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Requirements for Doctoral Degrees

REQUIREMENTS FOR DOCTORAL DEGREES
information from the Graduate Coordinator's Handbook
provided by the UGA Graduate School

Advisory Committee
Committee Composition
The doctoral committee must consist of a minimum of five members, three of which are members of the Graduate Faculty, including the student's major professor, who will serve as chair of the committee. Provisional Graduate Faculty may serve in the same capacity as regular Graduate Faculty but cannot serve as chair of the committee. Additional voting members, with proper rank, may be appointed to the committee, including no more than one non-UGA faculty, who must hold the terminal degree in their field of study. If there are more than five members, there must be greater than 50% Graduate Faculty representation. Persons employed by The University of Georgia and who hold the following ranks may serve on doctoral committees: professor, associate professor, assistant professor, public service assistant, public service associate, senior public service associate, assistant research scientist, associate research scientist, and senior research scientist. Persons having the following ranks may not serve on doctoral committees: instructors, lecturers, and academic professionals. A visiting professor or a part-time or temporary faculty member may not serve on a doctoral advisory committee unless that person is replacing a professor with sole expertise in a designated area on the student's program of study. The graduate coordinator must send a letter to the Graduate School explaining the need for this replacement. Replacements for members of the advisory committee must be approved by the dean of the Graduate School prior to their service in any capacity. A revised advisory committee form showing the reconstituted committee must be submitted to the Graduate School.

Co-major Professors
Co-major professors, limited to two, may be appointed to an advisory committee provided both parties are appointed members of the Graduate Faculty. Both parties must sign all forms requiring the chair's signature. Co-major professors count as one member of the committee; therefore, a majority of Graduate Faculty members must be maintained.

Non-affiliated Persons on Advisory Committees
In addition to the regular committee members, a person having no official relationship with The University of Georgia may be appointed to serve as a voting member on the advisory committee of a graduate student on nomination by the graduate coordinator and approval of the dean of the Graduate School. When nominating a non-affiliated person, the graduate coordinator must submit the nominee's current resume with the appropriate forms and a letter addressed to the dean of the Graduate School explaining why the services of the non-affiliated person are requested. A person nominated must have distinguished credentials in the field of study. A non-affiliated person appointed to a graduate student's committee must attend meetings associated with the appointment. A graduate student may not contribute to the compensation of a non-affiliated committee member.

Adjunct Faculty

A faculty member who leaves the University may apply for adjunct status through Faculty Records. If a former Graduate Faculty member is approved as an adjunct member of the general faculty, they may retain Graduate Faculty status by making a request to the Dean of the Graduate School. Please note that Graduate Faculty status is not automatic and not directly linked to an adjunct appointment . Once Graduate Faculty status is approved, that faculty member may assume responsibilities normally performed by a regular member of the Graduate Faculty. These responsibilities include direction of a student's dissertation or thesis, service on doctoral and master's level committees, and teaching graduate courses open only to graduate students. An adjunct member of the general faculty who is not a member of the Graduate Faculty may serve on doctoral and master's committees in positions where membership on the Graduate Faculty is not required.

Retired Faculty
Membership on the Graduate Faculty terminates at the time of retirement. The policy of the Graduate School concerning the participation of retired faculty in graduate programs is as follows:
1. The chair of a doctoral student's advisory committee, who has retired, may continue in that capacity if the student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree, and if the student and the department wish for the relationship to continue. If the student has not been admitted to candidacy at the time of the chair's retirement, another chair must be selected following regular procedures.
2. A retired professor will not assume the role of chair of an advisory committee for a student. Consideration will be given to a waiver of this rule on petition from the department to the dean of the Graduate School if the professor has skills of a highly specialized nature which are not otherwise available in the department.
3. A retired professor may retain Graduate Faculty status and continue to serve as a member of a doctoral committee provided that the student has been admitted to candidacy, the student and the department wish for the relationship to continue, and the professor is in a position to perform the required services.
4. A retired professor may be appointed to serve on a doctoral committee as a nongraduate faculty member, following regular procedures, if the professor is in a position to perform the required services.
5. A retired professor may continue to serve as a master's student's major professor providing that the program of study has been received by the Graduate School prior to his/her retirement.

