The Qualifying Exam has recently been revised. The procedure outlined on this page supplants earlier documents. IfA members may review the rationale for the new format and recommendations developed after the new Qual Exam was given for the first time in 2006.
1. Qual committee members will be appointed from the faculty at large. The goal will be to assemble a small but representative group of people who can work together and who have had significant contact with students. A student representative will be present during the initial discussions, but will not participate in the exams or learn the results.
2. The qual exam will continue to have both oral and written components. Passing either component is sufficient to pass the exam as a whole, regardless of performance on the other component. The oral component of the qual exam will be given first. Students who pass the oral exam need not take the written part.
3. Since this gives the oral exam a somewhat larger role, the core exam group will be enlarged from three to five people. Each student can nominate one additional member to their exam committee, and reject any core committee member with whom they have serious incompatibilities.
4. A student who does not pass the oral exam will take the written exam roughly one month later. The core exam committee will be responsible for creating the questions on the written exam.
5. A student failing both components has the option of retaking first the oral and -- if necessary -- the written exam. Passing either component on the second attempt is sufficient to pass the qual.