Senior Departmental / Oral Exams

May 8, 2024, 10:00 am5:00 pm


Event Description

The senior departmental exam is an opportunity for you to reflect on your coursework and independent work in English. The exam, which lasts approximately 30 minutes, takes shape as a discussion between you, your thesis advisor, and your second thesis readerDuring this time, you are asked to think carefully and critically about your journey through the major—relating particular texts or archives you have encountered in coursework to your thesis, for instance, situating your own research alongside current work in the relevant field, and/or offering examples of the kinds of theoretical or critical frameworks that help you make sense of the questions that continue to animate your curiosities. As you think back on your course of study you are also invited to think forward: to formulating new questions and problems you hope to explore, or to refining your own description of the English major and what it values. The exam is at once an exercise in critical acumen and an occasion for thoughtful reflection. Before the exam (by April 29th at noon), you will submit a reflection paper on your course of study in the English Department. This 800-word reflection statement details your intellectual development, including (but not limited to) the relationship between coursework and independent work. This is an opportunity for you to consider what recurring themes have guided your choices over the last two years, what discoveries you have made, and what questions have stayed (and might yet stay) with you. The exam and the reflection paper together count for 10% of your departmental GPA (7.5% for the exam, 2.5% for the reflection paper).