Former Graduate Faculty

A faculty member who is appointed to an advisory committee in the capacity of Graduate Faculty, but who is no longer a member of the Graduate Faculty, may continue to serve in that capacity provided the student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree. If the student has not been admitted to candidacy, a new advisory committee must be constituted with the proper number of required Graduate Faculty members.

Residence Requirement
The residency requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree, is interpreted as 30 hours of consecutive graduate course work that is included on the program of study. Courses may be taken at a minimum of three hours a semester to fulfill this requirement.   A break in residence is not incurred if a student elects not to register for the summer term; however, if the student does register for a course on the program of study during the summer, that course may be used toward the residence requirement. Courses taken to fulfill research skills requirements or courses listed under the category of "Other Departmental Requirements" do not count as part of the residence requirement, but they do not constitute a break in residence if they are the only hours taken during a given semester. A maximum of three hours of dissertation (9300) may be included toward the required residence. Dissertation research (9000) credits in excess of 15 hours do not count toward the residence requirement, but these hours do not constitute a break in the residence if they are the only hours taken during a given semester.

Leave of Absence during Residence
In extreme circumstances, a leave of absence from residence may be obtained with the permission of the dean of the Graduate School. This leave must be approved prior to the break in residence.

Program of Study
A preliminary program of study, developed by the student and major professor and approved by a majority of members of the advisory committee, must be submitted to the graduate coordinator by the end of the student's first year of residence (the preliminary program of study is not submitted to the Graduate School).  

The Graduate Bulletin describes the numbering of courses as follows:
8000-9999 = advanced graduate courses and seminars which provide educational experiences at the highest level;
7000-7999 = techniques and professional courses;
6000-6999 = fundamental knowledge courses.
Courses numbered 6000-7999 are normally taken early in the student's program of study.
Joint undergraduate/graduate courses, numbered 4000-4999/6000-6999 and 5000- 5999/7000-7999, in which undergraduate and graduate students are combined, are not normally used to fulfill the core requirements of a graduate degree program.

In view of this description, a doctoral program of study should consist of 16 or more hours of 8000- and 9000-level courses exclusive of 9000 (research) or 9300 (dissertation writing) or be accompanied by a letter of justification as to the acquisition of fundamental knowledge, technique, or professional courses. The final program of study must be submitted for the approval of the dean of the Graduate School by the time the notification of the preliminary oral comprehensive examination is given.  All courses on the program of study must fall within the six-year time limit. For the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Musical Arts degrees this program of study must carry a minimum of 30 hours of course work, three hours of which must be dissertation writing (9300). A program of study for the Doctor of Education degree must include 30 hours of course work in addition to three hours of 9300.

The doctoral program of study for a student who bypasses the master's degree must contain a minimum of 16 hours of 8000- or 9000-level courses and 4 additional hours of University of Georgia courses open only to graduate students. Doctoral research (9000), independent study courses, and dissertation writing (9300) may not be counted in these hours. Course work taken in approved cooperative programs will be placed on the student's transcript as part of the degree requirements. The mechanism for such purpose is the transfer credit form with an official transcript from the cooperative institution. For other policies regarding transfer of credit for doctoral degrees see "Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions."

Doctoral Credit by Transfer
No courses taken prior to a doctoral student's admission to their degree program at The University of Georgia are eligible for transfer. Doctoral students who have matriculated as prospective candidates into the degree program may take courses at other accredited institutions and have up to nine semester hours of credit transferred to the UGA program of study. These courses must constitute a logical part of the student's program and must be recommended by the student's major professor and graduate coordinator for approval by the dean of the Graduate School. No grade below a "B" may be transferred and the courses to be transferred may not have been used in a degree program at another institution. Transfer grades are not used in calculating cumulative grade point averages. All requests for transfer of credit, with accompanying official transcripts, must be in the Graduate School at least 30 days prior to the time the student plans to graduate.

Courses transferred for the doctoral degree may not be used in fulfilling the following:
1. The requirement that a minimum of 16 hours of 8000/9000-level courses be included on the program of study,
2. The university's residency requirement.
If the transfer credit course is taken during the fall or spring semesters, the student must also be registered at UGA to avoid a "break" in residency if this requirement has not already been satisfied.

