The preliminary examination is a significant milestone in a doctoral student’s academic career. It is given to assess knowledge of areas within the academic discipline. Passing of the preliminary area exam, obtaining approval of the minor if the major program requires it, and completing all the major course requirements culminate in admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree.
Students’ eligibility to take the prelim examination(s) is determined by their program. The program notifies the Graduate School of a student’s admission to candidacy on the preliminary warrant, which must be requested 3 weeks prior to the exam date. The number of examinations and their content vary from program to program. A student’s program administers the examination(s).
Students have 5 years from the date of passing their preliminary examination to take their final oral examination and submit their dissertation. Failure to complete their degree within this 5-year period may result in their having to retake the preliminary examination and be re-admitted to candidacy.