Qualifying Exam Approval

Approval to sit for the Qualifying Examination (QE) is the sixth academic milestone for the PhD degree in Social Welfare, following submission and approval of the Dissertation Prospectus.

When to Take the QE

Social Welfare doctoral students are expected to take the Qualifying Exam by the end of the Spring semester of Year 3 in the program. For MSW/PhD students, the QE date must occur on or before the last day of the end of Year 4 Spring semester.

Social Welfare doctoral students who have not taken their qualifying exams by the end of their sixth semester (or eighth semester for Combined MSW/PhD -students), or who have multiple reports by the Progress and Retention Review Committee that indicate a failure to make normal progress, may be recommended to the Graduate Division for academic probation. Once placed on academic probation, the Graduate Division gives students one semester to complete their qualifying exams. If the students have not completed the Qualifying Exam by the end of this time period, they are subject to recommendation from the program for dismissal by the Dean of the Graduate Division.

How to Apply for Approval to Take the QE

To obtain permission to take the Qualifying Examination, you must submit the Graduate Division Application for the Qualifying Examination Higher Degree Committee eForm in CalCentral. The link to the form appears in the Student Resources card on your CalCentral dashboard.

Students must apply to take the Qualifying Examination no later than three weeks before the examination date, to allow the Graduate Division time to review and approve the application. Students must list on their applications at least three subject areas to be covered during the examination (i.e., the two fields of study and Dissertation Prospectus).

Graduate Division approval of the proposed committee submitted in the Higher Degree Committee eForm is absolutely required before the QE may take place. An examination held before the student and the committee members have been notified by the Graduate Division of admission to the Qualifying Examination will not be accepted, and the committee will need to wait for approval and administer an approved examination.

For further policy information and rules governing the QE, please also consult the Guide to Graduate Policy F2.6 Qualifying Examination.