Examinations

Master’s Examinations

Master’s Comprehensive Examination

The master’s comprehensive examination is used to determine whether the student has acquired the knowledge commensurate with the courses shown in the student’s plan of study. The examination may be oral, or written, or both. The academic unit determines the form, scope, and time of the examination. The master’s thesis examination may serve as the comprehensive examination. The academic unit has the option of offering professional master’s degrees with a minimum of 30 credit hours without requiring a comprehensive exam (i.e. coursework only). In the case of an oral examination, at least two Category I (tenure-track) faculty members must be present to serve in the student’s committee at the examination. One external, non-Illinois Institute of Technology faculty (or other faculty categories at the university) committee member with voting privilege may be included with the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. With the approval of the academic unit chair, the student’s adviser must recommend the external member to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. A resume should be attached to the recommendation. Other faculty and external visitors may attend. The result of the examination must be approved by a majority of the committee. The committee’s decision must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs on Form G303 at least 15 days prior to the end of the semester. The graduate student must be registered in the semester in which the examination is given. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat the examination once after a period of at least 30 days from the initial examination. Any additional consideration must be petitioned, supported by the academic unit, and approved in writing by the Associate Dean of the Graduate College.

Master’s Thesis Examination

Once the preliminary draft of a master’s thesis is prepared, the head of the student’s academic unit will appoint a master’s thesis committee consisting of at least two or more Category I (tenure-track) faculty members. The thesis adviser shall be the chair of the examining committee, and is responsible for all aspects of a thesis degree, including thesis advising, forms, and research credits. A thesis adviser may be any Category I faculty member from any unit provided that the person is approved by the student’s departmental academic adviser and primary unit chair. A student may have up to two thesis advisers, but at most one may be from a unit outside the student’s primary unit. One external, non-Illinois Institute of Technology (or other faculty categories at the university) committee member with voting privilege may be included with the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. With the approval of the academic unit chair, the student’s adviser must recommend the external member to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. A resume should be attached to the recommendation.

The form, scope, and time of the examination are determined by the academic unit. The examination result must be submitted on Form G303 at least 15 days prior to the last day of courses. The graduate student must be registered in the semester in which the examination is taken. A student who fails the thesis examination may repeat the examination once after a period of at least 30 days from the initial examination. Any additional consideration must be petitioned, supported by the academic unit, and approved in writing by the Associate Dean of the Graduate College.

Doctoral Examinations

Qualifying Examination

A qualifying examination is required for all doctoral students. The composition of the qualifying examination committee is determined by the academic unit. The voting members of the committee should be Category I faculty. One external, non-Illinois Institute of Technology (or other faculty categories at the university) committee member with voting privilege may be included with the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. With the approval of the academic unit chair, the student’s adviser must recommend the external member to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. A resume should be attached to the recommendation. The exam may be given along with the master’s comprehensive examination. Students must be registered in the semester in which the qualifying examination is administered. The following rules apply to the qualifying examination:

1.    The qualifying examination may be written and/or oral, and cover major and minor subjects.

2.    If the academic unit requires a written exam, the student’s committee is responsible for submitting the questions and for conducting the exam. The committee may conduct an oral portion of the qualifying examination. A minimum of four Category I (tenure-track) faculty members must participate in the oral portion of the examination.

3.    The examination must be taken within the first year of Ph.D. study if the student has an M.S. degree.

4.    All work for a doctoral degree must be completed within six calendar years after the approval of the program.

5.    The results of the qualifying examination must be submitted within 15 days of the administration of the examination on Form G303 to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs.

6.    If the student fails the qualifying examination, the examining committee may recommend a re-examination. At least one semester of additional preparation is considered essential before re-examination. The second chance for taking the qualifying exam is regarded as final. Any additional considerations must be petitioned, supported in writing by the academic unit, and approved in writing by the Associate Dean of the Graduate College.

