Qualifying Exam

Qualifying Exam (QE)

The Qualifying Examination (QE) functions as a threshold between coursework and the dissertation proposal/prospectus. The QE requires students to demonstrate their ability to identify, synthesize, and critique foundational concepts and theories in relation to a significant educational issue. It serves two primary functions:

  1. Demonstrates and applies knowledge gained from doctoral courses
  2. Lays the groundwork for designing and conducting dissertation research

A student must have a Dissertation Chair in place in order to begin work on their QE. The dissertation chair is not allowed to edit or provide specific feedback on draft QE papers. The student must work with the Chair to determine which questions to answer. Discussion regarding readings and theory are allowed.

A successful QE provides the stepping stones to the dissertation proposal/prospectus. While the topic a QE addresses does not have to be the same topic as the dissertation, it is suggested that the QE work towards the dissertation proposal/prospectus.


To be eligible to complete the QE, a student must:

  • have 30 credit hours already completed
  • be in the final semester of their core coursework
  • have a Dissertation Chair identified and confirmed

If a student is ready to begin their QE, they will need to reach out to the Program Associate with the name of their Dissertation Chair. The student will be added to the AsULearn Page when the Cohort is in their final major (fall/spring) semester of core coursewor. The chair will grade the QE  in consultation with the second committee member or the Associate Director of the Doctoral Program if the student does not have a second committee member. All questions regarding the QE should be directed to the Associate Director of the Doctoral Program.   

If a student is working on their QE after coursework has been completed, they will need to register for GRD 7989. To register, the student will reach out to the Program Associate and they will send the student the CRN to register for that semester.

Continuous enrollment is required to stay in the program. If enrollment is dropped, a student is not guaranteed to be readmitted to the program.

All Qualifying Exam documents can be found in the linked Google Drive folder

You must be logged into your Appstate email account to access the documents in the Google Drive folder. 

Please contact the Program Associate if you have difficulties accessing the Google Drive folder. 

Details regarding the Qualifying Exam

Please use the following links to find detailed information on the Charactaristics, Requirements, and specific questions of the QE: