Computer Science PhD Comprehensive Oral Examination Policy

The oral examination consists of at least three topical areas which together demonstrate a breadth of computing topics.

At least 30 days before the examination, the student will propose the topical areas in consultation with the Studies Committee.

The Oral Examination Committee should comprise at least two graduate faculty members, at least one of whom should have primary appointments in CS. The student will nominate the Chair of the Oral Examination Committee to be one of the members. The Chair should have a primary appointment in CS and cannot be the student's primary advisor.

At least 30 days before the examination, the student will inform the Graduate Committee of the Oral Examination Committee membership.

The oral examination topical areas and the Oral Examination Committee membership will be confirmed by the CS graduate faculty through one-week commenting period.

There will be one Lead Examiner in each topical area. The Lead Examiner in each topical area will prepare the questions that will be asked for that area (in consultation with any Secondary Examiners in that area). One examiner can cover multiple topical areas and each topical area may be covered by multiple examiners.

At least 30 days before the examination, the Lead Examiner will provide a study topic list for the student. This list is intended to be consistent across students examined in the same topic area, and can contain topics that are not covered in a particular offering of the corresponding course.

The oral examination for all topical areas will take place in one session for a given student, normally during the final exam week of Spring or Fall semesters. Examinations may be done outside this window if the student is able to coordinate an alternate time with all members of the Oral Examination Committee.

As a rule of thumb, examination of each topical area is expected to take roughly 30 minutes and the entire exam normally will not take more than 120 minutes.

The Chair of the Oral Examination Committee will run the examination session and submit an outcome report (using the departmental report form) to the Graduate Committee.