F. The Qualifying Exam

The Qualifying Examination is scheduled after the student has satisfied all language requirements, has
passed all coursework and had the dissertation colloquium. The oral Qualifying Examination should take
place within 10 days of the major field written examination and before the end of the semester.

The Examination is conducted by a Qualifying Examination Committee of four faculty members that must
be approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division. This committee should be selected well in advance of
the intended date of the examination. It must include at least three AHMA faculty members from at least two different departments;
the fourth faculty member may but need not be from outside the AHMA program. All must be members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
Under certain circumstances, a non-Senate member may be appointed to a QE Committee if he or she offers expertise not otherwise available among the regular faculty; such a member may either be one of the committee of four (in which case an exception must be requested from Grad Div) or a fifth member (in which case it is not necessary to seek an exception from Grad Div). The chair of the Qualifying Examination Committee cannot also serve as chair of the student’s Dissertation Committee.

To take the Qualifying Examination, students must schedule it with the SAO and their QE Committee well
in advance; must submit via CalCentral the “Higher Degree Committees” form to the Graduate Division
for its approval at least four weeks before the examination date; and must list on this application at least
three subject areas to be covered during the examination, as well as the names of the members of their QE
Committee. Students may not take it before Graduate Division notifies them that their admission to it has
been approved. The student must be registered the semester in which the exam is taken (or, during winter
or summer break, be registered in either the preceding or following semester); must have completed at least
one semester of academic residence; and AHMA requires that students have no courses on his or her record
graded Incomplete. Eligibility to take the qualifying exam is valid for 18 months.

The Qualifying Examination must be held with the entire committee present; the outside member must also
be present for the entire exam. It covers the student’s three fields of study as well as the proposed
dissertation topic and usually lasts for three hours. Its intent is to ascertain the breadth and depth of a
student’s knowledge; whether or not he or she is adequately prepared for the dissertation; and his or her
ability to undertake dissertation research. Students are expected to exhibit advanced knowledge and
understanding of the facts, principles, and methodologies that apply in their fields of study and dissertation
research and to demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking and analysis. The faculty examiners judge
whether the student has the ability to think incisively and critically about both the theoretical and the
practical aspects of their subject areas, and whether they can, in all likelihood, design and produce an
acceptable dissertation within normative time limits.

Students should submit to the entire exam committee, at least 4 weeks before the oral exam is scheduled,
reading lists for the minor and outside fields. These reading lists should be distilled from the courses taken
to fulfill the two fields: from their instructors’ bibliographies and from any papers written in conjunction
with these courses. They should not expand beyond the reach of the student’s completed coursework.