Preliminary (Comprehensive) Examination

Note: To be eligible to take the preliminary (comprehensive) examination, a graduate student must have a 3.00 grade point average or better and may not have grades of incomplete.

To be admitted formally to candidacy for the doctorate degree, you must pass a preliminary examination that qualifies you for further work and research.

You must pass this examination within seven years after completing your first doctoral-level course. It is a two-part examination: written and oral. You must take the oral part within four weeks after taking the written part.

Your examination committee is made up of at least four members of the Graduate Faculty including your dissertation adviser. The adviser must be in the same department as the doctoral student. A fifth graduate faculty member also votes and participates in the oral part of your comprehensive examination. At least one member of the committee must be from outside your major department. The committee must be approved by the Graduate School dean. Four of the five committee members must approve in order for you to pass the examination. If your committee is larger than five, there can be no more than one dissenting vote for in order for you to pass the examination.

If a student does not pass the examination, the committee may grant permission for a second examination under conditions stipulated by the committee. A second examination may be taken no earlier than the next semester or summer term.

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