5.4.9 Oral Qualifying Examination

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended March 26, 1997, December 15, 2004) (Amended January 17, 2007) (Amended January 25, 2012) (Amended 19 August, 2020)

The oral qualifying examination may be scheduled only after successful passage of the written qualifying examination and fulfillment of any major and minor field requirements, language requirements, and computer competency requirements.

The oral qualifying examination is the culmination of the course of study. The purpose of the oral qualifying examination is to test basic knowledge and creative ability and to demonstrate the student's capacity to use material from the course of study. As such, the oral qualifying exam must not be focused on any specific research topic nor focused on the Doctoral Research Proposal. The oral qualifying examination shall contain no prepared presentation; its format shall be exclusively question-and-answer.

Passage of the oral qualifying examination requires a unanimous vote of the examiners. All departmental Ph.D. committee members or those designated on their behalf must be present during all phases of the oral exam. There must be a minimum of three examiners. An Academic Council representative must be present.

Whenever the Academic Council representative becomes of the opinion that the examination is not being conducted in accordance with the Policy of the Academic Council, the representative should suspend the examination and require that the Oral Examination be rescheduled. The representative should report the reasons for this decision to the Academic Council and to the departmental Ph.D. committee concerned as soon as possible. Such a finding should never be deemed a "failure" of the Qualifying Examination.

The extent of participation of all parties is determined by the departmental Ph.D. committee or those designated to act on its behalf.

The Academic Council representative must attend all phases of the oral examination, and shall report to the Academic Council that the examination was conducted in accordance with the rules of this Manual. Attendance at the oral qualifying exam is delineated in Table 5.1.

If the student fails the first oral qualifying examination, the departmental Ph.D. committee, or those acting on its behalf, may grant a second examination opportunity to the student. If the privilege of re-examination is granted, the time period within which it must be accomplished is specified by the departmental Ph.D. committee, but it shall not exceed 12 months.

Table 5.1 Attendance and Voting Privileges for Oral Qualifying

Category Oral Qualifying Exam
Departmental Ph.D. Committee members or those acting on its behalf A, B, C, D
Academic Council Representative A, B, C
Other faculty E
Examinee A
Students, Staff, and Visitors E

A: will attend Interrogation Phase, B: will attend Comment Phase, C: will attend Voting Phase, D: will Vote, E: may attend Interrogation Phase.