Doctoral Requirements - Graduate

3341-3-6 Doctoral Requirements- Graduate.

All University units – Graduate Students

Responsible Unit:
Office of the Provost

Policy Administrator:
Graduate College

(A) Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy describes requirements for Doctoral degrees.

(B) Policy

(1) Doctoral Requirements

(a) Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Musical Arts

(i) Admission

A student is admitted as a doctoral applicant upon approval by the departmental doctoral committee and the dean designate of the Graduate College. Admission as a doctoral applicant does not imply admission to candidacy.

(ii) Residence Requirements  

The inclusion of the Graduate College Doctoral Residence Requirement for individual programs should be left to the discretion of the program. Whatever policy is established must be applied consistently to all applicants/students. A student is considered to be in residence when registered on campus as a graduate student. The minimum residence requirement beyond the master’s degree or equivalent may be met by satisfactorily completing fifteen hours of course work (not 7990 research) on the main campus in no more nor fewer than two consecutive terms with at least three hours of registration in either of the two terms. The residence requirements of individual departments may exceed this minimum requirement.

(iii) Credit Hour Requirements

Students must complete at least sixty semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree or ninety semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. These hours must include at least sixteen hours of dissertation research (no more than thirty are applicable to the degree). The rest of the student’s course of study is designed, with the advice of the student’s doctoral committee, to meet the student’s needs and interests. Unless a degree program has been specifically approved by the Ohio Board of Regents as an offcampus graduate degree program, a student must complete at least fifty-one percent of the graduate course work on the main campus of the university, as distinguished from Firelands branch campus or an extension center. The policy concerning transfer of credit from other institutions into graduate degree programs at the University is described in this catalog under “Academic Regulations.” 

(iv) 5000-Level Courses

For doctoral-level students, the number of 5000- level credits that may be counted toward the minimum required hours (sixty post-master’s) for the doctoral degree shall not exceed ten hours or three courses in post-master’s studies.

(v) Doctoral Committee

A dissertation committee must have at least three members (including the chair) from the student’s program and a graduate faculty representative. A non-voting committee member (known as a "reader") does not count toward the minimum number of members required by the student’s program. Doctoral students may change committee members after passing the preliminary examination, provided the changes are approved by the Graduate Coordinator, and the Graduate Dean (or the Dean’s designate) is notified of the change. The dissertation committee chair must have graduate faculty status at the Regular I level. All other committee members should be regular or provisional graduate faculty. If a committee member is not on the graduate faculty, he or she may be eligible for a courtesy appointment to the graduate faculty. To request a courtesy appointment, the department chair or program director must write a letter to the Graduate Dean, accompanied by the appropriate documentation indicating the scholarly expertise of the individual for whom the courtesy appointment is being sought. 

(vi) Graduate Faculty Representative

The Graduate College appoints one graduate faculty representative to each doctoral student’s committee from the list of qualified members of the regular graduate faculty. All members of the regular graduate faculty are eligible for appointment regardless of whether their program area offers a graduate degree. Thus, prior experience as a dissertation advisor is not a prerequisite for serving as a graduate faculty representative on doctoral committees. The graduate dean designate attempts to rotate these assignments to ensure broad participation among the members of the regular graduate faculty. Although the graduate faculty representative is not assigned as a subject matter expert, the representative may have general familiarity with the disciplinary area of the student. In cases where an individual graduate student (or the student’s doctoral committee) feels the need for an interdisciplinary contribution from a faculty member outside the student’s program area; such an individual may be included on the student’s doctoral committee in addition to the graduate faculty representative appointed by the dean designate. In general, the graduate faculty representative to a doctoral committee has two primary responsibilities:

(a) To assure that all minimum standards of the Graduate College, both written and implied, have been met in all aspects of the preliminary examination process and in the writing of the dissertation; and

(b) To ensure that the student is treated fairly and equitably in all aspects of the exam and dissertation processes.

The graduate faculty representative on preliminary examination and dissertation committees is a full member and must be a participant in all deliberations and actions. As it is for any member of the committee, results of examinations conducted without the participation of the representatives are not acceptable. The representative is expected to contribute to the examinations of a candidate in order to ensure the Graduate College of the satisfactory quality of the student’s performance. The representative is therefore expected to read and critique the dissertation. Any comments and suggestions are to carry equal weight with those of all other committee members. The representative is not to sign the dissertation unless the suggestions have been considered, the questions have been answered, and there is evidence that the student has successfully completed the requirements for the doctoral degree. The appointment of the graduate faculty representative should be made before the preliminary examination is taken; the representative may assist in the preparation of the examination. The graduate faculty representative is responsible for monitoring both the content and form of the material under review. This monitoring includes an assessment of the academic quality of the written examination, the oral examination, and the dissertation manuscript. The procedures associated with the administration of the examination and the dissertation defense are also the province of the graduate faculty representative. Under this procedural category are included such considerations as appropriate scheduling and notification of committee meetings, distribution of material in advance of committee meetings, and the protection of the student’s rights.

(vii) Examinations

All doctoral students must take a preliminary examination, administered by their preliminary examination committee. Some departments also require students to take qualifying examinations at an earlier stage in the doctoral process. Students must contact their department or departmental graduate coordinator for specific details.

(viii) Preliminary Examination

This examination is both written and oral. The student may request permission to take this examination after having:

(a) Removed any conditions upon admission;

(b) Completed or approached completion of at least 60 hours in the approved course of study beyond the bachelor’s degree; and

(c) Achieved a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on all graduate work, including work at the master’s level. The request to take the examination, approved by the graduate coordinator, must be filed in the office of the Graduate College at least four weeks prior to the date of the examination. The Graduate College will appoint a graduate faculty representative to participate in the examination and dissertation once the examination request has been filed.

