Early in the doctoral program the student may be required to take preliminary examinations. The scope and content of the examination, and the standard of performance, is determined by the doctoral program.
An advisory committee for the doctoral degree student should consist of at least three faculty members representative of the student’s field of study. When a student enters the doctoral program, a faculty adviser will be designated by the program director to advise the student and to meet in regular consultation concerning the program of study and research. The additional members of the advisory committee will be appointed after successful completion of 9 credits and not later than six months prior to the completion of the comprehensive examinations.
For the Ph.D. degree, the student may be required to demonstrate competency in at least one second language. This requirement is determined by the governing unit of the student’s program, department, or school. Any second language requirement must be completed before the comprehensive examinations.
Residency for a doctoral degree program can be satisfied in one of the following ways:
- Three terms of full-time enrollment (minimum 9 graduate credits applicable to the degree program each term) during the first two years after admission to the program. This may include one or more summer terms.
- Six terms of part-time enrollment (minimum 1 graduate credit applicable to the degree program each term) during the first two years after admission to the program. This may include one or more summer terms.
- A doctoral student who was enrolled in the same major at PSU, and whose matriculation to the doctoral program immediately follows (within one calendar year) the master's degree program, may fulfill the residency requirement during the period in which the student was enrolled in the master's program.
Coursework and doctoral program of study
The doctoral program of study includes coursework, research, internships, and/or seminar credits according to the requirements of the individual doctoral program. A minimum 27 credits of 603 Dissertation is required for all Ph.D. students; a minimum of 18 credits of 603 Dissertation is required for all Ed.D. students. A minimum of three academic years of graduate study beyond the bachelor’s degree (equivalent to 81 quarter credits minimum) is required for all doctoral degrees.
For doctoral degrees, pre-admission and transfer limits are at the discretion of the individual doctoral programs. Transfer credits are approved via a GO-21D form submitted to the Graduate School. See Pre-admission and transfer credit for detailed information about pre-admission and transfer credits. While potentially all coursework for the degree can be transferred from another institution, the following items must be completed at PSU: comprehensive exams, residency, proposal, advancement to candidacy, and dissertation research.
A student must have a minimum 3.00 GPA on the courses applied to the program of study, as well as a minimum 3.00 GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at PSU, in order to graduate. Doctoral programs may establish a more rigorous standard. Although grades of C+, C, and C- are below the graduate standard, they may be counted as credit toward a doctoral degree with the specific written approval of the doctoral program. Grades of D or F indicate clearly unacceptable work and cannot be applied to graduate degree requirements. Audited courses cannot be used to meet any requirement for doctoral degrees.
A grade of IP (In Progress) may be used for 601 Research and for 606 Project when a student is progressing in an acceptable manner toward completion of the work; final grades for 601 and 606 credits are assigned by the instructor via an online grade change. An IP grade must be used for 603 Dissertation when a student is progressing in an acceptable manner; final grades for 603 Dissertation credits are assigned by the instructor on the Recommendation for the Degree form (GO-17D) and posted to the student’s transcript after approval of the dissertation and certification for graduation by the Graduate School.
All coursework on the program of study, with the possible exception of seminar and internships, must be completed before a student can be advanced to doctoral candidacy. All coursework on the program of study must be satisfactorily completed before graduation.
For students entering a doctoral program with a master’s degree, a maximum of five years will be allowed from admission to completion of all required comprehensive examinations. For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, a maximum of two additional years will be added to this limit, for a maximum of seven years from admission to completion of all comprehensive examinations. Failure to meet this time limit will result in cancellation of admission to the doctoral program.
Before advancement to candidacy and not less than one academic year before all requirements for the doctoral degree are expected to be completed, the student must pass a series of comprehensive examinations in the field of specialization. The examinations may be written, oral, or both. The comprehensive examinations may not be taken until the language requirement, if any, and substantially all the coursework for the degree have been completed. Students must be registered for a minimum of 1 graduate credit during the term comprehensive exams are taken. Comprehensive exams are scheduled and administered in accordance with the established rules of the program, which must be made publicly available to students via the program’s website or doctoral student handbook. Comprehensive exams can only be offered during regular academic terms, i.e., not between terms. The doctoral program must notify the Graduate School the student has passed comprehensive exams by submitting the GO-22 form.
