Doctoral Degree Requirements
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree offered by The University of Texas at Arlington. The degree is awarded only for academic work of distinction through which the student demonstrates superior scholarship and capacity for original work. Requirements for the doctoral degree listed below are the minimum required. Meeting all of these requirements does not result automatically in the awarding of the doctoral degree. All departments and programs have additional requirements for a high level of scholarly achievement that must be met by successful doctoral candidates. In all doctoral programs, the basic requirements are that a student 1) attain mastery of a field of knowledge as determined by the appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies and demonstrated in a general examination; and 2) present evidence of a capacity to complete a significant program of original research by preparation of a dissertation.
To be admitted to a doctoral program, an applicant must have completed a master's degree or at least 30 semester credit hours of graduate coursework. Students who do not meet these requirements but who intend to complete a doctoral degree should apply as a "BS/BA to PhD" or "Doctoral Bound" student if the program offers such options.
Doctoral Degree Plans and Required Hours
The doctoral degree cannot be earned solely by passing certain courses and accumulating a specified number of credit hours; however, a department or program may require a core group of courses for all of its doctoral students. Courses are generally concentrated in the student's major field, but some are normally taken in one or more complementary areas. In interdepartmental programs, the major work may be divided among two or more primary fields.
The University imposes no specific semester-hour requirements for the doctoral degree except for hours that are required to meet residency requirements.
All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within four years after the student unconditionally passes the comprehensive exam. Students who exceed the published time limits for completing the graduate degree but wish to graduate, must petition the Academic Dean for an exception to the time limit policy.
All degree seeking graduate students must meet residency goals reflecting scholarly engagement and immersion in research, scholarship, creative work and professional development in his or her degree program. Residency requirements can be met through one of three mechanisms:
- The equivalent of two terms of full-time enrollment: Students completing residency via enrollment should understand that the goals of residency are focused effort in activities related to their degree.
- Program-specific alternative residency plan: Academic degree programs may have alternative methods by which enrolled students achieve residency goals. These alternatives, if any, are described in an academic program’s description of its degree requirements. Such plans must have prior approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.
- Individual alternative residency plan: Proposals for alternative residency from individual students can be submitted for approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.
Foreign Language Requirement
Prior to scheduling the doctoral comprehensive examination, the University requires evidence that the student has a reading knowledge of one foreign language applicable to the student's field of study or has attained proficiency in a research-tool area such as computer sciences or experimental statistics.. The foreign language requirement may be met by 1) successfully passing an examination prepared by an appointee of the Academic Dean; 2) making an acceptable score on the Educational Testing Service Graduate School Foreign Language Test; or 3) earning a grade of B or higher in French, German or Russian 4331 and 4332, or equivalents. The foreign language substitute research tool requirement may be met by a method determined by the appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies and approved by the Academic Dean. Other suitable substitutes may be approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies and Academic Dean.
During the student's first year of doctoral program work the student must demonstrate potential to successfully complete a degree program. The method of assessing the student's potential will be determined by the appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies and may be in the form of a written or oral examination, personal interviews with faculty members, successful completion of certain courses in the first semester of residence, or by any combination of these methods. Results of the diagnostic evaluation may be 1) approval to continue in the doctoral program; 2) approval to continue with specified remedial work; 3) failure, but with permission for assessment through a second diagnostic evaluation after a specified period; or 4) failure and termination in the program. The student must be enrolled in the graduate program in the term in which he/she completes the diagnostic evaluation.
The results of the diagnostic evaluation must be filed in the Office of the Registrar no later than after completion of 18 semester hours of coursework while enrolled in a doctoral program at UT Arlington .
After the student successfully completes the diagnostic evaluation, the Academic Dean will approve an examining committee. Members for the committee are recommended by the graduate advisor and appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies. The committee will consist of no fewer than 3 voting members, at least two of whom must be from the student's major area. Committees in interdisciplinary programs must include at least four voting members with two members coming from each discipline. Individual programs may require the committee to have more members and students must conform to such requirements. One qualified external person who is not a member of the graduate faculty may serve as a voting member of a supervising committee if nominated by the appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies and approved by the Graduate Dean. A committee may have more than one external member but only one may have voting privileges. Students should consult with their program's graduate advisor to make sure their committees have sufficient membership to meet program requirements.
The committee is responsible for design and direction of the student's program.
Students are eligible to take the comprehensive examination after giving evidence to their doctoral committee of adequate academic achievement by having completed all or most coursework requirements for a degree. The comprehensive examination usually marks the end of formal coursework and the beginning of concentrated work on dissertation research and preparation. The student must be enrolled in the term in which he/she takes the comprehensive examination.
The comprehensive examination may be written, oral, or both. Its scope, content, and form are determined by the student's examining committee with approval of the appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies.
In some departments and programs comprehensive examinations are given semiannually so students should consult their graduate advisor in that program for appropriate regulations and procedures.
The comprehensive examination may result in 1) unconditional pass and recommendation to proceed to the next phase of the program; 2) approval to remain in the program, but required to meet certain specified additional criteria; 3) failure, but with permission to retake the examination after a period specified by the examining committee; or 4) failure and dismissal from the program.
The dissertation represents the culmination of the student's academic efforts and so is expected to demonstrate original and independent research activity and be a significant contribution to knowledge.
All doctoral students must be aware of requirements and deadlines associated with the dissertation, final defense, and submission of the final copy of the dissertation.
- Registration in an independent study, research, or similar course implies an expected level of effort on the part of the student that is at least equivalent to that of an organized course of the same credit value.
