Graduate

PhD Qualifying Exam and MS Comprehensive Exams

WHAT: The exam will cover the topics covered in the CSE core courses: EEL 6764 Computer Architecture, COT 6405 Theory of Algorithms, and COP 6611 Operating Systems. 

WHERE: The proctored exam will be conducted at USF Testing Services and taken on a computer at the test center. The address and hours of operation of the testing center as as follows:

     University of South Florida Testing Services
     Northwest Education Complex (NEC)
     3220 USF Banyan Circle (at the corner of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. and E. Fletcher Ave.)
     Tampa, FL 33613
     Main Phone: 813-974-2742

Office Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 7:30AM - 5:00PM
Tuesday, Thursday, 7:30AM - 8PM

WHEN: You can take the exam anytime during the semester but only after you have met the 3.60 GPA in the three core courses.

EXAM FEE: The exam fee for each attempt is $48.50

HOW TO PAY FOR THE EXAM: You may pay the fee online.

HOW TO SCHEDULE THE EXAM: Once the fee is paid, you will need to call testing services to schedule the exam and they will register you in the exam. Find more information on registration.

EXAM FORMAT: The exam will have 30 questions. All questions are multiple choice questions. Each question has four choices with one correct answer. You will pass the exam if you answer at least 24 questions correctly. The exam is a closed book/notes exam. You can use scratch paper provided at the testing center. Internet access during the exam is not allowed; the computer in the test center will have the access to the Internet blocked.

DURATION: The exam will be two (2) hours long.

ATTEMPTS: You can take the exam multiple times until you pass it but you can only take the exam once per sitting. The $48.50 fee will be required each time you take the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

PhD Qualifying Exam

Students must pass the PhD qualifying examinations in Computer Architecture, Operating Systems, and Theory of Algorithms. The qualifying examination is a two-step process. First, students must get a GPA of 3.60 or better in these three courses within one year of enrollment; otherwise, they will have to re-take only the necessary course(s) and get a GPA of 3.60 or better using the best three grades. If a student does not meet this requirement by the end of the second year, he or she will be withdrawn from the PhD program. Second, students must take the qualifying exam and pass it. Students are required to take the exam as soon as they meet the requirements of the first step. The procedure to take the qualifying exam is explained next.

MSCS/MSCP Comprehensive Exam

For non-thesis option students, the requirement for a comprehensive exam is satisfied by the successful completion of a comprehensive exam that students will take in the semester prior to the semester in which the students intends to graduate. The exam is composed of the three core courses and three electives. Students will have an option to select electives from this list: 

MSIT Comprehensive Exam 

For MSIT students, the requirement for a comprehensive exam is satisfied by the successful completion of a comprehensive exam that students will take in the semester prior to the semester in which the students intends to graduate. The exam is composed of the three core courses and three electives. Students will have an option to select electives from this list: