Student information

About the Qualifying Exam

Qualifying Examination

According to Chapter V of the Program Regulation, these are the rules related to the Qualifying Exam:




Art. 31 The qualifying examination is expected to determine whether a student possesses the knowledge and ability to carry out research on his/her chosen thesis or dissertation topic and its related fields.

§ 1 Students working toward doctoral degrees must take the qualifying examination within four academic terms after first enrolling in the Doctoral Program in Physics.

§ 2 Students working toward master’s degrees must take the qualifying examination within three academic terms after first enrolling in the Master’s Program in Physics.

Art. 32 The qualifying examination must be successfully completed prior to enrolling in the course entitled “Master’s Dissertation” or “Doctoral Thesis”, as the case may be. The successful completion of the qualifying examination is contingent on students’ meeting the criteria laid down in article 33 of this statute.

Sole paragraph – A student who fails the qualifying examination is entitled to a make-up examination, as provided for by article 32, § 7 of UFC’s General By-Laws governing stricto sensu Graduate Programs, provided that the threshold set forth in article 31, §§1-2 of this statute is not exceeded.

Art.33 The qualifying examination shall consist of a detailed presentation before an Examination Committee describing the student’s thesis or dissertation proposal, which should be at a sufficiently advanced stage. Additionally, the written proposal must be submitted to the Examination Committee and the Graduate Program Coordinating Office no later than 15 days before the date of the qualifying examination.

Sole paragraph. The thesis/dissertation proposal must include a critically oriented literature review, in addition to clearly stating the research question and the objectives the study has set out to accomplish. Further, the proposal should discuss the contributions it is expected to make to the research topic under investigation, as well as contain a detailed treatment of the chosen research method and any preliminary results which may be available at this stage.

Art. 34 The Examination Committee shall be comprised of 3 (three) permanent members, and 1 (one) substitute member, whom shall be appointed in advance in case a permanent member is unable to attend the examination.

§ 1 All Examination Committee members must hold doctoral degrees.

§ 12The Examination Committee members shall be selected as suggested by the student’s advisor, pending approval by the program’s Coordinating Office, which shall designate one of the members as Chair of the Examination Committee.

Art. 35 With regards to the qualifying examinations of students working toward Master’s degrees and the outcomes thereof:

I – the Qualifying Examination shall consist of an analysis of the master’s dissertation proposal carried out by the Examination Committee;

II – the members of the Examination Committee must vote unanimously in favor of the proposal for the Qualifying Examination to be completed satisfactorily. If at least one of the committee members is not in agreement with his/her peers, the student will have failed the Qualifying Examination. In either case, the decision to either approve or reject the proposal shall be communicated to the program’s Coordinating Office in writing. This information must be entered by hand upon the Qualifying Examination Report (to be procured from the program’s Coordinating Office) by the Chair of the Examination Committee. The Qualifying Examination Report Sheet should then be signed by all the members of the Examination Committee.

III – Students who fail this evaluation shall be entitled to a makeup qualifying examination, provided that the threshold laid down in article 31, §§ 1-2 of this statute is not exceeded;

IV – Failing the makeup Qualifying Examination will lead to the automatic termination of the student’s enrollment in the graduate program in Physics.

Art. 36 With regards to qualifying examinations and the outcomes thereof:

I – the qualifying examination is a restricted-attendance event: only the examinee and the members of the Examination Committee are allowed to participate, with the optional participation of faculty members of the Graduate Program in Physics.

II – the qualifying examination must start with the examinee’s oral presentation of his/her thesis or dissertation proposal.

III – after the presentation, the student will be asked a series of questions by the Examination Committee about specific topics of the thesis proposal and about his/her knowledge on themes related to the thesis subject.

IV-After the oral examination, the Examination Committee will have a meeting to deliberate about the Qualifying Examination result. The report awarded with the status “pass” or “fail”, obtained by means of unanimity between the members of the Examination Committee, will be forwarded in writing to the Program’s Coordinating Office, transcribed by the Chair and signed by the remaining members of the Examination Committee in the Qualifying Examination Minute of the Graduate Program in Physics.

V – The student who does not pass the defense will have the right to another opportunity to defend their proposal, as long as it does not elapse the deadline established on § 1º and § 2º or Article 31 of this statute.

VI – the student who does not pass on the second opportunity of the Qualifying Examination will fail this activity and, therefore, be automatically dismissed from the program.