Faculty Publications

Title

The role of a PhD field exam in preparing graduate students for academic careers

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Authentic assessment, Doctoral education, Fieldwork, Geography education

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Professional Geographer

Volume

57

Issue

3

First Page

452

Last Page

461

Abstract

The Department of Geography at Arizona State University implemented a field exam as part of its PhD program requirements. This field exam requires students to develop an independent field-based research project based on a general question in the student's specialty area. A survey of current and former PhD students and faculty members document how the field exam assists students in developing skills necessary for continuing graduate research and for preparing them for the rigors of academic employment. The outcomes of the exam include both long-term, process-related benefits and more immediate tangible rewards. For some students, the preliminary fieldwork and results redirect student interests and form the basis for their eventual dissertation. The field exam is adaptable to a diversity of geography research methods, subject areas, and graduate degree programs, while remaining grounded in the discipline's vibrant, widely respected fieldwork tradition. © Copyright 2005 by Association of American Geographers.

Original Publication Date

8-1-2005

DOI of published version

10.1111/j.0033-0124.2005.00490.x

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