This exam will have the following characteristics:
In-depth examination in delimited fields.
The fields may be based on the specialties of the faculty.
Examination normally requires both specific information and answers to questions which require thought, reasoning, and creativity.
The written portion of the exam will be completed by the candidate, normally within a day or two. No more than 30 days may be taken under any circumstance.
The examination is given after the student has been advanced to candidacy (Graduate Division requirement), and when, in the judgment of the doctoral committee, the student has had sufficient preparation in the chosen field of study-either through courses or individual study.
The student's doctoral committee is composed of a minimum of five members of the Graduate Faculty, at least one being from outside the major field of study and outside the Department responsible for the field of study. The Department requires that at least 3 members (or a majority) of the committee shall be from the Department of Microbiology. Any member of the University's Graduate Faculty may attend an oral portion of the examination; all members of the major field of study are invited; all members of the doctoral committee must be present, and must participate in judging the result of the entire examination (Graduate Division requirement).
The student and his/her committee should meet early in his/her course of study. The student should consult with each committee member to define the areas, sub-areas, and emphases of study appropriate to his/her project or interests and as they fall within that committee member's field of expertise. The student and the committee will meet to incorporate these understandings in a written agreement which will be kept for future reference. Each of the members of the committee will advise the student regarding the studies that should be undertaken. It is understood that the written examination will be focused on the areas defined by the above agreement.
The written examination will be followed by an oral examination preferably within two weeks. The oral examination will be limited to the areas covered in the written examination and can be relatively short. Its primary purpose is to clarify answers given in the written exam, if necessary. If a student fails the written examination, the committee, at its option, may request the student to retake it.
At the discretion of the doctoral committee, the student may be required to prepare a formal dissertation proposal in the form of a research grant application. The proposal has two major functions: to outline a realistic dissertation problem after surveying the literature and to give the students experience in the process of writing research proposals complete with budget and other administrative requirements. The student should obtain grant proposal forms or "old grants" for format and should do so with minimum faculty help. Of course, this does not preclude the usual conferences that take place between dissertation advisor and student.
The entire faculty will be invited. However, the examination will be judged by the dissertation committee. The student's mentor will be present at the oral examination, but will remain silent until the summing up. If the proposal is not satisfactory, it must be revised to the satisfaction of the committee. Examiners understand that the performance of students will vary depending on how much of their research has already been accomplished. Those who are well along could add to their proposal planned future approaches as one would to a grant proposal based on preliminary work. The research proposal will be submitted to the dissertation committee at least 2 weeks before the ORAL dissertation proposal examination.