The purpose of the comprehensive examinations shall be to evaluate the ability of the student to think and to critically evaluate research in his/her field.
- The exam will be administered once a year, in the Fall semester. The scheduling of any required reexaminations will be done by the examination committee, but must occur by the end of that same semester.
- The exam must be taken not later than the first offering occurring one year after the student begins the PhD program. An Examination Committee appointed by the Graduate Studies Committee and excluding the student’s research advisor will conduct the exam.
- The Examination Committee will consist of 4 or 5 members. The Examination Committee will contain at least one expert in the student’s field of research interest. The Graduate Studies Committee must approve experts from outside the University.
- The oral exam will consist of a formal seminar during which the student will discuss an existing paper in the literature, chosen in the student’s area of research by the Examination Committee. The seminar will be followed by a period of formal questioning conducted by the Examination Committee.
Two written exams must be taken, unless exempted via the paragraphs in the section on Written Examinations below. One must come from the following list of three exams:
- Dynamics and Control
- Solid Mechanics
The second exam must come from the following list
- one of the other three exams listed above
- APMA (applied mathematics)
- an exam in an outside area
The outside area exam must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee at least 6 months prior to the initiation of the examination and will be written and graded by faculty in the outside area. A student will be considered exempt from either, or both, of the written exams based on strong performance in a number of prescribed courses in that area. Lists of prescribed courses and levels of minimum performance for all areas are established by the Graduate Studies Committee. In order to establish a list of prescribed courses for a new outside area, the following two rules will apply:
- The student’s PhD Advisory Committee must obtain a list of fundamental courses from faculty teaching in that area and must present this list to the Graduate Studies Committee.
- This list of courses must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee at least 6 months prior to the initiation of the examination.
Written examinations will be taken in two areas, one of which must be Dynamics & Control, Continuum Mechanics, or Thermofluids; however, the student may be considered exempt from either or both of these examinations if the prescribed courses and minimum levels of performance listed below are satisfied.
A. Dynamics & Control
A- or better in one course from each of two chosen categories:
|Dynamics||MAE 621 – Analytical Dynamics
MAE 625 – Multibody Mechanical Systems
|Systems||MAE 652 – Linear State Space Systems
MAE 623 – Vibrations
|Control||MAE 651 – Linear Automatic Control Systems
MAE 755 – Multivariable Control
B. Continuum Mechanics
A- or better in two of the following five courses:
MAE 602 – Continuum Mechanics with Applications
MAE 607 – Theory of Elasticity
MAE 608 – Constitutive Modeling of Biosystems
AM 708 – Inelastic Solid Mechanics
AM 714 – Nonlinear Elasticity Theory
A- or better in two of the three following courses:
MAE 610 – Thermomechanics
MAE 631 – Fluid Mechanics I
MAE 611 – Heat and Mass Transport Phenomena
D. Applied Mathematics:
A- or better in the following two courses:
APMA 641 – Engineering Mathematics I
APMA 642 – Engineering Mathematics II
E. Written Examinations in Outside Areas:
An outside area examination, including a list of courses and levels of minimum performance for exemption from that examination, must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee at least 6 months in advance of the examination. In order to establish a list of prescribed courses for exemption from a new outside area exam, the student’s PhD Advisory Committee must obtain a list of fundamental courses from faculty teaching in that area and must present this list to the Graduate Studies Committee for their approval.
F. Petitions for substitution of the above courses by courses taken outside the university will be considered by the Graduate Studies Committee.
G. The chairman for each written examination area will provide the student with the format of the written exam at the student’s request.
A. Guidelines for selection of the “expert” on the Examination Committee and the paper for oral presentation:
- To determine the area for the research paper, the student should provide the Examination Committee a written statement of his/her research area, with keywords, 3 months in advance of the scheduled exam. The advisor may make suggestions for research papers to be considered for presentation at this time.
- Candidates for the “expert” in the student’s research field should be recommended by the advisor, in writing, along with credentials, 3 months in advance of the exam. The final selection of the “expert” will be made by the Examination Committee more than 2 months in advance of the exam.
- The Examination Committee will select the paper for oral presentation by the student. The chosen paper should be often cited or referenced. The student’s faculty advisor will be consulted for the suitability of the selected paper. The student will be informed of the paper selected for presentation at least 3 weeks before the scheduled oral presentation.
B. Format of oral presentation:
- The oral presentation shall be a formal, public presentation of the selected research paper. The presentation will be approximately 1 hour in length and will be addressed primarily to the Examination Committee, some of whom will not be experts in the field.
- The presentation shall include the following:
- Discussion of the work done in the field prior to the publication (ie, put the paper into historical perspective)
- Presentation of the paper in a standard format (ie, introduction, approach, results, conclusions, etc.)
- Critique of the paper. This should include a discussion of any errors, incorrect or unjustified assumptions, alternative approaches, etc.
- Discussion of the impact/significance of the paper to the field.
- Review of the progress in the field since the publication of this paper.
C. Evaluation of oral presentation:
- The public presentation will be followed by a closed question/answer session conducted by the Examination Committee. The faculty advisor is encouraged to attend the closed session, but may not participate in the questioning or answering.
- Performance on the oral exam will be evaluated primarily on the technical content of the presentation and how well each of the points, 2a-2e above, were addressed; however, the quality of the presentation will also be considered in the overall evaluation.