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Letter: Ph.D. oral examinations in The Stanford Report

Having returned to Stanford after a lengthy stint in industry, I am struck by the dearth of (currently optional) public notices for University Ph.D. oral examinations appearing in the Stanford Report. This is quite unfortunate for a number of reasons.  As a STEM field researcher, I am all too aware of how important the “white space” between traditional disciplines and departments is to advancing science and technology.

As a pre-major advisor, I encourage my advisees to attend Ph.D. orals (with me) so that they can get an understanding of what are the current frontiers in an area of possible career interest and a clear idea of what studies and training they might need to go down such a path.

And, irrespective of the field of discipline, orals provide a compact exposure to a wide range of subjects that can make one a more informed citizen. I hope these justifications may serve as a clarion call to all University departments to resume routine publication of Ph.D. oral schedules in the Stanford Report.


Stewart A. Levin

Consulting Associate Faculty, Department of Geophysics


  • Ijaz

    Utter rubbish

  • Ijaz

    M sorry I was jus kidding it’s a fair usaay