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Doctoral Program

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General Requirements

The degree requirements set forth here are in addition to those stated in the the “Enrollment” section of the Graduate School catalog text.

Admission to Doctoral Study. Admission to doctoral study is restricted to applicants whose backgrounds show definite promise of success on this, the highest level of academic endeavor. Each doctoral department has its own requirements that applicants must satisfy for admission. It is essential that the student communicate with departmental advisors on this matter.

Years of Study. A minimum of three years of graduate study beyond the bachelor’s degree is required for the doctorate. Work completed for the master’s degree, other than thesis hours (6000-level courses), may be considered as a part of this period if it forms a logical sequence in the entire program. Credit ordinarily will not be given for work completed more than seven years prior to admission to the doctoral program at Texas Tech University. Exceptions to this policy will require written justification through the student’s department and approval by the graduate dean.

Work completed in the doctoral program of another recognized graduate school will be considered on the recommendation of the departments concerned, but no assurance can be given that such work will reduce the course or residence requirements here. In no case can transferred credit reduce the minimum residence (see “Residence Requirement”).

Doctoral study cannot be calculated solely in terms of credit hours, but the program for the doctorate requires completion of at least 60 or more semester hours of work beyond the bachelor’s degree, exclusive of credit for the dissertation. No more than 6 hours of course credit will be given for individual study course or research hours. Prior approval by the dean is required for any exceptions.

Grade Requirement. For the doctor’s degree, the minimum requirement for graduation is a grade point average of 3.0 in the major subject, exclusive of credits for the doctoral dissertation, and a grade point average of 3.0 in all other courses taken for graduate credit outside the major. Individual departments and colleges may have higher standards than this minimum, school-wide requirement.

Major and Minor. The doctorate requires at least 60 semester hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree, exclusive of the dissertation. The Graduate School does not require a formal minor. However, the student may pursue a minor or one may be required by the student’s advisory committee or by the program faculty in which the major is taken. If a minor is taken, it must include at least 15 graduate hours in a program outside the student’s major. The minor will be declared in the student’s “Program for the Doctoral Degree” (see “Filing a Doctoral Degree Plan”). If a minor is taken, the major requires a minimum of 45 semester hours.

If a formal minor is declared, it must be represented on the student’s doctoral committee (see “Advisory Committee”) and must be covered on the qualifying examination (see “Qualifying Examination”). Programs at variance with this description may be approved in exceptional circumstances. The advisory committee and the program faculty must approve such proposed exceptions before they are submitted to the Graduate School for consideration.

Residence Requirement. The purpose of residence in a doctoral program is to ensure the intellectual immersion of students in a research and learning environment with faculty, peers, and staff. This intellectual immersion can take place in forms other than those of a full-time student on campus. Recognizing that there are several ways to acquire the benefits of residence, programs are allowed to set the residence requirements that best fits their particular program. Students are expected to consult their departments about specific residence requirements for their degree.

If a doctoral program does not specify a residence requirement, then the residence requirement for that program is fulfilled by the completion of a full schedule (at least 12 semester hours) of graduate coursework in each of two consecutive terms. Students holding half-time graduate assistantships may satisfy the requirement by taking at least 9 hours of coursework in each of the two long terms and 6 hours in the summer. Other patterns require approval of the graduate dean.

The plan for fulfilling the residence requirement must be indicated on the doctoral program form (Program for the Doctoral Degree) submitted to the Graduate School in the first year of doctoral study and must be approved in advance of the beginning of the residence year. (For any program variations in this requirement, see the college or department sections in this catalog.)

Filing a Doctoral Degree Plan. Early in a student’s doctoral studies a formal evaluation will be made of his or her background preparation in the major field. This evaluation may vary according to the academic unit involved; in some cases it may consist of a formal written or oral exam, in others, a review meeting with a committee or graduate advisor, in still another, the successful passing of a key course or courses. On the basis of this evaluation, whatever form it takes, the student’s course of study will be projected and submitted to the Graduate School on the appropriate form. This evaluation will occur during the student’s first year of doctoral study and the “Program for the Doctoral Degree” will be submitted to the Graduate School before the second year of work has begun. Revisions of the plan are permitted as needed.

