Academic Policies & Procedures

Doctoral Students

Course Prescription Stipulations

  • A student registered in a doctoral program must satisfactorily complete all course work and the qualifying examination within five years of the initial registration.
  • Courses used to satisfy the 90 required graduate credit hours (including the research skills and any foreign language requirements) may not have been completed more than seven years before the date on which the student takes the qualifying examination. The graduate advisor, after consultation with the advisory committee, may recommend to the executive associate dean that a maximum of 30 credit hours of course work taken before the seven-year time limit is revalidated if it can be demonstrated that the knowledge contained in the course(s) remains current. Currency of knowledge may be demonstrated by such accomplishments as (a) passing an examination specifically on the material covered by the course; (b) passing a more advanced course in the same subject area; (c) passing a comprehensive examination in which the student demonstrates substantial knowledge of the content of the course; (d) teaching a comparable course; or (e) publishing scholarly research demonstrating fundamental principles of the course. Each course for which consideration for revalidation is being requested should be justified separately, and approved by the advisory committee.
  • A minimum of 9 of the 90 required graduate credit hours must be completed outside the student's major department. This excludes courses taken to complete the research skills requirement.
  • All Ph.D. students must complete SPH-X 590 and SPH-Q 501, or their equivalents, as prerequisites to the major work. Credit hours earned in SPH-X 590 do not count toward the major or minor, but may be counted in the elective portion the 90 required credit hours. SPH-Q 501 or its equivalent does not count toward the research skill requirement or the 90 total credit hours required for the degree. It should not be listed on the doctoral course prescription.
  • All Ph.D. students must complete SPH-E 651 and SPH-X 505, as required courses for the degree. These courses can count toward the 90 credits for the degree in the major, minor, or electives portion. Students who have completed an MPH degree from an accredited school of public health or accredited public health program are exempt from the SPH-X 505 requirement. Students who have completed equivalents of these courses as part of previous graduate work may use those courses to fulfill these requirements.
  • A maximum of 15 credit hours of independent study, readings, and research courses are allowed.
  • Independent courses such as readings, independent study, thesis, and practicum credit hours completed at another institution, or as part of the master's program, may not be a part of the doctoral course prescription.
  • Frequent involvement in research projects (with or without academic credit) is an essential element of the program.
  • Deficiencies in course work must be made up during the first year.
  • The major consists of appropriate course work prescribed by the doctoral advisory committee.
  • The pattern of distribution of the total number of minor credit hours is flexible; however, provision must be made for at least one minor outside the department in which the degree is being earned.
  • Elective or minor course work must clearly support the development of research competency in the major field.
  • Following approval of a course prescription, the committee chair may authorize substitution of a maximum of nine credit hours of course work for existing courses on the approved course prescription.  Any changes in the courses that comprise the minor must be approved by the minor advisor and all members of the course prescription committee must be informed of any changes approved by the chair. Substitution of more than nine credits shall require submission of a course prescription amendment form approved by the advisory committee at a formal meeting.

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