If the student fails the entire comprehensive exam or any section thereof, the doctoral program may dismiss the student from the degree program or permit the student to repeat the entire examination, or the section that was failed, after a minimum of three months. The results of the second examination are final.
A maximum of three years will be allowed from the completion of comprehensive examinations to advancement to candidacy. Failure to meet this time limit will result in cancellation of admission to the doctoral program.
After passing the comprehensive examination and identifying a dissertation topic, a dissertation committee is appointed and the student must pass a proposal defense. The dissertation committee will take the place of the advisory committee and the faculty adviser is superseded by the dissertation adviser. The dissertation committee must be approved by the Graduate School using the Appointment of Doctoral Dissertation Committee form (GO-16D).
The dissertation committee must consist of four to six PSU faculty members: the dissertation adviser, a minimum of two and a maximum of four regular members, and the Graduate School Representative. The chair of the dissertation committee and the Graduate School Representative must be regular, full-time PSU instructional faculty, tenured or tenure track, assistant professor or higher in rank; the other two to four committee members may include non-tenure track or adjunct faculty and/or members of the OHSU faculty. If it is necessary to go off-campus for one committee member with specific expertise not available among PSU faculty, a curriculum vitae (CV) for that proposed member must be presented with the GO-16D form. This off-campus member may substitute for one of the two to four regular committee members. All committee members must have doctoral degrees. At the discretion of the program, the designation of co-chair can be requested on the GO-16D form for one regular member of the committee. The designation of co-chair recognizes the significant academic advising role of the committee member, but oversight of the process and procedures and all administrative responsibilities remains with the chair.
No proposal defense shall be valid without a dissertation committee approved by the Graduate School. The GO-16D form should be submitted to the Graduate School a minimum of six weeks in advance of the estimated date of the dissertation proposal meeting. The student must deliver a draft of the dissertation proposal to all members of the approved committee no fewer than 14 days before the proposal defense.
A dissertation proposal must take place in a meeting with the student and the entire, appointed committee. While it is expected that all members should be physically present, remote participation is permitted under specific conditions. The student will make an oral presentation of the written proposal for discussion, evaluation, and suggested modification. The final proposal submitted to the committee for approval should be sufficiently detailed and clear to provide a blueprint for the study to follow. The proposal is expected to include the following:
- General nature and present status of knowledge of the problem.
- The theoretical and empirical framework within which the proposed problem exists.
- The significance of the proposed research and its likely contributions.
- The research methodology to be used.
The doctoral program recommends the student for advancement to candidacy once the dissertation proposal has been approved.
Human Research Protection Program
All research involving human subjects conducted by faculty, staff or students in any program at PSU must have Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) approval. This policy applies to all research under the auspices of the University, including surveys and questionnaires, whether supported by grant, contract, gift, University, or personal funds. After proposal approval, the student must submit a HRPP application to the Office of Research Integrity if human subjects are involved in the research in any way. A student cannot be advanced to candidacy until HRPP approval is granted. The student should allow a minimum of six weeks for the approval process.
Advancement to Candidacy
A student is advanced to candidacy after successful defense of the dissertation proposal and with the recommendation of the doctoral program, after verification of the student’s program of study, and after HRPP approval has been granted (if applicable). The doctoral program must request advancement to candidacy by submitting the GO-23 form to the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School retains final approval authority for advancement to candidacy.
A doctoral candidate has a minimum of four months and a maximum of five years from the effective date of advancement to candidacy to complete all requirements for graduation, including defense of the dissertation and its final approval by the Graduate School (doctoral programs may have stricter requirements). Candidates must be continuously enrolled during that period. Failure to meet this time limit will result in cancellation of admission to the doctoral program.
