Graduate Degree and Certificate Requirements
Application for Degree or Certificate
Each candidate for a degree or certificate must file an Application for Degree, no later than the Friday of the fourth week of classes for the semester in which the student expects to complete the requirements for the degree or certificate. If an application for a degree was filed for a previous graduation term in which the student did not graduate, a new application and fee is required. Applications for graduation require that a $40.00 fee be paid in the online application process.
In addition to the following regulations, requirements may be specified by the individual graduate departments.
The minimum Graduate School requirement for the master's degree is thirty credits, at least twenty-four of which must be taken at the University. In those master's degree programs where the college, school or department requires more than the Graduate School minimum, their requirements take precedence. The Graduate School recognizes three general master's degree plans, though not all plans are offered in each department (for exact information, see listings under individual departments in the appropriate sections of this bulletin):
PLAN A requires a total of thirty credits, including a total of eight credits for a thesis (some departments require less).
PLAN B requires a total of thirty credits, including a minimum of two credits for an essay.
PLAN C requires a total of thirty credits. The essay or thesis is not required.
Candidacy for Master’s Degree
Admission as an applicant does not assure acceptance as a candidate for a degree. Candidacy is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for graduation.
Generally, students enrolled in master's degree programs are expected to file a Plan of Work by the time eight to twelve graduate credits have been earned. The applicant shall be advanced to the rank of ‘Candidate’ upon approval of the Plan of Work by the College Graduate Office. In most colleges candidacy must be authorized by the time twelve graduate credits have been earned or subsequent registration will be denied. In preparing the Plan, the student and advisor should evaluate with care the personal and professional objectives of the student as well as all degree and departmental requirements.
Under Plan B, students are required to complete an essay prior to the granting of a master's degree. The essay must show evidence of scholarly study and writing and be related to the student's major. Students should consult their departments regarding any additional requirements for essays, as well as for correct essay manuscript style.
Under Plan A, departments require the completion of a thesis prior to the granting of a master’s degree. The thesis may be of a research, expository or critical nature and should be selected and planned with care. It must be an original work, in or related to the student's major field of specialization. Work submitted for credit in other courses cannot be used in fulfilling thesis requirements. Neither the results of the research nor the publication of findings may be restricted by any non-University agency. The results of the research may be published prior to submission and acceptance of the thesis, with the approval of the thesis advisor.
The presentation of a thesis generally brings to a close the pursuit of the master's degree. In essence such manuscripts represent a tangible summation of the many hours spent in study and research to acquire a higher education. For this reason such scholarly documents must evidence only the highest standards of research and writing. They must show consistency in punctuation, style and format. The Graduate School oversees the format requirements and templates.
Advisors have primary responsibility for approval of the thesis. Such approval includes all academic and professional evaluations and judgments as to originality, adequacy, accuracy, significance, methodology, justification or conclusions and correctness of style. Approval shall not be recorded until the work and manuscripts are fully verified and accepted.
Additional Essay or Thesis Elections and Fee Policy
A master’s student who has enrolled for all elections (including essay or thesis) stipulated by his/her Plan of Work, and who has completed all the requirements of these elections, but has not completed the essay or thesis, will be required to register for at least one credit (the appropriate amount to be determined by the department) of essay or thesis direction until such time as the student:
- completes the requirements for the degree;
- declares themself no longer a candidate for the degree; or
- exceeds the time limit allotted for securing the degree.
For these credits, the student will pay customary fees and will register as an auditor. No degree credit will be granted for these elections which are beyond the required credits for an essay or thesis. A mark of ‘Z’ (Auditor) will be recorded on the student's record for additional elections.
College of Nursing: The additional elections and fee policy also applies to field studies and research practicums.
Time Limitation for Master’s Degree
Students have a six-year time limit to complete all requirements for the master's degree. The six-year period begins with the end of the semester during which the student has taken work which applies toward meeting the requirements of the degree. The individual college or school reserves the right of revalidation of over-age credits which are between six and ten years old and which represent courses completed at Wayne State University. Such authority rests with the Graduate Officer of the college or school. Students are not permitted to revalidate credits earned at other institutions. In revalidation cases the advisor and the student must set a terminal date for completion of all degree requirements, including such additional requirements as may be prescribed to revalidate the over-age credits. Time extensions beyond these conditions are authorized only for conditions clearly beyond the student's control.
A student registered in a non-degree graduate classification is cautioned that only one semester of full-time graduate study, or part-time registration not to exceed nine credits, is permitted in this classification. Not more than nine credits may be applied toward the credit requirements for the master's degree.
Please see the appropriate school and college sections of this bulletin for specific master's program information.
Doctor of Philosophy Degrees (Ph.D.)
In addition to the following regulations, additional requirements for doctoral degrees may be specified by the individual graduate departments.
Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy emphasize an overall understanding of and high competence in a field of knowledge, familiarity with cognate disciplines, facility in the use of research techniques, and responsibility for the advancement of knowledge. The meeting of the requirements for the doctorate is tested primarily by examinations and the presentation of the dissertation rather than by a summation of courses, grades and credits.
Admission: Ph.D. Program
Students may be admitted to the status of Ph.D. applicant if they meet all Graduate School requirements for admission, presents a grade point average of 3.0 (‘B’=3) for the upper division of the undergraduate course work and are accepted for study toward the degree by their school or college and major department. Additional requirements (e.g., letters of recommendation, undergraduate research experience, personal interview, specific coursework, service learning) are specified by departments and programs. Students presenting less than a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average are required to complete a master's degree program, or its equivalent, prior to consideration for admission to a Ph.D. program.
Initial Ph.D. Advising
An advisor is assigned to the student at the beginning of his/her program and represents the Department in helping plan the student's program. The advisor provides academic guidance, approves required documents and monitors student progress. The initial advisor serves until the time the student identifies a dissertation director, who then assumes advising responsibilities.
Graduate Faculty and Ph.D. Student Responsibilities
Course work and research leading to the doctoral degree is a matter of shared responsibilities between faculty members and Ph.D. students. The Graduate Council has established the following reciprocal obligations:
Ph.D. program faculty are responsible for:
- Admitting qualified students whose research interests can be accommodated within those of the program.
- Ensuring that students receive competent and sustained advising from their entry into the program until degree requirements are completed or the student is separated from the program.
- Monitoring and evaluating student progress toward the degree and for communicating the results of the evaluation to the student on an annual basis.
- Assisting students in locating potential dissertation directors.
- Offering guidance and instruction in those research areas in which they have expertise. To this end individual faculty members are responsible for deciding whether or not to serve as a dissertation director for any given student. This responsibility rests solely with the faculty, who are expected to make decisions based on reasonable academic criteria.
Ph.D. program students are responsible for:
- Identifying research areas in which the Ph.D. program can provide guidance. The selection of a research area outside these areas may cause difficulty in achieving the degree.
- Maintaining good standing throughout the doctoral program and making normal progress toward the degree.
- Requesting that an individual member of the faculty serve as the dissertation director, working with the dissertation director toward timely completion of degree requirements, and complying with the dissertation director’s instructions.
Ph.D. Procedural Calendar
The stages of the Ph.D. degree are outlined below. The section following describes these stages in detail. Necessary forms and additional instructions and requirements may be found on the Graduate School website.
Plan of Work: Initiated by the student and completed with his/her advisor to plan the sequence of study. An approved Plan is a requirement for Ph.D. Candidacy.
Ph.D. Coursework: Ninety graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree are required. Completion of about fifty credits of coursework is a requirement for Ph.D. Candidacy.
Annual Review: The student’s department prepares a review of the student’s progress at the end of each academic year.
Qualifying Examination: The qualifying examination contains a written portion and may include an oral component. Successful completion of the qualifying examination is a requirement for Ph.D. Candidacy.
Dissertation Advisory Committee: The naming of a dissertation advisory committee is a requirement for Ph.D. Candidacy.
Candidacy: Ph.D. Candidacy begins the dissertation preparation phase of the degree.
Dissertation Registration: Four consecutive academic-year semesters of registration as a degree candidate are required during the preparation of the dissertation.
Oral Examination: An oral examination is required of all Ph.D. students. It may be addressed as part of the qualifying examination, a prospectus meeting, a lecture or seminar, or another format approved by the student’s department.
Dissertation Prospectus: After attaining Candidacy, the student prepares a description of the proposed research and dissertation for approval by his/her advisory Committee.
Dissertation Preparation: The dissertation presents the original scholarship or research completed by the student.
Dissertation Public Lecture-Presentation Defense: The student presents and defends the dissertation in a public lecture.
Submission of approved dissertation: The student must submit the approved dissertation electronically.
Plan of Work
This planning document, which is developed by the student and the advisor, should include both course and non-course objectives. An interim Plan of Work, to be retained in the department, should be developed by the end of the student’s first year and updated annually. The final Plan of Work requires the signatures of both the advisor and the departmental Graduate Director prior to submission to the Graduate School for approval. The final Plan of Work may be filed with the Graduate School at any time; however, it must be submitted before forty credits have been completed and before the qualifying examination is scheduled. Once a student has an approved Plan of Work on file with the Graduate School, any changes to that plan are monitored and approved at the department level. The student is primarily responsible for monitoring that they’ve taken the minimum number of credits to earn the degree; 90 credits total, at least 30 WSU coursework credits, 60 coursework credits total, and 30 dissertation block credits.
