Ph.D. students in the Environmental Chemistry Area of Specialization will be tested on the depth and breadth of their formal training during the comprehensive examination. The student's Advisory Committee, lead by the Academic Advisor, is responsible for designing, administering, and evaluating the comprehensive examination, following the guidelines detailed below. The structure, format, and content of the comprehensive examination should be discussed at the first meeting of the student's Advisory Committee, and a description of the examination format should provided to the student in writing prior to the examination dates.
The comprehensive examination for Ph.D. students in the MEES Environmental Chemistry AOS should test the student's knowledge in the following areas:
1. Environmental chemistry and geochemistry
2. Physical transport processes
3. Environmental toxicology and/or ecology
4. Experimental design and statistical analysis
5. Environmental management/applied science
The student's Academic Advisor is responsible for insuring that the comprehensive examination adequately covers the above topics.
In general, the comprehensive examination administered to Ph.D. students in the MEES Environmental Chemistry AOS will follow the following format:
1. The comprehensive examination may consist of both a written (not to exceed 5 consecutive 6 hour days) and an oral (not to exceed 4 hours) examination.
2. Generally, the written examination is taken first, with scheduling of the subsequent oral examination contingent on successful completion of the written exam. Each Advisory Committee member may submit candidate questions to the student's advisor, who is responsible for collating the questions, checking for excessive overlap and necessary breadth in topics, and insuring that the written examination is of appropriate length. Each question in the written examination may be closed book, open book, or a combination, as decided committee member writing the question. Again, this format must be agreed to by the advisory committee prior to the examination.
3. The student's responses to the written examination are distributed to the Advisory Committee members for evaluation. Generally, the student's responses to the written examination questions are evaluated by the committee as 'unsatisfactory', 'satisfactory but requiring further elaboration', or'satisfactory'. If a majority of the committee rate the responses in the latter two categories, then the oral examination may be scheduled. If the majority rate the responses 'unsatisfactory', the student has failed the written examination and must retake and pass a new written examination at a latter date.
4. The oral portion of the comprehensive examination is generally designed to probe in more detail the student's responses to the written examination. Other topics may also be discussed.
5. The composition of the Advisory Committee and the administration of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination must follow the rules of the MEES program and the institution's Graduate School.