In the third year of the program, normally in the second semester, students are required to take their qualifying exams. The four exams cover: the literature of the Hebrew Bible; the history and religion of ancient Israel; methods in biblical scholarship; and a special exam. The intention of the qualifying exams is to ensure that the student is broadly prepared to engage in research, writing, and teaching across the spectrum of biblical studies. While coursework may cover a significant swath of material, it cannot be comprehensive; the qualifying exams are meant, in part, to help fill in any gaps and to reinforce the essentials of biblical scholarship regardless of a student’s particular intellectual interests. The precise design of the exams - whether standard written responses to questions, research papers, syllabus construction, et al. - are determined well in advance in consultation with the faculty.