Nature and Purpose of Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examination in American Religious History is taken after the conclusion of required course work and must be completed before admission to candidacy. Ordinarily, students take their exam in their third year of residence. Preparation for the qualifying examination is comprised of a combination of course work and supplementary individual readings. The examination is not meant to test the student’s ability as a research scholar. Research papers and the dissertation will do that. Passage of the qualifying exam is one requirement demanded of all students seeking the Ph.D., but it is not the only requirement, nor is it the most important. The dissertation is. Therefore, the exam should be kept within its proper proportion.