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Candidacy Examination

Section 7.3 of the Graduate School Handbook

The candidacy examination is a single examination consisting of two portions, written and oral, administered under the auspices of the Graduate Studies Committee in conjunction with the student’s candidacy examination committee and the Graduate School. 

The purpose of the candidacy examination is to test a student’s comprehension of the field, allied areas of study, capacity to undertake independent research, and ability to think and express ideas clearly. For DMA students, the candidacy examination is a test of the student’s fundamental knowledge of the music field as well as of preparation in a specific area of concentration. 

Each Graduate Studies Committee must ensure that a rigorous examination is given and that the student’s performance is evaluated at the time of the exam. 

Timing. The candidacy examination may be taken or begun at any time thought appropriate by the student’s candidacy examination committee and Graduate Studies Committee but must be completed at least one semester before a student can defend and graduate. The student must be in good standing in the Graduate School and registered for at least three graduate credit hours each semester or term in which any part of the candidacy examination is taken. Students who plan to take the candidacy examination during the summer term are responsible for making certain that committee members are on duty in the summer. 

Candidacy Examination Committee. The candidacy examination committee is composed of at least four authorized graduate faculty members and may include the student’s advisor consistent with Graduate Studies Committee policy. A Graduate Faculty Representative may be assigned to an initial candidacy exam at the request of the student and advisor. 

Each Graduate Studies Committee decides whether the advisor or another member of the Graduate Faculty serves as the chair of the candidacy examination committee and whether the advisor is a member of the committee. The chair of the committee must hold membership at the Category P level in the graduate program of the student. Once a policy on this point is established, it must be applied uniformly to all candidacy examinations administered by the graduate program until a change is reported to the Graduate School. The chair of the candidacy examination committee is responsible for coordinating the preparation and conduct of both the written and oral portions of the candidacy examination. 

The responsibility for the administration and evaluation of the entire candidacy examination, including the written and oral portions, rests with the candidacy examination committee. Within the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee, other graduate faculty members may participate in generating, administering, or scoring parts of the written portion of the candidacy examination. Non-graduate faculty members may be appointed as additional external members to the candidacy examination committee by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student’s home program and by petition to the Graduate School.