Typically about six months after a successful PhD prospectus defense, a student in conjunction with his/her advisor should schedule a research candidacy examination. Before the candidacy exam can be taken, the student is required to pass with a B- or better at least five courses from the lists of "core courses" of the subdiscipline, as selected by the student's PhD committee. (See item #2 under the "PhD Requirements" section of the General Degree Requirements page for a list of those core courses.) The examining committee will consist of 3 members of his or her PhD committee (not including the advisor) plus 2 other members of the graduate faculty appointed by the graduate committee. The student�s advisor will be present but will not vote.
Two weeks prior to this examination the student will give the committee a written report of research the student has done at BYU to that point. The document could be in any of the following formats: an article suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal, a comprehensive review of their field (similar to the introductory chapter of a dissertation) together with a description of research progress, or a Masters thesis.
The purpose of this examination is to determine the student�s research competency and productivity, based on the written report and on an oral presentation by the student of the material in the report. If the committee votes to fail the student on this examination the student will have one more chance to pass it, to be scheduled no later than 6 months after the first examination. If the student fails this examination again, he or she will be dismissed from the graduate program.
Students who come to one of the PhD programs with an MS from another university will be allowed to use their MS thesis as their written report, if so approved by the department graduate committee at the time of admission.