Coursework: How Much is Enough?

Following on from last week’s post by Michael Blaakman, in which he reflected on his experiences preparing for oral exams and their practical value, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on another aspect of graduate education. Today—two years, four semesters, twelve courses, a couple hundred books, two research papers, and a dissertation prospectus draft later—I am attending the last seminar session of my coursework. Now, it’s nowhere near the equivalent of reaching ABD, but it is something of a milestone, for me at least. I was a non-traditional student who began my undergraduate work at the age of 32 and went straight from undergrad to a PhD program. So today marks the end of what was effectively six years of coursework.

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