The preliminary examination, which constitutes the written and oral comprehensive examinations, as defined by the Graduate School, must be completed and passed by the end of the fourth semester in residence. The student should select a date for the preliminary oral examination in consultation with his or her Advisory Committee. NOTE: At least two weeks in advance of the oral preliminary examination, the student must provide the date, time, and place of the exam to the Graduate Program Administrator, who will forward this information for announcement on the Graduate School website. Students cannot do this themselves. This must be done through the Graduate Program Office. An approved Advisory Committee form and an approved Final Program of Study form must be on file with the Graduate School prior to this announcement.

The written comprehensive examination consists of a progress report on the dissertation research and an original research proposal, not directly related to the research project (see Guidelines for Written Comprehensive Examination). In the oral comprehensive examination, the student presents and defends the original research proposal and may also be questioned on the research progress report and/or basic knowledge in his/her major area. Passage of the preliminary examination requires approval by at least all but one member of the Advisory Committee. Failure to pass the preliminary examination will result in a mandatory change of degree objective to M.S. Students who have failed their oral preliminary examination may not apply for readmission to the Ph. D. program after completion of the M.S. Degree. Admission to candidacy forms should be submitted to the Graduate Program Administrator immediately after the successful completion of the preliminary examination. At least 30 hours of consecutive resident coursework must be completed before a student may be admitted to candidacy.