All doctoral students will be evaluated at different stages to assess their progress towards the degree. Examinations could include a qualifying examination within completion of the first 15 hours in the program. A comprehensive or general examination will be conducted prior to the dissertation prospectus and oral defense of the dissertation The Ph.D. examination procedure and other requirements are described in detail below:
Students choose a major department
All students that have applied to the Ph.D. program must take the qualifying examination. Its purpose is twofold. IIt serves as a departmental examination to assess students’ competencies in the discipline. The qualifying examination should examine fundamentals deemed important by the major department. For students entering with a master’s degree the exam is held within the first 9 hours. For all other students it will be held after completion of 15 hours in the program.
The qualifying examination is administered by at least three members of the graduate faculty of the major department. The examination consists of a written and oral component and will be coordinated by the respective departmental Ph.D. program graduate coordinator.
The qualifying examination should be given no more than once per semester. Students who fail the qualifying examination can be allowed to repeat it one time within a period of one year after the first exam. A second failure results in the student's dismissal from the Ph.D. program.
An advisory committee is set up for students who pass the qualifying examination.
The committee consists of at least five members, no more than three from the major department, and at least one from the other college. The major professor is from the major department.
Students must take at least 51 semester hours of course work beyond the Bachelor's degree.
A maximum of 30 semester hours of master's degree credits (course work plus thesis) can be applied to this number. At least nine semester hours of course work in the Ph.D. program must be taken in each college (College of Engineering and College of Science). Of the 21 semester hours beyond the master's program, a minimum of 12 semester hours will be at the 6000 level. There must be at least 30 dissertation credits. Courses are chosen with consent of the major professor.
The general examination is set up by the advisory committee and will be coordinated by the respective major professor. It must include material that will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. This examination should be taken as soon as possible after the advanced course work (i.e., course work taken after the student has passed the qualifying examination) has been completed. The advanced course material is taken to support the dissertation research and as such should precede most of the research. The examination may be written or oral, and after passing it, the student can proceed to prepare the dissertation proposal.
Oral Defense of Dissertation Proposal
The Ph.D. candidate will submit a written dissertation proposal (prospectus) and will give an oral defense of this proposal conducted by the dissertation committee (which is the same as the advisory committee) and coordinated by the major professor.
After the written dissertation has been approved by the advisory committee, there must be a final public oral defense of the dissertation. The audience for the public oral defense must include the members of the advisory committee.