Qualifying Exam Checklist

  • The semester before you plan to take the Qualifying Examination,
  • Complete a Dissertation Prospectus well in advance of the Qualifying Examination. The Dissertation Prospectus must be approved by your Dissertation Chair at least 4 weeks prior to your Qualifying Examination before needing to reschedule the Qualifying Examination to a future semester.
  • Run an Academic Progress Report in CalCentral to confirm that you will meet coursework requirements by the end of the term that you wish to take the Qualifying Examination.

  • Coordinate with your Qualifying Examination Committee to find a common date and time to hold the Qualifying Examination. Three hours should be scheduled for the exam.
    • The Qualifying Examination date must occur on or before the last day of the end of the Year 3 spring semester, as posted in the Academic Calendar.**
    • If this timeline is not met, the student must submit a petition to the GSAO for an exception to schedule the Qualifying Examination for a future semester. Exceptions are not automatically granted or guaranteed and will always require a written plan for progress with a timeline for completion.

  • Contact the Social Welfare Front Desk Staff (swdesk@berkeley.edu) to reserve a room for the Qualifying Exam. Haviland 309 is the preferred space for the Qualifying Examination. Students may not schedule their Qualifying Examination in Room 15 due to its proximity to the Doctoral Student Office.

  • Notify the GSAO of your exam date, time, and location.

  • At least four weeks prior to the exam date, submit electronic copies of the final (graded) Qualifying Paper, chair-approved dissertation prospectus, and completed Dissertation Prospectus Chair Evaluation and Approval Form to the Qualifying Examination Committee and the GSAO.

  • At least three weeks prior to the exam date, submit the Qualifying Exam Committee eForm (formerly the Graduate Division Application for the Qualifying Examination) via CalCentral.

  • Print out a copy of the Graduate Division Report on the Qualifying Examination Form, provided by the GSAO to you after you submit your Qualifying Paper, Declaration of Field of Expertise, and Dissertation Prospectus. Bring this form to the Qualifying Examination for your committee to fill out. Your Qualifying Examination Chair will submit the finalized form with signatures to the GSAO.


**For MSW/PhD students, each milestone in the timeline is increased by one year. The QE date must occur on or before the last day of the end of Year 4 spring semester.