Qualifying Examination (QE)

BIF PhD students who are planning to take QE, please consult information and follow steps below.

The BIF qualifying examination is proposal-based, comprising a short report (5-8 pages, excluding references) and an oral presentation. The topic of the proposal must NOT be directly related to the student’s dissertation topic.

The committee will evaluate student’s depth of knowledge in 5 major areas, including 1) Molecular Biology & Molecular Biochemistry, 2) Bioinformatics & High-throughput Data Analysis, 3) Sequence Analysis and Annotation, 4) Programming Fundamentals, and 5) Data Mining for Bioinformatics.

In order to pass the QE, the student must get an average score of '2.5' or higher from all indicators indicated in the QE evaluation form (Download form). If a student fails the qualifying examination, he or she is allowed to retake the examination for a second time. The student can change his/her proposal topic with the approval of the program committee. After two qualifying examination failures, the student is expected to leave the program.


Qualifying Exam (QE)


Step 1: Student proposes a research topic for the exam by filling in QE request form & gets approval from thesis advisor.

The topic must NOT be directly related to the student’s dissertation.

QE committee is composed of a committee chair, thesis advisor, and at least 2 additional faculty members.


Step 2: Student submits the request form to and gets approval from BIF program committee.


Step 3: Student submits the approved QE request form to P'Fah (SBT academic officer).


Step 4: Student schedules the exam date with the committee members.

The examination must be taken before or within the last day of classes (announced by the university) of the SECOND semester of study (for students enrolling in PhD Tracks 1.1 and 2.1) or the THIRD semester of study (for students enrolling in PhD Track 2.2).


Step 5: Student submits two documents to the committee members at least 2 weeks before the exam date.

The two documents are
1) a short proposal (5-8 pages, excluding references) and
2) a plagiarism report of the proposal.
(Download proposal template)



Step 6: Student brings documents to the committee on the date of QE.

1) Evaluation form (one copy per committee member) (Download) and
2) One copy of committee approval form (Download).



Step 7:
IF PASSED, committee chair submits committee evaluation forms & approval form to P'Fah (SBT academic officer).

IF FAILED, student must retake the exam within next semester.

Note that students enrolling in PhD Tracks 1.1 and 2.1 (those who hold a Master’s degree) must PASS the QE within 3 semesters of study. Students enrolling in PhD Track 2.2 (those who hold a Bachelor’s degree) must PASS the QE within 4 semesters of study.