PhD Qualifying Examinations

Students are required to register for the qualifying exam with the Graduate Program Coordinator at the beginning of the semester. Registration deadlines are announced well in advance. The registration deadline is strictly enforced.

The qualifying exam is graded P (pass) or F (fail). A student can only take a qual twice within a 12-month period, and only twice with the same advisor.  The deadline for the completion of the qualifying process is the end of the the student’s sixth semester.  An extension to this deadline is rare and must be approved by the Graduate Advising Committee (GAC) chair.

As of Fall 2019, the qualifying exam consists of a project or written exam done in consultation with the student’s advisor.  Before attempting the qual, students  should discuss the qualifying exam requirements with their advisor.  They are also strongly encouraged to complete at least two graduate courses related to their intended research topic.   Guidance on appropriate courses can be found by following the links below.  These pages also contain old written qual exams, which may be useful to students.