MSE Qualifying Requirements

The school qualification to candidacy is essentially in 2 parts.

(1) Core Courses – The first requirement is to take the three core courses. Students must pass the three core courses (i.e. 6411, 6402, and 6768). (If a student gets a “F” grade in a core course then they must retake that course and get a passing grade)

(2) Qualifier exam – All full-time Ph.D. students enrolled in the Fall semester without any course deficiency are required to take the Qualifier Exam scheduled on a day in the early summer of the first year (typically at end of May/first week of June).  Students will be provided with research papers supplied by faculty (articles from published scientific journals). A written exam will be taken by the students 4 weeks after receiving papers.  Students will have to answer 6 out of 18 questions, each based on the research papers (one question from each paper). The written exam will last 4 hours and will test the ability to read, understand and critically analyze the pre-supplied research papers.  It will require knowledge of the fundamental such as those covered in the core courses and related science discussed in the papers. Students are not allowed to discuss the research papers with their supervisors, but are encouraged to discuss them with their colleagues.

To pass the qualifier exam, students are required to receive a passing grade in minimum of 4 questions out of the maximum of 6 questions attempted by the student. Students who fail this Qualifier Exam will be offered a repeat examination scheduled sometime in mid-August to September of the same year on a new set of supplied literature.  In total, only 2 chances will be allowed to pass the Qualifier Exam.