Robotics PhD Qualification Exam Process

The Robotics Ph.D. qualifying exam has two parts:

  1. Course-based GPA requirement
  2. Comprehensive Oral Examination

The students must complete the GPA requirement by the end of the 8th semester (which includes summer semesters) after starting in the Robotics Ph.D. program.

Course-Based GPA Requirement:

The first part of the new qualifying exam replaces the current course-based written exam. To pass the first part, the students must maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher in 4 courses taken at Georgia Tech from exactly 2 distinct core areas as described in the attached document. There are currently a total of 5 core areas: AI, Controls, HRI, Mechanics, and Perception. The students who enter the program in Fall 2020 or later must complete the four courses for the GPA requirement by the end of the 6th semester (which includes summer semesters) of starting the Robotics Ph.D. program. Those students who are already enrolled but who have not passed the old exam will receive a one-year ‘grace period’ before the GPA requirement time limit is enforced.

Comprehensive Oral Examination:

The goals of the oral exam are to

  • Determine student’s ability to understand and apply fundamental concepts in the general area of Robotics
  • Determine the student’s ability to conduct independent research and review, synthesize, and evaluate previous work from the literature
  • Identify areas of weakness that the student may need to improve upon.

The student will prepare for the examination based on a specific research topic assigned by the exam committee in consultation with the student three weeks in advance.

The first attempt for the comprehensive oral exam must be made before the end of the student’s 5th semester (which includes summer semesters) in the program. For instance, the students who matriculate into the Ph.D. program in Fall 2020 will be required to attempt the oral exam in Spring 2022.

The oral exam committee consists of at least three (3) and at most five (5) Robotics faculty members assembled in consultation with the student and his/her advisor. The committee must include the student’s advisor and will exceed three (3) robotics faculty members only in the event when a student has more than one advisor and NOT OTHERWISE. It is the advisor’s responsibility to recommend a list of 4-6 non-advising faculty members with a brief justification for each recommended member to the Program Director within the first four weeks of the Fall Semester of the academic year during which the student wishes to take the oral exam.