Qualifying Exam

After completing two semesters in the Ph.D. program, each student will take qualifying exams in math and two topical areas, selected by the student and his/her dissertation committee. The student and committee will select four out of the nine subjects in the math syllabus for the math qualifying exam. The student will be tested on these four subjects.  The student must answer all the questions in these four subjects and obtain 70% or above to pass.

The student and the committee will select the two areas for the topical exams.  70% or above is the passing grade in the two topic areas. 

For each of the three exams, two outcomes are possible:  Pass (70% or more) or Fail (69% or less)


Fall 2017 Qualifying Exam Information

The Fall 2017 Ph.D. Qualifying Exam will be held October 25, 26 and 27, 2017. The exams will be from 9am to noon each day, with the mathematics topics on Wednesday, and remaining topics on Thursday and Friday. Exams will be given in the Mechanical Engineering Conference Room, Duke 324, unless noted otherwise.

The deadline to apply is Monday, August 28, 2017.

CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION

Ph.D. students who have not already earned a Master's degree, or applied to earn a Master's degree en route to the Ph.D., are required to apply for the MSME through the Graduate School before they sit for the Qualifying Exam.

Fall Qualifying Examinations occur approximately two weeks after Fall Break. Spring Qualifying Examinations occur approximately two weeks after Spring Break.


Exam Concentration Areas

The available qualifying exams are grouped into five concentration areas. Each concentration has a chairperson and a committee. The role of the chairperson is to coordinate the required exam(s) for the semester in question. This includes:

  • soliciting questions from the committee members
  • submitting the exam to the committee for approval
  • submitting the exam to the graduate coordinator
  • grading the student submissions (grading is preferably completed by the professor who submitted the question)
  • submitting the results to the graduate coordinator.

The concentration areas, chairpersons (in bold), and committee members for the 2015-2016 Academic Year are:

  • Controls, Dynamics, Instrumentation - M. Davies, C. Vermillion, P. Tkacik, St. Smith, G. Hodgins
  • Manufacturing, Machine Design, Metrology - B. Mullany, J. Ziegert, E. Morse, C. Evans, T. Schmitz, G. Goch
  • Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer - P. Ramaprabhu, C. Lee, N. Sarunac, R. Keanini, M. Uddin, H. Cho
  • Materials Science, Solid Mechanics - T. Xu, H. Zhang, H. Cherukuri, A. Tabarraei, Q. Wei, A. El-Ghannam, R. Smelser
  • Mathematics, Numerical Methods - R. Keanini, H. Fang, N. Zheng, S. Kelly, St. Smith, H. Cherukuri, A. Tabarraei, P. Ramaprabhu, E. Morse

In the event that a professor has a student taking one of the qualifying exams, it is preferred that the professor not write the exam question(s) or grade the submission. While we trust the integrity of our professors, this avoids the potential conflict of interest. Exceptions are left to the discretion of the chairperson.


Topic Syllabi and Sample Exams

 

Topic

Syllabus

Sample Exam

Controls

Syllabus

Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2

Dynamics

Syllabus

Sample Exam

Fluid Mechanics

Syllabus

Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2
Sample Exam 3
 

Heat Transfer

Syllabus

Sample Exam

Instrumentation

Syllabus

Sample Exam 1

Manufacturing

Syllabus

Sample Exam

Machine Design Syllabus Sample Exam
Material Science Syllabus

Sample Exam

Metrology

Syllabus

Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2

Numerical Methods

Syllabus

Sample Exam

Solid Mechanics

Syllabus

Sample Exam

Mathematics

Syllabus

Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2
Sample Exam 3
Sample Exam 4
Sample Exam 5
Solutions to Complex Variables 2015
Solutions to Complex Variables 2016