The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether a student has acquired sufficient mastery of his or her field of concentration to warrant admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Students should take this examination as soon as they have completed the major portion of their course requirements. It should be taken no later than six years after the student first registered in the Graduate School-Newark and no later than two semesters before the student expects to take the final post-thesis examination. Certain programs specify that students take their qualifying examinations at stated times to meet this condition.
The examination is conducted by a committee of at least four members or adjunct members of the graduate faculty, and the chair must be a full member. Designed as a comprehensive measure of a student's knowledge, the examination may be written or oral or both.
The student is responsible for obtaining an application for admission to candidacy for the degree of doctor of philosophy and submitting it to the committee chair at the time of the examination. He or she should make sure that this form is signed properly by members of the committee and by the graduate director and return it to the dean's office. Once the student has passed the examination, he or she must remain registered (for courses, research, or matriculation continued) in order to maintain status as a candidate.