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Qualifying Examination (4-year PhD Programme)


  • The qualifying examination will be conducted during the first semester of Year 2 (i.e. between the 13th and 18th month).
  • Candidates who have failed the examination may attempt again in the second semester of Year 2 (i.e. between the 19th and 24th month).
  • If a candidate fails to obtain a pass in the second attempt, Faculty shall determine whether the candidate be transferred to a programme leading to an MPhil degree, or be dismissed.

Examination Format

The qualifying examination consists of a written critical survey of the student's intended research area and an oral examination. The written survey should identify important research issues in the student's intended research area. This involves assimilating the significant research papers in that area, understanding how they relate to one another, and identifying valid open research questions. The written survey should normally cover tens of highly relevant papers and be approximately 20-30 pages long (in double space format). The oral examination will take the following format:
  • 25 minutes for student to present the survey results and identified research questions.
  • 35 minutes for panel members to ask questions. Questions can be on the presented research or related general topics on the paper readings assigned by the supervisor(s).

Assessment and Procedure

An Assessment Panel must be set up and approved by the Department Head at least four weeks before the qualifying examination. The Assessment Panel should consist of at least three members (including the Principle Supervisor) and the majority of the panel members must be from the Department of Computer Science.

The written survey should be distributed to the panel members at least two weeks prior to the oral examination. The Panel shall assess the written survey, the relevant documents, and the oral examination.

After the oral examination, the Panel should decide whether or not:
  1. the student possesses sufficient general knowledge in the broad research field;
  2. the student has a good understanding of the literature in the intended research area;
  3. the student is prepared to conduct research in the intended research area.
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Department of Computer Science, Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Baptist University