PreCandidacy Progress/Qualifying Exam
(Form 1 – PreCandidacy)
The purpose of the qualifying exam is to evaluate the student’s basic knowledge in nutrition-related fields, determine if the student has a strong enough background to proceed successfully with their doctoral program, and enable advisors to assist the student in planning an appropriate program of study. The areas covered by the exam include basic nutrition, nutrition biochemistry and nutrition research methods and is generally taken when this part of the course work is completed.
Students entering the Intercollege Nutrition PhD Program from a Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences (HNFAS) MS Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa within 5 years of receiving their MS degree are exempt from the exam. Suitability for the PhD program will have been assessed during their MS program via the Master’s degree candidacy exam and thesis defense/final exam. Students entering with any other MS degree or a BS degree will typically conduct the qualifying examination when the student has completed their core coursework in nutrition and research methods.
The examining committee consists of at three members of the graduate faculty chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor, to examine in each of the three domains. The advisor chairs the examination, but is not one of the three examiners. The examining committee must be approved by the Intercollege Nutrition PhD Graduate chair.
The exam is typically oral, but the content and format is decided by the examining committee. Students will also be asked to provide a brief overview (e.g., problem statement and research questions) of their dissertation research ideas. Performance on the Qualifying Examination is based on the Intercollege Nutrition PhD Program Qualifying Examination Rubric below (Table 1). The student’s advisor is responsible for ensuring that the Intercollege Nutrition PhD Program Qualifying Examination Rubric Form is distributed to and collected from committee members at the time of the exam. If the committee agrees that the performance met or exceeded their expectations, then the student will have passed the Qualifying Examination. If the committee agrees that the exam performance was not strong (i.e., did not meet or marginally met expectations), then the student will not have passed the Qualifying Exam. The student’s advisor collects the completed Intercollege Nutrition PhD Qualifying Examination Rubric Forms from each member of the Advisory committee and tabulates the scores (per instructions on bottom of the Form). Completed Intercollege Nutrition PhD Program Qualifying Examination Rubric Forms must be submitted to the Intercollege Nutrition PhD Program Graduate Chair no more than 2 days after the examination.
The exam is repeatable once after successful petition to the Graduate Chair. Students failing the qualifying exam twice must withdraw from the program.
Students entering the program will be required to pass the qualifying exam within the first two years of their program. Extensions can be made for students with course deficiencies to make up.