Graduate Student Handbook

8.7 Candidacy Examination

The Candidacy Examination tests the student’s knowledge of the major and minor cognate areas, research methods, and in general the capacity to undertake independent research and the ability to think and express ideas clearly.  The Advisory Committee determines when the student is ready to take the Candidacy Examination and makes a recommendation to the GSC chair.  The determination is based upon the assessment of both the student’s level of preparation and the completion of required course work.  The Candidacy Examination must be scheduled at a time acceptable to all committee members.  Students should not assume that faculty will be available during breaks or off-duty semesters.  The student must be registered for at least three graduate credit hours during any term in which the Candidacy Examination is taken, and must electronically submit a “Doctoral Notification of Candidacy Examination” to the Graduate School for approval at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the oral portion of the exam.

The Advisory Committee constitutes the Candidacy Examination Committee.  The Committee oversees the preparation, administration, and grading of the written portion of the Candidacy Examination.  Other graduate faculty members may participate in the written portion at the invitation of the Committee.  The full committee reviews the written portion of the examination, conducts the oral portion of the examination, and determines the outcome of the examination as a whole.

Written portion of the examination—See Appendix G for specific division requirements.

Oral portion of the examination [GSH 7.5] In order for the examination to be judged satisfactory, the student must perform at a satisfactory level in all three areas (major, minor cognate, and research methodology).  There is no specific relative weighting of the written and oral portions of the examination; each committee member reaches a conclusion concerning the student’s performance on the examination taken as a whole.  Upon completion of the Candidacy Examination, each committee member indicates an evaluation of satisfactory or unsatisfactory by electronically signing the Candidacy Examination Report form. The student will have successfully completed the Candidacy Examination only if the decision is unanimously affirmative.  If the student receives an unsatisfactory, the Candidacy Examination Committee must decide whether to allow the student to take a second examination and record its decision electronically.