General Exam

The General Examination is a comprehensive examination covering the student’s major area of concentration. Its purpose is to determine if the student has developed a competent base of knowledge of the literature, research methods, and research frontiers in the area of concentration and its related facets. The General Examination typically includes a substantial written component. However, at the discretion of the Departmental Ph.D. Committee, an oral component may also be included. The Ph.D. Committee in each area of concentration is responsible for preparing an examination that typically lasts six to twelve hours over a period of two to four days. Not fewer than five faculty members, including all members of the student’s advisory committee, must participate in the examination.

To be eligible to take the General Examination, the student must have:

  1. Substantially completed all course work listed on the approved plan of study.
  2. Satisfactorily completed the qualifying research paper.

The exam must be passed within five years of the beginning of doctoral study or within four years if the student entered with a master’s degree in the same or closely related field. After successful completion, a Report on the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree must be signed and submitted to the Graduate School.