PhD Preliminary Examination Guidelines

The purpose of the preliminary examination is to test the adequacy of a student’s background related to the general area of concentration, and to determine if the student is adequately prepared to formulate and undertake an acceptable dissertation topic. The preliminary examination is mainly based on a formal research proposal prepared by the student. 

Prior to the Preliminary Examination

Before scheduling the oral preliminary examination, students are required to:

  • Submit a formal plan of study for approval with the Graduate School before scheduling the oral preliminary examination;
  • Establish an Examining Committee
    • Preliminary Examination Committee need not be identical to the Advisory Committee.
    • This committee is held to the same composition requirements as the Advisory Committee.
    • The student need not have completed coursework with the members of The Preliminary Examination Committee.
  • Submit a copy of a formal research proposal document to each member of the Preliminary Examination Committee at least three weeks prior to the scheduled preliminary examination. This document must conform to the regulations outlined by the Graduate School in “A Manual for the Preparation of Graduate Theses.”

Scheduling the Preliminary Examination

Student Responsibilities:

A student must contact  the IE Graduate Office at least three weeks prior to the proposed date of their exam to complete scheduling.

  • Send a scheduling request via email to the IE Graduate Office including:
    • Examination date and time
    • Documentation of the committee’s agreement on examination date and time (e.g., email copy or Doodle screenshot)
    • Title of the research proposal
    • Copy of the formal research proposal document
  • If opting to use Zoom, the student will provide the Zoom link to the IE Graduate Office; the student will be the host and facilitator. Proper virtual meeting etiquette is expected.
  • To view deadlines administered by the Graduate School, see the Graduate School Deadline Calendar.
  • Contact the IE Graduate Office directly if you need the Head’s signature on any documents. DO NOT contact the IE Head.

IE Grad Office Responsibilities:

  • The IE Graduate Office will reserve a room for the exam.
  • The IE Graduate Office will initiate the form 8 in the Graduate School Plan of Study Generator on behalf of the student once the student provides the necessary details listed above.
  • The IE Graduate Office will remind committee members about upcoming examinations.
  • The IE Graduate Office will follow up with the IE Head if their signature is needed on any forms.