Doctoral Degree Program Requirements

Doctoral students are required to familiarize themselves with and meet the doctoral degree milestones as outlined by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Within the first half of their program (prior to 45 credit hours), doctoral students need to establish their Supervisory Commitee and complete their Program of Studies paperwork.

Comprehensive Examinations

When a student has substantially completed studies in their doctoral program, the student must pass a written comprehensive examination in their major and minor fields of study.

The Supervisory Committee arranges for comprehensive examinations — written and potentially also oral — at least seven months prior to the final oral examination (defense).


By mid-program and after comprehensive exams have been passed, students need to complete the paperwork for their Candidacy and satisfy their Academic Residency requirement.

Once candidacy is achieved, the student must register for at least one credit hour each fall and spring until they graduate, even after meeting the total dissertation hours on their Program.


The doctoral dissertation is a written document that represents the beginning of a student's scholarly work and describes their research. The subject of the dissertation is chosen by mutual agreement between the student and major advisor, and must be approved by the student's Supervisory Committee.

Final Semester

In the final semester prior to graduation, there are many deadlines outlined by Graduate Studies that must be met by the student - such as the Final Oral Exam Application, the dissertation defense Report of Completion, and the Graduation Application. All Incomplete grades must also be removed.

A student's graduation will be postponed until a later semester if these deadlines are not met. Students are encouraged to work with their advisor, the department office, and Graduate Studies to verify they have met these requirements in a timely manner.