General Scheduling Guidelines

  1. Student meets with the thesis adviser to ensure that all the requirements for the examination have been met, and to arrange possible dates and place of the examination.
  2. Student contacts each member of the committee and arranges a convenient date and time for the examination.
  3. Thesis adviser contacts Graduate Program Head with date, time, place, and list of committee members.
  4. Graduate Program Head confirms the scheduled examination by letter (through the Graduate School in the case of the comprehensive examination) and sends a copy to the student.
  5. Student prepares summary of his or her records and appropriate materials for the examination.
  6. The thesis adviser submits the examination results to the Graduate Program Head in writing immediately following the examination. In the case of the comprehensive examination, the thesis adviser also returns the completed Graduate School report form.

Assessment of English Competency

(see Assessment of English Competency and Ph.D. Qualifying exams form)

  1. Objective:

    To determine if the student can demonstrate a satisfactory level of competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking.

  2. Scheduling:

    This assessment should be scheduled in conjunction with the Qualifying Examination, and should be completed by the third semester - and preferably early during the second semester.

  3. Procedure of the examination:
    1. A candidate will prepare a written summary of a journal article selected by the student's adviser. The summary will be submitted to the examining committee one week before the oral examination date.
    2. The oral assessment will occur at the beginning of the Qualifying Examination.
    3. The student makes a 15-minute oral presentation of the written summary during the examination period. Each member of the committee will be asked to evaluate the candidate's writing and speaking competency.
    4. The outcome of the assessment will be reported to the Graduate Program Head for transmission to the Graduate School.
    5. Alternatively, a student in agreement with his/her adviser may elect to forego the assessment and pursue a remedial work plan.
  4. Evaluation of English competency performance:
    1. Satisfactory
    2. Unsatisfactory (see items e and f, following)
  5. Reporting results:

    The thesis adviser submits the assessment results to the Graduate Program Head in writing immediately following the examination.

  6. Improvement of English competency:
    1. Students with English deficiencies will schedule remedial undergraduate courses as soon as possible after the Qualifying Examination. Advanced (400 and 500-level) courses may be taken when convenient, but must be completed before the Comprehensive Examination is scheduled. Suggested courses are listed in section G (English Communications Skills).
    2. The choice of appropriate remedial and advanced courses will be made by the student's thesis adviser and advisory committee.
  7. The Assessment of English Competency must be satisfactorily completed before the Comprehensive Examination is scheduled.

Qualifying Examination

(see Assessment of English Competency and Ph.D. Qualifying exams form)

  1. Objective: To determine if the student is qualified in terms of basic intellect, attitude, and previous training to successfully pursue a Ph.D. program.
  2. Scheduling:

    1. The Qualifying Examination should be scheduled soon after a student begins doctoral studies at this university, and typically occurs during the second semester of the student's Ph.D. program and must occur before the end of the third semester in the program. The adviser and Qualifying Examination Chair should make the necessary arrangements with the Staff Assistant in the Department's Graduate Programs Office with approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator at least one (1) month in advance. A copy of the exam regulations should be provided to committee members. The qualifying examination should be completed as soon as feasible, but must be taken within three semesters (summer sessions do not count) of entry into the doctoral program.

  3. Procedure of the examination:
  4. The Qualifying Examination should determine whether a student is qualified to become a candidate for the Ph.D. degree and should identify deficiencies that need to be addressed through course work or other means.

    Each program has its own Qualifying Exam Committee. The purpose of the Qualifying Exam Committee is to assess the student's written and oral competence in English, their knowledge and understanding of topics and basic principles which are important in their program, as well as their intellectual capability for study at the doctoral level. Knowledge of the scientific method, problem-solving ability, and interpretation of experimental results are general areas which the committee is expected to explore. If the student is pursuing a dual degree program, a member of that program must be added to the Qualifying Committee membership for the student.

    Members of the Qualifying Exam Committee shall be those selected by the program faculty and appointed by the department head annually. In addition, a representative from any dual degree program in which the student is seeking a Ph.D., must be present.

    During the FOR and SOILS programs, the adviser will attend the exam, but will not participate in asking questions. The adviser will participate in the vote regarding the student's performance.

    The target time for the examination (including Assessment of English Competency) is 2-2.5 hours, with time allocated approximately equally among participating faculty. No more than one hour of questions should relate to the journal article used in the Assessment of English Competency. Additional topics for questions should be relevant to the student's program. At the end of the questioning period, each committee member will be asked to rate the candidate's performance.
  5. At the discretion of the committee or request of the student, a written examination may be given in addition to an oral examination.
  6. Candidates must be registered for the semester (excluding summer session) in which the qualifying examination is taken. Candidates should also prepare a packet consisting of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, GRE scores, abstracts of M.S. thesis and any publications, and goal statement from the admissions application. This packet should be distributed to the examining committee members one week before the exam date. Additional questions concerning the examination should be directed to the thesis advisor or the Chair of the Graduate Programs Committee.
  7. . The committee determines if the student meets the English language requirement, decides whether any remedial action is needed.
  8. The Chair reports specific course deficiencies and other remedial actions recommended by the committee to the Graduate Program Coordinator immediately after the examination. The student's objectives and a comparison of his/her completed courses with the Department's B.S. and MS degree requirements should be taken into consideration. It is the responsibility of the adviser to ensure that stipulations from the Qualifying Examination are satisfied in the Department's Graduate Academic Plan approved subsequently by the student's committee.

    A two-thirds favorable vote is required for approval, after which the Graduate Program Coordinator will notify the Graduate School that the student is acceptable as a candidate.

    If a student is not acceptable, the committee decides whether or not the student will be permitted to continue and take another Qualifying Examination.