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Qualifying Exam Committee Membership

The information outlined below is not all-inclusive. Please familiarize yourself with all of the requirements as outlined in the Student Handbook

Qualifying Exam Committee Composition

The Qualifying Exam Committee (QEC) consists of four members. Three members are chosen by the graduate program, or, if permitted by the graduate program, are chosen by the student and advisor and subsequently approved by the graduate program. The fourth member is the General Examiner, appointed by the Dean or his/her designee.

The Thesis Advisor is not a member of the QEC. All members of the QEC must hold Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty status. Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Contributing and Affiliate Faculty are not permitted to serve on a QEC. No QEC member can be the current or former spouse or a relative of the student or the dissertation advisor.

The QE committee Chair and the GE must be a tenured Associate Professor or Professor. Neither the QE committee Chair nor the GE can be a co-author, co-advisor, or active collaborator with the student. Collaborations between other members of the QE committee and the student must be declared at the time of committee selection.

The final QE committee selection, including the Chair, will be approved by the student’s program director and the Dean. No portion of the QE may proceed without approval of the QE committee by the Dean.

Preview Qualifying Exam Committee Selection Form (GSBS03)

Specific Aims Meeting

No Specific Aims meeting will proceed in the absence of any member of the QE committee. If a member of the Committee cannot be present, the Specific Aims meeting must be rescheduled.

During the Specific Aims meeting the student will articulate the hypothesis or question to be investigated and the rationale for undertaking these studies. General approaches will also be discussed so that the committee can evaluate the feasibility of the proposed Aims. During this meeting, the committee may suggest revisions to the Aims, including the removal or substitutions for Aims more suitable for testing the student’s competency during the subsequent exam.

This meeting also provides an opportunity for faculty to communicate areas of investigation or concerns that the student should expect to address during the formal exam. The primary purpose of the Aims meeting is to help the student prepare for the subsequent exam.

Specific Aims Procedure

Responsibilities of the Thesis Advisor

The thesis advisor will provide a written evaluation of the student in advance of the QE exam. Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences staff will solicit this evaluation and distribute to the QE Chair.

Responsibilities of the General Examiner (GE)

The GE completes the Specific Aims Outcome Form.

The GE ensures that the qualifying examination is fair and rigorous, that the exam follows the procedures outlined in the student handbook, and that student assessment is based on the approved learning objectives and is consistent with QEs of other students.

Upon completion of the exam, in the presence of and in consultation with the other members of the QE committee, the GE completes the QE outcome form. If a revision or re-test is required, the GE, in consultation with the other members of the QE committee, completes a new QE outcome form upon completion of the remediation.

The GE also completes the GE checklist and submits that to the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences office.

Preview Specific Aims Outcome (GSBS72)  |  Initiate GSBS72 in DocuSign

Preview General Examiner Checklist (GSBS69)  |  Initiate GSBS69 in DocuSign

Preview Qualifying Exam Outcome Form (GSBS04)  |  Initiate GSBS04 in DocuSIgn

Responsibilities of the QE Committee Chair

The Chair of the QEC will require documentation of QE committee approval prior to proceeding with scheduling any portion of the QE.

The Chair is responsible for informing the student of exam procedures, assuring compliance with the expected timeline of the QE process, reviewing the thesis advisor’s written evaluation in advance of the Specific Aims meeting, reviewing the student’s transcript and determining whether program requirements have been met, communicating relevant details of the student’s academic record to the committee at the start of the exam, ensuring fair treatment of the student during the exam, leading the committee’s deliberation to determine exam outcome, and communicating the outcome and the committee’s evaluation (from the QE outcome form) to the student.

The Chair will also communicate the outcome with the student’s thesis advisor upon request by the thesis advisor.

Responsibilities of the Student

Students are required to obtain the Dean’s approval of their QE Committee prior to initiating any part of the QE process.

Students are required to complete every QE assignment and report and any other academic communication with the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences administration through Blackboard.