Transfer credit: A student wishing to transfer graduate credit toward the Ph.D. degree must file a petition with the Graduate School via the Transfer of Credit form, approved by his/her advisor and departmental graduate director, requesting such transfer. The petition must be supported by an official transcript showing a minimum grade of ‘B’ for the courses to be transferred; ‘B-minus’ and credit earned with ‘S’ and ‘P’ (satisfactory or pass) grades are not acceptable for transfer. When students would like to transfer credits from institutions without course codes, the closest WSU equivalents must be listed. When students would like to transfer credits from institutions without letter grades, a conversion chart must be used and submitted to the Graduate School. When students would like to transfer credits toward the 30 required 7000-level and above, evidence that those courses were open to graduate students only, and not undergraduates with special permission, must be submitted to the Graduate School. Up to thirty-two semester credits of 'B' or better graduate credit earned at Wayne State University or another institution prior to the student's admission as a doctoral applicant may be applied toward the degree without regard to lapse of time. Credit earned with ‘B’ minus or ‘S’ or ‘P’ (satisfactory or pass) grades are not acceptable for transfer.
To ensure adequate preparation, the Graduate Council has adopted minimum coursework requirements for the University's highest degree. Many programs will exceed these minima.
A minimum of ninety graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for completion of the Ph.D. program. A Ph.D. program will consist of:
- at least twelve credits of coursework in the major (not including directed study or research credit);
- sufficient additional coursework to total sixty credits (major and minor coursework, pre-dissertation research and directed study); and
- thirty credits earned in four consecutive Candidate Status semesters after candidacy has been approved.
The Ph.D. program should provide for effective concentration in a major field with supporting courses in related fields. The decision concerning whether the student's Plan of Work will include a minor is made by the department.
The total Ph.D. program must include thirty credits, excluding Candidate Status semesters, in courses open only to graduate students (i.e., 7000 level or above).
Registration in directed study must have advance approval of the student's advisor and advance authorization of the student’s department. A Graduate School Petition and Authorization for Directed Study must be signed by the student's advisor, instructor, and the Graduate Director of the department before registration. The Directed Study Petition must contain all relevant details, including an explicit course outline, a rationale for the course, and information about the major academic requirements the student must successfully fulfill.
Mandatory Ph.D. Pre-Candidacy Enrollment
During the pre-candidacy stage, registration is required in all semesters in which the Ph.D. student uses University resources, including the semester(s) in which the Qualifying Examination is taken. The student must register for a minimum of one graduate credit.
All Ph.D. students are required to receive an annual review of the student’s progress toward completion of degree requirements. The student’s progress in course work, scholarship, teaching, and all other academic or professional areas defined by the department will be summarized and communicated to the student in writing. The annual review must be signed by the student, advisor, and departmental Graduate Director. The annual review is filed in the student’s department.
Individual Development Plans (I.D.P.’s)
To promote long-term career planning and development, all Ph.D. students are required to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) by the end of their first year in graduate school. These documents are designed to foster conversation between a student and their mentor(s) about career goals and the skills necessary to succeed in those positions after graduate school. The document is to be updated annually throughout the student's tenure in graduate school to promote follow through on the action plan and to revise the action plan in response to new opportunities and increased competency. This document is completed on-line. It is approved electronically by both the dissertation advisor and the Graduate Director.
The Qualifying Examination covers the student’s primary areas of study and research, as well as such related matters as the qualifying examining committee may prescribe. The Qualifying Exam must contain a written component; an oral component (described later) is optional. No part of the dissertation proposal may be used to satisfy the written Qualifying Examination requirement.
The Qualifying Examining Committee must consist minimally of three members, two of which must be from the major department, and at least two must hold Regular Graduate Faculty appointments. An external member may be added at the discretion of the department. In this latter instance, the department is encouraged to select a person from the student's minor/cognate area. The membership of this committee may not normally be changed until the Qualifying Examination(s) (written or written and oral, as required) have been passed.
If the written component of the Qualifying Examination is not completed successfully at the first administration, the examination may be repeated only once. A second examination may not be held until at least one semester has elapsed, but must be held within one calendar year following the first examination. The same examining committee must preside over both examinations. The second written examination will be considered final.
The student’s examining committee will select one of its members to serve as the Graduate Examiner. The results of the oral qualifying examination are to be communicated to the Graduate School via Report on Doctor of Philosophy Oral Examination form. If the Oral Examination is part of the final Qualifying Examination it must be completed within 60 days of the written exam.
If the Graduate Examiner certifies that the applicant has not passed all parts of the oral examination, the committee may recommend that a second oral examination be held. If a second oral examination is recommended, the committee must specify any additional work the student must complete prior to that examination. A second examination may not be held until at least four months have elapsed, but must be held within one calendar year following the first examination. The second oral examination shall be considered final.
