CCEE MS Oral Exam Information & Process

Once you and your advisory committee decide on a date and time of your MS Oral exam, the student completes the Request to Schedule the Master’s Oral Exam.


  1.  Submit the completed form to the Graduate Program Office (GPO) in 202A Mann Hall at least two weeks prior to the exam date.  The two-week window does not commence until all other requirements are completed, including a final, approved Plan of Work and a Patent Agreement.
    NOTE:  Program Director is Prof. Ranji Ranjithan.
  2. If you have a committee member who can not be physically present, please submit a Request to Conduct a Remote Exam along with your Request to Schedule form.
  3. Approval Process once turned in to the GPO is 1.  DGP (Director of Graduate Programs), 2. Graduate School.
  4. Once fully approved, both student and committee receive an email of approval to proceed with the exam on the given date.
  5. GPC (Jodie) creates a calendar event that is sent to student and committee.  This calendar event includes the Exam Report Form to be completed by the committee chair AND information for the student in the MS Exam document.
  6. After the exam, the committee chair is to return the MS Exam Report and all oral assessments to the Graduate Program Office (202A Mann Hall) at his/her earliest convenience.
  7. Unconditional Pass:  Student should immediately apply to graduate and submit the thesis document by the graduation deadline.
    Conditional Pass:  A deadline needs to be indicated on the exam report by which conditions must be met.  Once conditions are met, the committee chair will send an email to the GSC ( stating the student has met the conditions and now has an unconditional pass on the final oral exam.  Student should at that point submit the ETD and apply to graduate.


Conditional Pass: additional work needed to satisfy the advisory committee for an unconditional pass.
Unconditional Pass:  the advisory committee is satisfied with exam results and no additional work will be required from the student to pass the exam.

Plan of Work: must be approved before both the DGP and the Graduate School will approve your request to Schedule your Final Oral MS Exam.

MCE/MENE Plan of Work: students need to enter their adviser as Chair under the Committee tab in the plan of work.

ETD Web Page

ETD Deadlines

Important Dates:  Spring 2020

Comprehensive Exams (Graduate Handbook)

Conducting Remote Exams During the COVID-19 Epidemic:

Information from the Dean:

The Graduate School will allow for remote defenses given the move to limit face-to-face meetings. NOT REQUIRED: Request to Conduct a Remote Exam form.

If there is a need for a student during a defense to use a whiteboard, the use of Zoom is available.  Zoom allows you to annotate on a whiteboard, but also allows you to annotate any shared screen, such as slides, a document, a web page, etc. It’s a commonly used feature, so it is pretty easy to do. Below is the information that they (Zoom) have supplied, and we would like to reiterate their suggestion that it be tested out beforehand (although that’s certainly not foolproof as things seem to work flawlessly until it actually matters).

Sharing your screen (instructions and video):

At around 0:12 of the video above, you can see the screen where you would select “whiteboard.”
Full instructions are below the video, organized by operating system.

Sharing a whiteboard (instructions by OS, no video):

I strongly suggest doing a trial session first, mainly for these two reasons:
1. It is possible that you might have to grant your computer permission to screen share, in which case you would have to quit Zoom and restart it. Better to take care of this ahead of time.
2. Zoom settings for the host must be configured with screen sharing enabled. This setting is enabled by default in NC State’s Zoom, but it is possible for a user to go in and override the setting by turning it off.

Doing a quick 2-minute trial session would allow a user to check those two things. And a s=lightly longer trial session would allow time to play around with the whiteboard and get familiar with the tools. Also recommended. 🙂

Best Practices for Remote Prelim/Final Oral Exams

As we move forward with remote exams, there are several elements that should be considered:
1. Given that we are moving away from the request form, an important element of that form is that it made clear that technical issues could impact the exam to the point that it really isn’t viable. So, the recommendation would be that students and the committee realize that this could occur.
2. It would also be good for two zoom meetings to be scheduled – one that could be sent out to faculty, other students, and other potential audience members where they could see the presentation and the other to be one for the committee and student.
3. The student should be disinvited for the committee deliberation and then asked via some method to re-engage once a decision has been reached.

Best Practices & Tips for Zoom Defenses (from Dean Harries)

Section 3/5 from the Graduate School Handbook:

  1. Format for Remote Oral Exams

It is expected that oral examinations be conducted with all parties in the same room; however, it is recognized that circumstances may prevent this from happening. While technology can provide solutions for such situations, it should never be the case that remote exams are held simply as a matter of convenience. The student and major professor or at least a co-chair must be present in person.

When members attend examinations remotely, it is the responsibility of the chair of the committee to maintain the academic integrity of the exam and to ensure that the spirit of the requirements outlined in 3.6.B or 3.6.C above are followed. The technology used must allow all parties to interact visually and aurally to accomplish this. Failure of the technology during the exam will require that the exam be suspended until it is in functioning order or rescheduled for a later time.

It is the DGP’s responsibility to ensure that the reasons for a remote exam are valid and to submit a request to conduct the exam to the Graduate School in conjunction with the Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master’s or Doctoral Oral Examination.

Additional information: 

Remote participants must join via a connection that has video capabilities (not just an audio connection like a phone) if one wants to see or show something to each other. We do not believe that the remote committeee member is required to have the video connection open throughout the exam unless necessary (one could mute mic/speaker/video when not needed). Primarily the candidate or the committee members cannot complain that they couldn’t evaluate properly or the evaluation was not proper because one was not able to see something due to a lack of a video link.