Qualifying Examination

A doctoral student must take and pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination in order to be a Ph.D. candidate in the department. The qualifying exam is offered twice a year, in fall and spring semesters. See the specific exam formats below.

When to Schedule

Doctoral students are expected to take the qualifying exam at the earliest possible opportunity, following completion of the master’s degree.

If a student enters the Ph.D. program without a master’s degree, then he/she is encouraged to take the examination at the first possible opportunity following the completion of 18 graduate credits beyond the B.S.

In all cases, students are advised to take qualifying exam within four semesters of entry into the Ph.D. program. A student must be enrolled for at least one credit during the semester in which he/she takes the qualifying exam.

Those who are taking the qualifying examination in spring semester must make their intentions known to the graduate program staff assistant by the second week of November.

Those taking it in fall semester must make their intentions known by the second week of July.

Examination Format

The examination format depends upon the area selected by the student. Students must select and take the qualifying exam in one of the four research areas:

  • Human Factors/Ergonomics (HF)
  • Manufacturing (MANU)
  • Operations Research (OR)
  • Operations, Services, and Analytics (OSA)

Contact Information:

  • Graduate Programs Office
    344 Leonhard Building
    University Park, PA 16802



Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

We are Innovators. We are Makers. We are Excellence in Engineering. We are Penn State IME.

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

310 Leonhard Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-7601

FAX: 814-863-4745