Doctorate Degree Requirements

To successfully complete the Ph.D program, you must fulfill all the Graduate College degree requirements as well as the following requirements:

The Written Comprehensive Examination
The written comprehensive examination is given twice a year and tests your breadth of knowledge in the following four core areas and in two application areas of your choice.

Core Areas

Application Areas

The level of the examination is that of 600-level and 700-level courses in each area. A syllabus will be published well in advance of the exams listing the topics to be covered in each exam. You are expected to take the comprehensive examination within two years of entering the Ph.D program.

We urge you to take this examination as early as possible, and you are given only two chances to pass the test. If you fail the exam after two attempts, you are subject to being dismissed from our program. Preference is given in the allocation of student financial support to those who have passed the comprehensive exam. If you do not pass the exam the first time, you will need to retake the exam at the next scheduled offering.

After passing the comprehensive examination, a research topic of mutual interest to the student and his or her proposed committee is selected. At this point, the student formally begins research study.

The Oral Qualifying Exam
The qualifying exam is an oral exam designed to test the depth of your knowledge in your area of research specialization. It must be taken either two years after passing the comprehensive examination or four years after entering the Ph.D program. The exam:

Your Dissertation
You must prepare a dissertation proposal prior to taking this exam and have it approved by your advisor. Your dissertation:

The exam begins with your dissertation proposal. The remaining time is used for discussion and asking questions to determine if you have sufficient depth of knowledge to carry out the proposed research. The examination cannot be taken more than twice. After successful completion of the qualifying examination, you will advance to candidacy for the degree.

Oral Defense
After completion of the dissertation, you must pass a final oral examination in defense of your dissertation. You must make the final changes, if any, in the dissertation within three months of the date of the oral defense.

You can defend your dissertation no more than twice, and it must be approved by each member of the student’s Ph.D Advisory Committee.

Satisfactory Progress
To maintain satisfactory progress in the Ph.D program, you are required to: