Department of Earth SciencesWestern Science

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination Guidelines


A student may be declared:

a) passed without recommendations, or
b) passed with recommendations for further study in weak areas identified during the exam.

In the latter case, the Chair will provide in writing to the student what remedial action is recommended and it will be the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that these actions are carried out prior to the thesis defence.


The Chair must provide a failed student with the reasons for failure and recommended remedial actions, which may include a list of undergraduate or graduate courses to be taken, and/or a list of texts/research papers to be studied.

A failed student is allowed a second opportunity to appear for the Qualifying Examination within six months of the initial Qualifying Exam. A grace period may be allowed if additional courses are recommended but are not offered during this period.

A student who fails the Qualifying Examination a second time will be required to either withdraw from the Ph.D. program or downgrade to a M.Sc. program.

Officially adopted by the Graduate Committee on November 3, 2009