Preliminary Exam

The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down. -- Adam Savage

Before Writing

Review the graduate handbook.

  • fill ou the PhD Preliminary and Final Exam Proposal form available in the Student Services Office.
  • the students advisor and the department head must approve the thesis committee.

Rules of the Prelim

Universities and departments vary. UIUC NPRE has its rules written in the grad school handbook.

The prelim is like a contract between the student and the committee. It establishes the scope of the PhD work to be accomplished. Recall that:

The goals and desired level of Ph.D. dissertation research are:

a. A dissertation should contribute new knowledge. b. The results of a dissertation should be definable and sound. c. A dissertation should contain material that has applications in nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering. d. A dissertation should be an entity in itself and its essential parts should be publishable in a refereed journal. e. A Ph.D. candidate should have demonstrated the ability to carry out independent research work.

After Writing

Prepare to present. File the preliminary exam document with the department. Consider adding it to Figshare, Zotero, and the ARFC website.