Preliminary Examination | SOE | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Examination

Candidacy status can only be awarded after students successfully complete the preliminary examination. This examination will include those areas established as appropriate by the department or concentration. Faculty from the respective concentration areas will determine who will be responsible for preparing, evaluating, and certifying successful completion of the examination.


The preliminary examination is an assessment of the breadth and depth of a student’s knowledge in educational foundations and his/her concentration area, and his/her ability to access, analyze, and synthesize research through writing.


The examination will be offered at least two times a year and will be administered on the fifth week of each semester. The appropriate departmental representative will be responsible for selecting the examination location and monitoring the examination.

Students completing preliminary examinations will be notified about their results no later than 30 calendar days after examinations are completed. Notification may vary for the departments (or concentrations) where preliminary examinations are offered during the summer semester.


A student may take the preliminary examination after having successfully completed all (or most) coursework listed on the student’s Program of Study. Exceptions to this policy can only be granted by both the committee chairperson and the director of graduate studies. The student must seek and receive approval from the dissertation committee chair to take the preliminary examination.

If a student fails the examination on the initial attempt, then he/she may take the exam up to two additional times (contingent on the student’s concentration) before being removed from the doctoral program.