Dear PhD BIOS 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 
next 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 

A reminder that the written exam format for PhD Biosciences students has 
changed somewhat from the past few terms.  Faculty voted at the 
September SSB Faculty meeting to return to the original exam format 
where it is administered by the student's committee.  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.  

Diane St. Germain


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