Written and Oral Preliminary Examinations

Students must complete the written prelim prior to the oral prelim. The written prelim can be taken before the degree program is approved, but a substantial amount of the coursework should be completed. When both prelims have been successfully completed, the student has advanced to candidacy.

Written Preliminary Examination

The student’s advisor is in charge of administering the written prelim. Questions, which are solicited by the advisor from committee members, may deal with subject matter (i.e., related to courses the student has taken) or be related to the proposed research (i.e., methods, data collection, data analysis, theory). The general form the exam will take is the choice of the committee. Below are some factors the committee may consider:

  • Closed book vs. open book
  • As few as two questions up to six questions or more
  • Administration of one question at a time over a period of a week or more, with varying amounts of time allotted to complete each question
  • Administration of all questions at one time

Upon completion of the written prelim, the program level coordinator must be notified. Please ask your advisor to report your results to Toni Wheeler, who will submit an official report online.

Oral Preliminary Examination

The format of this exam will follow Graduate School guidelines. Consult the Graduate School Catalog for specific guidelines and requirements. The oral prelim must be scheduled with the Graduate School at least one week in advance using their online scheduling system. The Oral Preliminary Examination Report form will be issued to the advisor prior to the exam.

The exam will be conducted by the student’s committee as declared on the degree program form. The exam can be taken only after the written prelim has been passed. The student will be expected to answer both general and specific questions.

The Oral Preliminary Examination Report form must be turned in to the Graduate School upon completion of the oral prelim. A copy should be given to the NRSM program coordinator in 116d Green Hall as well.