Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Graduate PhD Prelim -- Review Criteria

Graduate PhD Prelim

 

Review Criteria for BioE Prelim Examination

Committee members are asked to assess a student’s suitability and preparedness for the BioE PhD Program. The students will submit written research proposal, present their proposal to the committee and answer oral questions from committee members. In general we are assessing the student’s ability to formulate and prepare an independent research project appropriate for bioengineering research. While this exam comes in the form of a specific research project, the committee should feel free to determine the breadth of the student's knowledge not just within the chosen topic but also the field in general, especially if a deficiency is suspected. The specific details of how to assess this are left up to each track chair and committee but some general guidelines are presented below.

Communication: The student should be able to communicate thoughts and knowledge in both written and oral settings. Each should contain a logical flow. The problem should be set within a broader context of the research field and the student should also present enough technical detail to satisfy the committee. The student should also be able to communicate clear and coherent thoughts when asked questions.

Background: There should be enough background that the audience is able to understand the problem as well as the proposed solution. There should also be a brief overview of current approaches and limitations. The student should ensure they demonstrate knowledge in a variety of aspects surrounding the proposal, such as engineering, biology, mathematics, statistics, clinical and physiological aspects.

Design: The student should demonstrate the ability to appropriately choose, design and research their chosen topic in bioengineering. There should be a logical development of the idea from the background given. There should be a demonstration of analytical methods for use in the proposed project. The student should address potential shortcoming with the proposed idea. The student should also understand key assumptions made as well as how their proposed project will advance science.

Appropriateness: The project should be an original research project. The scale of the project should be something on-par with a single specific aim of an academic research proposal. The project should not be the student’s thesis project but is allowed to be in the same area. A general test that maybe applied is: If the student's thesis project were already published, could the prelim project be published in the same field. This test allows each track to personalize the criteria for their general field.