Skip to main content

CS Preliminary Examination Procedures

The preliminary exam will be an in depth examination in the student’s area of research. A panel of three or more faculty approved by the DGS will conduct the examination. The preliminary examination focuses on a research topic (which may span multiple primary areas) selected by the student and the advisor and consists of a written and an oral part. The written part is based on a paper led by the student that can be (1) a paper submitted, accepted, or published or (2) a paper presenting a critical review of a research problem. The student is expected to submit the manuscript 10 days prior to the exam.  Examples of specifications for written papers for previous preliminary examinations are available.

If the student does not have such a paper as outlined above, the advisor will assign a writing task to create one. The student will receive the assignment 30 days prior to the exam date and will be expected to submit the required materials by the deadlines determined by the committee.

The oral part consists of a presentation of the research paper and an in-depth oral examination. Note that the preliminary examination committee, with the approval of the DGS, may alter the examination requirements in individual cases.

The preliminary examination must be taken in the second year preferably in the fall semester (for PhD students admitted in the fall semester).