Date: [Date]

To: [Full Student Name]

cc: [Examination Committee], [SoLS GAC Chair], [SoLS Graduate Coordinator]

Re: Procedures and Deadlines for Comprehensive Examination

As a PhD student in the School of Life Sciences, you are required to take your Comprehensive Exam before the first day of your 6th semester in the program. Your Comprehensive Exam will comprise of both a written and an oral component, with the exact format determined by the faculty in the [Subplan] subplan. Failure to take both the written and oral components of the exam by the first day of your 6th semester in the program will result in academic probation.

Timeline of the examination:

  1. Starting date of assignment: 
  2. Format of written [exam/proposal]: [expected length, formatting of document, etc.]
  3. Due date of written [exam/proposal]: [within four weeks from the starting date] 
  4. Format of oral exam: [expected length, formatting of slides, etc.]
  5. Date of oral exam: [2-4 weeks after submission of the written assignment]. 
  6. Failure to take the comprehensive exam (written AND oral) by the first day of the 6th semester in the graduate program will result in Academic probation.

Composition of the examination committee:

  1. [Chair Name], Chair
  2. [Committee Member Name]
  3. [Committee Member Name]
  4. [Committee Member Name]
  5. [Grad College Rep Name], GCR

The Examination Committee expects that you will display a fundamental understanding of the theoretical and technical framework associated with the written [exam/proposal]. You should be able to demonstrate a full understanding of anything in the written [exam/proposal], the presentation, and of fundamental principles in biology as they relate to the exam or proposal. 

There are three possible outcomes of the exam: Pass, Remediate, or Fail. Please review the section pertaining to the Comprehensive Exams in the SoLS Graduate Program Handbook for more information on the procedures that will be executed following each of the three possible exam outcomes.

Accommodations prior to starting the exam:
Any accommodations must be made, thoroughly discussed, and approved by the Examination Committee prior to the start of the exam. Accommodations must be mediated through the DRC, must be approved by the exam committee, and Grad Coordinator and GOC chair must be informed. Supporting information must be presented and validated before accommodation could be granted. No accommodation shall be granted once the exam has officially started.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


(Chair, Comprehensive Examination Committee)