Pre-Qualifying Interview

Policy in Catalog:
MS Degree Requirements in the School of Marine Science Graduate Catalog
PhD Degree Requirements in the School of Marine Science Graduate Catalog

Roles and Responsibilities of Students, Advisors, and Committees

Pre-Qualifying Interview (DocuSign | View Sample)

General Information:

The pre-qualifying interview is an opportunity to discuss your research ideas with your committee, to receive their feedback, and to identify areas for further study and training prior to formally initiating your research. The meeting gives committee members a chance to find out what you are planning for a thesis/dissertation topic and to suggest further courses or readings that will improve your preparation. In turn, you will gain better insight as to what your committee expects in terms of a prospectus and background knowledge.  All committee members should be present for the meeting. Members external to VIMS may participate via Zoom if they are unable to travel to our campus due to scheduling constraints.  We recommend that you leave plenty of time to find a suitable date for all and to reserve a room for the meeting. 

At the beginning of the interview, you will give a 5-10 minute oral presentation describing your research interests and goals. The committee will then discuss with you the knowledge, training and skills required to meet these goals. The interview will last approximately one hour. The interview is not an exam; one does not pass or fail the interview. Rather, the pre-qualifying interview provides useful information for both the student and the committee. Recommendations of the committee will be summarized in writing on the milestone form. A student who wishes to bypass the M.S. is advised to discuss the option with the committee at the pre-qualifying interview.

The milestone for completing the pre-qualifying interview for master's students is 12 months after entry (i.e., before the beginning of the second Fall semester for students matriculating in Fall). Doctoral students should complete the milestone before the beginning of the second Spring semester.  

Last Updated: August 21, 2023 by J. Hay