Skip to main content

Qualifying Exam

Students will be required to complete a research-based written report and oral qualifying exam before the end of their second year. Both the written report and oral presentation will focus on novel research completed by the student advised by a participating faculty member as part of the PHYA 296: Second-Year Independent Research requirement.  The written report will be submitted in advance of the oral exam and is expected to be in the style of a published peer-reviewed journal article. The oral presentation will be approximately ~30 minutes in length and will focus primarily on the context, methods, results, and implications of the research study. The oral presentation will be followed by questions on the specific research project (~20 minutes) and astronomical fundamentals covered in the required Core courses (~30 minutes). 

The qualifying exam will be administered by a committee consisting of three (3) or four (4) faculty members that will include faculty who have taught one or more Core A or Core B courses in the previous two (2) years. Each exam will be administered by three (3) of the committee members; if the Research Advisor is a committee member, they will not be eligible to serve as one of the examiners during that person’s oral exam.