Exams in the Program
Qualifying Comprehensive Exam
After the end of the first academic year, each student will take a qualifying comprehensive examination covering the material in the courses studied up to that time in addition to basic undergraduate physics. This examination is intended to measure the student's knowledge of the general field of medical physics and of some specialized area within medical physics previously selected by the student and approved by the department. This examination will consist of three parts, with appropriate breaks between the portions:
- a "closed-book" written examination lasting approximately four hours,
- a two-day "open-book" written examination, and
- a one-hour oral examination attended by the medical physics faculty.
The qualifying comprehensive examination is intended to assess the ability of the student to satisfactorily complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. After this examination, the faculty will assign, by plurality vote, one of two grades with the following implications:
- Pass at the Ph. D. level.
- Pass at the master's level.
- Fail: The student will be dropped from the program.
The exam will be offered only once each year. If a student fails the exam, he or she will be allowed to request permission to retake the exam the following year.
After the student has passed the qualifying comprehensive examination at the Ph.D. level and has obtained the sponsorship of a faculty dissertation advisor and two other faculty members of a dissertation advisory committee, he or she will formulate a written dissertation research proposal. This should describe the general goals and specific aims of the proposed research, the background of the research problem, the methods of procedure to be used, the anticipated results, and the expected significance of the work.
After the dissertation research proposal has been approved in writing by a majority of the student's dissertation advisory committee, the student will participate in a "dissertation research proposal hearing" to be conducted by the medical physics faculty. At this hearing the faculty will determine the suitability of the proposed research topic for a Ph.D. dissertation in the program and will evaluate the extent to which the student is prepared to carry out the proposed research. After the hearing, the faculty will meet to either approve or disapprove the dissertation proposal. Approval must be endorsed by at least two-thirds of the faculty present at the hearing.
If the dissertation research proposal is disapproved, the program director will inform the student and the student's dissertation advisory committee, in writing, as to the reasons for disapproval.
After all other requirements for the Ph.D. degree have been completed, and after the Ph.D. dissertation has been approved in writing by a majority of the student's dissertation advisory committee, the Ph.D. candidate will be examined orally by the medical physics faculty on the content of the dissertation and the specialized area of knowledge that it concerns. At the discretion of the faculty, one or more guest examiners from outside the department may be invited to participate. The final examination for the Ph.D. degree must be held at least three weeks before the end of the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded. At least two weeks before the final examination the student must distribute to the medical physics faculty a final copy of his or her dissertation in a format acceptable to the University Dissertation Office.
After the final examination the faculty will meet to assign a grade of "Pass" or "Fail." A passing grade must be approved by the faculty present at the final examination. In case of failure, the program director will inform the student in writing as to the reasons that a failing grade was assigned. The final examination cannot be repeated until at least two months after the previous final examination.
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