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Completion Timeline for Ph.D. Program

The Department has established general time guidelines designed to help students progress toward their degree objective and to assist the faculty in assessing the student’s accomplishments. The normal period of time for completing a Ph.D. degree is 5 years. These are also the periods of time during which the student will normally be eligible to receive a departmental Teaching Assistantship or Laboratory Assistantship (TA or LA) or Graduate School Assistantship (GSA). In unusual circumstances, the Graduate Studies Committee will consider requests for additional support for up to one year. In such cases, an appeal to the Graduate Studies Committee must be made in writing with a letter of support from the major professor (faculty members supporting students on grants must also follow these guidelines). 

Advisory Committee for Doctoral Candidates 

Submit to the Graduate Coordinator within 2 semesters. 

Preliminary Program of Study 

Submit, with one page summary of proposed research, to Graduate Coordinator within 2 semesters. Graduate Coordinator Assistant will type this form. Feel free to make any changes as it is not forwarded to the Graduate School. 

Final Doctoral Program of Study 

The Graduate Coordinator must notify the Graduate School of the oral exam date at least two weeks before the exam. The major professor sends copies of the completed form to the Graduate Coordinator. Submit with 2-4 page summary of research project, to Graduate Coordinator prior to scheduling the oral comprehensive exam. When the Graduate School has been notified that the oral exam has been scheduled they will send the required paperwork to Graduate Coordinator Assistant. 

Application for Admission to Candidacy –Doctoral Degrees 

This form is submitted to the Graduate Coordinator with the above report on comprehensive exam results. The 30 semester hours residency requirement must have been completed before filing this application. It must be submitted at least 2 semesters before graduation, and students must be registered for at least 2 additional semesters and a total minimum of 10 hours of dissertation or other appropriate graduate credit before graduation. For example, the deadline for May 2018 graduation is January 19, 2018. 

Application for Graduation 

Submit to the Graduate School no later than the end of the second week (the first week of classes for summer) of classes the semester that you plan to graduate. The application for graduation can be found in Athena. 

Approval Form for Doctoral Dissertation and Final Oral Examination 

You should pick up the required defense paperwork from Graduate Coordinator Assistant prior to the start of your exam. Once the Advisory Committee reads and approves the dissertation and the student passes the final oral exam, the original completed form is sent to the Graduate School by the major professor at least two weeks prior to graduation and a copy to Graduate Coordinator Assistant. One completed formatted copy of the dissertation must be electronically submitted 

to the Graduate School for a format check no later than four weeks prior to graduation. 

If copyright permission is needed, you must obtain permission. If permission is granted by letter, forward the letter to Enrolled Student Services at the Graduate School. If permission is sent by email, forward to 

The Department requires a bound copy of your thesis/dissertation for the Palfrey Conference Room and it is highly recommended that you also bind a copy for your major professor. Print and Copy Services at the Tate Student Center will print and bind your thesis/dissertation in the traditional black hard cover with gold lettering. Please do not make copies or pay for binding before contacting the Tate Center Print Shop at 542-8493. 

Completing degree requirements and graduation are not synonymous. The student must be registered for a minimum of three hours during the semester in which degree requirements are completed. The Graduate School must receive the Final Defense Approval form and electronic submission of the thesis/dissertation no later than two weeks before the graduation date. 

Sometimes a student completes all degree requirements well before officially graduating and needs official documentation for an employer that he or she has actually finished the degree. The student may request that the Graduate School provide certification stating that degree requirements have been met and that the student will graduate officially on a certain date. 

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