Ph.D. Dissertation

Ph.D. Candidacy

Upon completion of formal course requirements, each doctoral student will be required to take a two-part “Research Qualifying Exam” conducted by the doctoral committee—the successful completion of which will admit the student to the candidacy phase of the Ph.D. program.

Dissertation Committee

The doctoral committee is established by the student and faculty advisors. It is made up of five faculty members two of whom must come from outside the field. The dissertation committee plays an active role in supervising the student as well as meeting with the student at regular intervals to review progress and plans.

For the Ph.D. degree, the student will submit a complete dissertation to be evaluated by his/her doctoral committee. Requirements include:

  • Doctoral dissertation submitted to each member of the doctoral committee at least four weeks before the final examination.
  • Defense of final dissertation after the committee’s evaluation (pass or fail).

The expected dissertation phase may last 12 to 24 months. Candidates will defend their dissertations in a final oral examination consisting of a) presentation of the dissertation by the graduate student, b) questioning by the general audience, and c) closed-door questioning by the dissertation committee.

If you have any questions, please contact the Rady Ph.D. Graduate Coordinator at