Comprehensive Examination

After the approval of a plan of study and within a period of time specified by the academic unit, the student must appear for the comprehensive examination. Though students typically take this examination at the end of the second year of Ph.D. study, the only time requirement is that the comprehensive examination is completed at least one year prior to the final thesis examination. The student must be registered in the semester in which the examination is taken. The proposal for the Ph.D. dissertation is normally presented as part of the comprehensive examination. The following rules apply to the comprehensive examination:

1.    The examination may be written, oral, or both.

2.    A minimum of four Category I (tenure-track) faculty are required for all examining committees of doctoral candidates. The thesis adviser shall be the chair of the examining committee, and is responsible for all aspects of a thesis degree, including thesis advising, forms, and research credits. A thesis adviser may be any Category I faculty member from any unit provided that the person is approved by the student’s departmental academic adviser and primary unit chair. A student may have up to two thesis advisers, but at most one may be from a unit outside the student’s primary unit. Two members from the committee must be from the student’s major, and one member must be from outside the student’s major (e.g., MAE faculty may serve on an MSE student committee). One external, non-Illinois Institute of Technology (or other faculty categories at the university) committee member with voting privilege may be included with the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. With the approval of the academic unit chair, the student’s adviser must recommend the external member to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. A resume should be attached to the recommendation. The graduate dean is an ex-officio member of all examining committees. To substitute for the chair of the committee, the new chair must be a Category I (tenure-track) faculty member. The role of the outside member of the committee is to provide an element in the examining committee function that is independent of the immediate interest of the academic unit in which the candidate is seeking his or her degree. The outside member of the committee has the responsibility of representing the interest and function of the Graduate College and the university in a context distinct from that of the degree-granting academic unit. Faculty holding joint or adjunct appointments in the degree-granting academic unit or non-faculty co-advisers cannot be outside members on a student’s committee. They may, however, serve as the additional members of the committee.

3.    The committee is nominated by the academic unit head and confirmed by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs. The nominations must be arranged on Form G301A by the end of the third week of the semester in which the examination is going to be held. The Office of Graduate Academic Affairs must be notified on Form G301A of the time and date of the comprehensive examination no later than two weeks prior to the exam date.

4.    Any faculty member may attend oral comprehensive examinations, but only the appointed Category I and external committee members may vote. Passing the examination requires one vote more than a majority of the official committee. Dissenting members may bring a split decision before the graduate dean for adjudication.

5.    If part of the examination is failed, the report should note which part is to be repeated in a second examination. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may be re-examined after a period of 30 days has elapsed. Students failing the examination twice will be asked to terminate their graduate study at the university. In extenuating circumstances the academic unit head may show cause why a third examination should be given. A re-examination after two failures requires the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. Failure of the third examination will result in termination without recourse.

Final Thesis Examination

The final thesis examination may be scheduled at least one year after the comprehensive examination. The following rules apply to the final thesis examination:

1.    The eligibility for the membership of the final thesis examination is the same as that listed earlier for the comprehensive examination. The examining committee must consist of at least four Category I (tenure-track) faculty members who must sign Form G301B. One external, non-Illinois Institute of Technology (or other faculty categories at the university) committee member with voting privilege may be included with the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. With the approval of the academic unit chair, the student’s adviser must recommend the external member to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. A resume should be attached to the recommendation. Faculty members holding the rank of research professor or associate professor may be appointed as non-voting co-chairs of the final thesis examination committee. An emeritus professor who has a current research professor appointment and who has been active in guiding and supporting the student may be a co-chair and voting member of the student’s committee. The examining committee is nominated by the academic unit head and confirmed by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs by the second week of the semester in which the examination will be administered.

2.    Upon final submission, the signature pages and the final thesis approval form (Form G501) are checked by the thesis examiner for signatures of committee members and the academic unit head. The signatures on Form G501 indicate that the committee members are satisfied with the content of the dissertation and no additional changes are required before its final online submission for the thesis examiner’s review. It is the responsibility of the student and the committee chair to notify the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs of any changes in the structure of the examining committee. The same committee that approved the preliminary dissertation must also approve the final copy of the dissertation.

3.    The examination is open to all faculty but only the appointed committee members may vote. The chair of the committee is responsible for the conduct of the examination. In addition, Form G301B must be received by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs by the end of the second week of the semester in which the examination is going to be held. The Office of Graduate Academic Affairs must be notified of the date and time of the final thesis examination at least two weeks before the examination using Form G301B. Examination results reported on Form G309 must be received in the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs at least 15 days before the last day of the semester. The final copy of the thesis is uploaded by the student using an online document submission process, and confirmed by the thesis examiner with the degree candidate, at least nine days before the last day of the semester.

4.    A student who fails the thesis examination may be re-examined after a period of 30 days has elapsed. Students failing the examination twice will be asked to terminate their graduate study at the university. In extenuating circumstances the academic unit head may show cause why a third examination should be given. A re-examination after two failures requires the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. Failure of the third examination will result in termination without recourse.

Qualifying, comprehensive, and final examinations for graduate students are to be held on the university's Mies Campus. Exceptions to this policy are made only for certain graduate students whose examinations are administered at other university campuses.