Doctoral Degree Requirements
In order to assure that students are under careful advisement and mentoring throughout their careers, a Supervisory Committee is established before a doctoral student begins the last 45 credit hours of their program of study.
The supervisory committee is appointed by the Dean for Graduate Studies based upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Committee in the student's major prior to the approval of the program of study. The establishing of a supervisory committee is based on the student's demonstrated ability in the fundamental subject matter of his/her major field and professional promise.
The supervisory committee consists at least four Graduate Faculty members, one of whom must be from outside the student's academic department/school or area in which the doctorate is to be granted. The chair of the supervisory committee must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. In addition to the minimum requirement of four Graduate Faculty members, other eligible persons may be recommended by the Graduate Program Committee for appointment by the Dean to the supervisory committee, provided at least two-thirds of the membership of each committee is Graduate Faculty.
Changes to the Supervisory Committee
Any changes to the supervisory committee after the initial approval must be submitted using a new Supervisory Committee form and submitting to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval by the Dean for Graduate Studies.
If the chair of a supervisory committee leaves the employ of the university, or retires, the Office of Graduate Studies must be notified immediately and a change in the supervisory committee as follows:
- If the student has already achieved Candidacy, the former chair who has left the employ of the University may be permitted to continue as co-chair of the supervisory committee, with the concurrence of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies. A second co-chair must be appointed who is a resident Graduate Faculty member.
- If the student has not yet achieved Candidacy, a new chair of the supervisory committee who is a resident Graduate Faculty member must be appointed immediately, with the concurrence of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.
- If a member of the supervisory committee other than the chair leaves the employ of the University, or retires, a replacement should normally be appointed who is a resident Graduate Faculty member. In certain circumstances where a special and needed continuing expertise is involved and the staff member is willing to continue serving, he/she may continue as a member of the supervisory committee, with the approval of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.
Within the same semester of its appointment, the committee will meet to designate and subsequently file in the Office of Graduate Studies a complete program of studies, including any language or research tool requirements (if applicable), and reading committee. The reading committee consists of two members from the supervisory committee, excluding the chair of the committee.
Generally, courses taken before admission to the doctoral program cannot be included in the Doctoral Requirements section of the program of study form. At least 45 hours of the student's doctoral course work is to be completed after the approval of the program of study by the Dean for Graduate Studies. Any subsequent change in the program is approved by the supervisory committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.
The minimum amount of graduate credit for the PhD is 90 semester hours, including a dissertation. The PhD dissertation will normally account for 20 semester hours; however, the Information Technology dissertation requires a minimum of 24 semester hours. The minimum number of graduate credit for the EdD is 96 semester hours including the dissertation which normally accounts for 12 semester hours.
A residency requirement has been established for the purpose of ensuring the doctoral program be reasonably compact, continuous, and coherent; and that a substantial portion be in fact done at and under the close supervision of the university. The residency requirement is part of the student's approved program.
In exceptional circumstances, where it is clear the purpose of residency being fulfilled although the formal conditions are not met, the student's supervisory committee may, with the approval of the Dean for Graduate Studies, designate an alternative procedure for satisfying the residency requirement.
Requirements for PhD in Criminal Justice and Information Technology
- For a student beginning a doctoral program in the University of Nebraska system with a bachelor's degree, the residency requirement for the PhD is 27 hours of graduate work within a consecutive 18-month period or less, with the further provision that 15 of these hours must be taken after receiving the master's degree or equivalent.
- For a student who transfers to the University of Nebraska system with a master's degree from another institution, or who takes a break in his/her graduate work between the time the master's degree is awarded and the time he/she starts work on a doctoral program, the residency requirement for the PhD is 27 hours of graduate work in a consecutive 18-month period or less.
- For a member of the University staff who is engaged at least half time in instruction or research in his/her major area, or a person employed in his/her major field, the residency requirement is 24 hours of graduate work within a consecutive two year period with the further provision he/she take at least 12 of these after receiving the master's degree or its equivalent.
