The comprehensive examination should be taken the semester after students have completed core course work. The exam is offered twice a year on pre-selected days, generally a Saturday (dates will be announced by the Graduate Director): once in fall and once in spring. Students planning to take the comprehensive examination must notify the Graduate Director one month prior to the scheduled exam date and must be enrolled in the semester in which they plan to take comps.
All students will take the exam in the same place at the same time. Exams will be proctored by a member of the graduate committee. The exam requires students to answer essay questions, half on theories and half on research methods. They should, therefore, come into the exam fully prepared to apply their knowledge in written form. Students are allowed three hours per section and are permitted to bring up to five pages of typed notes (one side only, 1 inch margins, minimum 10 point font) with them into the exam. The notes will be collected at the end of the exam.
As you prepare for the comprehensive exams, keep in mind that your answers will be evaluated along the following four dimensions:
(1) the completeness and breadth of your answers
(2) the accuracy and depth of your answers
(3) the effective and appropriate use of evidence in your answers (citations where appropriate), and
(4) the logic and organization of your answers.
Carefully review your notes and other course materials. You may include formulas on your five pages of notes.
Below is a list of the concepts, techniques, and analytic issues you should focus on:
Be prepared to design a hypothetical research project and data analysis, thinking through the issues of specifying hypotheses, appropriate methodologies, measurement (including reliability and validity assessment), data analysis techniques, establishing causality (internal validity), complex causal relationships, external validity (generalizability), and study limitations.
Sample methods comprehensive exam questions here.
Before taking the comprehensive exam in theory, you should know the following:
Sample theory comprehensive exam questions here.
Alexander, Jeffrey. Neofunctionalism and after. London: Blackwell, 1998
Baudrillard, Jean. The consumer society. London:Sage, 1998
Berger, Peter and Luckmann, Thomas. The social construction of reality. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1967.
Blau, Peter. Exchange and power in social life. New York: J. Wiley. 1964.
Blumer, Herbert. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. University of CA Press. 1986.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1984.
Collins, Patricia. Black feminist thought: Knowledge, counciousness and empowerment. Boxton: Unwin Hyman, 1990.
Darendorf, Ralf. Class and class conflict in industrial society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1959.
Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert E, Moore. 1945. "Some Principles of Stratification." American Sociological Review Vol. 10 (2): 242:249
Durkheim, Emile. The division of labor in society. New York: Free Press, 1964.
_____. Suicide. New York: Free Press, 1951.
_____. The elementary forms of religious life. New York: Free Press, 1965.
Du Bois, W. E. B. The Philadelphia negro: A social study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996.
Emerson, Richard. “Power-Dependence Relations.” American Sociological Review 27:31-40, 1962.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and punishment: the birth of the prison. New York: Vintage, 1989.
Gerth, Hans and Mills, C. Wright (eds.). From Max Weber: New York: Oxford University Press, 1958.
Giddens, Anthony. The constitution of society. University of California Press. 1984.
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1959.
Habermas, Jurgen. Legitimation Crisis. Boston: Beacon Press 1975.
Homans, George. Social behavior: its elementary forms. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Mead, George. Mind, Self and Society: from the standpoint of a social behaviorist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
Merton, Robert. Social theory and social structure. New York: Free Press, 1968.
Mills, C. W. The power elite. New York: Oxford University Press. 1956.
Parsons, Talcott and Edward Shils. 1951. Toward a general theory of social action. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1951.
------“Sex Roes in the American Kinship System” In: The kinship system of the contemporary United States. Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, College Division. 1960.
Simmel, Georg. Conflict and the web of group affiliations. New York: Free Press, 1955.
Smith, Dorothy. The everyday world as problematic: A feminist sociology. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1987.
Tucker, Robert (ed.). The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton, 170.
Veblen, Thorstein. The theory of the leisure class. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. World-systems analysis: an introduction. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. 2004.
Weber, Max. The protestant ethnics and the spirit of capitalism. New York: Scribner’s, 1958.
______. General economic history. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transactions Books, 1981.
Burrell, Gibson and Gareth Morgan. Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis. 1979.
Collins, Randall. Four Sociological Traditions. 1994.
Coser, Lewis. Masters of Sociological Thought. 1971.
Appelrouth, Scott and Laura Desfor Edles. Sociological Theory in the Classical Era (text and reader). 2011.
_______________. Sociological Theory in the Contemporary Era (text and reader). 2009.
Kuhn, Thomas (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
*This list is not exhaustive.