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Because the current English department guidelines are not exactly what's up on the department website, I've transcribed some important bits below.
In consultation with the other members of the committee, the committe chair prepares 2-3 topics for the student's oral presentation. It would be best to phrase these topics as topics rather than as questions. For example, rather than asking, "What is the nature of the hero in nineteenth-century American literature?" the chair could write, "Discuss the nature of the hero in nineteeth-century American literature," and could further elaborate on some of the issues that the committe would like the student to address. Students should aim to present a talk that develops an informed critical perspective on the selected topic. Because a question period follows the talk, students shouldn't feel that all aspects of the topic have to be addressed: A provocative, suggestive, open-ended presentation on a topic would be better than a dry and hermetic response that leaves no room for discussion.
The student will receive the topics from the Graduate Office one week before the oral examination [for me, April 8th]. During that week the student would choose the topic and think about different approaches. But very little writing would have to be done. We suggest that the student bring to the exam no more than 3 regular-sized sheets of paper, with notes and/or an outline, and no more than 5 filecards with quotes.
The student presents an approximately 15 minute talk on one of the proposed topics; the absolute maximum time for the talk is 20 minutes. The presentation could be somewhat informal, as if the student were conducting a faculty seminar.... Following the talk, there will be a 35-40 minute discussion of the presentation.... The chair should consult with committee members and the student about the preferred format.
The second part is an approximately one hour examination on the student's two reading lists. Again, the committee chair should consult with the examiners and the student about the preferred format.(planning) | Comments (1)
all about the log | discussion | genre references | language | literature | narrative gaps | planning |
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