Dissertation Advisory Committee
The dissertation advisory committee shall consist minimally of four members. If there are co-chairs, the committee shall consist of five members. At least two committee members shall be from the student’s home department/program, and at least two shall hold Regular Graduate Faculty appointments. The committee chair shall hold a Regular Graduate Faculty appointment in the home unit, and if there are co-chairs, at least the one from the home unit shall hold a Regular Graduate Faculty appointment. The committee shall have at least one external member who broadens the dissertation committee beyond the home program to represent a different perspective by virtue of his/her field, location or knowledge application; who does not hold any salaried or contractual appointment, tenure line or retreat rights in the home program; and, who is familiar with the standards for doctoral research. The expertise of the extra-departmental member must be appropriate to the student's dissertation work. The dissertation director and advisory committee should be identified as early as possible, and by the time course work is completed at the latest. The dissertation advisory committee membership must be submitted to the Graduate School as a condition for attaining candidacy. The committee membership may be changed up to the time the dissertation prospectus is submitted. After Graduate School approval of the dissertation prospectus, any changes in committee membership will require written justification via the Change in Committee form.
Conflict of Interest: It is essential that the members of the committee have not only the requisite professional credentials, but that they are also free of conflicts of interest or commitment that could bias or have the appearance of biasing their judgment about the best interests of the student and the scholarly merit of the dissertation. The present policies and procedures provide a means of disclosing and managing perceived or real conflicts of interest or commitment among dissertation committee members. Each committee member must complete and sign the disclosure form, which must be submitted prior to the approval of the Prospectus and Record of Approval form and again at the time of the Dissertation Public Lecture Presentation Defense form. Conflicts of interest or commitment include financial, personal and/or professional affiliations that could potentially or actually affect the member's objectivity about the dissertation or the student. Committee members unable to sign or provide an electronic signature must email the Ph.D. Office with this exact verbiage: I, [committee member’s name], do not have a financial, commitment or affiliation conflict of interest with [student’s name] nor any member of his/her committee (should a conflict be disclosed, the conflict must be briefly described).
Candidacy for Ph.D. Degree
A Ph.D. applicant will be advanced to the rank of Ph.D. Candidate by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the department and completion of the following requirements:
- Approval of the Plan of Work by the Graduate School;
- completion of didactic course work, or approximately fifty credits, as required by the Plan of Work;
- satisfactory completion of the Qualifying Examination(s);
- identification of the membership of the student’s dissertation advisory committee.
(The advisory Committee membership may be changed prior to submission of an approved prospectus to the Graduate School.) The department shall submit the Recommendation for Doctor of Philosophy Candidacy Status form to the Graduate School to recommend advancing the student to degree Candidacy.
The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires that students register for Candidate Status during the preparation of the dissertation: Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV (courses numbered 9991, 9992, 9993, and 9994 offered under various subject area codes, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters. Registration for these four Candidate Status courses equates to thirty credits.
Ph.D. student enrollment in the first candidate status course prior to candidacy: Ph.D. applicants may be permitted to register in XXX 9991, Doctoral Candidate Status I: Dissertation Research and Direction, during the semester in which they expect to take their Qualifying Examination. To obtain permission to register, students must already have an approved Plan of Work on file with the Graduate School, and submit written approval prior to the census date from their advisor and graduate director that explicitly states the student is expected to achieve candidacy that term to the Graduate School. Students who submit this request to the Graduate School but do not have a Plan of Work on file by the census date will not be provided the override. Students who do not submit this request to the Graduate School by the census and then do achieve candidacy later in the semester cannot retroactively register for 9991 that semester. Students who achieved candidacy in a previous semester but did not register for 9991 can do so after the census date.
Courses numbered 9990 should only ever be taken under special circumstances: If a student is not able to register for 9991 because they are studying for their Qualifying Exam(s) but have finished all 60 credits of coursework, they may request to register for 9990, Pre-Doctoral Candidacy Research, to meet enrollment requirements (8 credits are required for full-time status). Note that 9990 credits do not count toward the 90 required for the degree and cannot be taken in 7.5 credit blocks. If there is any doubt that a student will achieve candidacy, the applicant should register for required coursework or 9990 and not request to register for 9991. Students who register for 9991 but do not achieve candidacy during that term must notify the PhD Office in writing to explain the situation, then register for required coursework or 9990. Up to 8 credits of 9990 can be taken per term; with maximum of 12 credits during the student's degree program. The 7.5 credit blocks are reserved for dissertation blocks (9991, 9992, 9993, 9994).
