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Examinations

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Taking the Q Exam

The Q Exam is the opportunity for your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee members to effectively evaluate your academic standing upon entering the Ph.D. program. The results of the exam will determine if there are any shortcomings in your academic background that will need to be supplemented by additional coursework, which will then be determined by both your Advisor / Committee Chair and your Special Committee.

The format of the Q Exam is up to the discretion of the student’s Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee. Generally, it is an oral examination.

All Ph.D. students are required to take their Qualifying (Q) Exam preferably before the end of their second semester, and no later than their third semester as a graduate student in ECE. Failure to successfully complete the Q Exam prior to the completion of the third semester will be considered a failure to make satisfactory academic progress, and the ECE Department will no longer be obligated to provide additional funding for your graduate program.

  1. You will need to select a time that is convenient for you, your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members in order to schedule your Q Exam. If you need to reserve a Conference Room in Phillips Hall, you should contact Scott Coldren in 223 Phillips Hall; if a Conference Room in Duffield Hall is needed, you should contact Sue Bulkley in 217 Phillips Hall; if a Conference Room in Rhodes Hall is needed, you should Daniel Richter in 314 Rhodes Hall.
  2. Forms required for Q Exam
    What Form do I need to bring with me to my Q Exam? You are required to bring a blank ECE Qualifying Exam form with you to your Q Exam. Your Advisor and Special Committee Members will need to complete and sign off on the form, indicating the final results of the Q Exam. The Q Exam form can be downloaded and printed here or can be found in hard copy form in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall.

You will need to submit the signed and completed original form to Scott Coldren, the Manager of Student Services in the ECE Student Services Office, located in 223 Phillips Hall.

Taking the A Exam

You will prepare to take your Admission to Candidacy (A Exam) once you have reached the point in your graduate program when you have completed all of their required coursework as determined by your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members, and have chosen a topic for your dissertation.

The format of the A Exam is up to the discretion of your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members. Generally, it is an oral exam.

You are eligible to take your A Exam as soon as you have earned a total of two (2) Registration Units in your graduate program. All Cornell University Ph.D. students are required to take their A Exam prior to the completion of their seventh semester in their graduate program, unless special permission is obtained from the Graduate School.

You will need to select a time that is convenient for you, your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members in order to schedule your A Exam. If you need to reserve a Conference Room in Phillips Hall, you should contact an Scott Coldren in 223 Phillips Hall; if a Conference Room in Duffield Hall is needed, you should contact Sue Bulkley in 217 Phillips Hall; if a Conference Room in Rhodes Hall is needed, you should Daniel Richter in 314 Rhodes Hall.

  1. Forms for the A Exam
    You will need to obtain A Exam Schedule form (Form A3) which can either be downloaded from the Graduate School’s web site here, or can be found in hard copy form in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You will need to fill out the form in its entirety and then obtain the signatures of your Advisor / Committee Chair and your Special Committee Minor Members. The signatures of the ECE Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Field Assistant (this is Scott Coldren) are also required in order for the form to be considered complete.

    The Graduate School must receive your completed A Exam Schedule form with all necessary signatures a minimum of Seven (7) calendar days prior to the date of the scheduled exam. The submission of a form fewer than Seven (7) days prior to the scheduled date will not be accepted.

    You will need to submit your completed A Exam Schedule form to the Student Services Office in the Graduate School, located in 143 Caldwell Hall.

    You will need to submit a photocopy of the completed and signed A Exam Schedule form to Scott Coldren, the Manager of Student Services in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You may come to his office and have your form photocopied here.                                                                                                                                                                                    You will need to bring a copy of the A Exam Results Form to the Exam itself. The A Exam Results Form can either be downloaded from the Graduate School’s web site here, or can be found in hard copy form in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall.

    You will need to fill out the top portion of the form and then obtain the signatures of your Advisor / Committee Chair and your Special Committee Minor Members after the successful completion of your A Exam. The signatures of the ECE Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Field Assistant (this is Scott Coldren) are also required in order for the form to be considered complete.

