Doctor of Philosophy
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is awarded in recognition of the highest degree of creative scholarship and research in a field of study. The recipient of this degree must have demonstrated proficiency in a broad area of learning and the ability to critically evaluate work in the discipline. The degree is not awarded solely for completing a prescribed number of courses, but for having undertaken and completed independent work in the discipline leading to an original contribution to knowledge.
Generally, students may undertake work that will lead to a Doctor of Philosophy degree only after they have received a master’s degree, usually in the same academic discipline, from this or another accredited institution; however, in some disciplines it is possible to be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program. In certain disciplines students who have completed the equivalent of the coursework for the master’s degree may be readmitted to work toward the Ph.D. directly, thereby bypassing the master’s degree (see department section). Each student must have:
- attained an overall GPA of at least 3.00 for all graduate work,
- completed the necessary undergraduate preparation,
- completed any departmental examination(s) or other requirements,
- presented scores on tests required by the department, and
- been recommended for doctoral work by the department.
Acceptance of a student for doctoral work on the basis of the above criteria does not imply or guarantee advancement of the student to candidacy for the degree.
The Ph.D. degree requires the completion of a program of 90 semester credits of graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree, including acceptable master’s degree work (30 maximum credits), and the submission of an acceptable dissertation. The program will include enrollment in courses and/or seminars which are designed to:
- advance the student’s knowledge in the discipline,
- provide competence in the scholarly tools (languages, mathematics, etc.) required for study and research in the discipline, and
- provide competence in the research methods of the discipline, e.g., courses in bibliography or historiography, a research minor in education, courses dealing with current research topics, etc.
With the approval of the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee, up to one-half of the work beyond the master’s degree may be transferred from another institution. The Program of Study will include work in one major department and should include work in one or more related departments, i.e., either a minor or cognate area, but at least one-half of the work must be in the major field. The credits for the dissertation (typically 6-18 credits), and the research on which it is based, should comprise a substantial portion of the 90 credits for the degree and should be included in the major part of the program.
Students should refer to the section of this catalog titled “Departmental Programs” for additional admission, degree, examination, and course requirements unique to each department.
Students should contact the program or the School of Graduate Studies for current residency requirements
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree may have to demonstrate competence in scholarly tools required for study and research in the discipline. Each department offering the Ph.D. degree has specified the nature of these tools (languages, mathematics, statistics, computer programming, etc.). See the “Departmental Programs” section for more information. This requirement must be completed before the student is permitted to take the comprehensive examination for the degree or become a candidate for the degree.
Foreign Language Exam
Students required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a foreign language may do so by one of two procedures: Standardized tests (Graduate Student Foreign Languages Tests - GSFLT) prepared by the Educational Testing Service are available in French, German, Russian, and Spanish and are given by the Counseling Center upon student request. The Languages Department will administer a Reading Test in French, German, Russian, or Spanish. This test is offered three times a year: on Reading and Review day at the end of the fall and spring semesters, and on registration day for the fall semester. Students must sign up for the examination with the department secretary, no later than one week before the examination date. Students may take the examination a maximum of three times at the Languages Department. Students needing to demonstrate a reading knowledge in a language other than those mentioned above should, together with their Advisory Committee, petition the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for approval of the use of the language and the proposed examination mechanism.
A dissertation is required in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. It must represent an original and independent investigation in the major field of study. Through the dissertation, and the research leading to it, each candidate clearly must have made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field. Credit is given for the dissertation and for the research on which it is based, the amount being determined in advance by the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee in accord with the limits established by the major department.
A dissertation is prepared with the guidance and advice of the student’s faculty advisor and the Committee. However, all dissertations must be prepared in accord with the Style and Policy Manual for Theses and Dissertations. The “Manual” is available on the School of Graduate Studies website. Any exceptions will require approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, the students advisor, and the advisory committee members.
The topic for the dissertation must be approved in advance by the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Approval is effected by the student’s completing the Topic Proposal form from the School of Graduate Studies and on the website, then submitting the proposal to the committee for approval. The approved proposal is then submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for the Dean’s approval, and then is filed in the School of Graduate Studies. The proposal should be approved the semester before the degree is expected, but it must be approved before advancement to candidacy.
The draft of the dissertation should be presented to the Faculty Advisory Committee sufficiently in advance of the Preliminary Approval deadline so that a thorough evaluation may be effected by each committee member. The Committee must be able to read the draft, suggest corrections and changes, and the student must be able to make the corrections, in time for the Committee to approve the dissertation and sign a form titled Preliminary Approval of Dissertation. Once a student has received signed preliminary approval and has made all of the corrections from their committee, and before the final copy is submitted, the dissertation will need to be checked by the School of Graduate Studies for correct style and format. The student must deposit the Approval Form in the School of Graduate Studies by the deadline specified in the academic calendar (usually four weeks prior to commencement). Unless this deadline is met, the student will not be permitted to graduate at the upcoming graduation. The Preliminary Approval assures the student that no major changes will be required in the final copy of the dissertation.
