Qualifying Committee

Qualifying Committee

For candidates in the direct Ph.D. track and students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. track, a Qualifying Committee will be appointed to test them before their promotion to Stage A. The Qualifying Committee will continue to accompany the student as an Advisory Committee or will be replaced, in accordance with the decision of the Unit Committee for Research Students. The qualifying exam will be an oral test; it will test the candidate’s knowledge in his or her field of expertise, encompassing subjects related to the proposed research plan and the range of courses the candidate has attended within the framework of his or her studies.


Each student in the direct track (including M.D./Ph.D. students) must submit to the Unit Committee for Research Students an abbreviated research plan (up to 3 pages), on his or her future research topic—including aims and work methods—which will be used by the examiners to focus the topic of the test. The research plan must include a title in Hebrew and English.


The application must include a recommendation from the supervisor including a detailed opinion of the student’s qualifications and the options for expanding his or her research topic to a Ph.D. research study, as well as the names of a number of faculty members for the Qualifying Committee.


The abbreviated research plan must be submitted together with the Supervisor’s research plan assessment form:

  1. To the following email address: rkali@tauex.tau.ac.il
  2. To the Graduate School secretariat (printed copy)


This plan will be submitted for discussion by the Unit Committee for Research Students, which will assess the student’s achievements during his or her first year of study, as well as the research abstract.


The Committee is authorized to decide:

  1. To reject the recommendation to promote the student to the direct track. In this case, the candidate can receive a Master’s degree from the university after completing the mandatory requirements for this degree.
  2. Appoint a Qualifying Committee for the student.


Qualifying Exam Procedure

The supervisor will provide the Unit Committee with the names of recommended examiners in the field of research from within the university. The Committee will consider the supervisor’s requests but is not obligated to accept them. Similarly, the supervisor may ask to avoid appointing a certain faculty member as an examiner in the Qualifying Committee.


The Unit Committee will appoint the members of the Qualifying Committee, which will include two members, at least one of whom is a faculty member of the department to which the candidate belongs, and will inform the student, the supervisor, and the committee members of the appointment of the Qualifying Committee.


During the qualifying exam for promotion to the next stage, the students’ supervisors have the option of participating in the test, but not in the final discussion.


The test will take place no later than one month from the date of appointment of the Qualifying Committee; the student will arrange it and inform the participants of the date.


The Qualifying Committee will test the candidate’s qualifications and will pass on its recommendation to the Unit Committee.


If the student successfully passes the qualifying exam—he or she will be accepted as a Stage A student.


If the student does not pass the qualifying exam—his or her studies within the framework of the direct PhD track will be considered part of his or her studies for a master’s degree.


Aims of the Qualifying Exam

  • To determine whether the proposed research plan is suitable for a PhD.
  • To test the student’s knowledge of the research topic and similar topics.
  • To test the student’s knowledge of relevant research tools and methods.
  • To determine the student’s ability to execute a research study at the required level.


Test Procedure

The test will include two parts:

  • Presentation of the planned research topic by the student.
  • The committee members will pose questions on the research plan and on topics related to the research field.


In a qualifying exam for progress to a new stage, the members of the Qualifying Committee will run the meeting and the supervisor will participate as a passive observer only.


In a qualifying exam for acceptance to the direct PhD track, the supervisor will not participate in the meeting!


Possible Qualifying Committee Decisions

At the end of the test, in the absence of the supervisor, the Qualifying Committee members will summarize their conclusions:

  • To approve the student’s courses and research study according to the proposed plan.
  • To request submission of a new plan and arrangement of a second test.
  • To approve the student’s research study after completion of the required conditions detailed in their assessment.
  • To stop or disqualify the student from studying in the direct track towards a PhD.


The members of the Qualifying Committee will decide whether to continue accompanying the student as an Advisory Committee.


A student who successfully passes the qualifying exam (minimum grade of 90) will be accepted as a Stage A student.

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