If a student has registered for all four Candidate Status courses but has not completed the dissertation requirements, the student may register in Candidate Maintenance status (9995) until the requirements are completed, the time limit for the degree is reached, or the student withdraws from the program. Registration in Candidate Maintenance Status is required in all semesters in which the student uses University resources, including the semester in which the student defends the dissertation. The Candidate Maintenance fee is equivalent to the Registration Fee plus the Student Services Fee for one graduate credit and confers full-time registration status.
Guidelines for Research
All research is regulated by federal, state and local agencies. Approval is required for research involving human participants or animal subjects before research activities begin.
Human participant research
Federal regulations require that all research involving human participants must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before research activities can begin. The WSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the primary IRB of record for Wayne State University and its affiliated health care institutions (Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital/University Health Center, Sinai-Grace Hospital, Harper Hospital, Huron Valley/Sinai Hospital, Hutzel Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Oakwood Healthcare System, Michigan Orthopedic Surgery Hospital, and the John D. Dingell Veterans Administration Medical Center). The IRB has the responsibility to review all research that involves human participants and that is performed by faculty, students, or employees of WSU and its affiliated institutions. The authority of the IRB extends to biomedical research and behavioral/social science research, regardless of whether the research is being funded by a federal agency, by commercial companies, by intramural entities or supported by institutional resources. In addition, it includes research conducted on Wayne State University property or its affiliated medical institutions' property. Designation of research as exempt from IRB review requires approval of the IRB chair or their designee.
The WSU IRB Administration Office
The IRB Administration Office staff is ready to assist you. They offer weekly ongoing training, online training, and are available to answer your questions. The IRB website contains forms, resources and tools, including a comprehensive handbook to help researchers and their staff with the IRB application process. The WSU IRB Administration Office has a listserv for all researchers and research staff using the WSU IRB. This listserv facilitates communication between WSU researchers and the IRB. To subscribe, send a blank email to email@example.com and then confirm when you receive a reply. To unsubscribe at any time, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The IRB Administrative Office is located at 87 E. Canfield, second floor, Detroit, MI 48201. Phone: 313-577-1628
Animal subject research
Federal regulations require that all research involving animals must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before research activities begin. Wayne State University has its own IACUC that reviews protocols for Wayne State University and its affiliated medical institutions (Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital/University Health Center, Sinai-Grace Hospital, Harper Hospital, Huron Valley/Sinai Hospital, Hutzel Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, and the John D. Dingell Veterans Administration Medical Center). In cooperation with research scientists and veterinarians, the IACUC ensures that all research and teaching protocols using live vertebrate animals are designed and carried out in a humane manner that complies with all applicable laws, policies and guidelines. The Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) provides informational, species-specific and procedure-specific training sessions for researchers at various times throughout the year.
The WSU IACUC Administration Office
Detailed information about training and how to submit forms is located on the IACUC website. The IACUC Administration Office is located at 87 E. Canfield, second floor, Detroit, MI 48201 (between John R. and Woodward). Phone: 313-577-1629.
Henry Ford Health System (HFHS)
Please note that Henry Ford Health System has its own IRB and IACUC. Wayne State University faculty and students wishing to do research in those facilities must either submit an Administrative Application to WSU IRB or IACUC after gaining approval from HFHS (if all of the research is being performed there) or submit research proposals to both WSU and HFHS (if the research is being performed in both locations). Questions regarding the type of submission required by WSU can be directed to the IRB or IACUC Office.
Dissertation Prospectus and Approval
The Ph.D. Candidate must prepare and complete a prospectus of the proposed dissertation research within 18 months of being named a PhD Candidate. If this timeline is delayed, one must request a formal extension of this policy, which must be approved by the dissertation committee, the director of graduate studies, and the Graduate School. In some departments, oral presentation of the prospectus constitutes the required Oral Examination. The student must submit the Doctoral Dissertation: Prospectus and Record of Approval form with the prospectus. The prospectus and form must be approved by the dissertation advisory committee and the departmental Graduate Director, before being forwarded to the Graduate School, which requires a hard copy of the proposal; a completed Conflict of Interest; and Institutional Review Board(IRB)/Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approvals, if needed. Students and their dissertation Chair are responsible for following IRB/IACUC regulations and rules.
Successful completion of an Oral Examination is a requirement for the Ph.D. degree. The Oral Examination may be administered as part of the Qualifying Examination (see previous discussion of Qualifying Examination), or as part of the prospectus meeting, or a lecture, or in some other departmentally-approved format in which the student presents information orally and answers questions posed by the student's committee. The committee for the Oral Examination must be composed of minimally three members, two must be from the student's department, one must be the advisor; a member outside the department, is optional. The members of the Oral Examination committee may also serve as the student's dissertation advisory committee, but this is not required. At least two members must hold Regular Graduate Faculty appointment status, one must be the advisor. If the Oral Examination is part of the Qualifying Examination, the Oral Examination must be completed within 60 days of the written qualifying examination. If the Oral Examination is part of the prospectus meeting, the results of the Exam are to be reported to the Graduate School via the Doctoral Dissertation: Prospectus and Record of Approval form. The results of the Oral Examination administered in all other contexts should be reported to the Graduate School via the Report on Doctor of Philosophy Oral Examination form.
