Progress toward the Ph.D. is contingent upon passing examinations variously called preliminary, qualifying, general, comprehensive, or major field exams. The qualifying process varies according to the program. In some programs, it consists of a series of incremental, sequential, and cumulative exams over a considerable time. In others, the exams are held in a relatively short period. Exams may be taken orally or in writing; they may be replaced by one or more papers. The program, which determines the form these required examinations take, is responsible for notifying the Graduate School of the student’s successful completion of them.