Comprehensive Examination

1. The Comprehensive Examination will be scheduled after the PhD candidate completes requirements in communications, foreign language, and the majority of courses. The Comprehensive Exam is administered by the student’s committee. It is scheduled by the Graduate School through the Department's Office of Graduate Studies with the Graduate Program Coordinator's approval (see Appendix H). At least four (4) weeks should be allowed for receiving exam reporting forms from the Graduate School. The student must be registered during the semester the Comprehensive Exam is conducted.

2. The purpose of the Comprehensive Examination is to evaluate whether the doctoral candidate has acquired sufficient knowledge in his/her field, has the ability to design and evaluate significant research, has resourcefulness in formulating and solving problems in his/her field, and has the ability to communicate effectively with both scientists and laymen. The Comprehensive Examination will probe the student’s scientific and general knowledge and ability to do original thinking.

3. The committee should confer prior to the Comprehensive Examination to review the objectives of the candidate’s program and the structure of the examination. Questions should examine the candidate’s knowledge of his/her major and minor fields of specialization. The examination consists of both written and oral components, with the written component preceding the oral component.

4. The candidate should provide copies of his/her thesis research proposal prior to the examination. The proposal is to be prepared in accordance with the Agricultural Experiment Station project format. During the oral portion of the examination, the candidate should review the proposal and describe his/her progress.

5. A two-thirds favorable vote of the student’s committee is required for successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination. The committee Chair notifies the Department's Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Coordinator of the results of the examination by completing the forms supplied by Graduate School at the time of scheduling. The Report on Comprehensive Examination is copied for the student's academic file and then the original is forwarded to the Graduate School. In the case where a student does not pass the Comprehensive Examination, the committee is responsible for deciding if a second examination will be permitted.

6. Students must be registered continuously each semester (excluding summers) beginning with the semester following the passing of the Comprehensive Examination and continuing each semester until the Final Oral Examination (Defense) is passed.