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Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering — Qualifying Examination

Regulations for Comprehensive Screening Examination

  • The qualifying exam may be taken any time after core coursework or equivalent has been completed. Student's graduate GPA at UH should be 3.50 or greater. Exceptions may be made in the case of students required to take particularly difficult courses outside the EnvE Program.
  • Student's major advisor (Chair of Dissertation Committee) will select one or more related technical publications for the student to review and critique.
  • Advisor will circulate publication(s) to other EnvE faculty members for advice and counsel. Faculty with comments should respond within one week.
  • Student will have ten calendar days to analyze the publication, read related material, and prepare a written review in the format requested. One copy of the written review will be delivered to each EnvE faculty (mailbox or personal delivery) by the due date.
  • Candidate will present and defend the written review before the EnvE faculty. The oral exam will be held 7-14 days after the written exam is submitted. Effort must be made to schedule the exam when all EnvE faculty can attend. If this is not possible, the exam may be held with no more than one missing EnvE faculty.
  • Written and oral presentations will be judged by all core EnvE faculty. Grading will be "Excellent", "Good", "Fair", or "Poor" with "Fair" or better required for passing. Separate written and oral grades will be assigned based on the student's demonstrated analytical and writing abilities, presentation skill, and ability to answer faculty questions. If failed, the test may be retaken only once.

Format for Written Critical Review

Abstract: A 300-word abstract of what the candidate thinks the authors are saying.

Overall Evaluation: Student's general impression of the paper-what is the contribution? Approximately 150 words in length supported by the following Detailed Evaluation.

Detailed Evaluation of Strengths and Weaknesses: The following factors should be considered and reported upon in some logical fashion in the written critique. This list is not an outline to be rigorously followed for the written critique.

  • Is the presentation clear?
  • Is the literature search adequate?
  • What is the quality of the experimental data?
  • Do the models make sense; are they built on sound assumptions with correct equations?
  • Is approach innovative, creative, unique?
  • Are results and conclusions believable?
  • Are results useful?
  • Is the work significant?
  • Is work state-of-the-art?
  • What additional experimental work or modeling might have been performed?
  • How does this work extend, contradict, or confirm the literature?
  • Are the findings in this paper related to your doctoral research? If so, how?

NOTE: Total length of critique is not to exceed 10 double-spaced typed pages exclusive of references and additional figures.