The objective of the DSEM Qualifying Examinations is to assess the student's ability to do interdisciplinary analysis, based on sound knowledge of core themes, good analytical methods, and the ability to structure and analyze disaster problems in a way that appropriately integrates the required knowledge, methods, and judgment. The levels of synthesis and evaluation to be demonstrated in these examinations go beyond those expected in most courses, although each student’s plan of study is aimed at developing and exercising this level of problem solving. After 18 credits of coursework have been graded, the student must pass a written and oral qualifying examination prepared by the Qualifier Exam Committee for the cohort of students seeking Ph.D. student candidacy. All core faculty are encouraged to participate in the oral exam. The qualifying examination must be passed before the student proceeds to candidacy.
A copy of the dissertation proposal must be available to Disaster Science & Management faculty at least one week prior to the proposal defense. A copy of the dissertation proposal must be delivered to the members of the dissertation committee at least two weeks in advance of the proposal defense.
The format of the dissertation must adhere to guidelines specified in the University's Thesis and Dissertation Manual. The manual is available electronically at http://www.udel.edu/gradoffice/current/thesismanual.html or it may be purchased at the University Bookstore. A copy of the dissertation must be made available to Disaster Science & Management faculty at least two weeks prior to the proposal defense. The dissertation defense will be scheduled only after the advisor of the dissertation committee has determined that a defense is appropriate.
The dissertation defense will be open to the public, and invitations will be sent to all Disaster Science & Management faculty and students at least two weeks prior to the defense date. The candidate will present a summary of the completed research, and will then field questions from the committee, attending faculty, and invited guests. After all questions have been fielded, the dissertation committee will meet to decide whether the dissertation is accepted, rejected, or accepted pending revisions. Results of the meeting will then be presented to the student. The student may not receive more than one dissenting vote from members of the committee to receive a passing grade.