Comprehensive Knowledge Exam | PhD in Vision Science

Timing of the Examination

After completing the following four advanced seminars, a Ph.D. student should request the comprehensive knowledge exam.

  • Vision and Optics
  • Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology of the Eye
  • Eye Diseases and Public Health
  • Oculomotor Functions, Visual Performance, and Applied Vision Science

At the time of the qualification examination, the student must also have met the master’s-level thesis requirement.

Comprehensive Knowledge Exam Committee

The VSG Committee appoints a Comprehensive Knowledge Exam Committee, which comprises all instructors of the above four advanced seminars. 

It is advised that the students prepare for the exam as early as possible, starting by consulting the Exam Committee for a reading list. 

Exam format

The knowledge exam includes two components: a written exam and an oral exam. The written exam will be conducted first, usually in the first two weeks of the fall semester. The oral exam will be conducted four weeks after the completion of the written exam. The exam committee should provide feedback on the written exam to the student at least two weeks before the oral exam. 

The written exam format will be decided by the individual exam committee (instructor(s) of the individual advanced seminar), usually as an in-class exam within a short period of time or a take-home exam with a longer duration. 

The oral exam should be completed within 1.5 hours, including the time the committee decides on the result of the student's performance on individual topical areas. The exam committee will collectively quiz the student on concepts within the four topical areas during the oral examination. After the oral exam, the student will leave the room while the committee discusses the student's performance. At the end of the discussion, the committee should sign the exam report form and announce the result to the student. The oral exam process should be recorded except for the committee discussion section.

After passing the comprehensive knowledge exam, the student may proceed with the Ph.D. Candidacy exam.