The dissertation should be selected and planned with care; it may be of a research, expository or critical nature. It must be an original work, in or related to the student's major field of specialization. Work submitted for credit in other courses cannot be used in fulfilling dissertation requirements. Neither the results of the research nor the publication of findings may be restricted by any non-University agency. The results of the research may be published prior to submission and acceptance of the dissertation, with the approval of the dissertation advisor.
Members of a doctoral dissertation advisory committee must read, approve and sign the dissertation. Such approval includes all academic and professional evaluations and judgments as to originality, adequacy, accuracy, significance, methodology, justification or conclusions and correctness of style. Approval shall not be recorded until the work and manuscripts are fully verified and accepted.
Format: Candidates preparing manuscripts are instructed to follow closely the Graduate School regulations governing the format of the dissertation. Format requirements and format templates are available on the Graduate School website. Two weeks prior to the Dissertation Defense, the student must submit the dissertation electronically for the initial format check. Note that format guidelines are written for Microsoft Word, and students who use other programs are expected to meet the same guidelines.
Inclusion of Publications in the Dissertation: In such instances where doctoral students have published work in discipline-appropriate refereed journals, and when the doctoral committee approves, these published materials may be incorporated into the dissertation. For papers so included, the student must be the principal author and/ or have made the major contribution to the published work. In cases of co-authored material, the text of the dissertation must make clear (e.g., in the summary and conclusion) to the reader the original contribution of the author. If published materials are included, references to them in the other dissertation sections may not need to be as detailed as is required in dissertations which do not incorporate published materials.
When a co-author is someone other than the candidate and the advisor, it is recommended that permission to include the publication in the dissertation be secured from the other author(s). Students are advised that incorporation of materials published elsewhere requires permission of the copyright holder. Once permission is secured, it must be cited in the chapter from whom the permission was granted/where the material is already published
Students must format a published article to conform to the body of the dissertation. As well, all remaining sections of the dissertation (e.g., abstract, introduction, conclusions) must conform to Graduate School format requirements.
Dissertation Public Lecture Presentation-Defense
Two weeks before the planned Defense, each dissertation advisory committee member must have certified in writing, via the Dissertation Public Lecture Presentation-Defense Final Report form, that the dissertation has been read and approved for the Defense. Committee members unable to sign or provide an electronic signature may email this exact verbiage to the PhD Office: I, [committee member’s name], certify that I have read the dissertation, approve its content and verify that it is ready for the Public Lecture Presentation-Defense. And I, [committee member’s name], do not have a financial, commitment or affiliation conflict of interest with [student’s name] nor any member of his/her committee (should a conflict be disclosed, the conflict must be briefly explained). The Defense cannot be held without such certification.
Dissertation Readiness for the Defense: Dissertation committee members will sign Part 1 of the Defense form and thereby indicate their assessment that the dissertation is ready for the Defense. Under no circumstances will a committee member sign Part 1 of the Defense form if s/he has not read the dissertation. A pre-Defense meeting of the student and whole committee is recommended, allowing committee members to indicate their concerns regarding the dissertation and the student to make needed revisions. Consequently, no requests for major revisions of the dissertation should arise at the Defense.
The Graduate School requires that all dissertations and theses must be submitted for a plagiarism check through Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) plagiarism check software prior to the defense. The Graduate School further requires that the student's dissertation/thesis advisor or program Graduate Director certify that the dissertation/thesis has been checked through plagiarism software in Canvas. The Defense Final Report form and the first page of the plagiarism check report will be used to transmit the certification to the Graduate School. The Graduate School requires additional justification for reports that suggests evidence of plagiarism.
Policy on Presence at the Defense:The Graduate School expectation is that the student and all members of the dissertation committee be physically present at the student's Final Defense of the dissertation. At the very least, the student and the dissertation committee chair(s) must be physically present; a student with dissertation co-chairs must have at least one in attendance. Committee members who cannot attend in person, synchronous audio-visual access, such as Skype, will be required. The Defense will be held during business hours, Eastern Standard Time. Electronic signatures on the Defense form and the title page are accepted.
Graduate Examiner: The Graduate Examiner is the presiding officer at the Defense and is responsible for its conduct. Representing the Graduate Council and the Graduate School, the Graduate Examiner serves as an advocate for the student. The dissertation advisor serves as the Graduate Examiner, but the student (or any committee member) may request that the Graduate School appoint a Graduate Examiner from outside the committee.
