Academic Policies & Procedures

Doctoral Students

Course Prescription Meeting

The courses required for a doctoral degree are individually prescribed for each student following approval of the membership of the student's advisory committee. The student and the advisory committee work together to prescribe the required research skill courses, major courses, minor courses, elective courses, and the appropriate number of dissertation credits. This prescription of required courses is finalized and approved during a formal course prescription meeting attended by the student and the members of the student's advisory committee. The result of this meeting is a completed Report of Course Prescription Meeting Form, signed by the committee members. This form is available online at

This form, complete with committee approval signatures, must be submitted to the School of Public Health - Bloomington Records Office in HPER 115 for evaluation. The recorder will obtain the approval signature of the executive associate dean and send copies of the approved course prescription to the student and to the chair of the advisory committee. The original Report of Course Prescription Form will reside in the student's academic file. The student will be required to complete the prescribed courses and pass a qualifying examination before becoming a candidate for the Ph.D. degree.

Complete the following steps to arrange the course prescription meeting:

  1. The student and the advisory committee agree on a date and time for the student's course prescription meeting.
  2. At least one week in advance of the proposed meeting date, the student completes and submits the Application To Schedule a Graduate Student Meeting Form.  The Application To Schedule a Graduate Student Meeting Form may be found online at The completed form must be submitted to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in HPER 115.
  3. The secretary will verify that the student's approved advisory committee form is in the student's file and reserve a meeting room. Confirmation of the meeting date, time, and location will be communicated to the student and the committee members via email.

This meeting should take place no later than the eighth week of classes in the student's second semester of enrollment. The course prescription meeting is an official graduate student meeting. Graduate student meetings may only be held when classes are in session. No such meetings may be scheduled during final examination week or vacation periods.

A doctoral student's course prescription includes research skill courses plus a ninety-credit combination of major, minor, elective, and dissertation credits. The distribution of credits in these areas is normally as follows:

  • Research skill courses (9 credits which do not count in the 90 required Ph.D. credits)
Ninety Ph.D. degree credits, including:
  • Major courses (minimum 30 credits)
  • Minor courses (most commonly 12-15 credits)
  • Elective courses (0 - 28)
  • Dissertation credits (20 - 30 credits)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: How will I know what courses to take to earn my Ph.D. degree?
Answer: Your courses will be prescribed for you with the help of your advisory committee. A course prescription will be officially approved. You and your advisor will refer to this course prescription before you select courses in which to register for each term.

Question: How does the course prescription become officially approved?
Answer: You and your advisory committee list all the requirements on a Report of Course Prescription Form, and your advisory committee signs the form at an official course prescription meeting.

Question: When does this happen?
Answer: It should happen soon after you begin your doctoral study. It must happen by the end of the eighth week of classes in the student's second semester of enrollment.

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