Oral Component

Structure of Oral Component: Qualifying Exam and Mentoring Committee Meeting

A two-hour (non-public) meeting must be held before the specified date for the semester in which the student has registered to take the Qualifying Exam (Spring: by May 15th; Fall: by December 20th). 

This meeting will consist of (student present for #s 1-3, and 5): :

  1. ~30-min oral presentation of the material in the written qualifying submission (written document, coursework taken and planned, career-path plans, and desired professional development).
  2. ~45-min discussion on student’s proposal and relevant technical background, and
  3. ~30-min discussion on coursework- and IDP-related issues
  4. ~10-min private discussion among the committee [student excused], and completion of group rubric with constructive feedback
  5. ~5-min discussion with student of rubric feedback

The committee, through questions and discussion, will be responsible for evaluating the student’s competency in:

  1. Breadth of BME fundamentals (defined by Grad Committee, applied to all students)
  2. Technical depth in research topic (specific to student and assessed by committee). Note: Questions on course material and technical foundations critical to topic area are expected to be asked by committee in order to identify gaps in training and suggest further courses or further training, if needed.
  3. Identification of research gap and ethical issues
  4. Development of research question and testable hypothesis
  5. Critical analysis and interpretation of data

Other Mentoring Components of the Oral-Exam Meeting

Discussion of Academic Progress To Date and Planning of Course Work

A joint discussion with all committee members of the POS course work is often valuable in ensuring the student is taking the most relevant and valuable courses to develop the technical skills and knowledge required to become an independent researcher in the student’s chosen research area. The outcome of this discussion should be a settled plans for POS document, with a complete list of courses (including several alternates). The benefits of a joint meeting are to provide integrated advice for the student based on the broader perspectives several faculty members can provide. An official POS must be approved and filed electronically with the Graduate School by the end of the second semester of Year 1 (June 1 for Fall entrants).

Discussion of IDP and Career Development Path Advising Documents

An important part of the mentoring committee meeting is to ensure the training plan being developed includes the most appropriate activities to provide the student with the training needed to achieve their technical research as well as their career goals. This will include discussion of the student’s IDP and relevant professional development activities within BME, the College, the University, and beyond. The relevant Career Development Path Advising documents should be discussed to ensure the student is aware of and planning for the experiences needed to succeed in their chosen career path.

Relevant Forms: 

Relevant Resources:

Qualifying Exam Timelines