  2. Getting a Special Master of Science (MS) Degree
    All students who successfully complete their A Exam automatically qualify for a Special Master of Science (MS) Degree. But, you will only earn a Special MS if your Advisor (Chairperson) and Special Committee Minor Members deem it appropriate for you to do so. If you would like to receive a Special MS degree, you will need to do the following:

    1. Confirm with your (Chairperson) and Special Committee Minor Members that they agree you should receive a Special MS Degree for successfully completing your A Exam before you schedule the exam itself.
    2. On the A Exam Results Form under the "Passed A Exam" section, make certain that your Advisor (Chairperson) checks the box that says, "Award M.A./M.S. without thesis; student continuing in Ph.D. program."
    3. In this same area of the form, it states directly after "DGS initial required if checked." When you get the signature of the DGS (Director of Graduate Studies), be certain that he/she puts their initials on this line.
    4. Be aware that the Graduate School will **NOT** consider a petition to retroactively award a Special MS Degree after you have already completed your A Exam and submitted the completed A Exam Results form (A4).
  3. Submitting your forms
    You will need to submit your completed A Exam Results Form to the Student Services Office in the Graduate School, located in 143 Caldwell Hall. The completed A Exam Results Form **MUST** be submitted no later than three (3) days following the scheduled date of your exam without exception. The submission of a form more than three (3) days after the completed A Exam will not be accepted.

    Do I need to provide the ECE Student Services Office with a copy of the form?

    Yes. You will need to submit a photocopy of the completed and signed A Exam Results Form to Scott Coldren, the Manager of Student Services in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You may come to his office and have your form photocopied there.

Taking the B Exam

You will prepare to take your B Exam (or Thesis Defense) once you have completed all of the necessary requirements in order to complete your Ph.D. program. Your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members will have the final determination of when you have successfully reached this point.

The format of the B Exam is up to the discretion of your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members. It is generally an oral exam.

You are eligible to take your B Exam as soon as you have earned a total of six (6) Registration Units in your graduate program. Please note that you must earn a total of two (2) Registration Units between your A and B Exams.

You will need to select a time that is convenient for you, your Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor Members in order to schedule your B Exam. If you need to reserve a Conference Room in Phillips Hall, you should contact an Scott Coldren in 223 Phillips Hall; if a Conference Room in Duffield Hall is needed, you should contact Sue Bulkley in 217 Phillips Hall; if a Conference Room in Rhodes Hall is needed, you should Daniel Richter in 314 Rhodes Hall.

  1. Forms for the B Exam
    You will need to obtain a B Exam Schedule Form which can either be downloaded from the Graduate School’s web site here, or can be found in hard copy form in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You will need to fill out the form in its entirety and then obtain the signatures of your Advisor / Committee Chair and your Special Committee Minor Members. The signatures of the ECE Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Field Assistant (this is Scott Coldren) are also required in order for the form to be considered complete.

    The Graduate School must be given notice of your exam at least Seven (7) calendar days prior to the date of the scheduled exam. The completed B Exam Schedule Form **MUST** be submitted no later than Seven (7) days prior to the scheduled date of your exam without exception. The submission of a form fewer than Seven (7) days prior to the scheduled date will not be accepted.

    You will need to submit your completed B Exam Schedule Form to the Student Services Office in the Graduate School, located in 143 Caldwell Hall.

    You will need to submit a photocopy of the completed and signed B Exam Schedule Form to Scott Coldren, the Manager of Student Services in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You may come to his office and have your form photocopied there.

    You will need to obtain a B Exam Results Form which can either be downloaded from the Graduate School's web site here, or can be found in hard copy form in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You will need to fill out the top portion of the form and then obtain the signatures of your Advisor / Committee Chair and all Special Committee Minor Members after you successfully complete your B Exam. Your Advisor / Committee Chair should be sure to indicate the results of your B Exam in one of the three appropriate sections on the form. They are: “Passed Exam,” “Conditionally Passed Exam,” and “Failed Exam Student Continuing in the Ph.D. Program.” Each section will require the date of the completed B Exam along with the appropriate box checked. The signatures of the ECE Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Field Assistant (this is Scott Coldren) are also required in order for the form to be considered complete.

  2. What to do upon completion of your B Exam
    You will need to submit your completed B Exam Results Form to the Student Services Office in the Graduate School, located in 143 Caldwell Hall. The completed B Examination Results Form **MUST** be submitted no later than three (3) days following the scheduled date of your exam without exception. The submission of a form more than three (3) days after the completed B Exam will not be accepted.

    You will need to submit a photocopy of the completed and signed B Examination Results Form to Scott Coldren, the Manager of Student Services in the ECE Student Services Office located in 223 Phillips Hall. You may come to his office and have your form photocopied there.

    If you are a Registered Student at the time of your B Exam, you will need to submit info required of you by the Thesis Advisor's Office in the Graduation Manager online system. Go here for detailed instructions of how to complete the required info. Included at this link are the Thesis and Dissertation Guidebook and Formatting Guidelines. If you have any questions regarding any part of this process, please send email to thesis@cornell.edu.

    You will have up to Sixty (60) days to submit the final, bound copy of your thesis following the successful completion of your B Exam. For questions regarding thesis submission as well as the submission deadline requirements, visit the following link or send email to thesis@cornell.edu.