- Not more than one-third of the work for residency or nine credit hours may be taken during the summer sessions.
Requirements for the PhD in Public Administration and EdD degree
- The residency requirement for doctoral students in Educational Administration and Public Administration is 24 hours in 24 consecutive months. The supervisory committee may determine how many of the required residency hours may be taken during the summer sessions.
A minimum of three full years of graduate study is normally required to complete a program for the degrees Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education. The time limit on granting the Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree is ten years from the beginning of the doctoral course work. Individual programs may have other deadlines for completion. Neither the courses taken nor the time spent in study determines the granting of the degree. It is given primarily for high attainment in some special field of scholarship and for demonstrated power of independent research in a subdivision of this field.
Doctoral Students who are forced to interrupt their studies, may request a leave of absence from the University for up to one year. In consultation with their department/school and their supervisory committee, students should define the program modifications the leave of absence requires. Requests should indicate a reason for leaving and the expected date of return to the University. If approval is granted, the time limits on the granting of the doctoral degree will be frozen for the time specified (up to one year). Students should file a request with their supervisory committee chair who will forward it to the Dean for Graduate Studies. Approval of the Dean for Graduate Studies is required prior to taking the leave of absence.
When a student has substantially completed studies in the program, he/she must pass a written comprehensive examination. The written comprehensive examination is not a repetition of course examinations; rather, it is an investigation of the student’s breadth of understanding of the field of knowledge of which his/her special subject is a part. The student will also be required to pass an oral comprehensive examination.
The supervisory committee arranges for written or oral examinations. As soon as possible after passing those examinations, the committee convenes and reports to the Office of Graduate Studies the results of those examinations and the specific area of research for the dissertation and progress to date by submitting the Application for Candidacy. Should the student fail the comprehensive examination or a part thereof, he or she may be allowed to re-take it during the following academic term upon specific recommendation by the supervisory committee.
When the applicant's program of courses is substantially completed, comprehensive examinations cover the appropriate field of study and related subjects will be administered. These examinations will thoroughly test for an understanding of the field of knowledge designated by the student. If an applicant fails the comprehensive examination, another attempt to pass such examination may not be made in the same academic term.
When the doctoral student has passed the comprehensive examination, the committee will recommend to the Office of Graduate Studies his/her admission to Candidacy for the doctoral degree, noting in that recommendation the dates of completing the comprehensive examination. This report must be filed at least seven months prior to the final oral examination. If the term of Candidacy is extended beyond three years (excluding summer terms), the Candidate must pass another comprehensive examination. Following admission to Candidacy the student must register during each academic year semester until he/she receives the PhD or EdD degree. Students not in residence may register for a minimum of one semester credit in dissertation. Failure to register during each academic year semester will result in termination of Candidacy.
The final examination is oral. It is given by the supervisory committee after the Candidate's studies have been completed and the dissertation has been accepted for examination. The committee also determines its character and length. The examination may be devoted to the special field of the dissertation or to the Candidate's general knowledge, or it may be designed to test judgment and critical powers.
The final oral examination will not be scheduled unless the chair of the supervisory committee and at least two other members of the committee are available for the examination. Exceptions may be made only by permission of the Dean for Graduate Studies. In any event, the supervisor and readers of the dissertation must have seen and approved the completed dissertation before the final oral examination will be scheduled.
The final oral examination over the dissertation may be waived only with the unanimous consent of the supervisory committee and only in extremely unusual circumstances. The committee reports the results of the final oral examination or the reason for its waiver to the Office of Graduate Studies by using the Report on Completion of Degree form.
In the event that members of an oral examining committee are not unanimous regarding the passing of a Candidate, the student is to be approved for the degree only if one examiner dissents. However, in each case, the dissenting member of the committee will be expected to file a letter of explanation to the Office of Graduate Studies.
Information regarding the dissertation can be found at: dissertation portion of thesis/dissertation guidelines