The Preliminary Examination /Admission to Candidacy
The preliminary examination includes a written proposal, a written exam, and an oral examination in which a Ph.D. student’s mastery of his or her field of specialization is tested by the student’s Thesis Committee. Students should schedule their preliminary examinations before the end of their fifth full semester of graduate study. You must have current cumulative and degree plan GPR’s of AT LEAST 3.00 to be eligible for the exam.
The exam is given no earlier than a date when you are within approximately six credit hours of completion of the formal course work (i.e., all course work on the degree plan except 681, 682, 685, 691 courses) or no later than the semester following the completion of the formal course work on the degree plan. The preliminary examination checklist can be found on the Grad School website.
The written proposal must be given to the student’s Thesis Committee no later than 2 weeks prior to the oral exam. The student is responsible for scheduling written exams with each member of their Thesis Committee. Individual members of the Thesis Committee may elect to waive their written exam.
Once all portions of the examination are completed, the Major Professor will report the results of the examination in writing using the proper form within ten working days of the scheduled examination date to The Grad School. Note that this form requires the signatures of all Thesis Committee members. Upon receiving the form The Grad School will verify that all eligibility requirements were met and, if so, record the results of the preliminary exam. If post-review of the exam by The Grad School reveals that eligibility requirements were not met, then the student and the Major Professor will be notified of necessary actions (such as repeating the exam) required to rectify any deficiencies. Upon acceptance of a passing preliminary exam by The Grad School you will be considered a candidate for the PhD degree (advanced to candidacy). After passing the required preliminary examination, the student must complete all remaining requirements for the degree within four calendar years. Otherwise, you must repeat the examination.
If the student fails the preliminary examination, there is no obligation for a re-examination. At their discretion, the Thesis Committee (with no more than one member dissenting) may allow one re-examination when adequate time has passed to allow you to address inadequacies emerging from the first examination (normally six months).
Eligibility Requirements that Cannot be Waived:
- You must be registered for the semester during which you plan to take either the preliminary or the final examination (or in which any portion of the exam may fall).
- You must have an approved degree plan on file with The Grad School.
- You must have cumulative GPR of 3.00 or above.
- You must have a degree plan GPR of 3.00 or above.
- You must have satisfied English language proficiency requirements (non-native English speakers).
- You must have given your Thesis Committee a copy of your written proposal no later than 2 weeks prior to the oral exam.
- All committee members must have scheduled or waived the written portion and agreed to attend the oral portion of the exam or have found a substitute. Only one substitute is allowed and it cannot be the Major Professor.