The MSE department recommends the general guidelines described by the Graduate School:
the exception being the PhD qualifying exam, described here:
The oral qualifier and written comprehensive exam are offered once per year, in late spring and late summer respectively. It is expected that you will take the oral qualifier exam at the end of the spring semester after having completing one full fall semester. The written comprehensive exam should be undertaken in the summer session after completing one full fall semester. Taking the exams with less residence time in the graduate program is possible, i.e., after one semester of residence. Delaying these exams requires consultation with your research advisor and the MSE Graduate Program advisor.