Qualifying Exams

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Applications for admission are evaluated by the Prorector for Doctoral Studies. About one third of all applicants have to take and pass qualifying examination(s), depending on the quality of the application.


The excact details about the examinations which have to be passed by the candidate are defined after handing in the application for admission as a doctoral student. The doctoral committee of the department decides on the examinations in consultation with the supervisor of the thesis.

When proposing qualifying examinations, the supervisor has to hand in the following details  (by to the doctoral administration of the department):

  • Course (title and number)
  • Name of the examiner/s
  • Type and duration of the examination

Type and duration of a qualifying examination may differ from the information published in the course catalog. In such cases, the supervisor of the thesis has to agree on a special examination with the examiner.

The duration of oral examinations must be at least 30 minutes, and the supervisor of the thesis may not be an examiner. If a supervisor proposes qualifying examinations which are not listed in the course catalog, a bibliography has to be provided.

Letter by the Prorector for Doctoral Studies about minimal requirements (PDF, 21 KB) for qualifying examinations.

Approval by the Doktoratsausschuss

The doctoral administration of the department submits the proposed examination/s to the "Doktoratsausschuss", along with the application documents of the candidate.

After approval the qualifying examination/s are communicated to the Doctoral Administration (Academic Services Department).

Confirmation by the Prorector

The Prorector takes a final decision. If he agrees, the examination/s are decreed and the candidate is informed about the further steps.

The process takes several weeks.


Page URL: https://www.hest.ethz.ch/en/doctoral-studies/qualifying-exams.html
Tue Jun 27 05:28:05 CEST 2017
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