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BCB Program
Life Sciences South 441D
PO Box 443051
Moscow, ID 83844-3051

(208) 885-6010

Preliminary and Qualifying Examinations

The Ph.D. will require a preliminary examination, which will be taken no later than the end of the fifth semester. The function of the preliminary examination is to determine whether the student has a workable and appropriate research plan that, if fulfilled, will produce an acceptable thesis. This exam also determines whether the students has sufficient background to undertake the proposed research.

The preliminary examination will have three components.
  • A written thesis proposal prepared in the format of a federal research grant, submitted to the committee at least four weeks prior to the oral examination.
  • A public, oral presentation of the research proposal.
  • A non-public oral examination in which committee members will ask questions about the proposed research, and about background and core coursework.


If a student does not schedule the preliminary exam by the end of the fifth semester deadline, then it is an automatic first failed exam, unless a petition is submitted to the BCB Governing Board and the petition is approved.  Students who fail their preliminary exam will be given one more opportunity to pass.  The 2nd attempt should be taken no sooner than 90 days after the failed exam but no later than 6 months after the date of the first exam.