Doctoral Candidacy Exam

Students must get at least a B (3.0) averaged over the required core courses offered in the fall and winter terms to take the DCE examination. Students who enter with an MS degree and other graduate students who transfer in credit for a core course can petition the graduate program to substitute equivalent courses in which they obtained a minimum grade of A- for one or more of the ChE courses.

Download Doctoral Candidacy Exam Rules and Procedures (pdf)

The Doctoral Candidacy Examination (DCE) will be composed of a written report and an oral examination to be conducted on the 3rd Wednesday in May in the graduate student’s first year. Students must apply to take the DCE by a date to be determined by the Graduate Chair.

The content of the oral examination and written report will be a critical discussion of a topic closely related to the student’s anticipated Ph.D. research. A one page biographical sketch should be appended to the document.

The oral presentation will be 15 minutes long (uninterrupted and strictly enforced), followed by a 10 to 15 minute question period. The student’s examining committee will consist of three faculty members, none of whom is the student’s advisor(s).

The student’s examining committee will determine his/her performance in the oral examination and written report by evaluating the student’s written and oral presentation skills, technical understanding, ability to critically analyze the literature, potential to conduct research, ability to answer questions and the committee’s overall assessment of the student’s promise to carry out research.

The faculty as a whole will determine the students that pass the DCE by evaluating their performance in the oral examination and the written report, their grades in the core courses and evaluations by the faculty.

Students have the right to petition the faculty to take or retake the exam; however, the intention is that decisions should be final and that second chances should be rare.