These examinations are meant to test the understanding of essential undergraduate-level material in Aerospace Engineering. They are required of all students seeking a Doctoral degree, and are to be taken at the earlier of the following two deadlines: during the first Fall or Spring semester after a student has completed 18 graduate credit hours at MSU (only hours completed after admission to the Ph.D. program shall be counted); or during the first Fall or Spring semester after a student has completed one third of his/her program of study.
Each student has to select three topics among those listed below. At least two of the topics have to be in different major areas. Students who have completed the courses indicated in parenthesis below, or their equivalents, should be well prepared to pass the topic examinations. A student may choose one topic in each area.
Each student shall submit a written proposal for doctoral research to his/her Doctoral Committee. The proposal shall outline significant preliminary findings to date, the proposed avenue of research, and a research plan with key milestones. The proposal is due no later than the tenth week of the first Fall or Spring semester after a student completes 10 graduate research hours (only research hours completed after admission to the PhD program shall be counted). Early submission of this proposal is encouraged, in order for the Committee to be in a position to be more effective in directing the research efforts of the student. Within four weeks of the submission to the Committee, an oral defense of the proposal shall be scheduled by the Chair of the Doctoral Committee (the defense shall be closed to the general public: only the student and all departmental Faculty who are members of the Graduate Faculty shall be admitted. An observer from the Graduate School may also be present, at the request of the student). The outcome of the oral defense shall be the formal approval/disapproval of the dissertation topic by the Doctoral Committee. If the dissertation topic is conditionally approved, the Chair of the Doctoral Committee shall have the responsibility of ensuring that the conditions are satisfied before granting final approval. If the dissertation topic is rejected, the student shall have one more chance to submit a new written proposal, not earlier than six months after the first submittal. A second rejection shall result in dismissal from the doctoral program. The dissertation defense shall not be scheduled before at least one calendar year has passed from the date of the formal approval of the dissertation topic.
The role of the Doctoral Committee shall be predominant after the student has passed his/her Qualifying Examination. In addition to the Doctoral Committee, the Department Head and the Graduate Coordinator shall have an ex-officio participation in the administration of the DCE examination. In the following, the Examination Committee will indicate the Doctoral Committee augmented by the Department Head and the Graduate Coordinator. As stated in the University Graduate Bulletin, this examination may be taken only after the student has completed or is within 6 hours of completing his/her course work, and has the dissertation topic approved.
The information on this page details the Departmental guidelines for the Qualifying Examinations, the procedure for obtaining approval of the dissertation topic, and the Preliminary/Comprehensive Examination (denoted as Candidacy Examination in this document). It is meant to complement the general guidelines published in the Graduate Studies Bulletin of Mississippi State University. Please refer to the Bulletin for more background material on these examinations.