Preparing for the pre-qualification exam meeting

 Prior to sitting for the qualifying or candidacy exam you will have to meet with your dissertation committee and convince them that you are indeed ready to complet your exams.  This process varies across disciplines. Some require both a written and oral exam, while others may require one or the other.  Either way here are some key points to include in your presentation to the committee.  Remember the goal is to prove that, after completing all course work, you are now ready to move into the candidacy phase.

  • Provide exemplars of demonstrated PhD program competencies.
  • Summarize lessons learned from course papers and major projects and discuss how they fit with your proposed dissertation study aims.
  • Provide examples of how course work and projects have influenced your thinking as a scholar (be specific and provide concrete examples). 
  • Highlight any manuscripts that you authored or co-aurthored. Discuss how it ties into your proposed program of research.
  • Similarly you will want to highlight any poster or podium presentations and discuss the major outcomes of those works (e.g. a manuscript).
  • Highlight any grants or scholarships that you’ve received. Our faculty mentors always remind us that publications are currency in the world of academe so publish or perish.
  • Discuss next steps in training program–in other words what do you plan to do once you’ve completed your PhD? Your committee will want to know that you have a plan in place.

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