DQE Information Session

The following were some points given by Dr. M. Therese Lysaught on February 3, 2011.


  • DQE Topics
    • Have a sense of where your coursework is taking you for your DQE
    • Meet with professors to narrow your questions
    • Topics should come out of your coursework
    • You can be original, if it is related to your dissertation, but your DQE should be a process of review, summation, and analysis
    • Sometimes have to stretch coursework to fit a topic, if you want to include coursework that doesn’t quite fit any of the listed topics
  • DQE Application
    • At the beginning of preparing for your DQE
    • You’ve decided who your chair is going to be, and who your board is, and have planned a month to take the exam
    • Submit to the graduate committee
    • Advisor cannot be the chair of your DQE
    • Topics from the topics sheet are listed
    • Attach courses completed list
  • DQE Registration
    • Closer to the exam date and you are sure you’re going to take it
    • Key: proposed dates for examination
    • Write for two days (3-hours each); one day oral exam (1 ½ hours)
    • You are not responsible for scheduling these dates, and you should not do it; it is your chair’s responsibility

When you should take the DQE

  • Fall of your third year is most ideal
  • Can get your DDO, and puts you in better shape for fellowships (university and department)
  • If you can get it done before November, that is best. (This doesn’t always happen)
  • Have to have language and coursework done (sometimes pushes people back into Spring of their third year)

When you should prepare

  • If you’re going to take it in the Fall, start working on bibliographies and conversations in the Spring, so that you’re ready to hit the ground running in the Summer

How to prepare

  • Talk to other students to see how they have done it
  • It varies according to faculty
  • Meet with all of the members of your board at least once before your exam

Taking the written

  • You have to write on your minor topics
  • You pick two in your major; so, you do not write on one of the topics in your major area (it can come up in the oral)
  • You can choose what areas you do each day (minors, majors)
  • Type-written
  • When you write your answer, you should always have a thesis that you are arguing
  • Two days total of writing

Taking the oral

  • Look at your written answers and review some of the questions you didn’t answer before the oral exam
  • Faculty want you to succeed: this can be fun!
  • Each faculty member gets about 12 minutes
  • Do people do badly? Sometimes they do; sometimes they fail or almost fail – it happens because they clearly did not read their bibliography
  • You’re going to want to practice for the oral
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