Qualifying Examination

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether the student has acquired sufficient mastery of his or her major area of study to warrant admission to candidacy. The examination is conducted by a committee of at least four members of the student’s area faculty. The student should obtain a copy of the Advancement to Candidacy form from the Program Office, complete the first page of the form, and submit it to the chairperson of the examination committee at the time of the examination. The Advancement to Candidacy form is an official university document. The entire examination committee must sign the form on the second page, indicating whether the student has passed or failed. The chairperson should then return the form to the Program Office. If the student fails the examination, the form is retained in the Program Office (and should be retrieved by the student when the examination is repeated). If the student passes, the form is forwarded to the Rutgers Graduate School. Upon approval by the Graduate School, the student is then officially advanced to candidacy, or ABD ("all but dissertation") status.

Full-time students are required to take their qualifying examination at the end of two years of course work. A student who fails the examination must take it a second time and pass within one semester. Students who fail the second time must leave the program; no third attempt is allowed.

In order to appeal a decision by the qualifying examination committee, a student must submit a written statement to the Program Director within two weeks of receiving notification of the decision. Any such appeal is reviewed by the Program’s Executive Committee.

In order to be sure that the Qualifying Examination Committee is accurately informed of the training that the Program has provided, the student is advised to retain syllabi of all courses taken the program and to provide a copy of these syllabi to the Departmental Doctoral Coordinator and the Chair of the Qualifying Examination Committee when the qualifying examination is scheduled.  The package should indicate clearly which courses were major courses, which were minor courses, and which were foundation/methodology courses.