Doctoral: Qualifying Exams

Preliminary Examination - Written Pre-Qualifying Examination

All Ph.D. students must pass a written pre-qualifying exam that focuses on testing basic competence in pharmacology and toxicology and will be based on material presented in courses PTX 201, 202, and 203. This part of the exam will test the depth of a student's factual knowledge, and ability to integrate that knowledge into coherent written responses. The examination will be administered to all students in the program simultaneously within a month of completion of spring quarter, first year.

Oral Qualifying Examination

General Requirements:

Ph.D. students are generally expected to take the Oral Qualifying Examination before the beginning of their third year, but the qualifying examination must be passed no later than the end of the third year (9th quarter).

The topic of examination and the composition of the committee are requested in the Application for Qualifying Examination (pdf) from the PTX Graduate Group Administrative Assistant.

Research Proposal for Qualifying Examination:

The student is required to prepare a written research proposal ("proposal") and submit it to the qualifying exam committee at least 1-2 weeks prior to the qualifying examination.

Research Proposal: The proposal should not exceed 4 pages, excluding references and should include the following sections:

  1. Title
  2. Specific Aims
  3. Background/Significance
  4. Experimental Design and Methods
  5. Literature Citations

Exam Scheduling:

Upon the Dean's approval of the committee, the student, with the assistance of the chair of the student's committee, schedules the examination when the participating faculty and student are available.

Examination Procedure:

The qualifying examination will test the student's ability to design and execute scientific research. Ph.D. students are expected to demonstrate a detailed understanding of their chosen field, an understanding of independent problem solving and proficiency in the scientific method.

In general, the candidate is given a short time to present a chalk talk outlining the overall objectives and experimental approach.


A timeline of steps involving the Qualifying Exam.