Doctoral Preliminary Comprehensive Examinations
The doctoral comprehensive examinations are traditionally regarded as the means by which the members of the faculty assess the level of mastery a student has attained once the prescribed course work for the degree has been completed. The oral examination is announced to the Graduate School by the graduate coordinator.   The student should notify the department in writing of the date, time, place and names of the committee members at least two weeks prior to its administration.  An approved advisory committee form and program of study must be on file prior to this notification. The Graduate School will mail the "Report of the Written and Oral Comprehensive Examination" form to the graduate coordinator prior to the examination. Because of the serious nature of these examinations, the scheduling of the oral examination must be arranged when all members of the student's advisory committee can be available for the entire examination. If, for a good reason, a member cannot be present, the student must choose one of the following options:
1. The absentee member may participate via a teleconference or video conference in which all participants can hear each person's comments. The chair of the committee will need to sign the report of the exam for the absentee member and register his/her vote and indicate that the member participated by telecommunication or video conference (the major professor signs the absentee member's name followed by the major professor's initials).
2. A substitution may be made with another faculty member who can replace the former member in expertise of the subject field and who has knowledge of the student's research project. A revised advisory committee form must be submitted to the Graduation Office prior to the examination.
3. The examination may be canceled or rescheduled at a later time. In either case, the Graduate School must be notified.

No more than one dissenting vote is permitted for the student to pass both the written and oral examinations. The major professor's/co-major professors' vote of approval is required for the student to pass the examination. An abstention is not an appropriate vote for comprehensive examinations.

Admission to Candidacy

Under ordinary circumstances, admission to candidacy for a doctoral student is requested immediately after the successful completion of the comprehensive oral examinations. The following is a complete list of requirements for admission to candidacy:
1. all prerequisites set as a condition to admission have been satisfactorily completed; 2. research skills requirements, if applicable, have been met;
3. the final program of study has been approved by the advisory committee, the graduate coordinator, and the dean of the Graduate School;
4. an average of 3.0 (B) has been maintained on all graduate courses taken and on all
completed courses on the program of study (no course with a grade below C may be placed on the final program of study);
5. written and oral comprehensive examinations have been passed and reported to the Graduate School;
6. the advisory committee, including any necessary changes in the membership, is confirmed and all its members have been notified of their appointment;
7. a dissertation prospectus (required) has been approved; and
8. the residence requirement has been met

The Application for Admission to Candidacy form must be submitted to the Graduate School as soon as possible following the completion of these requirements. Candidacy begins on the date the form is received in the Graduate School. The graduate coordinator must notify the Graduate School should there be a reason to delay admission to candidacy as indicated on the comprehensive examination report form.

After admission to candidacy, a student must register for a combined total of ten hours of dissertation or other appropriate graduate credit during the completion of the degree program. Students planning to graduate the same semester they enter candidacy must be admitted to candidacy by the published deadline for candidacy during that semester and register for ten hours. The student must also meet all other deadlines for graduation in that semester. A student must register for a minimum of three hours of credit in any semester when using University facilities, and/or faculty or staff time.

Time Limit on Candidacy
The dissertation must be completed in order to qualify for graduation within five years following admission to candidacy. If a doctoral student's candidacy expires after the first week of classes in the final semester, the student is granted the remainder of the semester to complete degree requirements without special permission of the dean of the Graduate School.

Dissertations and Theses

Preparation
Any student whose research will involve the use of human subjects must make application to the Institutional Review Board in the Office of the Vice President of Research for approval
(http://www.ovpr.uga.edu/hso/index.html). The dissertation is the final component of a series of academic experiences which culminate in the awarding of the doctoral degree. The dissertation fulfills four major functions: (1) It presents original research or scholarship; (2) it demonstrates the student's ability to understand and critically evaluate the literature of the field; (3) it reflects the student's mastery of appropriate research methods and tools; (4) it shows that the student can address a major problem, arrive at successful conclusions, and report in a literate fashion. The findings of a dissertation should be worthy of publication in a refereed journal or other scholarly medium.

