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The preliminary exam is the oral defense of the written proposal. Students need to schedule the oral preliminary exam, which will involve a presentation and defense of the research proposal with the committee. The closed session will cover questions on the thesis research and generally related topics. 

*NOTE: The preliminary exam and proposal are two separate university requirements, but in BMEN, these two steps occur together. 

Once a student is within 6 hours of completing formal coursework on their degree plan, the preliminary exam should be scheduled. The current departmental deadline is for this requirement to be completed before the end of the student’s 8th semester. Students will need to track their progress of when they must complete this step. Note that, courses in progress will be counted as completed courses for the purpose of determining eligibility. Failure to complete the preliminary exam within the above required time frame will result in a hold being placed on the student’s academic file which will prevent registration in future terms. 

Additionally, the exam should not be administered until the proposal is in substantially final form. Once the preliminary exam is passed, the student has four calendar years to complete all remaining degree requirements (Graduate and Professional School rule). 

The Proposal Title Page and an electronic copy of the entire proposal (which includes the timeline) should be submitted to the Graduate and Professional School, along with the Preliminary Examination Checklist and Report Form. After completing the preliminary exam, these documents must be submitted within 10 days to the Graduate and Professional School. The student should fill out the Preliminary Exam Checklist prior to the proposal defense to ensure that they are eligible to take the exam. 

Students have only two opportunities to pass the preliminary examination per university guidelines. After two failed attempts, the student must either level down to the master’s degree, change degree programs or separate from the university.