Civil Engineering
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Comprehensive Exam Features

Department of Civil Engineering

Roger Meier, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Room 112C, Engineering Building
rwmeier@memphis.edu

Protocol for the Administration and Evaluation of Comprehensive Examinations

M.S. Thesis

Students, in consultation with their advisor, select a thesis advisory committee consisting of at least three graduate faculty members. Students will provide their committee members with a final copy of their thesis at least two weeks before the scheduled time of their thesis defense. The thesis advisory committee administers an oral comprehensive exam as part of the thesis defense and approves or disapproves the results. At the conclusion of the defense, the student’s advisor will complete the necessary forms and submit them to the Graduate School with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator. Students must be enrolled in at least one hour of CIVL 7996 in the semester they defend their thesis.

M.S. Project

Students, in consultation with their advisor, select a project advisory committee consisting of at least three members of the graduate faculty. Students are required to provide their committee members with a final copy of their project report at least two weeks before the scheduled time of their project oral presentation. The project advisory committee administers the comprehensive exam as part of the project oral presentation and approves or disapproves the results. At the conclusion of the oral presentation, the student’s advisor will complete the necessary forms and submit them to the Graduate School with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator. Students must be enrolled in CIVL 7993 in the semester they present their project oral presentation.

Ph.D.

  1. Candidates, in consultation with their dissertation advisor, select a dissertation advisory committee consisting of at least five members of the graduate faculty. 
  2. Candidates are required to take a qualifying exam after the first semester in their Ph.D. program. The qualifying exam consists of a one page research abstract, a 15- to 20-minute presentation of that abstract, and an oral exam. The dissertation committee administers the qualifying exam and approves or disapproves the results.
  3. Shortly after completing their coursework, candidates must take and pass a written and oral comprehensive exam. The written portion of the comprehensive exam will be scheduled by the candidate’s advisor and will be a take-home exam in which the candidate will be required to demonstrate comprehension of and proficiency in the topics covered in their coursework. The exam will have as many questions as the dissertation committee requires and the candidate will be given a week to complete the exam. For the oral portion of the comprehensive exam, candidates will present their proposed dissertation research and answer questions posed by the advisory committee. Candidates are required to prepare a written proposal and submit it to their committee members at least one week before the date of the oral exam. The candidate’s dissertation committee will approve or disapprove the exam results. The candidate’s advisor will complete the necessary forms and submit them to the Graduate School with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator.
  4. After completion of the dissertation, candidates must provide each member of their dissertation committee a final copy of their dissertation at least two weeks before their scheduled defense. At the conclusion of the defense, the candidate’s advisor completes the necessary forms and submits them to the Graduate School with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator. Students must be enrolled in at least one hour of CIVL 9000 in the semester they defend their thesis.
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Last Updated: 5/31/12