Final qualifying examinations
All doctoral students are required to pass the Final Qualifying Examination near or at the end of their coursework. The Final Qualifying Examinations are held during the fall and winter terms each academic year based on the policies established by the Doctoral Academic Standards Committee and adopted by the College of Education Assembly on March 20, 1991, with revisions adopted by the Assembly on December 10, 2014.
An approved Plan of Work must be on file in Academic Services, 489 Education and the appropriate coursework must be completed before a student can take the Qualifying Examinations. If you are uncertain about the status of your Plan of Work, please contact Michael Foley in Academic Services through e-mail at or by calling 313-577-1606.
An audit of the Plan of Work will be completed after submission of the Registration form. The results of the audit, as well as approval for testing, will be reported through an e-mail message to the student.
Qualifying Examination Committee
Students are strongly encouraged to form the Qualifying Examination Committee in consultation with the Major Advisor at least one year before taking the Qualifying Examination.
The committee must consist minimally of three graduate faculty members from the major department (faculty from the College of Education), at least two of whom hold a valid regular graduate faculty appointment through the completion of the qualifying examination period. The major advisor must be one of the two members with a valid Regular Graduate Faculty Appointment.
The membership of the Qualifying Examination Committee may not normally be changed until the Final Qualifying Examination has been passed.
Qualifying Examination Forms and Information
- Traditional Format
- Take-Home Format
- Traditional Format
- Take-Home Format
Format Options for the Written Qualifying Examinations: Traditional or Take-Home
For students with majors in Counseling; Educational Psychology; Learning Design and Technology (formerly Instructional Technology); and Educational Evaluation and Research, the exam may only be completed in the traditional (proctored) format. The traditional format is a 12-hour exam of four (4) test sessions of three (3) hours each.
For students with majors in the following programs: Curriculum and Instruction; Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Kinesiology; Reading, Language and Literature; and Special Education, the exam may be completed in the traditional (proctored) format or as a take-home exam. Final approval on the exam format is made by the major advisor. The take-home format is in two sessions between the third and ninth week of the semester. The two sessions of the examination must be completed within 18 consecutive calendar days.
Written Examination Information
- Testing on Thursday and Friday is from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon (morning session) and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (afternoon session). All students will test for 12 hours (four test sessions of three (3) hours each).
- Orientation is mandatory: Orientation is on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in Room 423 (Faculty Lounge), Education as scheduled above. Arrive on time for the orientation. Arriving late for the orientation may result in delayed testing or in postponing the Final Qualifying Examination to the next available term. Attendance is mandatory for each testing session.
- There are no excused absences. If you are not present for the testing session, you will receive a failing grade for that session.
- Arrive on time for each testing session. Additional time is not provided for arriving late.
- Lunch on Thursday and Friday is from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m. (Lunch is not provided).
- Paper, pencils, pens, dictionaries, and thesauruses will be provided.
- All outside materials are prohibited during the testing periods unless sanctioned by your advisor or committee member in writing prior to the test.
- Cellular phones may not be used in the testing room. All cellular phones must be turned off and stored away from the student's testing area.
- The Internet, e-mail, chat and other electronic communication mediums may not be accessed in the testing room.
- A single storage device will be provided to each student. No other storage devices are permitted in the testing room.
- You may not remove any testing materials from the testing room at any time.
- No copies of the test questions or your responses will be provided.
- We make every effort to control the noise during the testing period; however, we know that some noise in the testing room and hallway is unavoidable. Some students found earplugs helpful. Watch alarms, cell phones and pagers must be off.
- Please inform family and friends in the event of an emergency to call 313-577-1605.
- The clock on the wall of the testing room is the official time for the start and end of each testing period. Do not use your own clock or the clock on the computer to keep time.
The student and the advisor are to complete the Take-Home Qualifying Exam Worksheet to identify the specific days and times for receiving the exam questions and for submitting the exam responses. The completed worksheet is submitted with the Qualifying Examination Registration Form.
The Oral Examination
The oral examination shall cover both the area of concentration (major field) and, if applicable the cognate (minor field). The content of the oral examination can be similar to or different from the written examination.
The oral examination may not be held during Spring Break, on Study Day and/or any day WSU is closed. Review the appropriate test calendar for the dates when the oral may be held.
Divisional Testing Coordinators
Contact information to schedule a room for the Oral Exam
Curriculum and Instruction
Reading, Language and Literature
Educational Evaluation and Research
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Learning Design and Technology (formerly Instructional Technology)
Contact your advisor regarding the scheduling of a room for your oral exam.
Students with Disabilities and Testing Accommodations
If you have a documented disability that requires accommodations, you will need to register with Student Disability Services for coordination of your academic accommodations. The Student Disability Services (SDS) office is located at 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library in the Student Academic Success Services department. SDS telephone number is 313-577-1851 or 313-577-3365 (TTY only).
Student Disability Services' mission is to assist the university in creating an accessible community where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in their educational experience at Wayne State University. Please refer to the for further information about students with disabilities and the services provided for faculty and students.
Please contact SDS as soon as possible but no later than two months prior to submitting the Final Qualifying Examination Registration form. An Accommodation Request form from SDS must be submitted with the Final Qualifying Examination Registration form to Academic Services by the deadline date. Late submission of the Accommodation Request form will postpone the Final Qualifying Examination to the next available term.
Once you have your accommodations in place, contact the Graduate Testing Coordinator to schedule an appointment. The appointment must be scheduled no later than one month prior to the exam date.
Deborah A. Gibson
Graduate Testing Coordinator
Failing the Written Component
If the written component of the Final Qualifying Examination is not completed successfully at the first administration, the examination may be repeated only once. The major advisor shall convey to the student the Qualifying Examination Committee's specific recommendations as to admitting the applicant to a second examination and specify any additional work that should be completed prior to such an examination. A second examination may not be held until at least one semester has elapsed, but must be held within one calendar year following the first examination. The same examination committee must preside over both examinations. The second written examination will be considered final.
Failing the Oral Component
If the oral component of the Final Qualifying Examination is not completed successfully at the first administration, the examination may be repeated only once. The major advisor shall convey to the student the Qualifying Examination Committee's specific recommendations as to admitting the applicant to a second examination and specify any additional work that should be completed prior to such an examination. A second examination may not be held until at least one semester has elapsed, but must be held within one calendar year following the first examination. The same examination committee must preside over both examinations. The second oral examination will be considered final.
Failing either the written or the oral component is considered failing the Final Qualifying Examination.