Exam Format & Faculty Guidelines: Special Exams

The Greek and Latin Specials will usually be taken in years 3-4 of the program, after qualifying for and receiving the M.A. degree. Each exam will comprise an open-book 72-hour (three day) exam, administered by the Instructor of Record assigned to produce the exam or the Gradate Program Coordinator (GPC) by email, during the first week of classes in the semester in which the student intends to take the exam, comprised of the following:

  • 40% commentary (approximately 750 words each per passage) on select passages of course and supplementary material, and
  • 60% essays (2-3 in number, approximately 1800-2700 words each) on issues in interpretation in the same material, based on the question banks that the student has developed with Instructors of Record (IORs) over the course of the three semesters in which they were preparing for the exam.

In consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), on the basis of the student’s record of preparation of course and supplementary materials kept on file by the GPC, a faculty member whose expertise includes the material on the examination (usually the IOR of the most recent class furnishing material for the exam) will write the exam, and a faculty member with related expertise (usually the IOR for a previous course furnishing material for the exam) will, along with the faculty member who writes the exam, evaluate the exam and award it a grade of Pass/Fail, based on the criteria for passing provided below. A copy of the exam with a record of the grade that it has received will then be sent to the DGS and GPC and included in the student’s dossiers.

Criteria for passing: students who complete 70% of the exam to the satisfaction of the examiners pass the exam; students who complete 90% of the exam to the satisfaction of the examiners pass with distinction; instances of tying will be referred to the DGS.