With guidance of the dissertation committee, the candidate presents a dissertation setting forth the results of original and independent investigation. The dissertation must constitute a contribution to knowledge, significantly enlarging, modifying, or reinterpreting what was previously known. Until the degree is granted, the student enrolls for the number of graduate credits appropriate to the amount of University services utilized, as determined by the dissertation adviser, with a minimum of 1 graduate credit each term. Ph.D. students must register for a minimum of 27 credits of 603 Dissertation before graduation; Ed.D. students must register for a minimum of 18 credits of 603 Dissertation before graduation. Continuous enrollment of a minimum 1 graduate credit is required through the term a student graduates, even if this results in more than 27 (18) credits of 603 Dissertation at the time of graduation. Ph.D. and Ed.D. students should only register for 603 Dissertation credits after advancement to candidacy.
Students must apply for graduation by the first Friday of the anticipated term of graduation; see the Graduate Candidate Deadlines for specific due dates. There is a required $30 fee per application as well as a $2 service charge.
As a one-time courtesy, students who do not complete degree requirements can have their application for graduation carried forward to a future term (typically the next term, but it could be at maximum up to one year in advance). To request that an application for graduation be carried, students must contact the Graduate School in writing and provide an explanation for the graduation delay. If students do not graduate a second time, the application for graduation will be dropped; they will then need to reapply for graduation by the appropriate deadline (and will be assessed a new fee).
After preparation of the written dissertation, the candidate’s dissertation committee will conduct a dissertation defense. A dissertation defense may be scheduled only during the regular academic terms, no later than five weeks prior to the close of the term of application for graduation in which the degree will be granted (i.e., must be completed four weeks before the beginning of finals week). For summer term graduation, deadlines apply to the regular eight-week summer session dates. Later completion will result in graduation in a subsequent term. The student must deliver a final draft of the dissertation to all members of the approved committee no fewer than 14 days before the dissertation defense.
The dissertation defense, which is open to the public, is the culminating experience in the doctoral studies. The candidate is expected to prepare an oral presentation on the research methodology and results. The oral presentation should not exceed 60 minutes. Following the oral presentation, the candidate must defend the dissertation as a worthy contribution to knowledge in its field and must demonstrate a mastery of the field of specialization as it is related to the dissertation. The questioning and discussion are for the purpose of: (1) further enlightenment of the candidate and the committee of the significance and limitations of the research, and (2) demonstration that the candidate has met the high expectations of the University for the awarding of the doctoral degree.
A dissertation defense must take place in a meeting with the student and the entire, appointed committee. While it is expected that all members should be physically present, remote participation is permitted under specific conditions. For dissertation approval, there may be no more than one dissenting vote on the dissertation defense. If the student fails the dissertation defense, the doctoral program may dismiss the student from the program or permit the student to hold a second defense after a minimum of three months. The results of the second defense are final.
The final dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School not later than three weeks prior to the close of the term of application for graduation. See the Graduate Candidate Deadlines for specific dates. For details about thesis formatting and submission, see the Thesis and Dissertation Information available from the Graduate School.
For students entering a doctoral program with a master’s degree, a maximum of five years will be allowed from admission to completion of all required comprehensive examinations. For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, a maximum of two additional years will be added to this limit, for a maximum of seven years from admission to completion of all comprehensive examinations. Doctoral programs may have stricter requirements. Failure to meet this time limit will result in cancellation of admission to the doctoral program.
A maximum of three years will be allowed from the completion of comprehensive examinations to advancement to candidacy. Doctoral programs may have stricter requirements. Failure to meet this time limit will result in cancellation of admission to the doctoral program.
A doctoral candidate has a minimum of four months and a maximum of five years from the effective date of advancement to candidacy to complete all requirements for graduation, including defense of the dissertation and its final approval by the Graduate School. Doctoral programs may have stricter requirements. Candidates must be continuously enrolled during that period. Failure to meet this time limit will result in cancellation of admission to the doctoral program.