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Graduate Student Handbook

PhD Program Exam Structure

The purpose of the Graduate Student Manual is to acquaint students with the requirements of the Microsystems PhD program and to help guide them through their coure of study. The Manual has been created to capture nd clarify the policies and procedures governing graduate study and research in the Microsystems Engineering PhD program. If questions arise, the student can seek clarification from his or her advisor, the Microsystems Engineering Program office, or the Program Director.

What follows is a list of the required examinations for the Microsystems PhD program. Please refer to the Degree Requirements.

Qualifying Examination

Every graduate student pursuing a Microsystems Engineering PhD degree must take the Qualifying Examination. The exam tests the student's ability to think and learn independently, to critically evaluate current research work in the field of Microsystems Engineering, and to use good judgment and creativity to determine appropriate directions for future research work. The exam must be completed successfully before a student can submit a thesis proposal and attempt the PhD Candidacy Examination.

Candidacy Examination

The Candidacy Examination is an oral examination based on the dissertation research proposal. The purpose of the exam is to allow the committee to judge the student's ability to execute a research task and to communicate the results. The exam also serves to evaluate the proposed topic to ensure that it constitutes an original contribution to knowledge.

The Research Review Meeting

The Research Review Meeting is administered by the student's advisor and advisory committee between the time that the student passes the Candidacy Exam and he/she registers for the Dissertation Defense. This normally occurs approximately six months prior to the dissertation defense. The student and advisor should schedule the meeting with the advisory committee and a convenient time and location. Upon evaluation of the student's progress, the advisor and committee should file a report to the Program Director, indicating that the committee is satisfied that there are recommendations for further action.

Dissertation Defense

The dissertation defense can be scheduled only after all course requirements for the degree have been successfully completed. The research advisor, on behalf of the student and the student's advisory committee should notify the Program Director of the scheduling of the final examination of the dissertation by forwarding the title and abstract of the dissertation and the scheduled date, time, and location of the examination. The final examination of the dissertation should not be scheduled within six months of the date on which the student held the Research Review Meeting and less than one year of the date on which the student passed the Candidacy Exam.