As with all things related to a humanities PhD, requirements vary from program to program, department to department, school to school, and university to university. The advice contained in this column is not intended as a supplement for your graduate student handbook.
It’s February and we are introducing our WTF Topic of the Month. We’ve chosen to kick off WTF Topic of the Month with preliminary/field exams, also known as prelims or fields. You see, prelims and February have a lot in common. They are both short and brutal, but they can both be beautiful. Like sitting on a frozen lake in a frozen wilderness, prelims can be an amazing experience that changes your view of yourself and the world, but it takes training and is not for the faint of heart.
Over the course of the month, we will address a variety of questions that fall under the rubric of WTF: Prelims including the purpose of prelims, how to create your prelims reading list, how to read for prelims, and how to actually take your prelims.
If you have other prelim topics you want to see covered then drop us a line here.