EE ​Qualifying Exam

Download previous qualifier exams by clicking the below links:

The purpose of the EE Ph.D. program qualifying exam is to evaluate the student's understanding in fundamental topics of Electrical Engineering and his/her ability to analyze problems and construct solutions. The exam is offered in the Spring and Summer term each year. Students must pass the exam within 12 months after joining KAUST with an MS or after converting to Ph.D. student after compelting their MS at KAUST. Students joining KAUST in January of any given year will be allowed 1.5 years to pass the qualifying exam. The qualifier is administered in the form of a written exam. Details are described below.

  •      The exam is typically administered on the first Saturday of the Spring and Summer terms from 9 AM to noon.
  •      The exam involves 10 questions. These questions cover topics within the core EE courses taught at KAUST as listed below:
Course #
Course name
Course #
Course name
EE 202
Monolithic Amplifier Circuits
AMCS 211
Numerical Optimization
EE 203
Solid-State Device Laboratory
AMCS 241
Probability and Random Processes 
EE 208
Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices 
EE 242
Digital Communication and Coding
EE 221
Electromagnetic Theory
EE 251
Digital Signal Processing and Analysis
EE 231
Principles of Optics
EE 271 A
 Control Theory

The student has to choose 5 topics from the above list at the point of registering for the exam and is given 10 questions (2 per topic) during the exam. He/she has to return solutions to only 5 of these problems.
The exams are graded in an anonymous fashion (i.e. the professors grading the exams do not have access to the names of the students)
EE faculty then evaluates the student’s research potential/progress (as recommended by his/her research/thesis adviser) and the results of the written exam. One of the following outcomes is possible.

  1. Pass:  The student is qualified for the Ph.D. program. 
  2. Fail/Retake: The student did not satisfactorily pass the qualifying exam, but is allowed to retake the exam one (1) more time. 
  3. Fail: The student did not satsifactorily pass the qualifying exam on both attempts, and the student is not qualified for the Ph.D. program. Students who fail the retake are not permitted to continue and will be dismissed from Ph.D. program.