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The Pre-Qualifying Meeting

The Pre-Qualifying meeting should be completed no later than the fourth semester of graduate studies. The purpose of the Pre-Qualifying meeting is to define thesis committee members, have them formally meet for the first time, and to help the student formulate the specific aims and goals of their thesis proposal with input from the committee.

Complete Pre-Qualifying Meeting Paperwork

The pre-qualifying meeting only involves three documents:

  1. Appointment Form for Pre-Qualifying Meeting: announces date, time, and location of the meeting, the student’s program, committee members, and proposal title. This form is prepared by the trainee with the help of their primary mentor(s).
  2. Proposal Abstract Page is a cover page for the thesis proposal abstract. It is one page in length and it is usually not numbered.
  3. Proposal Abstract, or Specific Aims page: contains an outline of the proposed aims, not to exceed two pages in length, and is presented to the exam committee for approval. 

The committee conducting the qualifying examination must consist of at least four current full-time, tenure-track faculty members appointed at the assistant professor rank or higher. The primary mentor and one other member of the committee must possess a primary appointment within the same department (if a co-mentor is present on the committee, the co-mentor's departmental appointment is counted as internal for the committee, and thus counts as the second internal member). One additional member must have a primary appointment in a department outside that of the primary mentor, and the last member can be from any department or academic unit. The TBS Director will be present as a non-voting member and must be included in the pre-qualifying meeting planning. This committee will (in almost all cases) be the committee that will also preside over the Qualifying Examination.

Submit Pre-Qualifying Meeting Paperwork

The student is required to distribute the Proposal Cover Page, Proposal Abstract and/or Aims, and the Pre-Qualifying Meeting Appointment Form to the TBS Program Coordinator, Director, and exam committee at least 10 full working days prior to the Pre-Qualifying Meeting. If the paperwork is late, students will be required to select a new date.

The Pre-Qualifying Meeting

The student is expected to present an overview of the thesis abstract and/or specific aims for the first 20-30 minutes. The committee and student then have an informal discussion about the science and the potential for expanding the specific aims into a full proposal. The advisory committee will determine if the student's ideas are well formulated enough to go on to write a full proposal for the Qualifying Exam. The TBS Director will notify the student in writing that the student has has been invited to take the Qualifying Examination, or if they will need to reschedule another Pre-Qualifying Meeting.