Area Qualifying Exam

Area Qualifying Exam

The purpose of the Informatics Area Qualifying Exam is to test the student on the foundation and application coursework that they have taken, to make sure that they are adequately prepared to move on to the dissertation stage. If the student’s principal advisor thinks he or she is ready for a Qualifying Exam and their advisory committee is satisfied with their course work, then they may take the Qualifying Exam, provided they have completed the following:

* INFO 500 Orientation Seminar (both for 0 and 1 credit)
* Two 500-level Foundations courses
* Two 500-level Applications courses
* Two semesters of INFO 510 Research Practicum

The Qualifying Exam has two portions: a open-book/computer written exam, and an oral exam with the full Advisory Committee, approximately one week later. The questions for the written exam will be devised by the student’s Advisory Committee, including the Principal Advisor/Chair. The questions will likely be drawn from a set of readings or other material that is assigned by the committee and advisor in advance of the exam. These questions will test knowledge and understanding of the student’s Applications and Foundations areas. Committee members will provide their questions to the advisor, who will assemble them into one document, and then provide them to the student at the pre-arranged time. The time length for the written exam is flexible and should be negotiated between the student and their committee, but must be agreed to prior to the start of the exam. For example the student might be given a 4 hour block of time, or a 24 hour block of time, or a weekend (i.e. Friday 5 pm to Monday 8 am) to complete the written portion of the exam. At the end of the allotted time the student sends the written answers back to the entire committee.

This is followed approximately one week later by an oral exam lasting up to two hours. During this oral exam, the full Advisory Committee, including the chair, ask followup questions and questions from related areas. At the end of this session the committee needs to decide whether the results are Pass, Pass with Conditions, Fail, or Deferred. A result of deferred means student will be given additional readings/courses and is required to retake the exam within six months. Student may receive a deferred exam only once; thereafter options are either pass or fail.

Responsibilities of Student:

It is the student’s responsibility to schedule both the written and oral portion of the qualifying exams, based on when the advisor and committee members are available. The committee must consist of 4 Informatics faculty affiliates that adequately cover the application and foundation areas of interest. The student must also notify the Informatics Education Coordinator at least three weeks in advance of the qualifying exam, and provide the dates/times/locations of the exam.

Responsibilities of Advisor:

It is the advisor’s responsibility to collect the readings and questions from the committee members, and to get those to the student at the appropriate time. They also will chair the oral followup meeting and send the final signed Qualifying Exam Results Form back to the Informatics Education Coordinator.