Doctoral comps - when where and how?
December 16, 2011 5:01 AM Subscribe
Doctoral comps - when to sit?
posted by Mutant to education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a PhD (Finance) student attending a programme in Zurich. They run an American style programme and I'm sitting eight classes in two distinct phases. Just completing the first phase ("foundation"), I expect to finish my second phase ("specialization) in March 2012, then enter research. I should add that research is already underway as its one of my existing research interests, and they were made aware of this during the application and interview process.
I'm having a seriously great time in the programme overall, another "should have done this years ago" epiphany but I'm curious about comprehensive exams. This particular institution isn't requiring me to sit qualifications or generals, and will allow me to sit comps either immediately after completing classes, or shortly before I undertake my defense.
Some other students at my institution were offered the same choice (apparently its not universal, but depends upon the student) and I'm not sure how to play it. On one hand, some suggest getting the exams out of the way ASAP. I can see the value in that as it's one less thing to worry about.
But others mention doing it shortly before defense is preferable as chances of an unsuccessful outcome and having to retake are lower. The argument here goes if you attend and present at conferences (I am) and even get your work published (journal articles in progress with one of my profs) the institution has a bigger investment in you and you're unlikely to run afoul of something at comps.
At this particular institution comps take the form of a roughly half day panel discussion of your in class writings. At that point I'll have sat Phd eight classes, and probably submitted 40 written papers overall. Any and all of them are apparently fair game at comps.
What have you successful Doctorates done or what would you have preferred?