Candidacy Exam

The program is designed so that the student is exposed to a breadth of knowledge through the program core and a depth of knowledge through the track core. Before a student begins formally dissertation research, he/she is required to pass the candidacy exam. The only exception is that the candidacy exams can be waived when the student is awarded a Master’s degree with thesis option in Engineering in UALR with a GPA of 3.5 or above, and continues PhD program in Engineering Science and Systems with the same advisor. The candidacy exam will have a written and an oral component. The written component will test the student on the fundamental knowledge at the advanced undergraduate level, whereas the oral component will test the student’s ability to conduct research in his/her area of interest. A candidacy exam committee will be formed including three faculty members preparing the problems for written exam. The candidacy exam structure is followed:

  1. The student should take the candidacy exam as soon as possible. The student can take the exam no later than the 3rd semester he/she is in the program. The students who do not take the exams by the 3rd semester will be treated as having failed in their first attempt.
  2. The student will have to officially declare his/her intention to take the candidacy exam at the beginning of the semester in which he/she will take the exams for the first time.
  3. The student will have to attempt both components in the same semester, and will need to pass each of the components separately. If the student fails to pass one or more components in the first attempt, he/she will have to retake those components in the next semester. Failure to pass the exam in two attempts will result in dismissal from the program, pending review of the Engineering Science and Systems Governance Committee. This review will be completed and a decision conveyed to the student by the end of the academic year when he/she has taken the exam.
  4. The students may contact the faculty members who prepare the problems for the written exam for necessary information such as syllabi and problem styles.
  5. Decisions of the Track Candidacy Exam Committee will be supported by all the committee members present and will be any one of the following:
    i. Pass
    ii. Pass with remedial course work
    iii.Fail; in this case, the student will retake the oral component in the next semester on the same research topic; a new report will have to be submitted by the student prior to retaking the oral exam.

Written Component

The written exam for each track will be one three-hour exam. Each written exam should include three different subject areas. The problems should be prepared by three different faculty members including the advisor. The subject areas should be proposed by the advisor and approved by the track coordinator. The instructors may provide the syllabi and examples of problems for the selected topics.

Passing the exam requires an overall grade of 70% or above with at least 60% in each subject area.

Oral Component

Student will be given a research topic on which to submit a written report. The student should submit a report within one month after the written exam.

Based on the report, the student will be orally tested by the Track Candidacy Exam Committee. The oral exam will be scheduled no earlier than two weeks after the student has submitted the report.

The oral exam will be of one-hour duration.