Transfer of Coursework. There is no automatic transfer of credit toward the doctorate degree. On the recommendation of the department or program, the graduate school may review transfer courses for acceptance. Transfer credit will not alter the grade point average at Texas Tech University, although grades from transfer courses will appear on Texas Tech University’s transcripts. Doctorate students may take approved courses at another approved institution and transfer up to 12 semester credit hours into their degree program. No more than 30 semester credit hours of an earned master’s degree from another institution may be transferred to the doctoral degree.

Advisory Committee. As soon as the course of study for an applicant has been determined, an advisory committee of at least three members of the graduate faculty (including the minor area, if a minor is declared) will be appointed by the graduate dean on the recommendation of the advisor concerned. This committee will meet as often as necessary with the applicant and will direct his or her work at all stages. Either the chair or the co-chair of a student’s committee must be a regular member of the department or program faculty from which the student will receive the doctorate.

Annual Review. The Graduate School strongly encourages faculty in each doctoral program to conduct a formal review of their students’ progress at least once each year. From the third year onward, such review is required. Any student not making satisfactory progress may be placed on probation and given conditions to meet to stay in the program. Continued unsatisfactory progress in any area of a student’s work will be cause for dismissal.

Time Limit. All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within a period of eight consecutive calendar years or four years from admission to candidacy, whichever comes first. Graduate credit for coursework taken at Texas Tech more than eight calendar years old at the time of the final oral examination may not be used to satisfy degree requirements. Absent an extension, the student may be permitted to retake the qualifying examination, and, upon passing that examination, be readmitted to candidacy by the Graduate Council for some period of time not to exceed four years.

Final corrected copies of the dissertation must be received in the Graduate School no later than one year after the final examination or within the eight-year or four-year time limit, whichever occurs first. Failure to complete this step will result in the degree not being awarded.

Admission to Candidacy. Authority for admitting an applicant to candidacy for a doctor’s degree is vested in the Graduate Council. Upon receipt of a recommendation from the advisory committee, the graduate dean will submit it to the Graduate Council for approval. By written communication, the graduate dean will transmit the results of the council’s action to the applicant, to the chairperson of the advisory committee, and to the chairperson of the department concerned. A student must be admitted to candidacy for the doctorate at least four months prior to the proposed graduation date.


Language, Tool Subject Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy. Each department offering a doctoral program determines its language requirements, subject to the approval of the Graduate Council. Language requirements, if any, are described in the sections of this catalog devoted to instructional departments. To qualify for admission to candidacy in those programs that have a language requirement, applicants must demonstrate their competence in one of the following ways:

  • Students may fulfill the reading knowledge requirement by passing with a C- or better the second course of the sophomore sequence of the required language. Those seeking to present a high level of competency will pass with a B- or better any literature course at the third-year level or beyond.
  • Students (with the exception of French, German, or Spanish majors) may satisfy the standard competency level by enrolling in one of the special 6-hour programs for graduate students offered in French, German, and Spanish by the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures. The second half of such a program must be passed with a grade of B- or better.
  • The third method for students (with the exception of French, German, or Spanish majors) to fulfill the language proficiency requirement is by passing a standardized examination in French, German, Spanish or Latin given in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures or by passing one of the examinations in French, German, or Spanish (with the exception of Spanish majors), furnished by the Educational Testing Service and administered by the university’s Testing Center. Arrangements for these examinations should be made in the applicable unit. The Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures will administer the examinations in any other foreign language in which instruction is offered by the department. Arrangements for testing for other foreign languages will be approved by the graduate dean.

Students majoring or minoring in foreign languages in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures are subject to higher performance levels in satisfying the doctoral requirement. Students should consult the graduate advisor of the appropriate language for guidelines.

Some departments require a tool subject in lieu of or in addition to the language requirement. When this requirement exists, see the appropriate departmental section in this catalog for further information. If this provision is satisfied by formal courses, a grade of B or better is required either in a single course or in the last of a sequence of such courses passed not more than seven years prior to the student’s approval for doctoral work.

Doctor of Education. To qualify for admission to candidacy, applicants for the Ed.D. degree are required to show competency in educational research methods and educational statistics as well as a foreign language if their research requires such competency.

Qualifying Examination, Final Examination

Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination for Admission to Candidacy for the doctor’s degree is one of the major features of the doctoral program and will be administered in both the major and minor areas of study (if a formal minor has been declared). The examination requires a synthesis and application of knowledge acquired during the course of study for the doctoral degree; consequently, satisfactory performance in coursework does not necessarily guarantee successful performance on the qualifying examination. A student is eligible to stand for this examination after receiving approval of the doctoral degree plan from the dean of the Graduate School, completing all language and tool requirements, and completing most of the coursework prescribed by the approved plan. Students must take this examination within one calendar year of completing all requirements listed on the degree plan. Failure to do so will be cause for dismissal from the program.

The qualifying examination normally is prepared and administered by the candidate’s advisory committee and any other professors the committee or the graduate dean may consider necessary. In some instances the department or college may administer the examination. The major portion of the examination is ordinarily a written exam requiring at least six hours. It usually also includes an oral examination under the supervision of the committee and any other professors who may be invited to participate.

Satisfactory Examination. If the qualifying examination is considered satisfactory and the requirements in languages (including English) and/or tool subjects have been met, the chairperson of the advisory committee will send to the graduate dean, for consideration by the Graduate Council, a formal written recommendation that the applicant be admitted to candidacy for the doctor’s degree. The letter also will state the date of the examinations and whether the student passed both the major and minor portions (if an official minor is involved). This recommendation will be forwarded as soon as all the above requirements have been met.

Unsatisfactory Examination. If the qualifying examination is not satisfactory, the chairperson of the advisory committee will relay this information in writing to the graduate dean. An applicant who does not pass the qualifying examination may be permitted to repeat it once after a time lapse of at least four months and not more than 12 months from the date of the unsatisfactory examination. Failure to pass the qualifying examination within the specified time will result in dismissal from the program irrespective of performance in other aspects of doctoral study.

Final Examination. A final public oral examination, usually over the general field of the dissertation, is required of every candidate for the doctorate and must be held when school is in session. The oral examination must be scheduled by the student and the advisory committee after the committee has read the completed dissertation and prior to the defense deadline during the semester of graduation. Students should present their dissertation to all committee members at least three weeks before the defense date. In addition, the Graduate School requires three weeks notification prior to the oral examination. See for the required Defense Notification Form noting the time, place, and other information concerning the examination.

The advisory committee and the graduate dean or a professor designated to act in place of the graduate dean conduct the examination. All members of the committee participate fully in the examination and cast a vote. Professors other than members of the committee, including the graduate dean’s representative who is expected to come from outside the academic department, may participate in the examination but have no vote in determining the outcome. At the conclusion of the examination, the chairperson of the advisory committee will send a written notice to the Graduate School giving the result of the examination.



Except for the Doctor of Musical Arts, a dissertation is required of every candidate for a doctoral degree. This requirement is separate and apart from other requirements in doctoral programs; consequently, successful performance in other areas does not necessarily guarantee acceptance of a dissertation. The dissertation work must earn a grade of at least B to qualify the student for graduation. The Graduate School strongly recommends that each student be required to present and defend a dissertation proposal before his or her committee early in the course of the research.

The advisory committee and the graduate dean must approve the subject of the dissertation at least four months before the candidate’s proposed date of graduation. The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of the techniques of research, a thorough understanding of the subject matter and its background, and a high degree of skill in organizing and presenting the materials. The dissertation should embody a significant contribution of new information to a subject or a substantial reevaluation of existing knowledge presented in a scholarly style. The work on the dissertation is constantly under the supervision of the advisory committee and any other professors the committee or the graduate dean may consider necessary.

All manuscripts must conform to published policies that can be found on the website The final copy of the dissertation must be submitted electronically in PDF file format as an ETD to the University Library’s server. Deadlines and more information on this process are available through the Graduate School website. The Graduate Council mandates that students must provide the committee chairperson with a bound paper copy of their dissertation unless a waiver form is submitted by the student and signed by the chairperson. The waiver form is available on the Graduate School website. Paper copies may be required by the academic unit in which the student pursues the degree. All copies of a dissertation, electronic or paper, must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 350 words.

Thesis / Dissertation Fee. During the semester of graduation, the candidate will pay Student Business Services a Thesis/Dissertation Fee to cover the cost of electronically storing the official copy (ETD) of the dissertation. This fee is paid only once. The Thesis/Dissertation Fee is posted to students’ accounts by the Graduate School after Intent to Graduate forms have been processed for the graduating semester. Payment due dates are listed under the current semester’s deadlines at the website to Top