The Comprehensive Examination must be passed by each candidate as one requirement for Admission to Candidacy. The exam is normally administered to a candidate before five semesters have been completed in a Ph.D. program. Each advisory committee member will provide five questions to the advisor and the student will select three to answer. Each exam will last no more than six hours and will be administered by the advisor on five consecutive days. Subsequently, the oral examination will be administered by all members of the student's advisory committee meeting together at one time. The oral exam should be given within 4 weeks of the satisfactory completion of the written exam.

The Advisory Committee of each Ph.D. candidate will develop a written exam comprised of five areas. Three of those areas will be based upon the AOS core and two will be selected from the four additional areas listed below.

Core Exam Areas
3 of 4 comprehensive exam areas: 

Community Ecology
Population Ecology

Additional Exam Areas
2 of 4 comprehensive exam areas: 

Physiological Ecology
Statistics and Experimental Design
Ecological Energetics
Quantitative Ecology