I passed comprehensive exams!
I was convinced that I would receive conditions (conditions must be completed before beginning anything to do with the dissertation). I received a question that was dramatically different from what I was told to expect. When I finished answering the question asked, I knew that I would have a condition related to that. But I didn’t.
There’s a five person committee (professors from the department) that prepares the essay questions for each student. Most of the professors will communicate with the student and give some indication of the nature of the questions to be asked, the areas to be covered, or specific items that are “helpful” to know — which usually means “memorize” this. In many ways, through professors and students, the repeated advice was “know” the theories and their theorists.
It was a huge compliment when, following the oral interview with all five professors, my chair said to me, “of all those sitting for comps this time, it was very clear you had the best grasp of theory.” When I met with her a week later she asked, “has it sunk in yet?” I said, I keep wondering if they really meant it. And if maybe I got a “preacher pass.” She said, “let me assure you there is no such thing. You earned it.”
So now I am officially admitted to candidacy, and in dissertation phase. I’m working on clergy and grief. I’m still working on defining the parameters but if you would be willing to be considered for an interview say-so in the comments.