Second Year Qualifying Exam

section IV, article 1

Qualifying Exams are an important checkpoint meant to show that you are on a promising research track toward the Ph.D. degree.

  • basic research skills
  • knowledge of the literature
  • work ethic and motivation.

Scholar Responsibilities

  • Enroll in CHEM 798B to receive course credit for exam preparation
  • Coordinate scheduling with the committee
  • Reserve a room for the report
  • Ensure that the committee completes an assessment and submit the assessment to the Graduate Program Coordinator

Scholars should review the Second Year Qualifying Exam form for additional details, including the evaluation criteria for the exam.

Due: The written report must be submitted at least one week prior to the scheduled oral defense and no later than February 1 in the second semester of the second year. The oral defense must be completed by March 1 of the same semester.

Grading and Re-Test Policy

Scholars must receive an “S” grade on both the written and oral portion of the exam to pass CHEM 798. 

Failure to submit both portions of the exam or a receipt of a “U” on the oral and/or written portion of the exam will result in a “U” in CHEM 798. When a scholar receives a “U” grade, they may re-test before the end of the semester. At that time, if the “U” grade is not cleared, their committee may recommend termination from the program. 

If given the option to retest by their committee during the summer semester, scholars will be placed on probation and must re-test any portion of the exam for which they received the “U’ grade by the end of the summer term. Failure to earn an “S” on all exam requirements by the end of the summer term will result in termination from the program. Probation will be lifted in the semester following a successful re-test (assuming a scholar is in good standing in regard to all other program requirements.) 

Feedback to Scholars in the Event of a Re-Test

If a retest is required, the scholar’s primary mentor will compose a written summary of faculty feedback from the milestone meeting. The summary will include a specific timeline for the retest, an explanation of what elements of the milestone were not met, and clear expectations (in line with the retest timeframe provided) for what the scholar will need to accomplish to successfully complete the milestone. The written summary will be shared with the scholar and the DGS within a week of the milestone exam. The scholar and the mentor are encouraged to develop a detailed study and research plan that elaborates on the summary to facilitate the scholar’s development and successful completion of the milestone in the timeframe provided.


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Next: Third Year Milestone