Comp Exams

GPSA Comprehensive Exam Materials

In order to help Ph.D. students of all sub-fields prepare for their comprehensive exams, GPSA has compiled an array of useful resources and documents. By clicking on the first link below, those students who are beginning their preparations for comps will be able to download outlines, note cards, summaries, and other related materials that have been created by students who have passed their exams. Previously, these documents have been informally shared by students among themselves; in collecting, organizing, and posting these materials online, GPSA hopes to streamline this process and make all relevant documents conveniently accessible to all students moving forward. Altogether, these materials can serve as a foundation for student preparation.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the materials provided through the link below are in any way endorsed by the Government Department or by GPSA! Information provided within these documents may be erroneous; their content has not been reviewed by anyone affiliated with the Government Department or with GPSA. They are provided here exclusively for personal use and for convenience; it is up to students who download the materials to review them independently and in doing so assess their veracity and utility.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DOWNLOAD: The link below will lead you to a folder on GPSA’s Google Drive account linked to GPSA’s official Georgetown email. You will be prompted to log in to your Georgetown email using your netid and password in order to access the folder. (If you are logged into a non-Georgetown personal email account when you click the link you will be denied access. All requests for access received by GPSA will be denied without exception!) The folder contains zip files associated with each sub-field and its respective comprehensive exam. Download the zip file of interest given the comprehensive exam you are studying for – each zip file will contain various sub-folders with helpful materials. While the authors of the respective materials have been anonymized and are unknown, certain materials are organized by the semester of their creation. Before downloading the materials, please read the important disclaimer above.

NOTE: For the moment, only materials for the Comparative and IR exams are available. The GPSA team is working on collecting and organizing the materials for the other sub-fields.

GPSA Comprehensive Exam Materials

In addition to the documents provided by GPSA at the link above, the Government Department also publishes past exam questions, official reading lists, as well as information regarding the format of exams on its website, accessible at the link below. All students preparing for Comps should consult these materials as well!

Govt Dept Comprehensive Exam Resources

Finally, in addition to reviewing the materials above, students are encouraged to consult the original papers and books that are noted in the official reading lists, outlines, note-cards, and summaries. Moreover, it may be useful to review recently published works from the top journals or University Presses for one’s subfield, which are naturally not referenced in any of the materials accessible above – doing so will give one a better sense of the current state of research in the sub-field of interest, which may be helpful or necessary to discuss in exam question responses.