PhD in Computer Engineering Qualifying Exam

Note: The Qualifying Exam for the PhD in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering is the same except for the course selections (see the application form).

The Computer Engineering (CE) Qualifying Exam is a written exam intended to assess whether a student is ready to conduct research at the doctoral level and is able to publish in international conferences and journals. This exam must be passed for formal admission into the doctoral program. Students seeking the PhD degree are expected to take the exam during the second semester of their doctoral studies, excluding the Summer semester.

The exam addresses the student's knowledge of graduate and undergraduate course material and basic mathematical concepts and engineering methods required for research and professional practice at the doctoral level. The exam consists of six problems (one from each course) related to material covered in recent FAU graduate and undergraduate CE courses, which are prepared by faculty with input from the student and selected by the Graduate Committee. The exam, administered in the Fall and Spring semesters, is given in two 3-hour sessions, each session covering three courses, morning and afternoon, in one day. The student can bring three 2-sided pages of notes and a simple calculator to each session, but no books, computers, or phones. An overall minimum score of 70% or better is required to pass. A student failing the written exam may, upon re-application, take it a second time. Two failures will normally result in the student's dismissal from the PhD program.

Application for the Computer Engineering Qualifying Exam

Students need to fill out and submit an application for the qualifying exam. In filling out the form, the student should list six courses, at most four of which may be at the graduate level and at least two of which must be at the undergraduate level and selected from one of the lists below. Each of the graduate courses selected must satisfy the following requirements: (1) the course is not a DIS course (i.e. BME 6905, COT 6900, COT 6905, EEL 6905), (2) at most 2 graduate courses taught by the same instructor, and (3) the course was offered by the EECS department in the preceding three years. Students can select at most one graduate course outside the EECS department with the approval of the advisor. All other courses must have been offered by the EECS department during the preceding three years but the student may have taken them anywhere or prepared for them on their own. The student will also list a primary area of research and at least one secondary area.

Computer Engineering Courses

  1. CDA 4102 Computer Architecture
  2. CDA 4240C Design of Digital Systems
  3. CNT 4007 Communication Networks
  4. COP 3530 Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis or COP 3410 Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis with Python
  5. COP 4610 Computer Operating Systems
  6. EEE 3300 Electronics 1

Textbook information and QE topics for each undergraduate course are available here