The dissertation or thesis must demonstrate unity and purpose. All parts of the dissertation or thesis must contribute to the stated objectives of the research. The methods used in the research must be described adequately to permit an independent investigator to repeat the work.  All theses and dissertations must be submitted in electronic pdf format. The dissertation or thesis format should conform to the instructions contained in a style manual or scholarly journal approved by the department and the Graduate School.

The Graduate School guide for preparing the dissertation or thesis should be followed to ensure that standards of uniformity and consistency are maintained. If a student engages a typist to create the formatted document, the student has a responsibility to see that the typist reads and follows the guide that is available at http://www.gradsch.uga.edu/Forms/theses_and_dissertations.pdf . Any questions concerning formatting should be directed to Graduate Enrolled Student Services (542-4803, gradinfo@uga.edu). Difficulties with electronic submission may be referred to the ETD Help Desk (Boyd, Room 519, etdhelp@graduate.gradsch.uga.edu, 583-8095).

Dissertation and Thesis Styles

The Graduate Council approved two acceptable styles for preparation of dissertations and theses. The dissertation or thesis may be written in either the traditional or the manuscript (journal article) style described below.   The dissertation or thesis must include an introduction and a literature review with the purposes of defining problems, presenting hypotheses or theories, stating objectives, and thoroughly reviewing pertinent literature. There must also be a concluding chapter or section which unites the preceding chapters or sections and which may consist of a general discussion integrating the major findings.

Traditional Style. In addition to an introduction, literature review and conclusion, this style may include materials and methods, results, discussion, literature cited, and figures and tables as appropriate to the student's discipline. Documentation and format must be consistent throughout the dissertation or thesis.

Manuscript Style. The practice of using the manuscript (journal article) style thesis and dissertation format shall be at the discretion of the department. In this style, the introduction, literature review, and concluding chapter or section will be presented separately from their briefer presentation in each manuscript to allow thoroughness not usually permitted by space limitations in scientific journals. The manuscript style permits, for the doctoral degree, the inclusion of two or more manuscripts and, for the master's degree, the inclusion of one or more manuscripts submitted or to be submitted to scholarly journals as chapters or sections of the dissertation or thesis. Each manuscript must be prepared in the style of the appropriate scientific journal, but instructions peculiar to submission of manuscripts to editors must be eliminated. Each manuscript must blend appropriately with the other parts of the dissertation or thesis, with the exception of the particular differences required by journals (e.g., literature citations, table designations). Numbered lines, as required by some journals, must not be used. Captions must accompany each figure on the same or preceding page of each manuscript. No reprints or photocopies of reprints will be permitted. The student must be the first author of each manuscript in this style. The names of all authors, in journal-submitted order, and the name of the journal (with volume, page numbers, and date, if published) must be given as a footnote to the title on the first page of each manuscript so as to indicate the current status of each manuscript. The Graduate School must receive proof of permission to use articles which have been published or accepted for publication.

Continuous pagination is required throughout the dissertation or thesis. The usual requirements for margins, consistency in chapter or section titles, and other mechanics as specified in the Graduate School dissertation and thesis guide will apply.

Approval by Advisory Committee
A dissertation will not be approved before candidacy has been established. The graduate coordinator must notify the Graduation Office at least two weeks in advance of the defense of a dissertation. The notification must include the date, time, place, list of committee members and the title of a doctoral dissertation.

The approval forms for the defense of a thesis or dissertation are available at the Graduate School Website. When the approval form is submitted, it must be accompanied by the "Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Submission Approval Form" which is attached to the defense approval forms on the website.

All of the members of the advisory committee must be present for the entire defense.

If, for a good reason, a member cannot be present, the student must choose one of the following options:

1. The absentee member may participate via a teleconference or video conference in which all participants can hear each person's comments. The chair of the committee must sign the approval form for the absentee member, register his/her vote and indicate that the member's participation was by teleconference or video conference (the major professor signs the absentee member's name followed by the major professor's initials).
2. A substitution may be made with another faculty member who can replace the former member in expertise of the subject field and who has knowledge of the student's research project. A revised advisory committee form must be submitted to the Graduation Office prior to the examination. A minimum of three Graduate Faculty members must be maintained.
3. The defense may be canceled or rescheduled at a later time.

