Requirements and Timing of the Qualifying Exam

  1. Satisfactory completion of all required courses for the program.
  2. The examination for admission to Ph.D. candidacy should take place no later than the end of the second year. Students will submit a "non-thesis proposal" or a "thesis proposal", followed by an oral defense of the proposal.

Format of the Qualifying Exam

  1. Students should submit their completed applications no later than the second semester of their second year within the school deadlines. In addition to the documents required by the school, students should also submit the following documents to the program director, who will review the documents along with the members of the Curricular Committee and the Student Affairs Committee:
    • Topic of their doctoral thesis research and a copy of the abstract of the applicants’ master’s thesis.
    • An abstract of a research project not directly related to his or her doctoral thesis research should be submitted to the members of the committee before February 28 of their second year. If the non-thesis research abstract does not pass the preliminary review, the applicant should submit another non-thesis research abstract to the committee for review within three weeks.
  2. Applicants will turn in a full non-thesis research proposal two weeks prior to taking the qualifying examination. Thesis advisors can provide assistance, but cannot directly participate in the writing process.
  3. Applicants who do not pass the qualifying examination on the first try should apply for re-examination on the following semester before the application deadlines and provide another abstract for a non-thesis research project for review by the program director, the Curricular Committee, and the Student Affairs Committee by September 30 of their third year. Students who fail the re-examination will be asked to withdraw from the program.

Qualifying Examination Committee

The program director, along with the Curricular Committee and the Student Affairs Committee, will select five to seven intra- and extramural experts as members of the Qualifying Examination Committee and appoint one of the members as the committee chair. Thesis advisors cannot be included in the Committee.

Standards for passing the Qualifying Examination

  1. Over half (including half) of all attending committee members vote to pass
  2. AND
  3. The students must have a grade point average ofat least 70.

After passing the Qualifying Examination, the students will be considered as Ph.D. candidates.