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Preliminary Exams

To be eligible to write the preliminary examination a student must complete an application to take prelims.  The application must be signed by the student’s committee chairperson and the chairperson of the Department of Counseling, Quantitative Methods, & Special Education, formerly Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education.  The application will show that the student has completed all required coursework on the program of study, excluding dissertation, before being approved.

Written preliminary exams will be given during the fifth week of Fall and Spring Semesters. Special Education faculty do not administer preliminary exams during Summer.

The content of the special education preliminary examination includes:

(1) historical facts in the development of educational programs for individuals with disabilities,

(2) theoretical and applied issues related to the education of individuals with disabilities,

(3) the design and conduct of experiments related to the education of individuals with disabilities, and

(4) legal issues relating to individuals with disabilities.

Examination questions are submitted by the members of the doctoral committee and the Special Education graduate faculty. It is the responsibility of the Special Education members of the student's doctoral committee to determine the adequacy of the student's responses to the preliminary examination.

The Preliminary Examinations should cover a minimum of 16 hours and a maximum of 20 hours. Student must pass more than 50% of the total hours of the preliminary examination, and at least 50% of the required four core areas of the preliminary examination (History, Programming, Research, and Law) in order not to rewrite the entire examination.

In case of disagreements as to whether a student passes or fails the preliminary exam, the decision of the doctoral committee will be final.  However, it is understood that the doctoral committee will ordinarily accept the recommendation of the Special Education faculty. 

Students who pass the preliminary exam will be advanced to candidacy.  The advancement to candidacy form must be signed by all members of the student’s doctoral committee.

Students who fail the exam, or any portion of it, may take the exam additional time within one calendar year.  If at that time the student has not passed the exam, the student will be dropped from the program.