Qual may be in format A or B below, at the choice of the examinee, after consultation with their advisor (for students who began the program Fall 2003 or later).

Format A

Research area survey, directions, evidence of research ability.

  • If requested by the chair and your committee, prepare a write-up summarizing a specific research area, preferably the one in which you intend to do your dissertation work. Your summary should survey that area and describe open and interesting research problems. If a write-up is not requested, you can go right into preparing a presentation of your summary.
  • Describe why you chose these problems and indicate what direction your research may take in the future.
  • Prepare to display expertise on both the topic presented, and on any related material that the committee thinks is relevant.
  • The student should talk (at least briefly) about any research progress to date (e.g. MS project, Ph.D. research, class project etc.) Some evidence of the ability to do research is expected.
  • The committee shall evaluate the student on the basis of their comprehension of the fundamental facts and principles that apply within the student’s research area, and their ability to think incisively and critically about the theoretical and practical aspects of this field.
  • The student must demonstrate sufficient command of the content and the ability to design and produce an acceptable dissertation.

Format B

Research area survey, directions, thesis proposal defense.

This option includes the presentation and defense of a thesis proposal in addition to the requirements of option A. It will include a summary of research to date and plans for future work (or at least the next stage thereof). The committee shall not only evaluate the student’s thesis proposal and their progress to date, but shall also evaluate according to option A. As in option A, the student should prepare a single document (only if requested by their chair and committee) and a presentation. In this case, additional emphasis must be placed on research completed to date, and plans for the remainder of the dissertation research.