The General Examination
The General Examination should be taken no later than one year after admission into the PhD program unless an alternative timeline was 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. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule the exam and to apply in a timely manner.
An outline of the General Exam procedures can be found here. Additional information about the General Exam can be found below.
The Format of the Exam
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.
Grades earned in courses will not be used as sufficient evidence of eligibility for the PhD degree; they may, however, be used as guides in planning the next steps for a student and as indicators of minimum standards.
Following the General Examination
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.
Students who pass the General Examination are admitted as candidates for the PhD degree.