The Written and Oral Qualifying Exams are given at the end of the 2nd year of classes. After successful completion of required coursework, predoctoral students petition the Chairs of the Academic Standing Committee ( and in writing for permission to take the Examinations. Petitions must include a letter of recommendation from the research mentor.

examsThe written examination tests the student’s mastery of course material from the four semesters of coursework, with particular emphasis on his/her ability to integrate this knowledge. The Committee reviews the student’s record to confirm eligibility and resolves outstanding academic issues before the student is granted permission to sit for the examination. The results of the qualifying examination are reviewed by the Examination Committee, which issues a Pass, a Provisional Pass or Failure. Students receiving a Provisional Pass have minor weaknesses, usually in one topic area of the examination, which are corrected to the Examination Committee’s satisfaction by remedial work. Failure to complete the remedial obligations to the satisfaction of the Director and the Examination Committee may result in dismissal from the Program. Alternatively, at the discretion of the Examination Committee and in consultation with the JGPT Director, Chair of the Academic Standing Committee and the Research Mentor, the student may be provided the option to complete the requirements for an MS degree.

The Oral Preliminary Examination committee is composed of a standing examination committee of which the research mentor is not a member.  The Oral Examination will require the student to answer questions drawn from their course material and to synthesize material from courses, seminars, and laboratory experiences.  It is strongly advised that the student discuss with his/her committee members the types of questions that may be asked during the examination.  Students need to bring a Candidacy Form to the oral exam.