Qualifying (Orals) Exam

Qualifying (Orals) Exam Timeline and Policy & Procedures 17-18

General Information

Oral exams are generally held during the academic year (September through May). Although you may arrange to take them during the summer, please know that faculty members have no obligation to serve on summer oral exam committees. You must be registered during the semester in which you take your oral exam or, if you take the orals during the summer, you must be registered the semester before or after.

The orals committee, without exception, consists of four members, at least one of whom, but no more than two must be from outside the Department of Economics. All members of the committee must have Ph.D.s and be members of the Academic Senate. Faculty with joint appointments, without regard to the percent time of the appointment (including 0% FTE), are considered inside members and may also serve in the capacity of the chair. The chair of your oral exam committee, may not also serve as the chair of your dissertation committee. Department policy stipulates that the dissertation committee chair may not serve on the orals committee in any capacity.


Paper work must be submitted at least three weeks prior to the date of the exam.

  1. Go to your student file in Cal Central under "Submit a form," complete the Higher Degree Committees Form to apply for the qualifying exam, or modify your Committee:  How to use the Higher Degree Committees Form- opens in new window. List three fields of research; include your two fields and a non-departmental field along the lines of your outside committee member. NOTE: If you plan to have a committee member that is from outside UC Berkeley, you must submit their name and CV to the Economics Graduate Office (Graduate Advisor) BEFORE you apply to take your Orals exam. The person needs to be approved by Graduate Division.
  2. Submit the Higher Degree Committees Form for Qualifying Exam no less than three weeks prior to the date of your exam.
  3. Confirm the date and time of the exam with all committee members.
  4. Inform the Economics Graduate Office (Graduate Advisor) of the date and time of the exam once confirmed via email.
  5. Reserve 506 Evans with the administrative assistant in 530 Evans Hall as soon as the date and time is confirmed. Reserve the room for 3 hours, although the exam, in most cases, will only last two hours.
  6. Provide copies of your prospectus to each of your committee members at least one or two weeks prior to your exam.
  7. Approximately one week prior to your exam remind all committee members of the date, time and place.
  8. No later than 24 hours prior to your exam submit email a copy of the most up-to-date version of your prospectus to the Economics Graduate Office for your file. Please have your dissertation advisor send an email with her or his approval of your prospectus tothe Economics Graduate Office (Graduate Advisor).
  9. After passing the exam, go to your student file in Cal Central under "Submit a form" - Higher Degree Committees Form to apply for Doctoral (dissertation) candidacy. Graduate students who plan to use human subjects in their research must complete the CITI course and upload your certificate of completion prior with your advancement to candidacy application. This certificate must be submitted with the advancement form. **If you are eligible for the Doctoral Completion Fellowship (DCF), be sure to submit your advancement to candidacy form via Cal Central by June 30th of the year in which you pass your orals.