The PhD Oral Qualifying Exam is offered to students who have passed the Written Qualifying Exam. It must be passed by all students wishing to be admitted to PhD candidacy. It is a necessary step toward completing the PhD degree.


After you pass the Written Qualifying Exam, you should plan to take the Oral Qualifying Exam near the beginning of the fall semester.


The Oral Qualifying Exam is a 2-3 hour exam on fundamentals in the general area of your research. The purpose of the exam is to certify that you are on track for doing research toward your dissertation.

Exam Committee

The exam is generally conducted by a committee of four or more faculty from your Area of Study, and the chairman of the committee is your Supervisor(s). It is intended that these four faculty will also be on your Dissertation Committee.

Arranging the Exam

To arrange the oral exam, download an Oral Exam Request form. With your Supervisor(s), select the faculty from the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) you would like to conduct the exam, and before contacting these faculty get the committee approved by the Graduate Advisor. Next, ask the faculty if they are willing to be on the exam committee, and arrange a time for the exam. Reserve a conference room for the exam on line. Give the completed form to the Graduate Coordinator at least two weeks prior to your event. An official notice of the exam will be sent to each member of the exam committee. See forms below.

Orbital Mechanics group must follow area specific instruction in this document.  Aerothermodynamics & Fluid Mechanics Group must follow area specific instruction in this document.

(Note:  If you cannot access the links provided please see the ASE/EM Graduate Student Portal on Canvas as this page is under construction.)


Immediately after the exam, the committee will decide whether or not you pass the exam and if there are any conditions imposed on the pass. You will be told the results of the exam as soon as the committee completes its deliberations.

Retaking the Exam

If you do not pass the exam, the committee will decide whether or not you may retake the exam.


All departmental forms are available ASE/EM Grad Student Portal on Canvas.