English @ OU

Written Exam Procedures


For Students Enrolled After Fall 2009

The Ph.D. examination for rhetoric and composition studies consists of one written exam and an oral defense of the dissertation prospectus. The written exam is a critical examination of 3 Journals. Examination begins on the first day of class by 5 PM, fall of the 3rd year, through the first day of class, by 5 PM, fall of the 4th year. There are three distinct writing projects or essays as part of this examination. Each essay must include a Works Cited in MLA style. Each is to range between 20-25 double-spaced pages (approximately 5000-6500 words) excluding the Works Cited. These do not have to be done in any particular order, but they must turned in together, as a package, on the first day of class, fall semester of the 4th year. Exam results will be provided in one month. Students choose a journal from a provided list and carefully examine all of the volumes of this particular journal that have been published during the last ten years. In the case of failure: If a student fails any of the essays, they have one opportunity to revise and resubmit on the first day of class, spring semester of the 4th year. All essays must pass for the student to remain in the program.


For Students Enrolled Before Fall 2009

The Ph.D. examination for rhetoric and composition studies consists of one written exam and an oral defense of the dissertation prospectus. The written exam is a take-home completed over a weekend in September or April. Two weeks prior to the exam date, students will receive eight questions from the Graduate Rhetoric/Composition Committee. By noon on Friday afternoon of the weekend of the exam, students will be given four of the original eight questions on each of which they will write approximately 2000-word essays (6-8 pages). The questions, and the students’ answers, will be developed from a reading list created and revised periodically by the Graduate Rhetoric/Composition Committee. This exam establishes the candidate’s general knowledge about representative texts in rhetoric and composition. Students may take this exam in the spring of their third year but no later than the fall of their fourth year.

If the committee deems an exam failing, the student will have one opportunity to take the exam during another examination cycle. Under certain circumstances, the committee may make some other arrangement for the student. If the committee cannot reach a consensus on the exam, the student will be asked to meet with the committee for further discussion and questioning, at which point the committee will decide to pass or fail the exam. The committee may fail one or two of the four essays and have the student rewrite those essays before passing the student on to the next stage.