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    McMaster University
  Sep 23, 2017
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Computational Science and Engineering, Ph.D

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Ph.D. Degree


The general regulations for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy appear earlier in the Calendar. Students with a Master’s degree equivalent to the Master’s degree with thesis option at the School of Computational Science and Engineering are required to take two 700 level half courses. Students who previously earned a Master’s degree at a relevant program are required to take a total of four courses, of which at least three must be at the 700 level. Students entering into the Ph.D. program directly from a bachelor’s degree, or transferring into the Ph.D. program without completing the Master’s degree are required to take a total of six courses, of which at least four must be at the 700 level. During their course of study, doctoral candidates will have to pass a Comprehensive Examination of the School of Computational Science and Engineering. The purpose of this examination is to ensure that the candidate possesses sufficient knowledge and maturity in computational science. The Comprehensive Examination will be in two parts.

Part I

Part I will be an oral examination which is designed to test the student’s breadth of knowledge, her/his understanding of computational sciences and computational engineering, and to test the student’s ability in critical thinking, and her/his ability to synthesize and integrate ideas from within and peripheral to the candidate’s research area.

The examination committee will meet to determine the topic related to, but peripheral to the candidate’s intended research topic. The choice of topic may be made in consultation with the Director.

Once the candidate receives the topic, he/she will have four weeks to review the state of art on the specified areas, write a maximum 20 page report surveying these areas and identify between 1 and 3 interesting open problems without the aid of any other individual. An official letter is sent to the candidate outlining the proposal topic, examination procedures and guidelines. The oral examination will take place two weeks after submission of the report. The examination will include an oral presentation, not more than 20 minutes in length. This is followed by a question period from the examination committee. The total examination will normally be 2 hours in length, but no more than 3 hours. At the end of Part I an interim form should be returned to the School. This form can be obtained from the Administrator.

Part II

Part II will take the form of a written research proposal and an oral examination designed to examine the student’s understanding of, and approach to, her/his proposed dissertation research topic. Formulation of the dissertation topic shall be done in consultation with the Supervisor. Both parts of the examination may be repeated once.

The examination committee consists of the student’s supervisory committee plus one additional member whose area is relevant to the examination topic. Suggestions for the additional member will be provided by the supervisory committee and approved by the Director. During its initial meeting the examination committee will also determine its Chair.

After completion of both part of the exam, the Comprehensive Examination Results form is to be completed by the Chair and submitted together with the student’s report to the Director for approval in accordance with regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. This form can be found at The completed form and report are then submitted to the Administrator who will forward both to Graduate Studies and update the candidate’s departmental file.

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