UCLA Computer Science Department
Written Qualifying Examination
1. BASIS OF THE EXAM
Written Qualifying Exam (WQE)
will cover fundamental material in 5 "fields":
Software Systems (Operating Systems, Database Systems)
The fundamental material in each field will be defined by the exam
which describes the material:
- by specific topics;
- by references (chapters or sections in texts; key papers)
2. FORMAT OF THE EXAM
The exam will emphasize problem solving ability:
questions will test skill at applying fundamental concepts
in solving problems.
The exam will be offered twice per year:
in the Fall quarter (mid-November), and
in the Spring quarter (mid-May).
The exam will be held in two 4-hour sessions.
Tentatively the sessions will take place
on a Thursday afternoon
and a Friday afternoon.
The exam will consist of 10 multipart questions.
Each question will be a "booklet", or "handout",
which can be handled separately from the other questions.
Each session will present 5 questions, from each of the 5 fields.
(Thus, each field will contribute 2 questions to the whole exam.)
It is recommended that questions have multiple parts where
appropriate, to allow partial credit and reduce the likelihood
of all-or-nothing scores.
A faculty committee will gather all questions well in advance of
the exam, along with a written solution for each question. Then,
as a group, they will review the 10 questions for their suitability
in difficulty and in scope.
All exams are closed book, and closed notes.
Students must write all exam answers on the exam question booklets
(extra sheets of paper will be included if they are needed).
Students must turn in all exam booklets at the end of the session.
Grading is double blind:
both student and examiner identities are hidden.
Normally the person who developed a question (or part of a question)
will grade it. A given (part of) a question will be graded by
the same person for all examinees.
The worst 4 scores of the 10 questions are dropped.
At a meeting, the faculty review the best 6 scores of each student
and vote on whether they are sufficient for passing the exam.
Student identities will not be revealed until after the vote.
Students can take the exam at most 3 times.
After entering the Ph.D. program, students must pass the exam
within the first 5 times it is offered.
(Since the exam is offered in the Fall and Spring quarters,
this gives students who enter the Ph.D. program in Fall quarter
7 quarters in which to pass the exam,
and students who enter the Ph.D. program in Winter quarter
8 quarters in which to pass the exam.)
(These time limits went into effect in the Fall 2000 quarter,
so even students who began their studies at UCLA prior to Fall 2000
will still have 5 offerings in which to pass the exam,
beginning with the offering in Spring 2001.)
5. WHAT PASSING THE EXAM MEANS
The exam is intended both as a "fundamentals" exam, and as a
"demonstration of problem solving ability" exam.
The exam is to be taken early, possibly even in the student's
first quarter at UCLA if their preparation is excellent.
As mentioned above, it must be passed within 5 offerings.
Students in the Ph.D. program who
pass the exam:
are free to progress on their Ph.D. work,
and may count the exam as the M.S. comprehensive.
do not pass the exam within the given limits:
are excluded from the Ph.D. program
(The grounds for dismissal is lack of timely progress
and/or failing 3 times).
Send questions to:
$Id: WQEdescription.html,v 1.10 2002/09/03 19:58:44 stott Exp stott $