Oral Examinations

Students must pass two oral examinations. Each student has the option of taking the exams in history of science, philosophy of science, sociology of science, or anthropology of science; but at least one of the exams must be in either history of science or philosophy of science. These exams are, in part, designed by the students themselves. Each lasts approximately two hours. The order in which the exams are taken does not matter. In the case of each exam, the process begins when the student proposes to the Chair two faculty members to serve as an exam committee. At least one of the two must be a member of CHSS. The committees for the two exams may overlap, but they must not be identical. If the Chair of CHSS approves, and the two members agree to serve, the student will then work with the committee to develop a reading list and a list of questions based on it. The reading list will normally have two parts — one general, and one more narrowly focused on a topic or topics of particular interest to the student. The reading list and the questions must be approved by the members of the exam committee. The exam itself will be based on the reading list, and will incorporate some of the proposed questions, but need not be limited to the latter. (The administrative assistant of CHSS should be given a copy of the student’s approved reading list and questions for inclusion in his or her file.) The student arranges the exact day and time of the exam in consultation with the members of the exam committee.