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PhD Qualifying Exam (QE)

For students admitted prior to Semester I, 2009/2010, the QE should be taken before the end of the second year of the PhD candidature. A second attempt may be taken no later than six months after a first, failed attempt. This applies to both full-time and part-time candidates.

For students admitted from Semester I 2009/2010, the QE should be passed within the first two years of the PhD candidature. Within this period, a second PhD QE may be attempted should the candidate fail at the first attempt. This applies to both full-time and part-time candidates. For research scholars, the scholarship will only be suspended upon the recommendation of the Department.

The thesis committee comprises the supervisor and two other faculty members, both of whom can be from any department within NUS (including CNM).

CNM’s QE requirements are that candidates have two written examinations and one oral examination.

The Written Examination

  1. The written examination will consist of two papers: theory and methodology, and a paper in the area of specialization related to the dissertation. Each paper will be of a two-hour duration.
  2. The exam will be closed-book. CNM will provide office space and a computer so the student can write the papers.
  3. The student must prepare a reading list for the two papers, which must be approved by his/her committee. The questions for the paper must be based on that reading list.
  4. The student will have one week (Monday through Friday) to complete the written examination portion. Students can choose when to take the exam within that week (i.e. one paper every other day; two papers in one day etc.). The student should submit to the Department a preferred time schedule at least 15 days before the examination week. The student is also required to submit a 30 to 50 pages thesis proposal at least 3 weeks before the actual date of the exam.

The Oral Examination

The oral examination will cover issues that were not clearly articulated in the written examination. It will take place no later than four weeks after the written examination is completed. The committee members will inform the student of the issues which the student will have to address during the oral examination so the student can prepare adequately.

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