Students who enrolled in the PhD program prior to the Spring 2010 semester are subject to the old qualifying exam requirements. However, the student may request the new requirements.
The old qualifying exam requirements consists of two components:
- Pre-Qualifying course requirement and core-courses;
- A general oral exam.
These are detailed as follows:
1. Pre-Qualifying Course Requirement
- Students require 42 hours of pre-qualifying credit hours (as detailed above). This must include 9 hours of core graduate courses, and can include up to 6 hours of independent study (EE 783) approved by the DGS
- Core courses: Students must take 3 of the 5 graduate core courses in EE:
- EE 611 – Deterministic Systems
- EE 621 – Electromagnetic Fields
- EE 640 – Stochastic Systems
- EE 661 – Solid State Electronics
- EE 685 – Digital Computer Structure
- Students must receive a B or higher in core courses
2. Qualifying Exam
The Qualifying exam has a three components
- Written examinations administered by each of the student’s PhD Advisory Committee members;
- Preparation of the students PhD Dissertation Proposal
- Oral examination of the student’s Dissertation proposal and of the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge in Electrical Engineering
Prior to scheduling the oral qualifying exam, the PhD student must form their PhD advisory committee and complete the “Doctoral Advisory Committee Request” form through the Graduate School. The student must also have completed their pre-qualifying course requirement.
The student should notify their advisory committee their intent to take the qualifying exam a minimum of two months prior to the anticipated date of the exam. Each member of the advisory committee is expected to give a written examination to the candidate. At this point, the PhD candidate must schedule the time and location for the written exam with each of his/her committee members. The student must then prepare a full written research proposal that proposes his/her dissertation research. The proposal should provide the objectives of their proposed research, background and motivation for their research, detail the proposed research, justify the proposed approaches or techniques, provide metrics needed to gauge success, provide a timeline with milestones, summarize the expect impact, and identify risks of failure and the potential for success. The PhD candidate must have passed all written exams with each advisory commitee member, and their written proposal should be submitted to all of their advisory committee members prior to scheduling the oral qualifying exam through the graduate school.
Once scheduled, the oral qualifying exam will consist of three components:
- Review of the written examinations
- This should be done privately by the committee
- Proposal presentation
- The student will present their dissertation proposal. The presentation should be less than one hour
- A general audience can be present during this part of the oral examination.
- Proposal Critique
- After the proposal presentation, the committee will take time to ask questions about the research proposal, raise concerns, or provide comments. The candidate should have sufficient knowledge to field questions and concerns.
- General Questions
- After all questions regarding the proposal are completed, the committee will then ask an array of questions on topics that test the candidates breadth of knowledge of the fundamentals of electrical engineering. The committee should also ask questions testing the candidates depth of knowledge related to the candidate’s field of research.
- Only the candiate and the advisory committee should be present for this component of the oral examination.
After the examination, the advisory committee will agree to pass or fail the candidate’s qualifying exam. The advisory committee should also provide constructive comments to the proposal to guide the candidate. If any weaknesses are found in the candidates background hindering the success of the research, the committee can also recommend additional classes that must be taken by the PhD candidate.
The candidate should complete their qualifying exam within 1 calander year of completing their course work.
Note all PhD students are required to complete the annual review process. This has always been required, but has been neglected in the past, and is now being enforced.