The Qualifying Examination is an important assessment designed to demonstrate that the student has the knowledge base and expertise in his/her discipline and is making progress towards the PhD degree. Specifically, students should demonstrate competence in their academic track and an ability to design and carry out independent scholarly research. The Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Qualifying Examination consists of the written proposal and oral examination component. The Qualifying Examination is taken at the end of the second year of the Ph.D. program.
The written component of the qualifying exam follows the format of a NIH style research project (R01) grant proposal. Students are required to write a research proposal component of an R01 style grant on a particular research topics within their discipline. Topics for each track are selected 2 month prior to the completion of the qualifying exams by a committee of faculty within each respective tract.
In addition to the written examination, the student is required to defend the proposal as part of an oral examination. The advisory committee makes a final pass/fail decision for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination based on the combined results of the written component and oral presentation. In the event of an unsuccessful attempt, the exam may be repeated once if necessary and at the discretion of the committee.
Guidelines of the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree (Qualifying exam)
(i) All PhD candidates are required to take the qualifying exam by the end of June in their 2nd graduate year as PhD candidates.
(ii) Students need to prepare an R01 proposal on a subject which can be selected from a pool of topics specific for their track. The topic must be different than their PhD research topic.
(iv) Students must give a 45-minute presentation on their R01 proposal and answer questions from a three-member committee for another 30 minutes.
(iii) Each year, the BME department will form 3-member committees, one for each track. The committees will create a pool of subjects for R01 proposals, will assemble an information package for the exam using NIH material and possibly successful R01 Grant Applications, and conduct the qualifying exams. The research advisor of a candidate cannot be a member of the committee.
(iv) Each year, the committees will be determined at the beginning of May. Candidates will be able to contact the committee members when they select their topic and during their preparation for the exam.
(iv) The possible result of the exam can be: “Pass”, Conditional Pass”, “Fail”.
If the result is “Conditional Pass”, the candidate will have a two-week period to respond in writing to questions from the committee.
If the result is “Fail”, the candidate will have another opportunity to take the exam before the beginning of the next academic year.