. For the major field exam one or two questions (number at the discretion of exam team and supervisor) will be chosen for the actual exam, while for the minor field exam one of the questions will be chosen.

Elements of field exam and exam schedule

Major field exam

  • facilitated by supervisor
  • one-week (Mo-Fr) take-home exam in the 1st week of May, 2nd year PhD

Minor field exam/ facilitated by committee member

  • facilitated by the supervisor and the committee member
  • one-week (Mo-Fr) take-home exam in the 3rd week of May, 2nd year PhD

Exam Format

  • Written exam, essay form, responding to exam questions
  • Must be submitted to graders in Pdf file format by the due date
  • Word count: 2500 – 3000 words (footnotes included; references excluded)

Submission of exam
Finalized exams will be submitted to the graduate director as an email attachment, cc’d to the graduate administrator. 

Exam Grading
The grading is the responsibility of the supervisor and the supervisory committee. There need to be at least three graders. If the student has not yet secured a third committee member by April in their second year, the supervisor will consult with the associate director/ graduate, which graduate faculty member might be best suited to serve as the third grader.


1st year PhD

  • May-Sept. of the 1st year - start putting together a foundation for (annotated) bibliography (to be used for thesis proposal, field exam and prospectus)
  • No later than the end of May of the 1st year - declare supervisor

2nd year PhD

  • Sept.- declare second committee member
  • April - declare third committee member
  • NOTE: 3 member committees are required (1 supervisor 2 committee members or 2 cosupervisorsand 1 committee member)
  • April 15 – submit a set of five exam questions for both the major and minor field exams to the supervisor for consideration
  • Students receive exam questions for each exam (major and minor) on the first day oftheir exam weeks.
  • 1st week of May – write Major field exam (5-business day take-home exam: Mo-Fri, 11.59pm)
  • 3rd week of May – write Minor field exam (5-business day take-home exam: Mo-Fri, 11.59pm)
  • NOTE: If students wish, the exam time can be extended through the weekend until Sunday, 11.59pm.

Download pdf of Field Exam Policy