The General Examination


The General Examination should either be taken no later than one year after admission into the Ph.D. program or will conform to a timetable established by the COGS.

The Request for General Examination must be completed online no later than three weeks in advance of the date of the exam. Prior to submitting the request for exam online with the Graduate School, the student must have approval from all supervisory committee members either in writing or via email. The Academic Counselor, upon notification that an exam request has been submitted, will review the request and upon approval will generate a Warrant for General Examination. At least one day prior to the exam, the Warrant will be given to the chair of the student's Supervisory committee which will be approved/not approved by attending members of the Supervisory committee after the exam has taken place. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule the exam and to apply in a timely manner.

The Format of the exam: Consists of a substantial thesis proposal including a review of the pertinent literature, preliminary results on the subject of the student's research and proposed future research and methodology.

The General Examination itself normally consists of an oral examination that tests the student's understanding of an area of specialization (e.g., synoptic or dynamic meteorology, cloud physics, energy transfer, etc.) with emphasis on the subject of the student's intended thesis. The oral presentation of the proposal will last 20-30 minute assuming little interruption, which will be followed by up to 60 minutes of questioning from the committee.

Students who pass the General Examination are admitted as candidates for the Ph.D. degree.

If a student does not pass the General Examination it may be retaken once by the end of the second quarter after the first exam. If the student does not pass at that point, s/he will be invited to complete a terminal M.S.

Following the General Examination, the student normally continues research and thesis work. The student may pursue such advanced course work directed toward an area of specialization as may be recommended by the Supervisory Committee. Neither grades earned in courses nor total credits are sufficient evidence of eligibility for the Ph.D. degree; they may, however, be used as guides in planning a program and as indicators of minimum standards.

The thesis is an important part of the candidate's program; it must represent an original contribution toward understanding a problem of substantial scientific importance. The thesis must be prepared in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Graduate School.


General Exam Checklist