Advisory Committee Formation
Each Ph.D. student’s advisory committee is determined by the department in which the degree is offered. The committee will have a minimum number of voting members from predetermined departments or fields. The student is responsible for identifying, in consultation with the departmental chairperson, or director and dean or associate dean of the respective college, a faculty member who is willing to chair his/her advisory committee. The chairperson of the committee and the student are responsible for identifying the other faculty members required/desired and determining if they are willing to serve. Advisory committees are permitted to have more than the minimum number of members required. If necessary, the advisory committee may be co-chaired. Changes in a Ph.D. advisory committee must adhere to all policies and procedures governing graduate study at the University, as contained in the Graduate Catalog and administered by the College of Graduate Studies.
If a student is not able to identify a sufficient number and type of faculty who are suitable and willing to serve on his/her advisory committee, the student will be advised by the Dean that he/she should either change his/her area of research interest to more closely match those of the available faculty or consider selecting another major. Failure to be able to form a committee is a cause for transfer to non-degree status. Further regulations concerning the membership, appointment, and responsibilities of the advisory committee are given in other sections of the catalog, and in College of Graduate Studies Policy 282.
Program of Study
Programs of study toward advanced degrees are less formal than for undergraduate degrees. Individual programs are created for each student on the basis of educational background and career objective. Graduate degrees are not only awarded on the basis of completion of specific courses, but also on the basis of evidence of proficiency, scholarship, reasoning and investigation, and high attainments in the field of the student’s specialization.
Each proposed program of study must be approved by the student’s advisory committee, the departmental chairperson or program director, the dean or associate dean of the respective college, and the associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
There will be a hold placed on a student’s registration if his/her Program of Study form has not been filed in the College of Graduate Studies office by the semester in which 15 credit hours will be earned.
Before requesting that his or her major professor schedule a Comprehensive Examination for Candidacy, a student must:
• have achieved Full Standing in the program; and
• have completed approximately 80% of the course work in his/her Program of Study.
The method of testing may consist of written, oral, and/or presentation components.
Details of this examination, including format, content, method of evaluation, timing, and deadlines will be determined by the college/departmental regulations. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam for Candidacy advances the student to official doctoral candidate status.
Admission to Candidacy
Admission to candidacy is granted when a student successfully completes the exam mentioned above. The advisory committee chairperson will complete an Admission to Candidacy Comprehensive Exam form, which will be signed by the student’s advisory committee, the departmental chairperson or program director, the dean or associate dean of the respective college, and then sent to the associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
The candidate will then continue his/her research and prepare the doctoral dissertation and defense to fulfill all degree requirements.
Dissertation & Defense
Dissertation credit is offered in increments of 3, 6, or 9 credit hours during any given semester (and in some departments as one (1) credit hour). A graduate student shall be required to be registered for at least one (1) course appropriate to the student’s degree objective in order to have access to computer equipment, laboratories, library, and other university facilities and resources even if the student is working in absentia on research and dissertation. A graduate student shall be enrolled during the term in which the degree is awarded. When a student makes satisfactory progress in research and dissertation, a grade of SP (Satisfactory Progress) will be assigned for credit earned. When satisfactory progress is not achieved, a grade of NP (No Progress) will be assigned; however, a grade of NP shall not be counted as having satisfied either program or degree requirements, and the student must register again for additional dissertation credit. Only grades of SP and NP shall be used to indicate a student’s progress in dissertation credit.
The graduate student is expected to consult frequently with the major advisor during dissertation preparation. At the time the final rough draft has been completed, the dissertation should be in electronic form. The only content revisions the student should make are those suggested by the advisory committee. The student should allow ample time for the committee to review the dissertation, usually no less than two (2) weeks.
The College of Graduate Studies has published the Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations which serves as the official manual for all theses or dissertations. Also provided is a “Thesis/Dissertation Checklist” which outlines basic formatting requirements.
Although examples in this guide are recommended for making footnotes, endnotes, and giving bibliographical references, each department is encouraged to use those systems of citations that are most commonly used in its own discipline. Any other departure from this manual must have the prior approval of the associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies. The guide is on the College of Graduate Studies website.
A student must submit the final, error-free copy of his/her dissertation electronically (through eTD ProQuest) to the College of Graduate Studies by the date specified on their website’s calendar of deadlines. Please see Graduate Studies’ personnel regarding requirements for electronic submission or deadline date questions. Any dissertation that does not meet the required standards will be returned to the student, who will then be required to complete requested revisions and resubmit new versions until all required corrections are made. Failure to do so will result in ineligibility for graduation. All dissertations that meet the required standards will be forwarded on for publication, and the students will be eligible for graduation.
Transfer and Other Credit
For all graduate degree programs, the department will determine, at its sole discretion, the number of transfer credits it will accept, provided the department’s decision is in compliance with SACSCOC Accreditation Standard 3.6.3 and any other applicable accreditation requirements. Accreditation Standard 3.6.3 states, “At least one-third of credits toward a graduate or a post-baccalaureate professional degree are earned through instruction offered by the institution awarding the degree.” For a list of accrediting agencies recognized, refer to the U.S. Department of Education website.
Credit by special examination is not permitted at the graduate level; however, special examinations to determine competency or proficiency in courses where credit has already been earned but is currently out-of-date may be permitted during a period of up to three (3) consecutive semesters immediately following the eight-year time limitation. Special examinations may also be permitted to validate transfer credit, but the credit must be originally earned as graduate credit and not undergraduate credit.
Graduate credit will not be given for correspondence courses.
Graduation / Hooding
No doctoral degree candidate is permitted to participate in commencement until all requirements for the degree are successfully completed.