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Dear PhD Students,
You may be at the point where you have finished your core and 
concentration coursework, and are ready to take the PhD Qualifying exam 
this fall term.  It is one of the steps for advancement to candidacy 
(along with course completion and proposal approval).  You do not have 
to have your proposal approved to take the _written_ Qualifying Exam.  
There is also an _oral component_ to the exam that is given by your 
dissertation committee and is usually done at the same time as the 
proposal defense.   It can be two separate meetings for the proposal 
defense and oral exam, but most students find it advantageous to have 
all of their committee members in one place at the same time and 
schedule both in one meeting.

The format of the written exam is changing somewhat, to everyone's 
advantage.  The format was approved at the September SSB Faculty 
meeting.  Please see the attached guidelines for the exam.  *You will 
need to have your dissertation committee formed and approved by the COS 
Dean in order to take the PhD Qualifying exam.*  Please contact me if 
you have any questions about committee makeup.  

regards,
Diane St. Germain

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Diane St. Germain
Coordinator, Graduate Academic Programs
Biology, Biosciences, Bioinformatics
George Mason University
MS 5B3, 10900 University Blvd. Manassas, VA 20110
Phone (703) 993-4263, Fax (703) 993-8976