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Preliminary Examination

Graduate student in Tseng Lab

Advancement to PhD candidacy requires the successful completion of the Preliminary Examination. The purpose of the Preliminary Examination is to determine if the student has adequate intellectual and technical preparation to conduct an independent, high-quality research project for a PhD dissertation. The Preliminary Examination should normally be scheduled by May 15 of the second year of graduate studies, and in all cases by August 15 prior to the beginning of the third year. The Preliminary Examination consists of three components:

  1. A written document comprising a critical review and proposed research project in the student’s field of research
  2. An oral presentation of the research proposal
  3. An oral defense of the proposal and evaluation of the student’s breadth and depth of conceptual understanding in Neuroscience, generally. The Examination is conducted by a committee of faculty members appointed by the Program and approved by the Graduate College.


For more information from the Graduate College: