Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program

The Ph.D. program encourages students to initiate research work early in their graduate study. Students familiarize themselves with the faculty and research being conducted, attend research group seminars and colloquia to expose them to a range of topics and problems that may be chosen for research projects, and enroll in classes to fulfill the course requirements for the degree.

During the first two years students conduct a research initiation project under faculty supervision, which introduces students to research methodologies, the current state of the art in the area of concentration, and presentation of research results. By the end of the second year, students must also complete the breadth requirement, which can be fulfilled by passing a qualifying exam or receiving a grade of B+ or better in the corresponding course in four of six core areas of subject knowledge.

Having successfully completed the research initiation project, breadth requirement, and course requirement, a Ph.D. student continues independent research. The student attains candidacy by passing the preliminary examination in the third year of graduate study, and writes a thesis proposal. The Ph.D. candidate then conducts research that culminates in the doctoral dissertation defense.

Teaching is a vital part of the Ph.D. experience. Students are required to have at least one semester of teaching experience, most commonly in the form of a teaching assistantship. The Department awards Certificates of Distinction in Teaching for graduating PhD students who have demonstrated excellence in and commitment to teaching and mentoring. The anticipated time to earn the Doctor of Philosophy degree is five years.

  • Admissions: Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly competitive. Note that the admissions process for the Ph.D. program is entirely separate from that of the Master's program and prospective applicants should review the information regarding each program before deciding which best fits them before submitting the application materials. Prospective applicants may read our FAQs page for further information about the program and or answers to questions about admissions.
  • Financial Support: Full-time Ph.D. students are provided tuition and stipend support through fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships.
  • Requirements
  • Resources for Graduate Students