Qualifying Exam

Qualifying examination (modified for students entering the program after September 2015):

All PhD candidates must pass a qualifying examination.  Students must take the examination by the end of the second semester after enrolling in the PhD program.  If repeated examination is necessary, the examination must be passed by the end of the third semester after enrolling in the PhD program. 

Pre-requisites for the qualifying examination:

- Average grade of 3.5 for all four core courses and a minimum grade B in each of the core courses taken at NJIT

  • Equivalent grade for the same subject course based on the MS transcript from an institution other than NJIT may be acceptable, as decided by the Graduate Studies Committee 
  • Students whose subject courses differ from those offered at NJIT, so that their MS transcript grades are not deemed acceptable as equivalent to the NJIT core courses by the Graduate Studies Committee are required to take final examinations for each of the core courses during their first two semesters after enrolling into PhD program to satisfy the present requirement. 

- A student can take the final examination in each core course up to two times to satisfy the present requirement.

- Failing the present requirement is equivalent to the failing the qualifying examination.

Qualifying examination format

The examination is administered by an Examination Committee including at least three members of the CBPE graduate faculty.  The Examination Committee is appointed by the Graduate Studies Committee each semester.  The Examination Committee does not include the student’s current or potential PhD thesis adviser.

Three months before the examination date, an assignment is given to a student to prepare for the qualifying examination.  The assignment is given by the student’s current or potential PhD thesis adviser in coordination with Examination Committee.  The assignment identifies a research topic to be addressed in two parts of the examination: 

- A written paper, comprising a literature review (no longer than 20 pages excluding references; 12 pts font, double spaced) on the identified research topic. The review needs to

  • Identify an open research problem,
  • Outline state of the art, and
  • Propose an approach for future research in this area. 
  • If pertinent, results of preliminary work may be included.

- An oral presentation no longer than 20 min, followed by questions.  The presentation will be open to the public; committee deliberations following the presentations will be restricted to the committee members only. 

The result of the examination is determined by the Examination Committee based on the review of the written paper, oral examination, and feedback from the current or potential PhD thesis adviser.

A student is allowed to repeat the qualifying examination only once.