Doctoral Degree Programs

Four of the doctoral degrees are research-based and require a published dissertation submitted as final fulfillment of the degree requirement:

  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Musical Arts
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy

The remaining two doctoral degrees are practice-based and have department specific courses of studies and internships which will be detailed separately:

  • Doctor of Audiology
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy

In all programs, doctoral students, in conjunction with their major advisors, form an advisory committee consisting of the major advisor and at least two associate advisors with suitable academic or scientific credentials. This committee oversees and mentors the student throughout the duration of the student’s degree track. Members of the committee must be active participants in each milestone event and their original signatures of approval are required on all Graduate School documents. Incomplete or inaccurate documents will be returned to the student for completion or correction, and the documents must be resubmitted to the Office of the Registrar.

In compliance with the degree fulfillment requirements, specific documentation must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar on a timely basis. Students are responsible for submitting all requisite documents prior to degree conferral. The accuracy and completeness of the documentation facilitates the degree audit process and the validation of the degree conferral. Any unresolved discrepancy may delay the student’s degree until the next conferral period.

For each doctoral student submitting a dissertation, the student’s academic record must include the following appropriately completed and approved documentation:

Plan of Study

No later than the completion of 18 academic credits, students, upon consultation with their major advisors, must submit an advisory committee approved Plan of Study. Students should pay special attention to the foreign language or related area requirement. See the Forms page for doctoral plans of study. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog for the list of exempt departments and for details on the topic.

Report on the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree

The General Examination, sometimes referred to as the qualifying exam, is under the jurisdiction of the advisory committee. Students complete the examination after their Plan of Study has been approved. The content and type of examination(s) is determined by the department and the Report on the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree is submitted to the Office of the Registrar only after the final phase has been completed.

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Coversheet and Instructions

Before undertaking dissertation research, doctoral students must prepare and present (for committee and reviewer approval) a written proposal addressing the scope and content of their intended research. See the Graduate School website for a dissertation proposal coversheet with instructions. If human or animal subjects are involved, before conducting any research, the student must receive approval from the Institutional Review Board and/or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. One copy of the completed and approved coversheet with attached text and IRB/IACUC approval (if applicable) must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar for approval.

Note: All PhD or DMA students preparing a dissertation are required to complete a minimum of 15 credits, GRAD 6950/6960, Doctoral Dissertation Research; EdD students require nine credits. DNP students must complete 10 credits, NURS 5895, Clinical Practice Dissertation Research. Department research is not a substitute for dissertation research.

Dissertation Preparation and Submission

The dissertation is the scholastic culmination of a student’s ongoing research. It must meet all of the standards specified by the advisory committee and the Office of the Registrar. Publication of the dissertation is mandatory. For detailed information pertaining to dissertation preparation and submission, please go to Dissertation Information.

Report on the Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree

The Report on the Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree is evidence of students’ successful oral defense of their dissertations, and the document must include the original signatures of approval of all advisory committee members. If dissertation revisions are necessary, the committee will notify the student. Once revisions are made, the student obtains the original signatures on the dissertation approval page. The defense date, however, is not the degree completion date. The completion date is determined by the date the completed Dissertation Submission Checklist is submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Additional Doctoral Degrees

The Graduate School offers the Doctor of Audiology degree, which is a professional degree in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences department under the section of Communication Disorders. This is a clinical practice-based degree requiring both academic and clinical experience plus a one-year, off-campus, full-time residency. Students are required to submit both an approved Plan of Study and a Report on the Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree, both approved by all advisory committee members. Once the student successfully completes the academic and residency components and applies for Graduation, the process of degree audit and conferral begins.

An additional practice-based degree program offered is the Doctor of Physical Therapy. It is a post baccalaureate program, with the curriculum and clinical practices defined by the department. After satisfactory completion of the program, the department submits an approved advising report and the Report on the Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree to the Office of the Registrar so the degree audit and conferral process can begin.