Senate Exam

Instructions for Ph.D. Students taking the Senate Exam - Advancement to Candidacy

Note: required coursework and the teaching requirement must be completed prior to taking the Senate Exam.

Step 1

Notify the Graduate Affairs Office about your intent to take the Senate Exam. To allow adequate time, you should do this at least four weeks before the time you expect to take the Senate Exam. You should also discuss your Senate Exam with your faculty adviser to know what is expected of you.

Step 2

Set up your committee. A doctoral committee is made comprised of five members.  Setting up a committee is now done electronically.  You should meet with your research advisor to discuss who should be appointed to your committee. The Department requires that at least two members of your committee are Bioengineering faculty. The University requires that at least one member be outside of the Department of Bioengineering and be at a level of Associate Professor or above (tenured). University policy also limits committees of five to one adjunct professor (any rank).  Once you have discussed your committee with your research advisor, email the name, academic rank and research specialty to Jan at least 3 weeks before the time you expect to take the Senate Exam.  The Graduate Affairs office will electronically route your committee request to the Chair and to the Dean of Graduate Studies. You cannot take the Senate Exam until the Graduate Dean approves your committee. You will get an email from the Dean when your committee is approved.  The Graduate Division has a table of who can serve on a doctoral committee:

Step 3

Once you have submitted your committee to Graduate Affairs and await your committee approval, you can start scheduling your Senate Exam. You can reserve PFBH Room 126, 226, 291, 326, 391 or the Zweifach Library by contacting Kelly Thorpe ( Once you have the set date/time/place of your Senate Exam, you should notify the Graduate Affairs Office (Jan) at least 2 weeks in advance. This allows time for the office to get your academic file ready for the exam. Make sure you have notified all of your committee members of your date/time/place of your Senate Exam.

Step 4

Your committee must be approved before you take the Senate Exam. If you have not received an email from the Dean approving your commitee by one week before your exam, contact the Graduate Affairs office.

Step 5

Your committee is approved, you have set the date/time/place of your Senate Exam – you are ready to take the Senate! The Graduate Affairs Office will have your academic file ready and will provide the file to your faculty advisor (you do not need to transport your file to or from the exam). The file will contain the Report of the Qualifying Examination and Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Form (Report Form). Your committee will sign the report form after you successfully pass the Senate. Your faculty advisor will return your academic file and report form to the Graduate Affairs Office. The Graduate Affairs Office will obtain the required signature from the Chair. Once the report form is complete and signed by the Chair, the Graduate Affairs Office will notify you – you will be responsible for submitting this report form and the Degree & Diploma Application to Graduate Division. Before the report form is submitted to Graduate Division, you will need to pay a $50.00 candidacy fee at the Cashiers Office. (Cashiers Office is on the first floor of the Student Services Building; Graduate Division is on the fourth floor).

Step 6

You will receive an official notice from the Dean of Graduate Studies of your successful advancement – Congratulations you are In-candidacy!