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Scheduling the Preliminary Examination

The requirements, structure, and administration pertaining to the Preliminary Examination is described below:

Please note and use the proper degree title on all forms related to the Preliminary Exam:

Doctor of Philosophy

Preliminary Exam

Purdue Graduate School's Two-Semester Rule: Two full semesters must pass between the preliminary and final exams. For example, a student who passes the Preliminary Exam prior to the end of the fall semester is not eligible to take the Final Exam until the following fall semester (with spring and summer being the two full semesters which pass between). Where a Preliminary Exam is taken after a semester ends and before the next semester begins, the Prelim will count for the upcoming semester (and not for the semester that just ended).

  1. It is to your advantage to prepare well in advance of the proposed exam date. Review the information on this page to ensure you understand requirements and the scheduling process for the Preliminary Exam. Feel free to meet with the BME graduate staff as needed. You should also be mindful of the Graduate School's Examination Deadlines.
  2. Once you and your Thesis Committee have agreed upon the date for the exam (recommend doing this approximately 2 months in advance of proposed exam date so that schedules can be coordinated), you must schedule the room (preferred room is MJIS 2001; use RAT (Resource Allocation Tool) for on-line scheduling of conference rooms. Please note that you must use an MJIS computer to reserve an MJIS room through RAT. Students located in Indianapolis may email Jo Gelfand directly,, to reserve MJIS 2001.) You are fully responsible for knowing and adhering to room use policies (which for rooms under the RAT system are available online when you reserve the room). At least two committee members must be physically present in the room for your exam (others may join by videoconference). Indianapolis students may hold their exams in Indianapolis if the committee approves, but the student must also arrange for a room with videoconference capabilities in MJIS using the RAT system. If MJIS 2001 is not available for the proposed exam date, please notify the Graduate Program Coordinator for alternatives.
  3. In order to officially schedule your exam, you must submit the electronic GS Form 8 via myPurdue - go to your electronic plan of study and then choose the link for requesting the examining committee. The electronic form must be submitted by you and be signed by your research advisor at least 17 business days before the proposed date of the exam or the exam cannot be scheduled. In the case of co-advisors, one of them will need to sign. The exam is not officially scheduled until the Graduate School sends such notification to the BME Graduate Office.
  4. When you submit the electronic GS Form 8, you should also supply the BME Graduate Office with the following in electronic form via email to
    1. Your name.
    2. Title of the Thesis Research.
    3. Names of Thesis Committee members, with Major Professor designated.
    4. Date, time and place of the Preliminary Examination.
    5. An abstract (no more than 250 words) of the prelim proposal clearly defining the problem and its significance.
  5. You should submit a written prelim proposal for the Preliminary Exam to all members of your Thesis Committee at least 2 1/2 weeks before the Preliminary Examination.
  6. In the packet of forms sent from the BME Graduate Office prior to your exam date, you will find copies of the BME Prelim Evaluation Form which must be completed by the Committee Chair and returned to the BME Graduate Office within one week following the exam. Other committee members are also welcome to submit an evaluation form. The data that is collected will be used for an accreditation process, which is now required for all graduate programs by the national Higher Learning Commission (North Central Association). You will receive copies of this completed form after your exam. The form evaluates the presentation and submitted proposal and provides limited space for directed comments on the content to improve your future research and proposal writing skills.
  7. If you pass the Preliminary Examination, your research advisor must initiate the "Report of the Preliminary Examination". He or she should ensure that all areas on the form are complete, and upon his or her approval the other committee members will be notified to sign the electronic form.
  8. For additional information, please consult section VII of Policies and Procedures Manual for Administering Graduate Student Programs.

If the student fails the Preliminary Examination, at least one academic session (fall, spring or summer) must elapse before a re-examination is permitted.

*These forms are sent from the Graduate School to the BME Graduate Office prior to the Preliminary Examination for the Chair of the Thesis Committee or the student to obtain prior to the day of the exam.