Monday, April 16, 2012

The Importance of Comprehensive Exams in Graduate Programs

The Absolute Exam

The Importance of Comprehensive Exams in Graduate ProgramsIn abounding fields, alum acceptance belief for Master’s, PhDs, and added avant-garde degrees are appropriate to yield absolute exams, frequently alleged "comps." Comps alter broadly from acreage to field, and could absorb accounting components, articulate components, or added demonstrations of proficiency. Comps are generally a above anniversary in the alum student’s advance of abstraction because they claiming the apprentice to apprentice a actual abundant accord about the acreage he or she is studying. Alum programs can be beheld as acute acceptance to authenticate both a across of ability in the acreage as a accomplished and a abyss of ability about a specific across of interest. Whereas the argument is the affirmation of depth, the absolute assay is how a apprentice shows breadth. Read added on accomplishing success in exams. 

 Comps or No Comps? 

It seems analytic to crave comps exams for approaching PhDs and others belief for terminal degrees in the acreage of study. Afterwards all, a terminal bulk care to announce that the alone is an able in the acreage and has learned, if not all there is to know, at atomic a acceptable bulk that added ancestry would be impractical. A apprentice who receives a PhD in history is, and care to be, accepted to apperceive a actual abundant accord about history. However, in the United States some academics authority the assessment that, in assertive fields, comps exams should not be required

. Specialization 

Increasingly, the bookish apple is characterized by acute specialization. Those who accept terminal degrees are generally experts in a very, actual baby across of their field, rather than in the acreage as a whole. There are several circuitous affidavit for this, and generally the affidavit alter from acreage to field. In some fields, abnormally in the sciences, specialization is all-important because it’s at the akin of acute specificity that the a lot of important advances are made. In added fields, specialization is all-important to angle out from others who are aggressive for a actual baby amount of job openings. Whatever the reason, some humans anticipate that specialization is important abundant that alum acceptance should allot a lot of of their time to it.

 Do Comps Get in the Way? 

 Valuing specialization over a across of added accepted ability had led some people, abnormally academics, to achieve that absolute exams are accidental and even adverse to students’ futures. For example, in the acreage of philosophy, there are far added new PhDs accustomed anniversary year than there are accessible bookish positions. This agency that accepting a job at a university in a aesthetics administration is acutely competitive. In adjustment to angle out from the crown, adolescent philosophers charge to broadcast online writing in their areas of interest, appear conferences, and analyze themselves in any added way that they possibly can. According to some, the accelerated abstraction and alertness appropriate to yield the absolute exams in aesthetics anticipate PhD acceptance from devoting abundant time to appropriate themselves in the field.  

The Amount of Expertise 

Although the arguments adjoin comps are understandable, accepting rid of absolute exams would be adverse to the bookish world. If alum acceptance are not appropriate to apprentice as abundant as they can about their fields, they will be beneath able to advise others or to access ambitious jobs afterwards they accept their degrees. Although they may excel as specialists, they will abridgement the flexibility, actual perspective, and big-picture appearance that college apprenticeship care to impart. It ability be argued that, if specializing works, again it accept to be a acceptable thing. However, the amount of avant-garde degrees can alone go down if those who access them can no best be advised experts. Institutions that admission terminal degrees to acceptance who accept not demonstrated, through absolute exams, that they are a part of the a lot of abreast individuals in the field, will lose their reputations as celebrated centers of learning.
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