Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
From Stanford Electrical Engineering Department Graduate Handbook
Revision as of 18:38, 21 October 2011 by Wikiuser
Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
The Department allows students two attempts to pass the qualifying examination. There is no GPA requirement for PhD students applying to take the qualifying exam in their first academic year of graduate study at Stanford. Students in their second or later years require a GPA in technical courses of 3.5 or greater for admission to the qualifying exam. Students in the PhD programs must take the Qualifying Examination at the first opportunity, normally winter quarter of the first year after matriculation. Students admitted to the MS-only program must first petition for change of status to the Ph.D. program and, if approved, apply for the qualifying exam as outlined in the Continuing Beyond the MS-EE at Stanford section of this handbook.
PhD applicants who do not meet the GPA requirement for the qualifying exam will be considered only if a statement from their faculty advisor provides acceptable supporting evidence of academic achievement. It is the applicant’s responsibility to bring the most favorable aspects of their records to the attention of the Department.
The examination consists of ten separate 10-minute oral exams given individually in one day by the professors on the student's examination committee. The exams take place in faculty offices and are scheduled with at least 12 minutes between each exam.
The professors who make up each student's examination committee are selected by a scheduling program that is designed to ensure fairness based on the students' individual ranking of potential examiners. Students list their desired faculty examiners on a preference form. Each student must rank 20 professors in four groups of five. Professors are grouped according to question areas (listed below). No more than six professors from any one question area may be listed. The scheduling program constructs committees, choosing more examiners from the higher ranked groups than from the lower ranked groups. Typically, committees consist of four examiners from the first group and respectively three, two and one from each of the three remaining groups. The scheduling program also guarantees breadth of committees since no more than four examiners can be in any one question area.
The Qualifying Examinations will take place the second week of Winter Quarter, January 23-27, 2012. The deadline for submitting an application for the 2011-2012 Qualifying Examinations is November 4, 2011. Students who have petitioned for a change of status to the Ph.D. program should apply as soon as their petition is accepted. Applicants who are accepted to the qualifying examinations must submit a examiner preference form by Friday, December 16, 2011.
The EE quals Web page ee.stanford.edu/phd/quals/ contains a link to the online application form and information about the technical areas that each of the examiners will cover.
Scoring and Results
Examiners score each session on a scale of 0 to 10. The scores are normalized to account for faculty scoring variations, and the normalized scores are summed to arrive at the candidates' final scores.
The results of the Qualifying Examination are determined at a meeting of the Electrical Engineering Department faculty held the week after the examination. The lowest passing score will be determined by a vote of the faculty. The number of students passed depends on an estimate of the number of students the faculty are able to supervise in research. Students will also be notified of the examination results by letter and by email. A printout including individual scores and other information may be picked up from the Department Office during the week following the examination decisions.
Students who are unsuccessful in their second attempt in the quals will ordinarily not be retained in the Ph.D. program unless they petition the Department for special consideration. This petition must be submitted by Friday, February 11, 2011. The Department Qualifying Examination Review Committee, chaired by the Vice Chair of the Department, will then either :
Students should rely on published information about faculty question areas; they should not approach potential examiners with specific questions aimed at determining details of what the examiners intend to ask. Faculty should not reply to individual inquiries about question areas.
Students should not ask faculty examiners for an evaluation of performance, nor should students argue their scores with examiners, either immediately after the exam or at a later time. Except for clerical errors, no scores may be changed once the examiners have submitted them to the Department.
Here are the important dates for the 2011-2012 Qualifying Examinations.