2017-2018 Graduate Catalog


Doctoral and Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. degree is essentially a research degree. Although coursework is a necessary part of the program, the mere accumulation of course credits is not sufficient for attaining this degree.

The Ph.D. degree may be completed in three years at the minimum. Under the minimum program, the first two years will be given to coursework, seminars and related research. The third year primarily will encompass dissertation research. Students whose preparation is incomplete or who will be engaged in part-time teaching or paid research will extend their programs accordingly. In such cases, a four- or five-year program is not unusual.

A master's degree is not necessarily prerequisite to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. A student entering a doctoral program after obtaining a master's degree would normally be classified as being in the second year of graduate study, as defined below.

Departments may, at their discretion, require that a formal minor be included in the total program. A formal minor requires at least six hours credit beyond the master's or 12 hours beyond the bachelor's degree.

All students in the doctoral programs are required to do a certain amount of teaching or research, appropriate to the goals of the student, as part of their training for the advanced degree.

Students must register for coursework or dissertation in each semester or summer session during which they utilize University research facilities or occupy a library carrel.

Residence Requirement, Doctoral

There is no general residency requirement. See specific degree listings for program requirements.

Transfer Credit, Doctoral

Limited non-research graduate credit earned from another accredited college or university will be considered for transfer to a doctoral program. Written request for transfer credit, with appropriate transcripts, should be made at the time of application for admission. Such credit must be applicable to the student's program as determined by his/her adviser; carry at least a "B" grade (3.0 on a 4.0 scale); and be residence credit, not extension or correspondence. Regardless of the level of entry for the doctoral program (pre or post master’s degree), at least one-third of the credits toward a doctoral degree must be earned at TCU.

Permission to interrupt residence to earn graduate credit elsewhere for use on a TCU degree must be approved in advance with a formal request addressed to the dean and conferral with the department involved.

Foreign Language Requirement

Individual departments specify the conditions and policies for meeting foreign language requirements and conditions and policies for meeting these requirements. Consult the departmental graduate adviser for this information.

All foreign language requirements must be satisfied prior to admission to candidacy. International students may request their native language be accepted, but it must be one that is needed for research at TCU. They must demonstrate ability to translate this language into English and, if no examiner is available in the foreign languages department, pay any required fee for employment of an approved interpreter. The substitution must have the approval of the chairman of the major department and the dean of the school/college.

Advisory Committee, Ph.D.

An advisory committee of at least four persons will be assigned to the doctoral student by the dean on the recommendation of the major department. The committee will be appointed early during the second year and should consist of those persons under whom the student will take his/her qualifying examinations, including at least one person from the minor field, if any. This committee, with the student's dissertation director as chair, formulates the remainder of the student's program of study and submits it to the dean for approval.

Qualifying or Preliminary Examinations

All doctoral programs require some form of qualifying or preliminary examinations. It is the purpose of these examinations to evaluate the student's capability for advanced creative analysis and synthesis in the major specialization and related disciplines. The qualifying examination may not be taken earlier than the second semester of the second year of the student's graduate program. If language requirements exist, at least one language requirement must be completed prior to taking the qualifying examination. This examination will cover the major field, designated sub-fields and minor, if any. It must be written, or written and oral.

Only one re-examination will be permitted, and this only after such time interval and under such conditions of additional study as the advisory committee may decide. Each student should consult the departmental requirements provided in the course listings section for specific information regarding the type of examination, the fields to be covered and the expected completion date.

Admission to Candidacy, Ph.D.

A student becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree upon passing the qualifying or preliminary examinations and meeting the foreign language requirements of the department, provided he/she has also made up any course deficiencies and GRE scores have been recorded. The student does not need to make a formal request for candidacy.

Intent to Graduate, Ph.D.

At the beginning of the semester in which the student plans to graduate, the Intent to Graduate form should be filed with the appropriate dean's office. In the event that graduation cannot be completed, a cancellation form must be filed in the dean's office. The Intent to Graduate form must be refiled in case of postponement. A non-refundable graduation fee is charged when the intent is filed.

Dissertation Preparation

A dissertation is required in all doctoral programs. It must demonstrate superior research abilities, capacity for sound independent analysis and judgment, and effectiveness of expression. A student is required to register for at least 12 semester hours of dissertation and must register for at least one hour during any fall or spring semester in which the student is working with committee members or using University facilities. Check specific department listings for further restrictions. During the summer, the student must enroll for at least one dissertation hour during at least one of the summer sessions. In addition, the student must enroll for at least one hour during any fall or spring semester in which he/she plans to complete the dissertation and take the final oral examination.

Registration for the first half of the dissertation will not be accepted until the major department notifies the dean's office in writing that the student is eligible for dissertation registration. Registration for the second half will not be accepted until the student has been admitted to candidacy, and until that time the student is not considered a candidate for a degree.

Instructions for preparing and presenting dissertations should be obtained from the appropriate dean's office well in advance of actual dissertation writing. The form given should be followed in all cases unless a recognized professional variation is authorized by the major department under agreement with the dean.

As early as possible, each student should initiate a program of individual reading and study leading to the selection and development of the dissertation research. This program should proceed under the supervision of the chair and other members of the advisory committee. At least three, and preferably all, members of the committee should approve the draft of the dissertation before the final version is posted.

The student should note the special deadlines for dissertation preparation and distribution available each semester. The usual process requires electronic submission of a PDF file, according to the instructions posted at lib.tcu.edu/NDLTD. Copyright and bound copies may be obtained; fees for these optional services are paid by the student.

Oral Examination, Ph.D.

Each candidate for a doctoral degree must take a final examination covering the dissertation and related fields. The examining committee will be composed of the candidate's advisory committee and others, as may be designated by the major department. The final oral examination will be announced and open for audit to the graduate faculty and to others invited by the advisory committee. The examination may not take place later than the date listed in the Special Deadlines for Graduate Students.

Only one re-examination on a failed oral examination will be permitted, the date to be set at the discretion of the examining committee.

A student must be enrolled for a minimum of one hour of credit during any term (fall, spring, or any one of the three summer sessions) in which the student is using University facilities, working with faculty or taking the final oral examination.

Time Limit, Ph.D.

The work for the Ph.D. degree must be completed within six years after the student has been admitted to candidacy. Extension of time must be applied for in writing through the chair of the major department who will then make a recommendation to the appropriate dean. The letter should explain why the degree was not completed within the time limit and should present a schedule for completing the program.