Ph.D. General Examination
The Ph.D. General Examination
After passing the the Qualifying Examination, completing 60 credits at UW (a master's degree from the UW or another institution may be used as a substitute for 30 of these credits), and completing your breadth requirements, Ph.D. students may take the General Examination of the Graduate School. Passage of the General Exam admits students to Candidacy for the Ph.D.
Note: 18 credits of coursework taken at UW must be graded credits.
Note: Students must be registered for a minimum of two credits in order to take the exam in the current quarter.
The Department expects students to take the General Examination within one year of passing the Qualifying Examination. An extension will be allowed in unusual circumstances by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee upon petition by the student's advisor.
Dissertation Credits After the General Exam
Students may enroll for dissertation credits the quarter that the exam is scheduled only if a) they and their advisor expect them to schedule the Final Exam within three quarters, and b) with the understanding that if the student does not pass the General Exam, those dissertation credits would not later count toward the degree. A petition to the Graduate Advisor is required for approval.
Ph.D. Supervisory Committee
The student's first step toward the General Examination is to consult with the faculty advisor to determine membership of the Ph.D. Supervisory Committee.
TIMING: The UW Graduate School reccomends that the committee should be appointed no later than four months before the General Examination. EE Advising reccomends that students consititue their committees between two and four months prior to their exam.
MEMBERSHIP: The Supervisory Committee for an Electrical Engineering student must consist of a minimum total committee membership of four members, including the GSR (see details below), of which two members must be EE faculty (tenure track or research faculty) whose primary appointment is UW Electrical Engineering. It is possible to appoint members from outside the department and university; consult the Advising Office for details.
EXAM ATTENDANCE: The mimimum committee membership attendance at the General and Final Exams is four members; the committee may be larger, but at least four members, including the Chairperson and the GSR, must attend exams. Video-conferencing is sometimes allowable for committee members. Please check with advising to see what your options are.
APPOINTING THE COMMITTEE: Students should provide the names of the committee members who have agreed to serve to the Graduate Advising Office via email or in person. Once the committee is constitued, you may begin the process of scheduling your General Exam.
- Chairperson - the student's faculty advisor. Per Graduate School Memorandum 13, "Co-Chairs may be appointed when both serve with
equal importance on a student's supervisory committee and equally share the responsibility for the student's progress."
- Minimum of two additional committee members (one if there are co-chairs)
- Graduate School Representative (GSR) - Students and their advisors may consult the
Graduate Faculty website to determine
eligibility. If students have no specific person in mind, they simply randomly select a faculty who meets the criteria which follows. Students contact eligible faculty to ask them if they will serve as GSR.
CRITERIA FOR GSR : GSRs cannot be from the home department of the student or the faculty advisor. GSRs cannot be from any department in which the faculty advisor holds an adjunct appointment (both GSR and faculty advisor can hold adjunct appointments in the same department). GSRs may have no research association or other conflict of interest with the faculty advisor or graduate student. Faculty members with primary, joint, adjunct, or affiliate appointments in the student's degree-offering unit or the committee chair's department are not eligible to serve as the GSR.
Students will notify the Advising Office of committee appointments, who will then constitiute the committee in MyGrad which notifies the Graduate School. Students will then apply for the General Exam via MyGrad. The Graduate School will then notify the student and all committee members via email when the committee has been confirmed and the exam has been requested.
Students are responsibile for keeping in contact with the full committee, and informing them of ongoing progress and projections for General and Final Exam dates.
To change the committee membership at a later date, students should notify the Grad Advising Office of member names to add or delete.
EE General Exam Format
The purpose of the Electrical Engineering General Examination is two-fold: (1) to test a graduate student's capability to do independent research (2) to evaluate the technical merits and feasibility of the student's proposal for his/her Ph.D. dissertation. The examination format is as follows:
The student MUST submit a dissertation proposal to his/her Supervisory Committee 4-6 weeks before the exam to assure sufficient time for the committee to review the proposal before they agree to schedule the exam.
The Request to Schedule Exam form MUST be submitted to the Graduate School Office 3 weeks in advance of the exam date.
The proposal must contain a discussion of the background literature on the problem area, formulation or description of the specific topic of research, proposed approach or methodology, feasibility arguments, the objective of the research project, and a list of references. The total length of the proposal is normally about 20 pages.
The student will then make an oral presentation of the proposal. The presentation should include a critical review of the most relevant literature in his/her specific area. The student will be examined by the Supervisory Committee during a question-answer period. The Supervisory Committee will make the pass/fail decision based on the quality of the proposal, the presentation, and answers to the questions. Comments and suggestions from the Supervisory Committee concerning the proposal will be given to the student after the exam.
Scheduling the General Exam
After the Supervisory Committee has been appointed and the Supervisory Committee determines the student is prepared to present the dissertation proposal, the student may formally schedule the General Examination.
The General Exam request should be submitted thourgh MyGrad at least 3 weeks in advance of the exam date.
THE STUDENT'S RESPONSIBILITIES ARE:
- SUBMIT breadth course approval form to faculty advisor prior to constituing doctoral supervisory committee.
- SUBMIT a complete draft of the exam to the
committee 4-6 weeks before the exam so that they will have sufficient time to
review it before agreeing to schedule the exam.
- CONFER with advisor and other committee members to
determine when exam can be scheduled, and select a date, time and location.
- RESERVE a room for the exam via EE
- REQUEST the exam through the Graduate School using MyGrad.
- NOTIFY all committee members of the exam date/time/location, and ask that they confirm via the Faculty Exam Approval Form 3 weeks prior to the date of the exam.
ALL members of the Supervisory Committee including the GSR, regardless of
whether or not they intend to attend, must agree to the scheduling and will need
to confirm their agreement via the Faculty Exam Approval Form. A minimum of four members are required to
attend: the chairperson, the GSR, and two other committee members.
Once requested through MyGrad and all Faculty Exam Approval Forms have been received, Advising will approve the exam and send an exam announcement to you and the members of your committee.
Return to Graduate Student Page