PhD Comprehensive Examination

Prior to sitting for the exam the student need to complete the PhD-Comp-Exam-Date-Approval form. Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination before being admitted to candidacy. The comprehensive examination should be completed as soon as possible following the completion of all required coursework, and no later than the summer prior to entering the 4th year of the program. In no case may the comprehensive examination be taken in the same term in which the student is graduated. Specific details about the examination and its conduct are given in separate guidelines (below). The comprehensive examination will be conducted by an Examination Committee (see below). When the comprehensive examination has been concluded, the Chair of the examination committee will complete and submit the form PhD Comprehensive Examination Report to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Should a student be required to retake the examination, a new form must be completed and filed with the Committee. Each Committee member must submit the Comp and Doctoral Eval form. When the comprehensive examination has been successfully completed, the event will be entered into the student’s permanent graduate academic record as a Milestone.

Guidelines for Proposal

The format for the comprehensive examination will be a written proposal followed by an oral examination.
The comprehensive examination is to be completed as soon as possible after completing all required courses for the student’s focus area, no later than the summer prior to entering the 4th year of the program, and no later than eight months prior to scheduling of the dissertation defense. It is expected that the oral comprehensive examination will be taken during the summer term of the 2nd year in the graduate program.
The oral comprehensive examination committee for each student will be chaired by a faculty member in the School of Pharmacy who is a member of the graduate faculty. Composition of the committee will be determined by the academic advisor and the student’s doctoral committee, and will include at least two members from the student’s selected focus area. The chair will be decided by the faculty who comprise the committee, and will be a member of the student’s selected focus area. The student’s academic advisor may NOT be a member of the committee, but may be present as an observer during the exam. Composition of the committee will consist of at least three faculty members from the School of Pharmacy and the majority being graduate faculty). The committee may include faculty members from outside the School of Pharmacy.

Guidelines for the Examination

The graduate student will give an oral presentation that is succinct, yet complete (approximately 20-30 minutes), and supported by visual aids (slides/overheads).
The committee will then ask questions which test the student’s knowledge and abilities in the following areas:

  • Literature evaluation skills
  • Writing skills
  • Scientific background
  • Understanding of study design
  • Utility of animal models of disease or conditions relative to the human situation
  • Analytical methods
  • Clinical measurement methods
  • Data management and statistical analysis
  • Differentiation of clinical and statistical significance

Additionally questions pertaining to any of the coursework or general knowledge will be included
Results of the examination will be communicated to the student immediately following the exam. Comp and Doctoral Eval Form must be completed by each member of the Committee. It is the students responsibility to bring the form to the meeting and to collect completed forms and submit to the Graduate Program Coordinator.
Results of the examination will be one of the following:
Pass
Remedial work needed:
Specific needs for additional learning experiences (e.g., scientific area, statistics, writing, etc.) may be identified.
Remedial work may include a minor rewrite of the proposal or a major rewrite and re-defense of the proposal.
Remedial work must be completed within six months from the time of examination.
Fail -A student who fails the qualifying examination will be terminated from the PhD program.
In all cases, the Chair of the examination committee will complete and submit the to the PhD Comprehensive Examination Report to the Graduate Program Coordinator.