Skip to main content

Qualifying Dossiers

Qualifying Dossiers

Every student in the first and second years of the program will submit a dossier that includes 1) a paper of their choosing and 2) the proseminar paper written that year.  The proseminar paper submitted for the dossier will be submitted at the end of the second quarter of the proseminar, at the deadline set by the proseminar instructorThe other paper chosen by the student must be a paper submitted for a class taken toward degree requirements and written within the last year (for second year students, this includes spring quarter of their first year).  It should be about 5000 to 10000 words in length, but papers written and submitted for philosophy seminars may fall outside this rangeThe version submitted for the dossier must be the same as the version turned in for the class.  The department encourages students, especially those in the second year, to select a paper in their intended area of dissertation study, broadly construed. 

Each of the qualifying papers from the first category will undergo double-blind evaluation by a committee of two faculty members chosen by the DGS.  This committee will not include the faculty member who taught the course for which the paper was originally written.

All proseminar papers will undergo double-blind evaluation by a committee of two faculty members chosen by the DGS.  This committee will not include the faculty member who taught the proseminar.

Each committee is confined to the grades of Pass, Fail, or Requires Department Review.  The committee must assign a single grade.  If the committee members disagree about the grades to be assigned to a paper, they will consult and attempt to resolve their disagreement.  If they cannot resolve their disagreement, the Director of Graduate Studies will select another member of the Department to make the final determination.

In cases in which the student receives a grade of Pass or a grade of Fail on both of these papers, this grade will also be the grade for the dossier.  In cases in which grades on the two papers do not match, or in which at least one of the papers receives a grade of Requires Department Review, the department will determine a grade for the dossier in the annual review meeting.

In the department’s annual review, the quality of the dossier will receive special attention as an important component of a student’s overall record. Students who do not receive a passing grade may be asked to revise and improve one of the papers or to write a new and superior paper on a topic acceptable to the Department. Continuation in the program may depend on the quality of the revised paper. The Department may also require the student to take courses for a grade instead of pass/fail during the third year in order to improve his or her writing skills. Except in rare instances, students will be retained in the program at least until the second-year review.

All papers submitted will receive written evaluations from the members of the committee who grade them. (These may take the form of comments written in the margins or at the end of the paper.) A passing grade on the second-year dossier will count as satisfying TGS’s Qualifying Exam requirement.

This requirement supersedes the qualifying paper requirement that was in force through 2018. It will be mandatory for students who enter the Ph.D. program in 2019 or thereafter. Students admitted in or before 2018 may choose between satisfying this requirement or the older qualifying paper requirement during the 2018-2019 academic year.  

Back to top