Requirements For a Doctoral Degree

5720.1 Program of Study

The policy governing programs of study applies to doctoral programs with the exception that the form should be prepared and submitted no later than the fourth semester of the student's program.

5720.2 Academic Standards


Doctoral programs may have academic standards equal to or higher than those published in this manual, but they cannot be lower than these standards.


All students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. A cumulative average of 3.0 is required for graduation.

5720.2. 3 

The grade of "C" is a minimum passing grade for graduate credit; however, no more than six semester hours of courses with a grade of "C" may be applied toward the requirements of a degree program.


Typically at the end of one year or 16 semester hours a student may be evaluated by the program (the program, however, has the right to review or evaluate a student's academic performance at any time). On the basis of this evaluation, and after review by the Graduate School, the student will be:

  • Recommended for continuation in the graduate program,
  • Placed on probationary status, or
  • Dismissed from the Program and the Graduate School.


After completing 16 semester hours of course work in a doctoral program, students will automatically be placed in probationary status if their cumulative graduate grade point averages drop below a 3.0. Students must achieve a 3.0 cumulative average the semester they complete nine hours of course work since being placed on probation. Failure to meet this condition could result in their dismissal from the Graduate School. Students achieving a 3.0 average prior to or during the semester that nine hours have been completed will be taken off probationary status.

5720.3 Credit Hour Requirements

All doctoral programs at the university require the completion of a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate credit. A program may, however, require more than these minimums. Students entering a program with a relevant master's degree from regionally accredited universities/colleges may be required to complete only 60 semester hours of graduate course work at Wright State. Students who transfer to a Wright State doctoral program and retain the same major professor may be required to complete only 30 semester hours of graduate course work at Wright State. Students should refer to program requirements for deviations from the above credit hour requirements.

5720.4 Residence Requirements

Students in a doctoral program are considered to be in residence for any term for which they are registered for at least six semester hours of Wright State graduate courses. A minimum residence of two consecutive full-time academic semesters at Wright State University, devoted wholly to graduate work, is required.

5720.5 Time Limit

Students must complete all the requirements for a doctoral degree within 10 years from the date the student matriculated in the program. Courses older than ten years on the students' programs of study cannot be used toward degree requirements. Doctoral programs may set an earlier date for program completion.

5720.6 Dissertation Committee

A dissertation or supervisory committee will be formed for each doctoral student. The committee will consist of at least four regular or adjunct members of the graduate faculty. The director or chair of the committee must be a regular member of the graduate faculty, a member of a doctoral program faculty, and dissertation-qualified. Adjunct members of the graduate faculty who are members of a doctoral program faculty and are dissertation-qualified may be eligible to co-direct a dissertation along with a regular dissertation-qualified member and will be selected and nominated in accordance with the doctoral program’s policies or guidelines. Students who transfer to a Wright State doctoral program and retain the same major professor should have at least one Wright State faculty member, in addition to the major advisor, added to their dissertation committees. Committee members who continue from the students’ previous institution are considered to possess adjunct status while the student continues in a Wright State doctoral program.

Members of the dissertation committee will be selected and nominated in accordance with each of the program’s policies or guidelines. The eligibility requirements for members of the committee are presented in section 2.00 (Graduate Faculty) of the Graduate Council Policies and Procedures Manual. The director of the doctoral program will submit the names of the faculty nominated for membership to a dissertation or supervisory committee to the Dean(s) of the College and/or School and the Dean of the Graduate School. The Deans will formally approve the nominees to the committee.

In consideration of the extensive Agreements which established the Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute in 1994, Wright State recognizes regular faculty members in engineering and computer science at the other four original DAGSI institutions (Air Force Institute of Technology, University of Dayton, the Ohio State University, and University of Cincinnati) as possessing the equivalent of adjunct graduate status.

5720.7 Dissertation

The dissertation is an original contribution to scholarly or scientific knowledge in a specialized area. Students are expected to demonstrate in the dissertation the highest level of mastery in the techniques of research and a thorough understanding and application of the subject matter.

Before undertaking the dissertation, the student must (1) pass the qualifying examination, (2) be admitted into candidacy status, and (3) gain approval of the proposed dissertation topic from the student's dissertation or advisory committee. Students must complete the dissertation within the time frame established for candidacy. All course work associated with the dissertation must earn a grade of "A", "B", or "P" in order to qualify the student for graduation; all grades for dissertation work will be given in each semester for which dissertation credit is awarded. The dissertation must be written in English.

The final defense of the dissertation will normally be open to the public. The dissertation committee may also elect to privately question the candidate following the public presentation. The program’s graduate committee will establish the procedures for the defense of the dissertation. The dissertation must be approved by at least three (3) members of the dissertation committee.  The dissertation defense must occur by the last day of Final Exam week of the semester (last day of classes in the case of Summer semester) in order for the student’s successful completion of the degree to be awarded in that semester. This requirement also governs the student’s ability to participate in the graduation ceremony in that term: in order to participate in the graduation ceremony, the student’s dissertation defense must be held by the final day of Final Exam Week in that semester (last day of classes in the case of Summer semester).

A computer file containing an approved dissertation, in pdf format, must be transmitted to OhioLINK delivered to the Graduate School for electronic transmission to OhioLINK not later than 30 days after the end of the semester in which the degree will be granted (due dates are published by the Graduate School and distributed to the doctoral program offices). Instructions for submitting your dissertation are on the OhioLINK Web site. OhioLINK is the repository for Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) for the state universities system in Ohio. This final copy should follow the form prescribed in the Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Handbook, available at the Graduate School Web site and should be carefully produced, free of errors in style, mechanics, and format. The pdf file must include the typed dissertation approval page, but without signatures.

One (1) paper copy of the typed dissertation approval page, with signatures, must be submitted to the Graduate School for filing. The ETD cannot be approved until the Graduate School receives the paper copy of the signed dissertation approval page. Please consult the Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Handbook for additional information and details about preparing your ETD. Because some program offices require additional electronic or paper copies of dissertations, students should consult with their advisors to determine the number of such additional copies needed.

5720.8 Qualifying Examination

All students in a doctoral program are expected to take and pass the qualifying examination before they will be admitted into candidacy status. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine if a student has acquired and is able to apply fundamental knowledge and acumen in the program area. The examination may be written, oral, or both. The graduate committee of the doctoral program will determine the type of examination and the procedures for the examination. Students will normally not take the examination until they are familiar with the material in the core courses of the program. Failure to pass the examination may result in dismissal from the program regardless of performance in other aspects of the program. Depending on the committee's recommendation, a student failing the examination may repeat it once. Students will normally be expected to repeat the examination at its next scheduled date. Passing the examination does not guarantee a student's admission into candidacy. The program may establish additional criteria to determine a student’s eligibility for candidacy.

Students will be provided written notification of the results of the examination and of any actions to be taken within ten days of having taken the examination. The doctoral program will notify, in writing, the Graduate School of the administration and results of the qualifying examination and the actions to be taken for those students who have failed to pass the examination. If dismissal action is to be taken, the Graduate School will formally notify the student by letter.

5720.9 Candidacy

Acceptance into candidacy in a doctoral program indicates that students have the basic potential to undertake work on the dissertation and to successfully complete all other requirements of the program.

Students in a doctoral program may achieve candidacy by passing the preliminary or qualifying examination and by having obtained approval of their dissertation topic from their dissertation committees. The programs will determine the requirements for achieving dissertation approval. Candidacy is valid for five years. The program can, however, terminate candidacy for unsatisfactory progress. Students may petition for an extension to the candidacy term.