All graduate students are advised by their department chair and/or advisory committee chair.
Degree plans + guidelines
Note: View these guidelines in conjunction with the Degree Program information here.
This written examination is normally taken during the third semester of study or the semester before the semester of expected graduation. The final oral examination is held with the student’s faculty committee during the semester after completion of the written examination. The MQE’s are administered as a remote online exam on a Saturday in early November or April; the dates are scheduled at least one semester in advance by the Graduate Office. If you have limitations related to technology (e.g., no computer, computer can’t play sound, etc.), please contact us in advance and we will work out an alternate plan. Individual makeup exams on alternate dates are not allowed, so students should plan well in advance to reserve the posted group exam date. The exam is 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. and includes a lunch break. The exam is formulated by the student’s advisory committee, which consists of the major advisor and two additional graduate faculty members. The student is allotted three hours to answer the question from the major advisor; the questions from the other two committee members are each allotted 90 minutes.
Students should consult with their committee members in preparation for the qualifying exam. The questions may pertain to the student’s coursework or research interests, or they may address broader topics or areas of expertise that are expected in the student’s chosen discipline. Some committee members will provide general information about the nature of their question, but others may opt not to offer any details in advance of the examination. All advance preparations for the exam are coordinated by the Graduate Program Assistant; be sure to verify all arrangements well in advance of the exam date.
Information for graduating students
Please note that you must apply for graduation during the semester that your degree is being conferred, regardless of when you take part in the graduation ceremony. Usually both of these things are completed at the same time, but there may be exceptions depending on your degree progress. For example, if you apply to graduate in Spring, but you are still working on a thesis or dissertation project after the Spring graduation deadline, you may walk in the Spring graduation ceremony but receive your actual diploma in August. You would then need to re-apply to graduate for the Summer semester. Please see the Registrar’s Website for more details.