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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Research Proposal Examination

All Ph.D. students must pass the Research Proposal Examination. This exam is administered by the Research Proposal Committee that consists of three members, including the Committee Chair. The Committee Chair must be a faculty from the ESE Department.  The Committee must be proposed to and approved by the Graduate Chair. The research advisor of the student, who is part of the committee, cannot serve as the Chair of the Committee.

The recommended time for the Research Proposal exam is the third year of study. Prior to the exam, the students must submit a three-page proposal to the Committee which provides a high level description of the nature of research, goals and impact of the proposed research, related work, existing results, references, and coarse plan of attack. The students must also submit to the Committee the most current version of their Course Planning Guide (obtained from the Grad Group Administrative Assistant).

The examination consists of a 45-minute oral presentation where the student must provide evidence to the committee that there is a research problem that needs to be addressed, and that the student is capable of addressing the problem. The Committee must assess the research quality, potential, and ability of the student to perform research. In addition, the Committee reviews and approves the most current version of the students Course Planning Guide. The outcome of the Research Proposal Examination is:

1. Pass: Research Proposal Examination requirement completed.
2. Fail: In rare circumstances, the student may fail the exam and may be asked to retake it.
3. Defer: Based on the students performance and Course Planning Guide, the Committee may make personalized recommendations. If necessary, the Committee may request reexamining the student after the student implements specific suggestions provided by the committee.

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