New Ph.D. Credit Requirements

PhD degree requirements for students entering a Ph.D. program after August 2015


  1. Ph.D. coursework registration requirements


Ph.D. students with a recognized Master’s degree or equivalent are required to take four 700-level 3-credit courses (12 credits).  Ph.D. students with a recognized Baccalaureate degree are required to take eight 600-level or 700-level 3-credit courses (24 credits) of coursework beyond the Baccalaureate degree as well as four additional 700-level 3-credit courses (12 credits), for a total of twelve 3-credit courses (36 credits).  Master’s project (course 700), Master’s thesis (course 701), or more than two independent study courses (courses 725 and 726) cannot be used to satisfy these coursework requirements. A Ph.D. student may substitute a 600-level course for a 700-level course only after the academic advisor appeals on behalf of the student to the Office of Graduate Studies and receives approval. A Ph.D. program may define an additional set of required courses that must be pre-approved by the academic college (multiple colleges may be involved for interdisciplinary programs). Whether or not a program requires additional courses above the aforementioned minimum requirements, a Ph.D. student's dissertation committee may ask the student to take additional courses.


  1. Ph.D. dissertation registration requirements


  • Students who pass the Qualifying Examination (QE) must then register for 3 credits of pre-doctoral research (792B) per semester until they defend successfully the dissertation proposal.
  • Students who have successfully completed the required courses, have not passed the QE and are in their second, third or fourth semester of the PhD program may fall into any of these categories:
    • Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better are expected to register for at least one 700-level 3-credit course (this course can be 792B).
    • Students with a cumulative GPA below 3.5 must register for at least six credits. The academic advisor may appeal to the Office of Graduate Studies in order to count 792B toward this requirement.
  • Students who defend the dissertation proposal successfully must then register for the 1-credit dissertation course (790A) each semester until they complete all degree requirements.
  • Students may take courses simultaneously with the 790 or 792 course as per Ph.D. program guidelines or dissertation committee recommendation.
  • Students who do not meet the following deadlines will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program.
    • The required coursework for the Ph.D. program and the (major part of the) QE must be completed successfully by the end of the second year in the program.
    • The dissertation proposal must be defended successfully either by the end of the third year in the Ph.D. program or four semesters after registering for the first time in the 792 pre-doctoral research course, whichever occurs earlier.
    • The dissertation must be defended successfully by the end of the sixth year in the Ph.D. program.


(Note: The credit requirements for any joint Ph.D. program, for which the names of multiple universities appear on the diploma, follow the explicit requirements of the joint program.)