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Credit Hours and Residency Requirements

Section 7.2 of the Graduate School Handbook


Minimum Hours. A minimum of 80 graduate credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree is required to earn a doctoral degree. If a master’s degree has been earned by the student, then a minimum of 50 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree is required. If the master’s degree was earned at another university, it must be transferred to this university. A student must be registered for at least three graduate credit hours during the semester(s) or summer term(s) of the candidacy examination, the semester or summer term of the final oral examination, and the semester or summer term of expected graduation.


Master’s Credit. When a doctoral student has taken a master’s degree at this university and has earned graduate credit in excess of the minimum required for that degree, the student’s advisor, with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, notifies the Graduate School of the courses to be counted toward the 50 graduate credit hours required for the doctoral degree. This notification must occur no later than the end of the first semester of enrollment beyond completion of the master’s degree. Such graduate credit hours would be those normally earned as part of the doctoral degree program.


Petition. The Graduate Studies Committee may petition the Dean of the Graduate School to waive the 80 graduate credit-hour requirement when it imposes an undue delay on a student’s earning a doctoral degree. The student must fulfill all other doctoral degree requirements.


Residency. The purpose of the residency requirements is to give students the opportunity to engage in intensive, concentrated study over an extended period of time in association with faculty members and other students in an atmosphere conducive to a high level of intellectual and scholarly activity.

The following requirements must be fulfilled after the master’s degree has been earned or after the first 30 hours of graduate credit have been completed:

  1. a minimum of 24 graduate credit hours required for the Ph.D. must be completed at this university
  2. a minimum of two consecutive pre-candidacy semesters or one semester and a summer term with full-time enrollment must be completed while in residence at this university
  3. a minimum of six graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer term must be completed after admission to candidacy

Deactivation. Enrollment eligibility for a pre-candidacy doctoral student who has not registered in the Graduate School within the preceding two full calendar years will be automatically deactivated. Eligibility for doctoral students who have passed the candidacy examination is automatically deactivated at the end of the five-year candidacy period if they have not graduated by then. To reenroll, the student must petition the Graduate Studies Committee for reactivation. If the petition is approved, the Graduate Studies Committee notifies the Graduate School, which then reactivates the enrollment eligibility.