PhD Electrical Engineering | Qualifier Exam Policy

All students admitted to the PhD Electrical Engineering programme must clear a PhD qualifier exam according to the guidelines described in the Graduate Handbook. The qualifier exam should be cleared within 18 months of the student’s admission into the PhD programme. Each student has a maximum of two attempts to pass the exam. The first attempt must be within the first calendar year after admission. In case the student fails to clear the examination within the first attempt, he/she may be allowed to appear in a second attempt after gaining approval from the DGPC. The two attempts must be consecutive.

Exam Offerings

The exam is conducted twice in an academic year: once after Spring, and once after the Fall semester. The dates of the exam are announced by the Department Graduate Programme Committee via email.

Date Sheet

The date sheet for the written component of the qualifier exam can be found here.

Registering for the Exam

It is the student’s responsibility to register for the exam. Registration involves filling out the registration form and submitting it after obtaining the PhD advisor’s signature. The form must be submitted to the Electrical Engineering Department coordinator.

Download registration form


Exam Format

The qualifier exam consists of two components: 

  • A written component where the student must appear in three separate exams.
  • An oral component for the same subjects taken in the written exam. This component will be conducted by a committee consisting of three faculty members within a single face-to-face session with the student. The Exam Committee is selected by the Department Graduate Programme Committee.

Qualifier Areas

The student must appear in one of the areas of specialization given below. In each specialization, area, the student must appear for a written and oral exam in three core subjects. The topics covered in a core subject roughly map to advanced undergraduate level and introductory graduate level courses in that area. There is flexibility in selecting the subjects in accordance with the table below.

Signals, Communications, and Intelligent Systems Stream

Signals and SystemsForced
Stochastic Systems/Applied Probability, Communication Systems, Feedback control systems, Computer Networks, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Optimisation.Any two courses from the list with an option of replacement of one course.

Electronics and Embedded Systems Stream

Digital System Design, Devices and Electronics, Embedded Systems, VLSI Design, Microelectronics Design,  and Field Wave and ElectromagneticsAny three courses from the list with an option of replacement of one course.

Energy and Power Systems Stream

Renewable Energy Systems, Electromechanical Systems, Electrical Power Systems, and Power ElectronicsAny three courses from the list with an option of replacement of one course.

Photonic and Semiconductor Devices Stream

Devices and Electronics, Field Wave and Electromagnetics, Semiconductor Device Fundamentals, Principle of Optics, Nanoelectronics, and Opto-Electronic DevicesAny three courses from the list with an option of replacement of one course.


The syllabus for the individual exams is the same as the most recent course offering for that subject and can be viewed from the course outline. Please note that the instructor setting the exam may choose to adjust the syllabus. If this is the case, students will be informed about the updated syllabus beforehand.

Replacement Course Policy

For the replacement course, the advisor should provide a brief explanation for the replacement and the course should be of a fundamental nature. The syllabus will follow the course outline from the most recent offering at LUMS.

Exemption of a Written Exam

The student may have a written exam exempted for any core subject of the selected qualifier area. Such exemption can take place only if the student has formally passed that specific course at LUMS with exceptional performance. The following conditions must hold true. 

  • If the course was passed within the last 4 years at LUMS, then the subject qualifier exam for that subject will be waived if the student secured an A+ or A grade in that course. The Exemption request needs to be filed by the PhD student and endorsed by the PhD advisor for approval of the Graduate Programme Committee.
  • If the course was passed more than 4 years ago with an A+ or A grade then the exemption can be granted only if the course content has undergone minimal change and the student has a current CGPA of at least 3.50. An exemption request needs to be filed by the PhD student and endorsed by the PhD advisor. The Graduate Programme Committee will make the final decision on exemption.

Note that the exemption is applicable only for written exams. Even if the written exam is exempted, the student will still have to appear in the oral examination for the exempted subject. 

Qualifying Exam Result

The result of the qualifier will be communicated to the student after due deliberation by the examination committee. Based on student performance, any of the following results is possible:

  • Pass: The student passes the exam and the milestone of passing the qualifier is considered to be cleared.
  • Fail: The student is not able to pass the exam. The student will have to reappear in the failed subjects in the next offering of the qualifier. If the second qualifier attempt is failed then the student will be separated from the programme.
  • Conditional Pass: The examination committee passes the student subject to fulfilment of a specified condition in a given timeframe. Such a condition may require the student to enroll in a course and pass with a certain grade. If the condition is not met in the given timeframe then the student is automatically deemed to have failed the qualifier. The student may reappear in the next offering of the qualifier. If both attempts for the qualifier are already exhausted then the student will be separated from the programme.