Ph.D. 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.


Before registering for the exam, the student must have:

Usually, the student will register 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 Ph.D. in Engineering mailbox (207 Russ) 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 area 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 2/3 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 Ph.D. in Engineering mailbox (207 Russ).

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 earlier 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.

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