The PhD Qualifying Exam must be taken after a PhD student completes at least 24 units of graduate course work, and as is typical for Viterbi students, in years 3 or 4 of the program.

Students form a committee of 5 tenured or tenure track faculty, and have them sign an Appointment of Qualifying Exam Committee form at least 60 days before the scheduled exam. The link for the DocuSign  committee form is at the bottom of this page.

The committee is composed of:

At least three tenure track ECE faculty (not joint appointments)

At least one tenure track faculty from outside of ECE but within USC

No more than one member may be a non-tenure track faculty (research appt.)

In addition, at least 1 week before the date of the oral qualifying exam, the Ph.D. student must provide electronically, to all members of the committee:

1. A thesis proposal document
2. Pointers to, or copies of, relevant publications
3. A current CV, including a listing of relevant graduate coursework and grades

After the Committee form has been signed by the Chair and the Viterbi Dean, a Report on PhD Qualifying Exam (ROQ) will be generated and sent to the chair of your committee (your advisor) for the day of your exam.

Mandatory registration in EE 794A and B is required (in consecutive semesters) and continued registration in 794C, D, and Z, in subsequent semesters after having passed the exam, until the dissertation is defended.  

Published on November 1st, 2016

Last updated on May 5th, 2021