Ph.D. Qualifiers

Make sure you register for your exam in the Spring by January 17th!

To register fill out form and submit to Sarah Morgan Mechanical Engineering Office Building room 205 (preferred) or email to

Spring 2014 Qualifiers will be held on January 27th.


Ph.D. Qualifying Exams

The qualifiers are exams that students pursuing their doctorate degree must pass in order to graduate.  The purpose of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exams is to ensure that students pursuing a doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering have a required background in at least two (2) fundamental areas of mechanical engineering.  In addition, the Qualifying Exams serve as a quality-control instrument.

Qualifying Exams are offered in nine (9) areas.




Fluid Mechanics

Heat Transfer



Solid Mechanics




A doctoral student is allowed two (2) attempts to pass two (2) exams.

A master’s student is allowed one (1) attempt to pass two (2) exams.  This attempt does not count as a Ph.D. attempt if the student switches into Ph.D. program, but will count as a pass if one or both exams are passed.

  • The first attempt must be within their first year (before completing 18 credit hours, including research hours), usually their second semester.

  • Students should speak to their advisor about which exams to take.

  • If a student fails both exams (e.g. heat transfer and polymers), they are allowed to take two exams in the following semester.  These exams do not have to be the same two exams taken in the previous semester (e.g. Vibrations and Metals/Ceramics), however, changing both exams is not usually recommended, student should speak to their professor before changing their exam topic.

  • If a student fails one of their two exams (e.g. passed heat transfer and failed polymers), they are allowed to take one exam in the following semester, and that exam does not have to be the same as the previous exam, but it cannot be the same as the exam that has already been passed (e.g. any exam but heat transfer), student should speak to their professor before changing their exam topic.


If a student does not pass one or both of their exams on the second attempt.

  1. Student can switch to Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering from TAMU
  2. Pursue Ph.D. degree in another department at TAMU or another institution, if they do not already have a master's in Mechanical Engineering from TAMU.
    • Student is allowed a master’s try at qualifiers.
    • After completion of master’s degree, student may re-attempt Ph.D. with two more tries at qualifiers.
  3. Appeal to the departmental Graduate Studies Committee.
    • Appeals will only be considered under extraordinary circumstances, and are not routine.


Preparing for Exams

  • It is recommended to take the Core Courses in the subject of interest in the semester prior to the exam.
  • When students register with Ms. Sarah Morgan they are entitled to
    • Syllabus for the exam(s) registers
    • Copy of three (3) previous exam(s) in areas registered.


Exam Committee

A three member committee prepares the questions/problems for the exam in each area.  The appropriate Division Leader appoint the chair and the two members of the committee.  The Mechanical engineering faculty is encouraged to submit problems along with their solutions for any of the exams to the committee that is responsible for the exam.  The three-member committee may choose to include these problems in the exam.  All exams are closed-book and formula sheets, tables, and charts may be provided by the committee.  The chairman is responsible for ensuring that the exam is reasonable and is consistent with previous exams. Students will not be given the names of committee members responsible for the exams before the end of examinations.


Scoring/Oral Exams

70% + - Passing

50% - 70% - Possibility of follow-up Oral Exam

Less than 50% - Failing

*A doctoral student who fails to pass the written exam on their second attempt will be given an oral exam in which the student will have a final attempt to pass the exam.

**An exam committee may choose to give a student a conditional pass for which the student must satisfy certain requirements by the end of a given period after the exam, specified by the committee. 



  • Pens, pencils, calculators, and a watch are the only items allowed in exam. 
  • No cell phones or cell phone calculators are allowed.
  • A student must write their registration number that they are assigned on their exam paper.  Nowhere on the exam should the student write their name or student identification (UIN) number. 
  • All exams are closed-book and formula sheets, tables, and charts may/may not be provided by the committee. 
  • Exam proctor(s) will not be able to answer any questions about the content of the exam, but will provide a time warning for students in exam.
  • Extra paper will be provided in the exam.


Qualifying exams are administered during the third (3rd) week of the fall and spring semesters every year (not offered during summer sessions).

Exam week*

Monday- Exams administered between 8:00am and 8:00pm in various locations

Tuesday- Grading

Wednesday- Written exams should be graded and turned into MEEN Grad. Office by 12 (noon).  Students who are to be given oral exams will be notified by midnight.

Thursday – Students who are eligible for oral exams are able to come into the MEEN Grad. Office to review written exams to prepare for their oral exams.  Thirty (30) minutes are allowed for review of each exam.  Students may take notes while reviewing the exams.  Students will be notified of oral exam time/location by noon on Thursday.

Friday – Oral exams.

By the Following Friday – Results of all pass/fails will be available for students in writing.

*This schedule is subject to change, but is representative of a typical exam week.


If you have any questions please contact us at:


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