Ph.D. Qualifying Exams

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Guidelines

Students are tested to ensure that their knowledge and training is sufficient to research and write a dissertation. There are three kinds of qualifying examinations: the Global Studies exam, disciplinary exams, and language exams. The timing of the examinations depends on the candidate's background and supervisor's judgment but is usually in the second or third semester.

1. Global Studies Qualifying Exam

The Global Studies Qualifying Exam consists of successful completion of the course Introduction to Global Studies. This year-long course, offered in the Global Studies master's curriculum, introduces graduate students to the basic theories and issues in global studies. Doctoral studies are expected to complete all required and suggested readings and assigned papers.

2. Disciplinary Qualifying Exams

The Disciplinary Qualifying Exams will be given by the faculty member of the student's relevant discipline (for now, history, political science, and sociology, but possibly also religious studies in the future). Students take two tests within the discipline of their choosing. The format is as follows.

  1. take-home exam
  2. taken after the Global Studies Qualifying Exam in the same semester
  3. the two tests are taken in consecutive weeks
  4. three days given for each of the tests
  5. students answer 3 questions for each test (expected length of each answer is approximately 2,000 words per question)

3. Language Qualifying Exams

Demonstrated proficiency in two foreign languages is necessary to obtain a Ph.D., according to Ministry of Education requirements. The requirements assume that Japanese is the native language — which is not always the case given the cosmopolitan nature of our graduate program). Therefore, identification of the two foreign languages will vary by a student's background and research needs. In principle, the following guidelines will apply.

  1. Native Japanese speakers:
    • Foreign language 1 — English (proficiency demonstrated by acceptance into the graduate program).
    • Foreign language 2 — Language of student's choosing (evaluation based on testing or prior language study).
  2. Native English speakers:
    • Foreign language 1 — Japanese (evaluation standards commensurate with degree of mastery necessary for student's proposed dissertation research. Note: a student who does not intend to use Japanese for research will be tested for functional competency in Japanese).
    • Foreign language 2 — Language of student's choosing (evaluation based on testing or prior language study).
  3. Native speakers of languages other then English or Japanese
    • Foreign language 1 — English (proficiency demonstrated by acceptance into the graduate program).
    • Foreign language 2 — Japanese (evaluation standards commensurate with degree of mastery necessary for student's proposed dissertation research. Note: a student who does not intend to use Japanese for research will be tested for functional competency in Japanese).