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Summary of Procedures for Doctoral Degrees

The following outline summarizes the Portland State University procedural requirements for doctoral degrees. Additional information is in the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) section of the Bulletin, on the OGS website, and on the applicable forms.  Additional requirements may be imposed by specific programs.

Pre-Candidacy For Degree

  1. After admission to a specific program, each student is assigned to a faculty adviser by the program director. A preliminary course of study is developed in consultation with the adviser.

  2. In some programs the student may be required to pass preliminary examinations.

  3. If transfer courses (courses taken at any time from another regionally accredited institution) are to be included on the program of study, the Proposed Transfer Credit form (GO-21D) must be filed in OGS for approval. It is strongly suggested that this form be submitted early in the student's program.

  4. Upon satisfactory completion of 9 credits of coursework and not later than six months prior to the completion of the comprehensive examinations, an advisory committee consisting of at least three members is appointed by the program director. 

  5. Second language examinations, if required, must be passed before the comprehensive examination is taken. Notice of passing of the examination is sent to OGS. 

  6. For the residency requirement, each doctoral student must register for and successfully complete three consecutive terms of 9 or more graduate credits applicable to the degree after admission to the doctoral program at PSU. Summer term may be included (e.g., spring, summer, fall 2013) or excluded (e.g., spring 2013, fall 2013, winter 2014) in calculating consecutive terms.

  7. A program of study is prepared by the advisory committee in consultation with the student. The student’s program is recommended to the program director; after approval, copies are distributed to the student, adviser, program director, and OGS.  All coursework on the program of study, with the possible exception of seminar and internships, must be completed before a student can be advanced to candidacy. For students entering a doctoral program with a master’s degree, a maximum of five years will be allowed from admission to completion of all required comprehensive examinations. For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, a maximum of two additional years will be added to this limit, for a maximum of seven years from admission to completion of all comprehensive examinations.  

  8. The comprehensive examinations are scheduled and administered in accordance with established rules of the program. The results of the examination are sent to OGS. Students have a maximum of three years from the completion of comprehensive examinations to advancement to candidacy.

  9. After passing the comprehensive examination and identifying a dissertation topic, a dissertation committee is appointed and the student must pass a proposal defense. The dissertation committee must be approved by OGS using the Appointment of Doctoral Dissertation Committee form (GO-16D). The dissertation committee must consist of four to six PSU faculty members: the dissertation adviser, a minimum of two and a maximum of four regular members, and the Graduate Office Representative. The chair of the dissertation committee and the Graduate Office Representative must be regular, full-time PSU instructional faculty, tenured or tenure-track, assistant professor or higher in rank; the other two to four committee members may include adjunct or fixed-term faculty and/or one member of the OHSU faculty. If it is necessary to go off-campus for one committee member with specific expertise not available among PSU faculty, a curriculum vitae (CV) for that proposed member must be presented with the GO-16D form. This off-campus member may substitute for one of the two to four regular committee members. All committee members must have doctoral degrees. No proposal defense shall be valid without a dissertation committee approved by OGS.

  10. The proposal meeting must take place in a formal meeting of the entire approved dissertation committee; the student will make an oral presentation of the written proposal. The doctoral program recommends the student for advancement to candidacy once the dissertation proposal has been approved. If the student has not satisfied the residency requirement, a plan for doctoral residency compliance must also accompany the request for candidacy. 

  11. After proposal approval, the student submits a Human Subjects Research Review Committee (HSRRC) application to the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects if human subjects are involved in the research in any way. A student cannot be advanced to candidacy until HSRRC approval is granted.

  12. The student is informed by the Dean of Graduate Studies of advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The candidate has a minimum of four months and a maximum of five years from the effective date of advancement to candidacy to complete all requirements for graduation, including defense of the dissertation and its final acceptance by OGS. Candidates must be continuously enrolled during that period.

Candidacy For The Degree

  1. Ph.D. students must register for a minimum of 27 hours of dissertation (603) credits before graduation; Ed.D. students must register for a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation (603) credits before graduation. A minimum continuing enrollment of one graduate credit is required through the term a student graduates. Doctoral programs may set higher minimums. 

  2. Under direction of the chair of the dissertation committee, and in consultation with the members of the dissertation committee, the candidate prepares a preliminary draft of the dissertation. The draft is revised and corrected as directed by the dissertation committee until it meets the approval of the committee. 

  3. The candidate files the Application for Awarding of Master’s Degree, Doctoral Degree, or Graduate Certificate form with OGS no later than the first week of the anticipated term of graduation. Deadlines are available here.

  4. After preparation of the written dissertation, the candidate’s dissertation committee will conduct a dissertation defense. A dissertation defense may be scheduled only during the regular academic terms, at least five weeks prior to the end of the term of anticipated graduation. For summer term graduation, deadlines apply to the regular eight-week Summer Session. The student must deliver a final draft of the dissertation to all members of the approved committee no fewer than two weeks before the dissertation defense. All committee members or alternates approved in advance by OGS must be present for the dissertation defense.

  5. The final dissertation must be submitted to OGS not later than three weeks prior to the close of the term of application for graduation. For details about formatting, submission, and specific deadlines, see the Thesis and Dissertation section of the OGS website.

  6. All M (Missing) grades in PSU graduate courses that could potentially be letter graded must be removed before graduation. 

  7. The doctoral program completes the Recommendation for the Degree form (GO-17D) which is forwarded to OGS. In-progress grades for 603 dissertation credits are changed on this form, eliminating the need for Supplemental Grade Reports for these courses. 

  8. The Dean of Graduate Studies certifies that all requirements for the degree have been met and recommends the awarding of the degree. 

  9. The degree is awarded in the Student Information System, which causes a diploma to be produced. Diplomas are available in the Office of Degree Requirements (104 Neuberger Hall) approximately one full term after the degree is awarded. (Please note that commencement is not the same as graduation. Doctoral students must be certified by OGS in order to participate in the PSU Spring Commencement ceremony.)