General Exam

Successful progression into candidacy for the Ph.D. demands mastery of research approaches and relevant scientific literature. To this end, graduate students in the Department of Genome Sciences are required to write up the plan of their thesis research in the format similar to that required for federal grant proposals. This requirement is intended to encourage thoughtful design of an effective research strategy and comprehensive understanding of the relevant issues at an early stage of the overall research effort. You may expect your mentor to provide assistance with formulating the grant proposal. Your mentor will help provide "big" ideas and act as a sounding board, but not do so much that you aren't challenged. It is thus largely left to the mentor to use his/her judgment.

The General Exam includes written and oral components and should be scheduled for Spring Quarter of your second year in the program. It is your responsibility to check with your committee members early enough so that your exam is not delayed (i.e. does not drag on into July or later). Please check with Colin Manoil if you are unable to schedule your exam for Spring Quarter. Please also be aware that noncompliance with with departmental requirements, such as timely completion of the General Exam, could result in termination of Training Grant support and academic probation.

UW Graduate School Requirements for attempting your general exam include:

- having taken at least 18 graded credits of graduate course work (approved 400 level courses are allowed)
- having a minimum cumulative gpa of 3.0
- completion of 60 credits either before you take the oral exam or to be completed during the quarter in which you take the exam. MD / Ph.D. students please note: this 60 credit minimum does not include Med School coursework.

Follow this link for written exam guidelines.
Follow this link for oral exam guidelines.

General Exam procedures have recently been simplified. Here's how it works:

1. General exams should be scheduled for late Spring Quarter (May or June). Check with your committee members to find a day / time / place that works for them. At least four members of the committee (including the Chair, GSR, and one additional Graduate Faculty member) must be present at the General Exam.

2. Once you have determined a time that works for everyone, submit this request online via the Graduate School's My Grad Program: Student View website.

3. Send Brian Giebel an email ( bgiebel [ a t ] ) to let him know you've submitted your request, so that he may go into the online system and provide departmental approval. Brian will provide the exam warrant, which your committee members will need to sign and return after your exam. Brian will then submit the result to the UW Graduate School.

4. Students must provide the written component of their exam to their committee members a minimum of 3 weeks prior to the oral exam.  If this deadline is not met, committee members have the option of asking to be removed from the student’s committee or requiring that the student reschedule the exam. Prior guidelines stating students must submit a thesis proposal to their committee in March and receive feedback from the committee by April have been discontinued.

5. Committee members may ask for revisions within 10 days of receiving the written component.