Qualifying Examination

Graduate students who seek admission to PhD Candidacy must take the Qualifying Examination (QE) by the second offering after two semesters of study after their enrollment as a PhD student, but students may also take the exam as an MS student. The QE shall be offered in January and August and will be limited to the student’s primary discipline (PD). 

The PDs are:

Three months prior to the exam, the student candidate will select a primary discipline (PD), and present to the Head the name of the Ph.D. advisor(s) and a list of graduate courses taken. The Head shall assign the student a Test Number, and forward the list of graduate courses to the chair of the PD Examination Committee.

Primary Discipline Examination Committee

The PD Examination Committees are appointed by the Head and shall include the AE tenured or tenure-track faculty in the PD. Emeritus faculty, faculty affiliates and faculty from outside the department may serve; however the committee must have a majority of AE tenure or tenure-track faculty. 

At least two months prior to the exam, the PD Examination Committee will provide the student candidate with a list of core topics in the PD on which questions will be based. In addition, a file of previous QE questions is available for reading online.  The PD Examination Committee shall conduct the QE and evaluate the student's performance and ability to complete the Ph.D. degree. Students who fail the exam for the first time will be allowed one retest in the same PD at the immediate next offering.