Preliminary Exam

After you finish Chapter 3, you then return and write your Chapter 1 and prepare for your preliminary exam.

The Preliminary Exam is required in order to present your research proposal to your committee. This includes a written manuscript and 15-minute committee presentation.

Assignments and Milestones


Before registering for the Prelim exam course (EPOL 591) students must complete all course requirements, pass the General and Special examinations, complete Chapter 3 (theory and methodology), and have records of readers’ results and a copy of completed exams in your Graduate Student Record. You must also receive approval to tentatively schedule your examination. You need to be registered for 591, 595, or 599 during the term of your examination.

At least four weeks prior to your desired preliminary and final thesis exams, complete the Graduate College’s Preliminary Exam Request form (via the petition process). But do not do this until you have been tentatively approved to proceed to your preliminary exam and that a date has been tentatively confirmed by Dr. Francis. Note that your exam date is subject to change based on your final manuscript approval.

  • Preliminary Exam Request Form (Graduate College petition process)
    • Search the Faculty Database to ensure that your committee members appear here.
    • External committee members will not appear here. Check our Google tracker for any external committee member details; You do not need to upload a CV or letter of justification – while it may imply an error, you can skip that.
    • Retired faculty will appear if their status has been renewed.
Manuscript Milestones

Chapter 1 to 3 become your preliminary exam manuscript – your research proposal. Refer to the Admin Updates with prefix of 4 (referenced above) for specific instructions.

In Brief:

  • By now your Chapter 2 should be a streamlined Literature Review
  • You should have IRB approval
  • You will add Chapter 1, which is an introduction to your research proposal. It should be relatively brief and not overly repetitive of your chapter 3
    • The significance of this topic and the reasons you selected it
    • Your Research question(s)
    • Your hypotheses (not required)
    • An overview of the theoretical foundation of your study
    • Summary of methods and rationale for selection
    • High level summary of your research plan


Refer to the Work Submission and Review Process for specific submission and review details and instructions.

Presentations (Examination)

Coordinate with Dr. Francis to arrange your peer and committee oral examination dates. Refer to the Preliminary Exam Outline PDF for additional details

  • Prepare a 15-minute Oral Presentation
  • Present to your peers (15-minute presentation, 30-minute session)
  • Present to your Committee (15-minute presentation; 60-minute session)
Planning Checklist
  1. IRB Materials submitted to your advisor for signature
  2. IRB Materials submitted to the IRB office with advisor’s signature
  3. Admin Updates completed
  4. Draft of Chapters 1 to 3 in the Graduate College format with correct committee member names and proper filename convention (your name, work type, brief/descriptive title, and revision date) sent to Dr. Francis for preliminary review.
  5. Tentative approval from Dr. Francis to schedule preliminary examination. Date is subject to change based on Dr. Kalantzis’ approval of your full manuscript.
  6. Draft of Chapters 1 to 3 in the Graduate College format with correct committee member names and proper filename convention (your name, work type, brief/descriptive title, and revision date) sent to Dr. Kalantzis for approval.
  7. Draft of PPT sent to Dr. Francis for initial review.
  8. Registered for 591, 595, or 599 during the term/semester when you have been approved to schedule your examination
  9. Preliminary exam committee form filled out (your committee details can be found on your EDS Progress Report. External Committee member details can be found on our Google tracker; committee details tabs)
  10. IRB approval received
Final Manuscript and Approval Checklist

Final Manuscript and Approval

  1. Dr. Kalantzis’ approval to proceed to examination.
  2. PPT sent to Dr. Kalantzis for approval.
  3. Committee-version of manuscript emailed to Dr. Francis at least two weeks prior to the examination – make sure no change notes, no tracked changes, no comments, etc.  Correct title page, etc. A clean version with a useful filename (your name, work type, brief description, date) ready for committee’s eyes.
  4. Monday night’s peer presentations (our normal zoom link)
  5. Your committee presentation (different zoom link; in the calendar invite)