Qualifying Exam

After completing two semesters in the Ph.D. program, students take qualifying exams in math and two topical areas, selected by the student and their advisor. The mathematics examination is based on content from the course: MEGR 7174/8174 Engineering Analysis I. Students must obtain 70% or above on the mathematics exam to pass.

The student and the committee select the two areas for the topical exams. 70% or above is the passing grade in each of the two topic areas.

For each of the three exams, two outcomes are possible: Pass (70% or more) or Fail (69% or less). If the student fails any or all of the exams in the first attempt, they are either allowed to retake the failed exam(s) or terminated from the program. If the student fails any exam for the second time, this is sufficient grounds for termination from the program.

Ph.D. students who have not already earned a Master’s degree, or applied to earn a Master’s degree en route to the Ph.D., are required to apply for the MSME through the Graduate School before they sit for the Qualifying Exam.

Once you’ve completed and passed your Qualifying Exams, please submit the Exam Report of Comprehensive/Qualifying Examination for Doctoral Students. See below for Instructions

Instructions to Submit Exam Report for Qualifying Exam

fall 2024 Qualifying Exam Information

The Fall 2024 Ph.D. Qualifying Exam will be held October 21, 23, and 25, 2024. The Math exam will be on October 21, 2024 (Monday). The exams of the two topic areas will be on October 23 and 25, 2024. The exams will be from 9am to noon each day. An exam schedule will be sent in advance to those registered. Exams are typically given in the Mechanical Engineering Conference Room, Duke 324, unless noted otherwise.

The deadline to apply is Friday, August 30, 2024.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Application

Fall Qualifying Examinations occur approximately in the middle of October. Spring Qualifying Examinations occur in the middle of March.

Exam Concentration Areas

The available qualifying exams are grouped into five concentration areas. Each concentration has a chairperson and a committee. The role of the chairperson is to coordinate the required exam(s) for the semester in question. This includes:

  • soliciting questions from the committee members
  • submitting the exam to the committee for approval
  • submitting the exam to the graduate coordinator
  • grading the student submissions (grading is preferably completed by the professor who submitted the question)
  • submitting the results to the graduate coordinator.

The concentration areas, chairpersons (in bold), and committee members are:

  • Controls, Dynamics, Instrumentation – A. Ghasemi, St. Smith, G. Hodgins, S. Kelly, A. Wolek
  • Manufacturing, Machine Design, Metrology – K. Falaggis, B. Mullany, E. Morse, E. Joyee, S. Schmid
  • Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer – P. Ramaprabhu, C. Lee, N. Sarunac, R. Keanini, M. Uddin, G. Elliott, I. Yang
  • Materials Science, Solid Mechanics – T. Xu, H. Zhang, H. Cherukuri, A. Tabarraei, Q. Wei, A. El-Ghannam, R. Smelser, J. Xu, Y. Chen, L. Ma
  • Mathematics, Numerical Methods – A. Tabarraei, N. Zheng, R. Keanini, S. Kelly, St. Smith, H. Cherukuri, P. Ramaprabhu, E. Morse, J. Xu, M. Uddin, K. Falaggis, A. Bombik

In the event that a professor has a student taking one of the qualifying exams, it is preferred that the professor not write the exam question(s) or grade the submission. While we trust the integrity of our professors, this avoids the potential conflict of interest. Exceptions are left to the discretion of the chairperson.

EXAM Content, Topic Syllabi, and Sample Exams

Contents covered in most exams are based on the courses offered at UNC Charlotte (see the summary table below). Students are encouraged to take or audit those courses to get prepared for the exams.

Topic Contents based on course number_course name Semester the course is offered
Mathematics MEGR 7174/8174_Enginineering Analysis Fall
Solid Mechanics MEGR 2144_Solid Mechanics Fall/Spring
MEGR 6141/8141_Theory of Elasticity Fall
Metrology MEGR 6181/8181_Engineering Metrology Fall
MEGR 7182/8181_Machine Tool Metrology Spring
Fluid Mechanics MEGR 7114/8114_Advanced Fluid Mechanics Fall
Control System MEGR 5237_Introduction to Control Systems Fall/Spring
Numerical Methods MEGR 2240_Computational Methods Fall/Spring
Materials Science MEGR 3161_Introduction to Engineering Materials Fall/Spring
Manufacturing MEGR 2180_Manufacturing Systems Fall/Spring
Dynamics MEGR 3121_Dynamics I Fall/Spring
MEGR 3122_Dynamics II Fall/Spring
Heat Transfer MEGR 3116_Heat Transfer Fall/Spring
Machine Design MEGR 3221_Machine Analysis and Design Fall/Spring
Instrumentation Discuss with Dr. Stuart Smith  
Topic Syllabus Sample Exam
Controls Syllabus Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2
Dynamics Starting from Fall 2023, students will be required to answer 4 out of 5 questions in the qualifying exam. Syllabus Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2
Sample Exam 3 Equation Sheet
Fluid Mechanics Syllabus Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2
Sample Exam 3
Heat Transfer Syllabus
Additional Reference: Incropera, DeWitt, Bergman and Lavine, “Introduction to Heat Transfer,” any edition.
Sample Exam
Instrumentation Syllabus Sample Exam 1
Manufacturing Syllabus Sample Exam
Machine DesignSyllabusSample Exam
Material ScienceSyllabus Sample Exam
Metrology SyllabusSample Exam
Numerical Methods Syllabus Sample Exam
Solid Mechanics Syllabus Sample Exam

The posted homework is from the fall 2017 course. The posted sample exams are from two recent qualifying exams. They represent the scope of material, together with the course syllabus, that should be mastered for the mathematics qualifying exam. For homework problems that require computer programming, the student should review the solution procedure. However, computer programming will not be required for the qualifying exam.
Syllabus (updated 1/20/2021) Sample Exam
Sample Exam 2 (Integral Table) Sample Homework 1
Sample Homework 2
Sample Homework 3
Sample Homework 4
Sample Homework 5
Sample Homework 6
Sample Homework 7
Sample Homework 8
Sample Homework 9
Sample Homework 10
Sample Homework 11