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Qualifier Examination

student working at a large computer screen in the CS department

The first major “rite of passage” in the computer science PhD program at UIC is the qualifier examination. All PhD students must pass the qualifier examination before the end of their fourth semester of enrollment; the actual completion date is approximately halfway through the fourth semester.

The qualifier examination consists of three parts:

  1. Course breadth requirement: Designed to evaluate basic proficiency in core areas of computer science. This requirement must be completed by the end of the third semester.
  2. Written critique and presentation: Tests analytic and presentation skills in a particular area of computer science. This requirement must be completed in the third or fourth semester.
  3. Final evaluation: Provides a faculty evaluation of performance in the first two parts of the examination. This is done in the middle of the fourth semester.