A Qualifying Examination consisting of both written and oral components is required of all doctoral students. Its purpose is to verify that the student has sufficient understanding of and competence in his or her field to become a candidate for the degree. The Qualifying Examination is prepared and administered by the advisory committee. That committee also reviews the results of the examination. A majority vote of the core of the advisory committee is required for the successful completion of the Qualifying Examination.
The examination is given usually after four semesters of graduate work or the equivalent. The Qualifying Examination must be scheduled through the director of graduate studies (DGS) and approved two weeks in advance by The Graduate School. Failure to meet this scheduling requirement may result in students not having proper university status and may cause omissions in records, loss of credits or delay of graduation.
Students should check with the DGS to make sure that the Qualifying Examination has been appropriately scheduled. The results of the examination must be reported by the DGS to The Graduate School within 10 days of its conclusion. If the result is a failure, the committee determines the conditions be met before another examination may be given.
The minimum time between examinations is four months. A second examination must be taken within one year after taking the first examination. A third examination is not permitted. The Qualifying Examination will consist of two broad parts: background and specialization. In the background portion, the student will be examined on the list of subjects selected by the student to satisfy the required courses. The specialization portion will include questions based on courses in the program plan used to develop expertise in a particular subject. Whenever possible, the faculty member who taught a particular course will be solicited for questions and their solutions from that course.