Qualifying Requirement

Shortly after completion of coursework, the student establishes a Thesis Committee (approved by the Department) normally consisting of three faculty members.

The Initial Qualifying Form should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) by September 30 of the year immediately following completion of coursework; see the five-year PhD timeline.

The Committee assists in constructing a research reading list and oversees the writing of an (article-length) qualifying paper on a topic directly relevant to the planned dissertation. Normally, to remain in good standing, the student must submit a draft of the qualifying paper on or before the first day of classes of the winter term, and receive written feedback from the committee within two weeks. Next, the student must submit the completed qualifying paper to the committee by February 15 of the year following completion of coursework.

By March 1 the Committee submits to the student and the DGS a written evaluation of the paper. By March 31, the student takes a written Qualifying Exam covering the paper and the reading list.  Then by April 15 the student takes an oral Qualifying Exam covering the paper, the reading list, and the written exam.

Passing these exams constitutes satisfaction of the Qualifying Requirement.  Within two weeks of satisfying the Qualifying Requirement, the student selects a faculty member (normally a member of the Thesis Committee) to be his or her thesis supervisor and begins formal work on the dissertation.