Examination Process

These examinations are the qualifying (first) examination, the comprehensive or general (second) examination, the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation defense. The examinations are taken in the order stated. The Ph.D. examination procedure and other requirements are described in detail below:

Major Department

Students choose a major department

Qualifying Examination

All students that have applied to the Ph.D. program must take the qualifying examination. Its purpose is twofold. It serves as a departmental examination (screen) and it ensures that all recipients of a Ph.D. from the College of Engineering have an appropriate background in engineering. The qualifying examination should examine fundamentals deemed important by the major department. Ordinarily, it should be scheduled during the first semester after the master's degree is awarded, or after one year of graduate study for students not taking the master's degree.

The qualifying examination is administered by at least five members of the graduate faculty of the major department. The examination consists of a written and oral component and will be coordinated by the respective departmental Ph.D. program graduate coordinator. The qualifying examination will be given at the UNO campus and the written portion will last no longer than eight hours.

The qualifying examination should be given no more than once per semester. Students who fail the qualifying examination can be allowed to repeat it one time within a period of one year after the first exam. A second failure results in the student's dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

Advisory Committee

An advisory committee is set up for students who pass the qualifying examination.

The committee consists of at least five members, no more than three from the major department, and at least one from the College of Science. The major professor is from the major department.

Course Work

Students must take at least 51 semester hours of course work beyond the Bachelor's degree.

A maximum of 30 semester hours of master's degree credits (course work plus thesis) can be applied to this number. UNO master's students who will continue their studies in the Ph. D. Program can earn deferred Ph.D. credits in their last semester of the master's program. At least nine semester hours of course work in the Ph.D. program must be taken in each college (College of Engineering and College of Science). Of the 21 semester hours beyond the master's program, a minimum of 12 semester hours will be at the 6000 level. There must be at least 30 dissertation credits. Courses are chosen with consent of the major professor.

General Examination

The general examination is set up by the advisory committee and will be coordinated by the respective major professor. It must include material that will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. This examination should be taken as soon as possible after the advanced course work (i.e., course work taken after the student has passed the qualifying examination) has been completed. The advanced course material is taken to support the dissertation research and as such should precede most of the research. The examination may be written or oral, and after passing it, the student can proceed to prepare the dissertation proposal.

Oral Defense of Dissertation Proposal

The Ph.D. candidate will submit a written dissertation proposal (prospectus) and will give an oral defense of this proposal conducted by the dissertation committee (which is the same as the advisory committee) and coordinated by the major professor.

Dissertation Examination

After the written dissertation has been approved by the advisory committee, there must be a final public oral defense of the dissertation. The audience for the public oral defense must include the members of the advisory committee.