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 a 0-credit online Public Health Foundations course. Complete details and registration information for this course can be found at the following Website:
  • Students earning the Ph.D. in Environmental Health degree, the Ph.D. in Epidemiology degree, and the Ph.D. in Health Behavior degree are required to complete SPH-E 651 Epidemiology (3 cr.), or its equivalent.
  • 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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