At the end of the first year, students are required to take a Departmental Examination, administered by the curricular group. The Departmental Examination is intended to test the general scientific background of the student, the ability to integrate material from specific courses in analyzing new problems, demonstration of a reasonable degree of originality and insight, and the ability to present clear verbal and/or written arguments. Expectations and format vary with the curricular group. Failure to pass the examination may have these results, decided by the examination committee:
- An opportunity to retake the examination at a later date.
- An opportunity to take a focused examination on the areas in which the student did poorly.
- Recommendation that the student leave the program (possibly with a terminal MS degree)
Individual Curricular Group exam details are included on the following pages