- Doctoral students will not be required to register for more than nine credit hours during any term with these exceptions:
- Doctoral students who are enrolled in nine credit hours of organized courses and who are also doing research related to their dissertation may be required to register for up to three hours of research for a total of 12 credit hours.
- Doctoral students supported as a graduate research or teaching assistants may be required to register for 12 credit hours (no more than nine credit hours to be in organized courses), as determined by the students' graduate program.
- Doctoral students who are required to register solely to satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement may register 3 credit hours during each term.
- Doctoral students may not register for more than 12 semester hours in a term unless such registration is approved by the student's graduate advisor.
- A doctoral student working on a dissertation should be enrolled in an appropriate 6X99 or 7399 dissertation course. Once the student is enrolled in a dissertation course, continuous enrollment is expected. A student receiving advice and assistance from a faculty member in the preparation of a dissertation must register in the course even if the student is not on campus. Doctoral students must enroll in the appropriate 6699, 6999 or 7399 Dissertation Completion course the semester in which the dissertation is defended. Students typically enroll in these courses defend and apply for graduation in the same term. The Dissertation Completion course (7399) may only be taken once and cannot be repeated.
After the student has passed the comprehensive examination, the doctoral supervising committee may be altered or expanded to accommodate the dissertation research needs of the student. The supervising committee is responsible for providing feedback regarding the student's dissertation, attending the defense, and determining the results of the student's defense. The committee will consist of no fewer than 3 voting members. Individual programs may require the committee to have more members and students must conform to such requirements. One qualified external person who is not a member of the graduate faculty may serve as a voting member of a supervising committee if nominated by the appropriate Committee on Graduate Studies and approved by the Graduate Studies Office. All voting and non-voting external members of the committee must be approved by the Graduate Dean. Students should consult with their program's graduate advisor to make sure their committees have sufficient membership to meet program requirements.
Doctoral students must be enrolled in the appropriate Dissertation course in the term in which he/she defends the dissertation (see Enrollment Requirements above).
The dissertation defense will be a public oral examination open to all members (faculty, students and invited guests) of the University community. Questioning of the candidate will be directed by the student's dissertation supervising committee. All members of the student's committee must be present at the defense.
Although the defense is concerned primarily with the dissertation research and its interpretation, the examining committee may explore the student's knowledge of areas relevant to the core of the dissertation problem. The dissertation defense may result in a decision that the candidate has 1) passed unconditionally; 2) passed conditionally with remedial work specified by the committee; 3) failed, with permission to be re-examined after a specified period; or 4) failed and dismissed from the program. The dissertation must be approved unanimously by the student's dissertation supervising committee. Regardless of the outcome of the defense, the results of the defense must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
Dissertation Manuscript Format, Final Submission and Archiving
Students pursuing a doctoral degree must submit an acceptably formatted manuscript to the UTA Library before the degree can be conferred. Details regarding dissertation formats can be found on the UT Arlington Library website .
The format of all dissertation manuscripts must be reviewed and approved by the student's supervising committee. When the final committee-approved copy of the dissertation is submitted to the Library via the University's electronic submission process, it will be archived as submitted. Therefore, care must be taken by the student, supervising professor and the other committee that the final document meets appropriate academic and professional standards. Students submitting a final copy of their dissertation must also complete and submit the Intellectual Property Statement form and the Survey of Earned Doctorates. Forms related to permissions to use work contributed by others in the dissertation will be required if the reported research was conducted jointly with others or when content included in the dissertation is the intellectual property of another person and requires permission before it can be used in the manuscript. The final dissertation is University property and a student may make no private agreements with employers, funding sources, or others that restrict or infringe upon University rights. Dissertation copyrights, where applicable, are held by the student author. The Dissertation will be archived by the Library and be available to interested members of the public. Under some circumstances (see https://libraries.uta.edu/services/thesis-dissertation ) a student may request to delay publication of the dissertation for a limited period of time. Dissertation-related fees are explained in the Tuition and Fees section of the Catalog.
Credit Toward Certificates
Generally, only courses completed with a grade of A, B, C, or P can satisfy graduate certificate requirements. A student must have a B (3.000) grade-point average in courses included in their degree plan and a B (3.000) average in all work undertaken as a graduate student to have credits applied toward a graduate certificate. However, some certificate programs require that a student earn a B or higher in each required course. Courses in which a student earns an unacceptable grade will none-the-less affect that student's grade-point average. . Students should examine requirements carefully and ask the program advisor for clarification if needed.
Grade Point Average
All grades in courses taken as a special non-degree seeking student and graduate certificate status will be considered in computing a student's graduate grade point average.
Transfer Credit Applied to Graduate Certificates
Equivalent coursework completed at other institutions of recognized standing may be transferred to a master's certificate program after evaluation and approval. Transferred courses do not appear on the UT Arlington Official Transcript and grades earned in transferred courses are not included in calculating a student's UT Arlington graduate grade point average.
The number of transfer units is limited to 50% of the total units required for the certificate, except in certificate programs that exceed 15 units, in which case 12 of those units must be taken in residence. This rule does not invalidate written agreements stated elsewhere in this catalog. Transfer credit will be accepted only for organized courses in which the student received a letter grade of B or higher and an official transcript showing the course(s) and grade(s) is required.
Courses from other universities taken after a student has been admitted into a master's program at UT Arlington must be approved in advance by the appropriate graduate advisor and Committee on Graduate Studies. All work submitted for transfer credit must have been completed no more than six years before completion of a graduate program at UT Arlington. A list of approved credit must be sent to the Office of the Registrar to be posted to the student's university record.