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- Wharton Doctoral Requirements
- 2015-2016 Policies and Procedures Handbook
Second Year Exam Guidelines
The second‐year qualifying exam is given to allow students to demonstrate their competency in a particular (pair of) management specialization(s) prior to proceeding to dissertation stage. It is scheduled during the month of May.
By the end of February, students choose a core specialization and may choose a related specialization from the following set of six specializations: Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, Multinational Management, Organization Behavior, Organization Theory and Strategic Management.
An examination committee is formed by 2‐4 faculty members, where the head of the committee is a subgroup member in the core specialization area. The committee membership is chosen by the core subgroup area coordinator in consultation with the doctoral coordinator; at least half the members of the committee are subgroup members in the core specialization area.
A reading list is generated by the committee in conjunction with the student. Typically, the reading list contains required and optional materials from class syllabi as well as other related articles, and is supplemented with additional articles that relate to the student’s interests.
The written component of the exam contains multiple questions. Students are typically required to answer certain questions and are provided optional elections among other questions. Students are given between 8‐10 hours to complete their written responses. The exam is open book / open notes and is delivered and returned via email. The oral component of the exam is held 2‐3 days after the written component. In a session lasting between 30 minutes and 1 hour, the student answers questions intended to clarify their written responses. Throughout the duration of the exam period, students may ask clarifying questions of faculty members of their committee, but are not permitted to discuss exam answers with faculty or fellow students.
After the oral exam, the committee grants a pass, a conditional pass, or a fail. “Pass” means that the student is qualified to move to dissertation stage. “Conditional pass” means that the student needs a limited amount of remedial work; in this case, the committee will require some additional writing due within one week and may request a follow-up oral exam. “Fail” means that the student has demonstrated serious deficiencies; in this case, the exam must be retaken and passed before August 15 in order for the student to remain in the program.