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Doctoral Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The departmental Ph.D. program complies with the regulations of the Graduate School. This is a full-time program only. In addition to the information contained on this website, the Graduate School Catalog should be reviewed by all prospective applicants. This program is aimed at Ph.D. research and training students for careers in research and teaching.

All non-native English speakers who have not received a university-level degree from a U.S. college or university must pass the University's mandatory English Language Program by the end of their first year of study. Incoming students will be tested upon arrival, and may be required to participate in further English study. Students who do not pass by the end of their first year will not be readmitted.

Incoming students are assigned a first year academic adviser, who may or may not become their research adviser. During their first year students are expected to talk with faculty and secure a research adviser by the end of the academic year.

Teaching experience is considered to be a significant part of graduate education. All Ph.D. candidates are required to assist with course instruction for the equivalent of two terms.

All students must fulfill the competency requirements.

The general examination, taken during year 2, consists of a research seminar prepared under the supervision of a faculty member, followed by an in-depth oral examination on the contents of the seminar and the associated general area of research. Original research results do not have to be presented, but problems whose solution may lead to a thesis should be discussed. In many cases, the student's thesis is in the same area as the research seminar, but this is not required.

A final public oral examination (FPO) is required of all Ph.D. candidates. The FPO is taken after the candidate's dissertation has been accepted, and is primarily a defense of the dissertation. In preparation for the FPO, a preliminary FPO (preFPO) is held six months before the expected completion date. It covers results to date and planned research, and serves as a preliminary critique of the proposed dissertation.

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