Among the two fields for which students must receive certification by departmental faculty before they are eligible to advance to candidacy, one of them may be a field that they have designed and which is designated as "individualized field." The specific content of that field is for the student to determine.
This option allows a student to design a field in which he or she desires to secure professional competence that is not covered by one of our regular field exams. Some possible fields that reflect recent student and faculty interests are economics and philosophy, economic anthropology, history of economic thought, computational economics, and evolutionary economics. This list is just illustrative, as actual instances will have to be developed by students.
As with regular field exams, a faculty committee of three members will certify the student's competence. Committee composition will follow the same rules as govern dissertation committees: at least two members must be full-time tenure or tenure-track members of the economics faculty, one of whom will chair the committee, while the third member can be Mason full-time tenure or tenure-track from either inside or outside the economics faculty.
Certification will be through an oral exam, written exam, or through a written paper, the specifics of which will be determined by the committee. The period during which certification will be established will coincide with the administration of the written field exams, with the results reported to the Graduate Coordinator within two days of the exam.
First, a student must develop a professional field in which he or she wants to develop competence outside what can be accomplished through the regular fields. The student must give that field a title; for instance, "bio-economics," "history of economic thought," or "computational economics." To conform to University record-keeping requirements, moreover, that title is limited to 30 characters inclusive of spaces.
Second, the student must secure three faculty members to serve on the examining committee, and select one to chair the committee. In securing committee members, the student must indicate, in writing, the scope of that field to the committee by providing a list of references that delimit the field and point to the competencies the student can be expected to attain.
Third, the student must seek the approval of the Director of Graduate Programs for the proposed individualized field. In order to obtain approval, the student must submit the following to the Graduate Coordinator (email@example.com) in writing:
All documents must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) two semesters prior to the administration of the individualized field exam, and by the following deadlines:
No exceptions will be made to the required documents or deadlines under any conditions. Students are encouraged to submit the required materials well before the specified deadlines.
Upon receipt of the application, the Director of Graduate Programs will review the proposed individual field and will make a determination as to its acceptability. The student and committee will be contacted by email with the final decision.
Fourth, after the individual field is approved by the Director of Graduate Programs, the chair of the committee will administer the examination via the oral examination format or the written field paper format. The oral examination must be convened within the time frame during which regular field exams are administered. All committee members must attend the oral exam in person and the final grade must be reported to the Graduate Coordinator within two days of administering the oral exam. If choosing the written field paper format, the committee must provide the Graduate Coordinator with guidelines for the written assignment and deadline for submission. No exceptions will be made to these policies under any circumstances. The committee chair is responsible for ensuring that these policies are upheld and for the overall integrity of the exam process.
*NOTE: If committee changes must be made due to extenuating circumstances, the student must seek approval, in writing, from the Director of Graduate Programs.
In addition to following the steps outlined above, the student must also register for the individualized field exam. The student must register for the approved individualized field exam by emailing the Graduate Coordinator (email@example.com) at least eight weeks prior to the date selected by the exam committee for submitting the assessment product. The date for submitting the assessment product must fall within the scheduled graduate exam window as posted on the website.
Once the student has registered for the individualized field exam AND the exam committee has established a deadline for turning in the assessment product, this will be considered an attempt unless the student notifies in writing the Graduate Studies Office and the exam committee that the student is cancelling their registration for the exam. This written notification must be received by the Graduate Studies Office at least eight weeks prior to the deadline. Requests for cancellation received within eight weeks of the deadline will not be considered and the original deadline will remain in effect.
|Design the field
|Two semesters prior to the planned administration of the exam
|Obtain DGP approval
Materials must be submitted two semesters prior to the administration of the exam and by the registration policy deadline:
August 1 prior to the upcoming fall / spring semesters sequence of courses
December 15 prior to the upcoming spring / fall semesters sequence of courses
|Register for the exam
|Eight weeks prior to the date selected by the exam committee for submitting the assessment product
|Complete the exam
|During the same time period as the administration of the regular field exams
|Report of final grade
|Chairman of committee reports grade within two days of administering the oral exam
Last updated: 02/19/21