The goal of the Qualifying exam is twofold. First, to allow the advisor and the doctoral school to assess whether the student has the potential to become a successful PhD candidate and provide early warnings. Second, to give the students a first experience of the kind of "examination"/presentation that they will have to face later in their career.
Students are required to produce a research proposal - maximum 10-page document references included (following the ACM two-column style, for further details check http://www.acm.org/sigs/publications/proceedings-templates) and upload it to a conference management tool (Easychair).
Students are required to make a presentation that is open to the public (20 minutes), followed by a closed-door examination by the Examination Committee. The questions are based on the document that the Student has already submitted to Easychair. The Examination Committee is different for every student.
Advisors are expetcted to give support to their own PhD Students in the production of their research proposal. In addition they submit an evaluation on the academic performance of their students and are not allowed to be members of the Examination Committees of their own students.
On the basis of the student's submitted research proposal and presentation, the Examination Committee proposes to the Executive Committee/Doctoral School Committee one of the following:
Pass: positive assessment, proceed.
Retry: negative or very critical assessment. A revision and a further evaluation are necessary. The student must repeat the presentation before a different committee, within 3 months from the day of its notification. For the second attempt the only possible results are PASS or FAIL.
Fail: very negative assessment, the Examination Committee proposes exclusion from the school.
Qualifying Exam session: October of each year.
By the biginning of September students must register in Easychair at the address included in the instructions sent by the Secretariat and insert the title, abstract (max 150 words) of their research proposal.
By the beginning of October students must:
1. prepare the research proposal (maximum of 10 pages in ACM two-column style), which should comprise:
- review of the state of the art in the area;
- description of the research goals;
- preliminary results;
- planning of the future activities towards finalizing the PhD research.
2. submit the research proposal to Easychair.
Those PhD students who submit reaserch proposals that do not meet the above requirements according to the evaluation by the Examination Committee will not be admitted to the public presentation before the Committee. They will be automatically deferred to the RETRY session and therefore have only one opportunity to pass the Qualifying exam.
Deadlines will be notified by the Secretariat.
Deadlines are important, and just like those for the submission of papers and projects, they must be met. Otherwise it is not possible to take the exam.