General Examinations

Progress toward the Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism is contingent upon passing Part One and Part Two of the General Examination.

General Examination Part One

All doctoral students are expected to prepare for an examination in two fields. The first, the "disciplinary field," includes all of the following: theories of urban form and city design; history of urban form and city planning; urban morphology and metabolism; urban design policy, regulations, and development; urban design practice and techniques; infrastructure and urban systems; landscape planning, urbanism, and ecology; social theory and the city; public space and public life; urban sustainability; and urban sustainability research methods. The second is the student's "applied field," which would have been developed by each student based on individual interests. This "applied field" would be well-defined through the two courses of Directed Research in Urban Sustainability.

The General Examination Part One is given once a year at the beginning of the fall semester. Students should plan to take this examination after the completion of their fourth 12-credit semester, although it can be taken earlier with approval of the chair of urban design. The examination contains both a written and an oral component; the written take-home exam is administered one or two weeks before the oral exam. These examinations allow faculty to assess how well the student has mastered the content and methods of sustainable urbanism and at least one area of applied research in sustainable urbanism.

General Examination Part Two

The General Examination Part Two is focused on the Dissertation Proposal Defense, which may be scheduled once the student has successfully passed the General Examination Part One. The purpose of the Dissertation Proposal Defense is to assess whether the student is sufficiently prepared to initiate independent research leading to a successful dissertation. Thus, successful completion of the proposal defense is an official program prerequisite for admission to doctoral candidacy and for formation of the official dissertation committee. A second purpose of the Dissertation Proposal Defense is to provide an opportunity for critical deliberation among students and faculty members, which will assist the student and the student's dissertation committee in formulating researchable questions and effective research methods. The student is expected to demonstrate advanced knowledge of key literature and research methods in their field of specialization, and advanced understanding of the theoretical and methodological context of their proposed dissertation topic.