PhD in Engineering

Candidacy Examination


The purpose of the Candidacy Examination is to evaluate the student's capability to synthesize and integrate material as applied to the research focus area. It is expected that the student demonstrates a certain breadth of knowledge and is able to apply this knowledge to a problem at hand.


The student must have:

  • filed a formal Program of Study, and
  • completed the courses recommended by the focus area

before registering for the exam. Usually, the student will resgister for the Candidacy Examination before the end of the second year of study.

Required Action

The candidate must complete and submit a Request for Candidacy Exam to the Program Coordinator no later than 30 days before the scheduled examination. The dissertation advisor and Program Director must sign this form. Since the form is Focus Area specific, choose the form from your specific focus area from the Program Forms page.

Examination Format

The exam contains a written part followed by an oral part, usually taken within a three-week period of each other. Each focus areas has its own specific format on how to administer the two parts of the Candidacy Examination and who is responsible for these parts.

Examination Outcomes

The following are possible outcomes:

  • pass
  • repeat exam or part thereof after strengthening specific areas of weakness
  • fail

The deliberations and vote concerning the outcome of the exam take place immediately following the oral exam. The examination outcome requires a 2/3rd majority of all members of the examination committee for pass and fail. Any other vote results in a repeat of the exam or part thereof.

When the Candidacy Examination is completed, a Record of Candidacy Examination Form is signed by all members of the examination committee and forwarded to the Program Coordinator.

Repeat of Candidacy Examination

If the outcome of the first Candidacy Examination was "repeat exam or part thereof after strengthening specific areas of weakness," the student may submit another request for a Candidacy Examination. This request is to be submitted no ealier than three months and usually no later than six months after completion of the first attempt. Only one repeat of the Candidacy Examination is permitted.