Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination (QE) tests a PhD student's research progress, ability to explain and evaluate his/her research work in the context of the scientific literature, and ability to answer technical questions from other scientists.

Unless special permission is granted by School, the QE must be completed within 18 months from enrolment in the PhD programme. Failure to do so may result in disqualification from the PhD programme.

Preparing for QE

To be eligible for QE, a PhD student must have completed the coursework requirements of the PhD programme, while satisfying the minimum CGPA of 3.5. If the student is enrolled in and on-track to complete the last one or two courses in their 3rd semester, permission will be granted to attend the QE. However, the QE results will take effect only after the successful completion of the required coursework. Students who foresee that they might not be able to meet the coursework requirements before QE due date should contact the School as soon as possible.

PhD students who meet the eligibility criteria will have their QE scheduled near the end of their 3rd semester (15–16 months after enrolment in the programme). Students will be informed on the date/time of the oral examination via email.

Students should begin preparing the QE report a few months before the scheduled QE. This is a short report (20-50 pages) detailing (i) the research progress thus far, and (ii) future research plans. It should be properly formatted according to the standards of the scientific literature.

The PhD student must also prepare a 30-minute presentation. The oral examination will consist of the 30-minute presentation, followed by a 20 minute Q&A session. The examiners may ask about anything relating to the research.