Copies of the dissertation in its final form must be presented to the Faculty Advisory Committee in time that they may thoroughly read the dissertation prior to the final examination. When the final version of the dissertation has been approved by the committee, it must be submitted electronically to ProQuest for publication in time to receive the approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar (usually two weeks prior to graduation). The advisor and the major department must each be presented one copy of the dissertation. The final copy of the dissertation will be printed and bound by ProQuest and cataloged in the University Library.
All students seeking a Doctor of Philosophy degree must take a written comprehensive examination after a substantial portion of the coursework has been completed. At the option of the department, an oral examination may also be given. The content of the examination will be determined by the Graduate Faculty of the departments concerned, and the examination will be given at times announced by the departments. The examination must be extensive and searching and must cover in depth the field or fields of knowledge in which the degree is taken. This examination must be completed before advancement to candidacy but cannot be undertaken until the scholarly tool requirements have been completed. Comprehensive examinations which are failed may be repeated once with the prior approval of the Faculty Advisory Committee, the department, and the Dean, but in no event earlier than at the next regularly scheduled offering.
Students must apply for permission to take the comprehensive examination on a form available at the School of Graduate Studies. After checking the record to ensure that the student is eligible for the examination (most of the work completed, Approved status attained, Program of Study approved, scholarly tool requirements completed), the School of Graduate Studies will certify eligibility and will forward an examination report form to the chairperson of the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee. The student may not take the examination until such certification has been provided.
In lieu of the comprehensive examination, students in Chemistry will take cumulative examinations which begin in the second semester of School of Graduate Studies.
Candidacy for the Degree
Advancement to candidacy is granted only after the completion of specified academic requirements and upon the recommendation of the Faculty Advisory Committee. Candidates for a doctoral degree will not be allowed to graduate in the same semester or summer session in which they become a candidate for the degree.
Students in Approved status may be advanced to candidacy when the following requirements have been fulfilled:
- A five-member Faculty Advisory Committee has been appointed. Students should complete the form titled “Request for New Advisor or Committee appointment”. The form requires the signatures of the proposed committee members and the signature of the Graduate Director of the program. The completed form must be submitted to the Office of School of Graduate Studies for the final approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Four of the committee members represent the major and any minor areas of study. The fifth member, who is the Member-at-Large, is appointed by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and represents the Graduate Faculty. The chairperson of the Committee, who serves as the student’s major and dissertation advisor, must be a Full member of the Graduate Faculty. An associate member may chair a doctoral student’s faculty advisory committee and direct the dissertation research if approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, a mentor will be appointed. Until the appointment of the committee, the department chairperson, or designate, acts as the student’s temporary advisor, who is appointed upon admission to the program. *Teaching and Learning has four-member Faculty Advisory Committees.
- A Program of Study, outlining the requirements for the degree as developed by the student and the Committee, has been approved by the student, the committee, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The “Program of Study” form should be approved no later than the beginning of the second semester of study.
- Departmental examination requirements have been completed.
- A substantial portion of the coursework for the degree has been completed with a GPA of no less than 3.00 for all work attempted.
- The scholarly tool requirement has been completed.
- The comprehensive examination has been successfully completed.
- The “Topic Proposal” form for the dissertation research has been approved by the committee and the Dean of School of Graduate Studies. Before the proposal can be approved by the Dean, an approved program of study, and IRB approval, if needed, must be submitted for approval by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
- When all the above requirements have been met, the student will be advanced to candidacy. The student and the advisor will be sent a status sheet indicating Advancement to candidacy.
The final examination must be scheduled two weeks in advance by the Committee through the School of Graduate Studies and must be completed and the results reported by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar.
The student’s academic advisor must complete the “Notice of Defense” form and secure the necessary signatures. This Notice of Defense along with the Preliminary Approval (if not previously submitted) must be received at the School of Graduate Studies two weeks in advance of your defense. The candidate and committee members must be present at the defense.
The final examination for the doctoral degree is conducted by the candidate’s full Faculty Advisory Committee in the presence of the dean of the School of Graduate Studies and such other members of the Graduate Faculty as elect to attend. The final examination must include an oral examination but also may include written portions. The examination must cover the dissertation but need not be limited thereto. Committee members must have had adequate opportunity to examine the final copy prior to the examination and will indicate their approval by signing the “Approval Page” of the dissertation and the “Final Report on Candidate.” Final examinations which are failed may be repeated once with the prior approval of the Advisory Committee and the Dean.
A student may pass the Doctoral Comprehensive and/or Final Examination with one dissenting vote. The dissenter must submit a written report on his/her decision to the School of Graduate Studies. Four signatures will be accepted on the final copy of the dissertation.
Ph.D. candidates will be required to complete a National Research Council demographic survey form and submit their dissertation with Proquest UMI before graduation.