If you go back into my blog archives, you will see that many of my posts from July-September, 2007, talk about my preparations for the comprehensive exam that I had to take for my master's degree. Well, now I get to do the whole thing over again, this time in preparation for my PhD comprehensive exams.
My PhD comps are a little different from my masters comps from 3 years ago. My masters comps entailed a 6-hour written exam that covered exercise physiology, sports nutrition, and statistics. My PhD comps will be in 3 parts: a 6-hour written exam, a grant proposal, and an oral exam. The written exam will actually be quite similar to the one I did for my master's comps, but instead of being tested on a wide variety of exercise physiology topics, I will only be responsible for topics relating to metabolism, the endocrine system, and the immune system (but I'll have to know those topics really well!). Additionally, since my specific area of interest is the effect of aerobic exercise on physiological functioning in cancer patients, there will be a section on the written exam with questions pertaining to that area. Once I turn in my written exam, I will then have 3 weeks to write a grant, in the format of a NIH-RO3 grant. My committee then grades my written exam and my grant, and if they have any questions about anything I wrote, or if they would like me to clarify any of my answers, I will then have the opportunity to do that during the oral exam.
We have already set a date for my written exam: August 20th. That would make my grant due on September 10th, and then my oral exam would be shortly after that. So basically, the next 2-3 months will be all about comps. Once that fun is over, then it's on to dissertation fun!