A synopsis of graduate studies at Illinois Institute of Technology is available in the Graduate Bulletin.

Rules and Requirements for the CAEE Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

Updated February 2021

  • All Ph.D. students must take a qualifying examination. 
  • The qualifying examination must be taken within the first year of Ph.D. study if the student has a master’s degree or within the second year of Ph.D. study if the student has only a bachelor’s degree.
  • Students must be in good standing to be eligible to take the qualifying examination. Students must also be registered in the semester they take the qualifying examination.
  • The qualifying examination committee is composed of the student’s research advisor serving as chair and two full-time faculty members in the student’s department.
  • For the qualifying examination, a student will receive two peer-reviewed journal papers selected by the student’s advisor from the literature. The papers may or may not be directly related to their proposed research topic, but they should allow for evaluating student knowledge of core concepts in their discipline. The student will then have two weeks to prepare a critical review of those papers. 
  • Students will present their critical review of the assigned papers to the committee and the committee will evaluate the following: 
    • How well the student covers the motivation, literature review, methods, and results of the two assigned papers; 
    • How well the student demonstrates knowledge of fundamental concepts in their area of specialization (using the two assigned papers as a springboard for exploring their knowledge); 
    • How well the student communicates orally and visually; and 
    • How well the student responds to questions from the committee.
  • The qualifying examination is scheduled internally within the department without needing to inform GAA until the completion of the examination.
  • The qualifying examination committee is required to submit the results of the qualifying examination to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA) using form G303. Students do not have access to this form at any time.
  • If a student does not pass the qualifying examination, the committee may recommend a repeated attempt. The student may not repeat the qualifying examination in the same semester as the initial attempt. If a student fails in the second attempt, the student is not allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program.

In addition to the information provided here, each student is responsible for reviewing and complying with the Illinois Tech Graduate School requirements listed in the current Illinois Tech Graduate Bulletin and the Illinois Tech Graduate Studies Handbook.

Rules and Requirements for the CAEE Comprehensive Exam

Updated February 2021

  • All Ph.D. students must take a comprehensive examination.
  • The comprehensive examination must be taken at least one year prior to the final thesis presentation and defense. Any exception to this timeline requires the approval of a G701 form by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA).
  • The comprehensive examination includes a written research proposal and an oral presentation and defense of the proposal to a comprehensive examination committee. The written research proposal must be submitted to the comprehensive examination committee at least one week before the examination date.
  • The comprehensive examination committee is composed of the student’s research advisor serving as chair, two full-time faculty members in the student’s department, and one external member from outside the student’s department.
  • The student must form the comprehensive examination committee in consultation with his/her research advisor. Once the examination is scheduled, the student must inform the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA) of the examination date and time and the names of the committee members no later than two weeks prior to the examination date by submitting a signed G301A form.
  • The committee will evaluate the proposal on its technical foundation, clarity, novelty, and feasibility. The comprehensive examination can also include general questions about any material or background knowledge relevant to the research.
  • The comprehensive examination committee will consider the following in their evaluation: 
    • How well the student demonstrates knowledge of fundamental concepts and existing literature in their area of specialization; 
    • The quality of written, oral, and visual communication;
    • The appropriateness of the proposed research methodology and hypotheses; and 
    • How well the student responds to questions from the committee.
  • The comprehensive examination committee is required to submit the results of the comprehensive examination to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA) using form G309 within 72 hours of the completion of the examination. Students do not have access to this form at any time.
  • If a student does not pass the comprehensive examination, the committee may recommend a repeated attempt, to be attempted no sooner than 60 days after the first attempt.

In addition to the information provided here, each student is responsible for reviewing and complying with the Illinois Tech Graduate School requirements listed in the current Illinois Tech Graduate Bulletin and the Illinois Tech Graduate Studies Handbook.

Rules and Requirements for the CAEE Ph.D. Final Oral Examination

Updated February 2021

  • All Ph.D. students must take a final oral examination (i.e., dissertation defense).
  • The student must arrange the final dissertation committee with his/her academic adviser by the end of the third week of classes in the semester in which they plan to defend their dissertation.
  • The student must submit a G301B form with committee member names and examination date to the Graduate Office of Academic Affairs (GAA) no later than two weeks prior to the final oral examination date. Any exception to this timeline requires the approval of a G701 form by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA).
  • The final oral examination includes a written dissertation and an oral presentation and defense of the research to a dissertation committee. The written dissertation must be submitted to the dissertation committee at least one week before the final oral examination date.
  • The final dissertation committee is composed of the student’s research advisor serving as chair, two full-time faculty members in the student’s department, and one external member from outside the student’s department.
  • The dissertation committee is required to submit the results of the final oral examination to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA) using form G309 within 72 hours of the completion of the examination. Students do not have access to this form at any time.
  • In addition to the final oral examination, the student must also obtain final thesis approval of the written dissertation from the same final oral examination committee. The student must acquire final thesis approval signatures from each committee member on a G501 form and submit to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (GAA) at least nine days before the end of the semester during the fall or spring (or at least five days before the end of the semester during the summer).