4.5 Preliminary Examination Requirements and ABD Status

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4.5.1 Preliminary examination requirements

The Graduate College requires a preliminary oral examination of doctoral degree students and most programs add a written portion to be completed before the preliminary oral examination. The exam rigorously tests a graduate student’s knowledge of major, minor, and supporting subject areas as well as the student’s ability to analyze, organize, and present subject matter relevant to the field. More information about the preliminary examinations for each program is found within that program’s particular section of this manual.

The following conditions must be met before you will be allowed to take either of the two parts of your preliminary examinations (written or oral) in each of the doctoral programs:

  • The Graduate College requires that your POSC Form be approved (for the first time, not modifications) at least three months before the date of the preliminary oral examination; approved DPS and POSC required documentation (by the English Department) as well
  • There must be a minimum of six months between the preliminary oral and final oral examinations; exception to the rule, in rare extenuating circumstances, is allowed if a written request is made by the major professor(s), supported by the DOGE(s), and approved by the Dean of the Graduate College
  • Registration for at least the equivalent of 1.0 credit during the semester in which either portion of the preliminary exam (written or oral) is taken—this can be final POS coursework, any other course at ISU, or 699 research credits with your major professor(s)
  • Qualifying exam passed (Portfolio Assessment)
  • No Incompletes (I’s) on your record (except research Engl 699 credits) to take the oral portion of the examination
  • Full admission status in the PhD program and not on probation
  • English requirement met (nonnative speakers only)
  • Time-to-degree limit not exceeded (expired coursework must be approved for POSC inclusion)

4.5.2 ABD status

PhD candidates will be considered ABD (“All But Dissertation”) when they have met these conditions:

  • all required POS documentation approved by the English Department
  • POSC Form approved by the Graduate College
  • received a grade for all coursework listed on their approved POSC Form
  • (ALT only) language requirement completed and the Language Requirement Form submitted to the Graduate Program Staff Assistant
  • all Incomplete (I) grades except those for Engl 699 must be removed
  • passed the written portion of the preliminary examination
  • passed the oral portion of the preliminary examination
  • submitted to the Graduate Program Staff Assistant the Graduate College’s Report of Preliminary Oral Examination form reporting the results (if a conditional pass, ABD status not granted until the Conditions Met Memo is signed changing the results to a full pass and submitted to the Graduate College)

Salary raises for graduate assistants contingent on ABD status will begin the semester after ABD status is achieved.