The preliminary qualifying exam (PQE) format is a written proposal and potential dissertation project to be presented, discussed and defended by the student. The proposal is written in the format of an NIH post-doctoral application with a slightly longer page limit of 10 pages not including references. The goal of the PQE is to evaluate the student’s potential and ability to think independently and creatively about experimental design. The student must demonstrate solid knowledge in the background of their proposed topic and an overall knowledge of the immune system. The written proposal, in conjunction with the oral defense, will be evaluated in this light.
Students should plan to complete the PQE between December and March of the second year of graduate study. Before scheduling the examination, students should email their list of proposed PQE Committee members to Shiv Pillai (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Wendy Garrett (Wendy_Garrett@dfci.harvard.edu). Along with their proposed PQE members, they should also include a brief description (2-3 sentences) on the topic of their project. One week prior to the exam, students must email their written proposal to each member of their PQE Committee and the immunology program administrator.