The preliminary examinations (“prelims”) test students’ mastery of their chosen areas of specialization. The structure of the exams and timing of the exams varies somewhat by study program. See the Graduate Handbook for details.
In preparing for their preliminary exams, students ordinarily compile a reading list for each field, in consultation with the faculty members who supervise their fields and sit on their prelims committee. Organized below by field are reading lists for a variety of fields that dissertators and recent alums have offered to share.