Qualifying Exam


November - December of each year

The goal of the Qualifying exam is twofold. Its first purpose is to enable the advisor and the doctoral programme to assess whether the student has the potential to become a successful PhD candidate. Its second purpose is to give the PhD students a first experience of the kind of "examination"/presentation that they will have to face later in their careers.

Students must adhere to the Qualifying exam regulations which are available from the box "Download".

Students are required to produce a research proposal complete in all its parts and upload it to to the students’ web portal according to the instructions provided by the IECS School Secretariat.
Students are required to make a presentation of their research proposal before the examination committee. The exam is open to the public and consists of a 20-minute presentation by the student, followed by questions - 25 minutes – from the committee. Upon the session’s conclusion, the committee discusses the outcome of the exam (PASS / FAIL / RETRY) and will submit its judgement according to an evaluation form provided by the student’s web portal, which will be then known to the student and his/her advisor.

Advisors are expected to give support to their own PhD Students in the production of their research proposal. In addition, they submit an evaluation for 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 of the presentation, the examination committee proposes to the Executive Committee one of the following verdicts. The Executive Committee approves the examination committee’s evaluation.

Pass: positive assessment, proceed.
Retry: negative or very critical assessment. A revision and further evaluation are necessary. The student must submit a new version of his/her research proposal and make a presentation before a different examination committee within 3 months from the day of the notification of the first exam outcome unless justified exceptions which will be assessed individually. For the second attempt, the only possible results are PASS or FAIL.
Fail: very negative assessment, the student will be excluded from the doctoral programme

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.