Scope of Qualifying Examination

The scope of the qualifying examination is a function of the student's research interests and the broad objectives of the PhD program in Rural Resource Evaluation and Environmental Analysis. Thus, this description of the scope of the examination, which will be prepared by the student in consultation with the Advisory Committee, is a key component of the qualifying examination. It defines the general boundaries of the pertinent scholarly fields and research areas, guides the Examination Committee's preparation of questions, and constitutes a reference list for the written examination. GEOG*6100 is explicitly designed to help students develop this description.

This description must be approved by the Advisory Committee, and must be provided to the members of the Examining Committee four weeks prior to the written examination. It should have the following main sections:

  • Introduction. In about 750 words, the introduction should outline the scope of the student's research interests, identify the areas within which the student will make an intellectual contribution, and define in broad terms the pertinent elements of the scholarly field and research area.
  • Scholarly Fields. This section describes in detail the scholarly fields addressed by the student, and provides a list of pertinent references. The fields and literature identified must pertain to the resource assessment area of specialization, and to either the biophysical processes specialization or the rural socioeconomic resources specialization.
  • Research Areas. This section describes in detail the student's research area, and provides a list of pertinent references. The scope of this section will be decided jointly by the student and the Advisory Committee.

It is recognized that the breadth and depth of the literature used to define the scholarly fields and research areas identified will vary from student to student, depending on the nature of the research questions and problems. However, in all cases it is expected that students will present literature that demonstrates that they have explored pertinent conceptual, theoretical, and methodological issues.