The oral qualifying exam, a set of questions put forward by an oral examination committee to the candidate, normally takes place before or during the fifth term of the student's program, or, in exceptional circumstances, early in the sixth term. The exam is open to the faculty, but not to the general public.
The committee tests the candidate's knowledge of principles and methods underlying the field in which advanced work is to be performed. The exam covers material selected by the candidate's advisor in consultation with the examining committee, and includes coverage of mathematical techniques appropriate to the research area. The structure of the preparation for the exam is flexible.
The examination committee consists of 4 members: the chair plus 3 Dartmouth faculty examiners, with at least 2 of the examiners from Thayer School. A Thayer faculty member other than the student's advisor chairs the committee. This chair is assigned by the director of the M.S. and Ph.D. programs.
The examination committee gives the student a pass, fail, or conditional pass result. Students who fail may retake the oral examination — one time only — within the following 3 months. No third attempt is allowed.
Ph.D. student standing
Cannot be used to satisfy any A.B., B.E., M.E.M., or M.S. degree requirements