Future Research Statement & Oral Examination

Future Research Statement (updated April 2019)

In the spring of the second year, students submit a short Future Research Statement (FRS) that proposes a course of research for the summer and that includes a bibliography that will guide that research. First, the FRS is to be no more than 5 pages, excluding the bibliography, and is to be submitted to an FRS committee that is composed of three faculty, one of whom will be the convenor of the committee. (It is not assumed that the convenor will become the chair of the dissertation committee.) Second, prior to the FRS oral examination, students will submit written materials to their FRS committee to show mastery of the content of the bibliography, including main themes and arguments. In general, the written materials take the form either of short summaries of the items on the bibliography, or of a more synthetic treatment of those items. The student must agree on the format of the written materials with the convenor of the FRS committee.

FRS Oral Examination

In the fall of the third year, students undergo an oral examination by the FRS committee on the results of the research proposed in the FRS. It is assumed that both the student's understanding of the area of research reflected in the FRS and the student's research interests will have evolved due to summer research. Also, it is natural for research interests to shift after the completion of the FRS requirement, and there is no presumption that the FRS convenor or committee members will be included in later preliminary and dissertation committees.

However, it is advised that students undertake a directed readings course sometime during the third year that focuses on their area of specialization and involves work on the dissertation proposal, to be defended in the preliminary examination.