The Doctoral Dissertation Public Lecture Presentation-Defense has three phases, as follows:
Public Lecture Presentation-Defense: In the public lecture or presentation, candidates are expected to share the results of their dissertation research with the audience and the dissertation committee. This lecture or presentation may vary in length depending on the circumstances and discipline. At the end of this public lecture or presentation, members of the audience, as well as the dissertation committee members, are encouraged to direct questions pertaining to the presentation or research to the candidate. The Graduate Examiner moderates the questioning.
Communicating Dissertation Revision Requirements: To communicate to the Graduate School that revisions to the dissertation were requested at the Defense, a box on the Defense form will be checked that indicates "Changes Required." The dissertation advisor will not sign the dissertation cover page until the student has made all required revisions. Submission of the cover page to the Graduate School will indicate that the student has made the revisions satisfactorily.
Dissertation Committee's Meeting with the Candidate: At the conclusion of the public presentation and defense, the dissertation committee members will meet privately with the candidate to pose further questions about the candidate's research or to address issues related to the dissertation manuscript. The Graduate Examiner presides at this meeting.
Evaluation of the Candidate's Performance: Upon the completion of the public presentation and defense and the private meeting, the dissertation committee members, in the absence of the candidate and the audience, discuss the candidates' performance and decide whether or not they have passed the defense. The Graduate Examiner chairs the discussion and communicates the result to the candidate, and subsequently, to the Graduate School within 48 hours of the dissertation defense via the Dissertation Public Lecture Presentation-Defense Final Report form.
If the candidate fails the Defense, the advisor and committee may recommend that the student be given the opportunity for a second defense. If a second defense is recommended, the advisor and committee will submit to the Graduate School, the Graduate Director of the program and the student a written description of the areas of weakness and what the student must do to correct the weaknesses. If candidates will need to make extensive corrections to the manuscript (ones requiring more than ten days), they will not be passed. Candidates must wait at least four months before holding another defense. The second defense shall be considered final.
Ph.D. Completion Deadline: Each semester the Graduate School establishes a Ph.D. completion deadline calendar for students intending to graduate in that semester, by which time all work must be completed and all required documents submitted, if the Ph.D. degree is to be awarded that term. Any dissertation revisions stemming from the defense must be completed and submitted prior to the completion deadline for the semester, so the manuscript can be accepted for publication by the deadline. Acceptance for publication by the Ph.D. completion deadline is required for a student to graduate that term.
Submission of Approved Dissertation
The submission of the approved dissertation concludes work pursuant to the doctoral degree. In essence such manuscripts represent a tangible summation of the many hours spent in study and research to acquire a higher education. For this reason such scholarly documents must evidence only the highest standards of research and writing. They must show consistency in punctuation, style and format. It is official policy that acceptance of a dissertation, as well as certification of a candidate for a degree, shall not be granted unless a manuscript is technically correct in format and in a form suitable in all respects for publication.
The corrected dissertation must be submitted and accepted for publication by the completion deadline of the graduation semester. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically. The signature page must also be submitted to the Graduate School.
Dissertation Publication Plan: Filing a Doctoral Dissertation Publishing Agreement form is required.
Dissertation Copyrighting Charge: Copyright service, provided by Proquest, is available upon request. The student shall pay the amount necessary to cover the cost of copyrighting.
Students wishing to obtain bound dissertation copies for personal use must select a bindery and pay the binding charges for these.
Information regarding completion of additional forms is available from the Graduate School office and website. The Ph.D. degree will be certified only upon receipt of the approved dissertation and the reconciliation of the student's Plan of Work and transcripts.
Each candidate for a degree or certificate must file a Graduate Application for Degree by the end of the fourth week of classes in the semester in which they expect to complete the requirements for the degree. If an application for a degree was filed for a previous term in which the student did not graduate, a new application is necessary.
Information concerning commencement announcements, caps and gowns, invitations, tickets, time and place, assembling and other relevant items will be mailed to the graduates by the Commencement Office prior to the event. Candidates for advanced degrees are requested and expected to attend the commencement at which the University confers upon them the honor of the degree earned.
A student who wishes to request an exception to any of the Ph.D. program minimum requirements should file a written, detailed petition with his/her advisor. If the advisor approves the petition, they will forward it, along with their recommendation, to the Chairperson of the departmental Graduate Committee. If approved by the department, the petition will be forwarded to the Graduate School. All exceptions must ultimately be approved by the Graduate School. Appeals of decisions follow the same process; appeals of Graduate School decisions may be presented to the Provost.