For a student to pass the comprehensive, preliminary, or final examination, the committee must either cast a unanimous vote or a vote with one dissenter. If the committee decides to pass the candidate with conditions, the conditions must be met before the exam is recorded as satisfactory. These conditions must be conveyed in writing to the Graduate College.

(ix) Re-Examination

If the student fails the preliminary examination, he or she may (after a lapse of six months or more) take a second examination upon the recommendation of the departmental doctoral committee. Dismissal from the doctoral program will result if the second examination is failed.

(x) Candidacy

After completing the foreign language requirement, where required, and passing the preliminary examination, a student may achieve candidacy by securing approval for the dissertation topic from the graduate coordinator, the departmental doctoral committee, and the Graduate College. Depending upon program guidelines, the composition of this committee may be similar to or different from the preliminary examination committee. However, in all instances, the graduate faculty representative appointed to the preliminary examination committee also serves on the dissertation committee. Students should begin registering for dissertation research (7990) at the time when they begin planning their dissertation. Students who register for dissertation research are required to maintain continuous registration in dissertation research from one semester to another, regardless of whether they are in residence, until the research is completed and the dissertation is accepted by the Graduate College. Students are not required to register for dissertation research during summer sessions unless they use university services. However, they must enroll in dissertation research for the summer term in which they graduate. The minimum continuous registration for a dissertation student is one hour per semester. A student who has completed the hours designated for dissertation research in the TDP/DARS but has not completed the dissertation is required to register for at least one hour each semester until the degree is granted. Students who do not maintain continuous registration will be required to make up for all terms they have missed. Tuition will be assessed at the current rates when the registration is processed. A doctoral student must register for a minimum of 16 credits of dissertation research (7990) as a degree requirement.

(xi) Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)

Each candidate must pass a final oral examination, also called a dissertation defense, which is administered by the dissertation committee. The examination covers the dissertation and may also cover directly related fields of study. A written examination may be required at the discretion of the committee. Because the dissertation defense is traditionally a public defense of research, the student is required to publicize the date to the campus community, two weeks before the final oral examination is to be held.

(xii) Retaking the Final Exam

If a student does not pass the dissertation defense, he or she may take a second examination, upon the recommendation of the dissertation committee, four months or more after the date of the first examination. No student is permitted to take the final examination more than twice.

(xiii) Deadlines

Students must be aware of deadlines established by the Graduate College and published on the Graduate College web site. Specifically, the following procedures should be followed:

(a) Formal application for graduation with the doctoral degree must be filed by the published deadline prior to the commencement at which the student expects to receive the degree.

(b) Copies of the final draft of the dissertation should be submitted to the dissertation committee sufficiently prior to the date set for the final examination to allow for a rigorous and careful reading of the manuscript by the committee. The graduate coordinator or program handbook should be consulted for this deadline.

(c) A student must pass the final examination by the published deadline prior to the commencement at which the degree is to be conferred. A student should be registered at the time he or she takes the oral examination.

(d) The final, error-free dissertation must be electronically submitted via OhioLINK by the published deadline.

(e) A signed Thesis/Dissertation Defense & Manuscript Approval form must be on file in the Graduate College by the published deadline.

(xiv) Publication of Dissertation

Upon accepting the dissertation and the abstract, the dissertation committee certifies approval for publication. The Graduate Council approved the implementation of electronic submission of theses and dissertations beginning with Fall 2005 for all graduate programs. With the exception of theses written in the MFA program in Creative Writing, paper copies are no longer accepted by the Graduate College. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to format and upload their document to the OhioLINK ETD. Details for how the student initiates this process on their own may be found on the Graduate College website at

(b) Consortium Ph.D. In Technology Management

The College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering is a member of a consortium that offers the Ph.D. in Technology Management through Indiana State University. Other member institutions are University of Central Missouri, East Carolina University, and North Carolina A&T State University. The degree consists of a research core, dissertation, a general technology core, a specialization, and an internship. Cognates are typically formed from master’s course work. The areas of specialization are: construction management, digital communication systems, human resource development and industrial training, manufacturing systems, and quality systems. Most of the graduate course work is accomplished via distance technology; however, a short residency requirement must be satisfied. For additional information contact the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, at (419) 372-7613, or check the website for current information, 

(c) Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree

The Interdisciplinary Studies degree option is a response to increasing interest by students and faculty in an interdisciplinary approach to graduate study and scholarship. It is available to students who have been admitted to a doctoral degree program, but who have unique educational needs that cannot be met within a single degree program. It is limited to those areas in which sufficient faculty and adequate material resources exist to support the proposed course of study. Any student who has been admitted to a doctoral degree program and who is interested in pursuing the Interdisciplinary Studies degree option may develop a proposal under the direction of a faculty advisory committee representing each program or major area of scholarship identified in the proposed interdisciplinary course of study. The course of study must be one that is not available through an existing program, must be at the level (i.e., master’s, specialist, or doctoral) of the program to which the student has been admitted, and must combine at least two different graduate degree areas which offer the graduate degree at the doctoral level. The faculty advisory committee must include a minimum of four members of the graduate faculty for a doctoral student. Students submit their proposals to the Graduate College in accordance with the “Petition for Interdisciplinary Degree Options Guidelines,” available at the Graduate College. The transcript of doctoral students pursuing the interdisciplinary degree option will designate the doctoral degree in the field of Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization noted in two or more areas.

Registered Date: March 24, 2015
Amended Date: November 2, 2016, October 17, 2017