After the end of their 5th semester, and no later than by the end of their 7th semester, every doctoral student must pass an Oral Exam. The purpose of the Oral Exam is to determine whether the student has mastered the necessary specialized knowledge required to carry out dissertation research. Students will be allowed a maximum of two attempts at passing the Oral Exam.
The Oral Exam consists of an oral presentation given by the student to her/his Dissertation Committee (lasting approximately 45-60 minutes), followed by a period of questions from the committee (also lasting approximately 45-60 minutes). The topic for the presentation shall be chosen by the student’s Dissertation Advisor and shall be related to the research area the student intends to pursue in her/his dissertation. The Advisor may ask the student to read a relevant body of work, or to fully master one or several articles in said area of research, as a basis for the oral presentation. Another possibility, particularly suited for students working in applied mathematics, is to embark on and present the outcomes of a significant programming project. Deviations from the abovementioned formats for the oral exam are possible and will be approved on a case by case basis by the Graduate Director in communication with the student’s Dissertation Advisor.