Time Limitation for Doctoral Programs
Students have a seven-year time limit to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree. The seven-year period begins with the end of the semester during which the student was admitted to doctoral study and was completing work toward meeting the requirements for the degree. In order to request a time extension, a student may petition his/her advisor. If the advisor supports the request, it is forwarded to the chairperson of the departmental Graduate Committee, and if approved, it is reviewed by the Graduate School. The petition must include information concerning the reasons for the request, an explanation of how the student's circumstances have changed to enable them now to complete the dissertation, compelling evidence that the student's dissertation is in progress, a plan and timeline for completion of the dissertation, an explanation of how the student has remained current in his/her field, and a copy of the current annual review. The initial request for a time extension must be filed within six months of the expiration date. There is no grace period for additional time extensions that may be granted after the initial request. To be considered eligible for a time extension, the student must have an approved prospectus on file at the Graduate School. If students do not complete the program within ten years of their applicant date with approved time extensions, the written qualifying examination(s) must be repeated and passed by the end of the time extension. Students who have been granted time extensions must complete all program requirements within twelve years of the applicant date.
Foreign Language Requirement
The Ph.D. Foreign Language Requirement is a matter of departmental option. Students are advised to contact the department in which they intend to major in order to determine the nature of the Ph.D. foreign language requirement, if any, for that discipline.
Doctoral students should bear in mind that most departments reserve the right to require foreign language proficiency for any Ph.D. student pursuing research which would benefit from the use of foreign language materials, even though other students in the same Ph.D. program are not required to establish foreign language competence.
Ph.D. Residence Requirement
The Ph.D. requirement of one year of residence is met by completion of at least six graduate credits in course work, exclusive of dissertation, in each of two successive semesters. The spring/summer semester may be excluded from the definition of successive semesters. Additional residence requirements may be imposed by the Ph.D.-granting departments. The student should contact the major department to determine what residence requirements must be satisfied.
In the experimental sciences for which it can be demonstrated that a student's research must be completed on campus, the residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree may be met by the dissertation director's written certification that the student has been in full-time residence for at least two successive semesters and one summer session. In this latter case, a count of course credits is not required for the fulfillment of the residence requirement, but specific dates of residence must be furnished.
In addition, the Ph.D. residence requirements stipulate that the student must elect at least thirty credits in graduate work exclusive of dissertation direction at the University.
Certificates: Graduate and Bridge Graduate Programs
Programs leading to Graduate Certificates and to Bridge Graduate Certificates are available through several University units and are open to students who meet the general graduate admission requirements of the University; individual programs may have additional admissions requirements. The specific number of credits required for completion varies by program, though Certificate programs must consist of at least twelve graduate credits.
Graduate Certificates may be earned independently of or concurrently with a graduate degree. A Graduate Certificate program must be completed within three years, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in certificate courses must be maintained, and only nine semester credits of certificate course work may be applied toward a graduate degree.
Bridge Graduate Certificates are certificate programs designed to provide students with specialized knowledge that may subsequently be applied toward the requirements of a designated Master's degree and may be viewed as transitional to a Master's program. The program is for students who hold at least a baccalaureate degree and are admissible to graduate studies.
The Bridge Graduate Certificates are generally housed in the same unit as the Master's program that proposes it. The Certificate program consists of at least twelve graduate-level credits be completed within three years and a minimum grade point average of 3.0. No transfer credits are accepted into a Bridge program. The curriculum consists of courses from the corresponding Master's program. All courses in the Bridge Certificate may be applied toward the requirements of the designated Master's degree, given that they meet the approval of the Master's program and the six-year time limit for Master's degrees. For specific certificate requirements interested students should consult the specific certificate program descriptions in this Bulletin or contact the sponsoring department.
Dual-title Graduate Degrees
A dual-title degree program is designed to provide additional valuable course work not prescribed in an existing major program. The dual-title degree program consists of two components: an area of study, in which there are graduate course offerings and faculty strength but no graduate degree program, and one or more major degree programs that adopts the area of study and integrates its content into the coursework and progressive stages of the major program, including the Qualifying Examination, thesis and dissertation. The dual-title areas of study are not available as separate graduate degree programs.
Potential dual-title areas of study typically are interdisciplinary with courses and faculty housed in various departments. When incorporated into an existing program, they provide students with knowledge and skills graduates of traditional programs do not have. Dual-title areas often exist in new and emerging fields, generally where the most significant advances in research occur. The addition of a dual-title area to an existing degree program enables graduates to acquire the most current knowledge and up-to-date research skills beneficial to the major program.
A joint degree program is a formally approved and authorized program between two cooperating graduate or graduate and professional programs that permits the use of a limited number of credits to fulfill requirements in both programs. The joint degree programs offer exceptionally talented students the opportunity to acquire expertise and knowledge in a shorter time than is possible by completing two separate degrees in sequence.