Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Conditional Pass

I had my PhD Qualifying exam this morning, and I passed, sort-of. So now I get to explain to everyone who wants to congratulate me what that means.

In the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, the PhD Qualifying examinations are newly reformatted. There are essentially two components: an oral component, a two-and-a-half-hour question-and-answer session that I had this morning, and a written component, a 5-page research program proposal in the style of a NSERC Discovery Grant. The full, real NSERC Discovery Grant is the usual funding that covers operating expenses for most science professors at Canadian Universities. It's usually a large document that includes a great diversity of forms. At its heart, the Discovery Grant is a proposal to support research over a period of five years.

This morning, the oral component went well. I was told by the examination committee that they were satisfied with my performance. Good. That's the "pass" part of "conditional pass". The "conditional" part is I now have one month to completely re-write the Discovery Grant. The committee will look at what I produce in this month, and then decide if I have managed to bring it up to the quality they want. My previous written Discovery Grant was not good enough; they were not satisfied.

So, that's what I'll be working on for the next month. I'm basically happy, but I'm not through this process yet.


Carlo said...
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Carlo said...

Well, here's a conditional congratulations! The comprehensive examination isn't supposed to be a cake-walk, and some of the brightest, most hard-working people I know have had to work quite hard in order to make it through their comps.

One friend of mine was unlucky enough to have a committee composed entirely of bioinformaticians/statistiscians, which was only one part of his overall project. However, they focused on his write-up of that part and he quickly realized that he would have to learn these specific skills if he was going to make it through his Ph.D. His comps turned out to be one of the tougest days of his life.

It's now just a matter of using the resources you have at your disposal to improve the content of your proposal.

TheBrummell said...

Well, here's a conditional congratulations!

Thanks! (unconditionally)

It's now just a matter of using the resources you have at your disposal to improve the content of your proposal.

Yeah. It's not so much "improve" at this point as "start over". Still, this could actually be (a little bit) fun, in that I write a funding proposal that includes a fair chunk of "given a really cool situation, I'd like to spend the government's money doing all these big things". So I get to be (a tiny bit) fantastic.

King Aardvark said...

Conditional congrats here, too. Now get back to work!

Anonymous said...

Congrats from me too Martin, sorry for it being belated.

Anonymous said...

Hey conditional pass is better than unconditional fail :)

Congrats I'm sure with their input from your last proposal the new one will wow them.


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of course you can pass just think positive and believe yourself.