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Written Qualifying Exam (WQE)

The written qualifying examination (WQE) is the preliminary written examination for all Computer Science Ph.D. students. The WQE consists of a high-quality paper, solely written by the student. The paper can be either a research paper containing an original contribution, or a focused critical survey paper. The paper should demonstrate students’ understanding of the subject area, as well as their ability to integrate and communicate ideas clearly and concisely. To make satisfactory academic progress, students should take and pass the WQE no later than their 2nd year (6th quarter) of enrollment. Students must be enrolled during the quarter they take the WQE.

LENGTH: Maximum of 10single-spaced pages.

STYLE: Suitable for submission to a first-rate technical conference or journal.

CONTENT RESTRICTIONS: The paper must represent work that the student did as a graduate student at UCLA. Students must explicitly acknowledge in detail any contributions, including those of their faculty advisor, that are not their own.

PREPARATION: An individual studies class, CS597B: Preparation for Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, is offered for variable units (2-12) and may be used to satisfy the minimum 12-unit course work requirement each quarter.

SUBMISSION PROCESS: The paper must first be approved for submission by the students’ faculty advisor. Their signature on the WQE Cover Page is proof of approval. The WQE Cover Page then must be turned in to the GRADUATE STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICE in 4403 Boelter Hall by the posted deadline. There are two deadlines a year for submission of papers, one in fall quarter and the other in spring quarter. Students are emailed a WQE announcement including dates and instructions after the start of fall and winter quarter.

REVIEW PROCESS: After submission, the WQE will be reviewed by at least two other members of the faculty. Students will receive via email an evaluation and whether or not they have passed the WQE.
NOTE: Ph.D. students who want to receive a master’s degree along the way may substitute a passing WQE for the master’s comprehensive examination.