In either case, the Graduate School must be notified The advisory committee must approve the student's dissertation or thesis and defense with no more than one dissenting vote and must certify their approval in writing. The major professor's/co-major professors' vote of approval is required for the student to pass the examination. An abstention is not an appropriate vote for the defense of the dissertation or thesis. The committee, after having read the dissertation, should verify whether or not human subjects were used in the student's research and indicate so by verifying that the appropriate box is checked on the approval form. The student must provide the IRB protocol number and date of approval on the defense form.

The defense approval form must be submitted to the Graduate School before the corrected copy of the electronic thesis or dissertation will be accepted as the final official copy. The deadline for this is posted at the Graduate School Website in advance for three semesters.

Submission of Dissertation or Thesis
The Graduate School shall not accept a dissertation until the student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree. The year on the title page of the dissertation or thesis shall be the same as the year in which the degree is conferred. The thesis/dissertation will not be forwarded to the University Library until the degree is conferred.

First Format Check
One complete formatted copy of the thesis/dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School by the established deadline for the student's graduation semester for a first format check. Instructions for typing the thesis may be obtained in the Thesis and Dissertation section of our website.

Final Format Check

All requirements for the thesis/dissertation must be completed no later than two full weeks prior to graduation (see "Important Dates" at http://www.uga.edu/gradschool/academics/deadlines.html). The final copy will not be accepted as the official copy until the Graduate School has received the signed approval form for the thesis or dissertation defense and the ETD submission approval form. These are due by the same deadline as the final copy of the thesis/dissertation.

The Graduate School will not accept theses and dissertations for any student graduating in future semesters between the final copy submission deadline for the current semester and Phase II (late registration) of the following term.

Graduation Process
Application for Graduation
A student must apply for graduation no later than Friday of the second full week (the first full week for summer) of classes in the semester of the anticipated graduation date to permit the Graduate School to review the student's file. These deadlines are published on the Graduate School Web site for three semesters in advance. Students must enroll for a minimum of three hours during the semester in which degree requirements are completed.

Late Filing for Graduation
A graduate student who misses a graduation deadline by failing to file the Application for Graduation, Advisory Committee Form , and/or Program of Study Form will have the option of paying a single fee of $50 (check or money order in U.S. dollars) for late processing of all required forms. A completed Late Filing for Graduation Form , all required graduation forms, and the late fee payment must be submitted to the Graduate School Office of Enrolled Student Services within 45 calendar days of the original deadline. After the 45 day late period, no students will be added to the commencement roster for the current semester.

Change in Graduation Date
If a student cannot complete degree requirements in the semester for which a graduation application was submitted, the student should notify the Graduate School of the new date of intended graduation by submitting written notification directly to the Enrolled Student Services Office by e-mail or form (http://www.grad.uga.edu) or by changing the graduation term through OASIS (only if changed prior to the semester the student is currently scheduled to graduate). If the Graduate School does not hear from the student, the student's name is placed on the graduation list for the subsequent semester. Should a student neglect to notify the Graduate School a second time of failure to complete degree requirements, the student's name may be removed from graduation status. The student and graduate coordinator will be notified of this action. It will then be necessary for the student to reapply for graduation. The Graduate School's Website provides all deadline dates for each semester (see http://www.uga.edu/gradschool/academics/deadlines.html).  

Graduation Clearance
When all degree requirements have been successfully completed, the student's file is cleared for graduation. Under ordinary circumstances, this process occurs when the grades for the final semester are received.   The grade of U as a terminal grade in 7300 or 9300 is not acceptable. The same ruling applies for courses entitled technical report, applied project, seminar, special problems, internships, practicum, and research courses when these are degree requirements.   Graduate students must have a cumulative graduate course average of at least 3.0 to graduate (this includes all graduate courses attempted, whether or not they are used on the program of study for the current degree). A student will not be allowed to graduate with an incomplete grade on the transcript if conversion of the incomplete grade to F will drop the student's grade point average below a 3.0.

Important Dates and Deadlines

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