The ME preliminary examination evaluates a Ph.D. candidate's research methodology, experimental plan, and interpretation of preliminary results (if appropriate). The purpose of the exam is to allow the committee to aid the candidate in planning and implementing the highest quality thesis.

Exam Format

The ME preliminary exam focuses on the proposed thesis research and includes the following components:

  • Written research proposal describing the specific research methodology and justifying the thesis research. A copy of the research proposal must be distributed to the members of the committee at least one week (i.e., seven days) prior to the date of the scheduled oral exam.
  • Oral presentation on the thesis proposal (including preliminary results, if appropriate).
  • Oral examination on the presentation content.

Exam Scheduling

Ph.D. preliminary examinations must be scheduled through the Graduate School using their Exam Scheduling Form, and exam takers must be formally enrolled (for a minimum of 3 graduate credits) during the term in which the exam takes place.

Note that if more than five years elapse between completing this examination and finishing your PhD coursework and thesis credits, you will be required to take another preliminary oral examination prior to taking your final oral examination.