Shortly after completion of coursework, the student proceeds to the Qualifying Requirement through establishing a Thesis Committee (approved by the department) normally consisting of three faculty members.
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. 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 Director of Graduate Studies 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.