Doctor of Philosophy
The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed for the preparation of individuals competent in research and scholarly inquiry whose career objectives are generally in research, teaching, consultation, or leadership roles in universities, colleges, institutes, educational agencies or private practice.
A doctoral student may select a minor field (or fields) of study. The selection and composition of a minor field (or fields) must have the approval of the Graduate School and the major and minor departments. A minor field may, under certain circumstances, be in the same department or school as a major field.
A doctoral degree is not granted on the basis of a student having successfully completed a certain number of courses, but upon evidence of scholarly attainment as demonstrated especially by competence in research.
Students may transfer up to 40% of the required program coursework, not including comprehensive exams and dissertation hours, toward the completion of the doctoral degree with approval from the department/school. The transferred coursework must be graduate level, with a grade of B or higher (or equivalent as verified on the transcript), and may or may not have been used toward another graduate level degree. The coursework being considered for transfer will be reviewed on an individual basis with final approval from the department/school.
Approved 4/14/88, Updated 3/22/01
All requirements for a doctoral degree, including the dissertation, must be completed by the end of eight calendar years beginning with the date the student first registers as a doctoral degree student. This time limit applies to enrollment in all graduate coursework in the student’s program. If a course taken to complete the requirements for the doctoral degree is not taken within the eight-year period allowed for the degree program, the student’s department may require the student to retake the course for credit or allow the student to demonstrate current knowledge of the subject matter. If the latter is used, currency must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department offering the course through successful completion of an appropriate examination or other assessment if available from the department. Courses from other institutions falling outside the limitation of time may not be used in a graduate program. When graduate study is interrupted by military service or other contingencies, the eight-year limit may be extended by the Graduate School. A Request to Extend Time to Complete Graduate Degree Program must be completed by the student, graduate coordinator/director, and if applicable, dissertation chair, and submitted to the Graduate School for approval or denial. The Request to Extend Time to Complete Graduate Degree form is available at Grad.IllinoisState.edu/students/forms.
Admission to Candidacy
A doctoral student will be admitted to candidacy after: a Degree Audit has been submitted to the Graduate School and approved, (b) the comprehensive/preliminary examination has been successfully completed and reported to the Graduate School, (c) the research tool requirement has been met, and (d) the dissertation proposal has been approved by the dissertation committee and by the Graduate School. (Both the Degree Audit and Proposal Approval forms are available at Grad.IllinoisState.edu/students/forms.
Approved 4/14/88; edited 2/17/15; edited 9/19/17; edited 4/24/18
The comprehensive/preliminary examination is written, or, written and oral. It is also concerned with the student’s professional competence and ability to undertake independent research. The content, process, scheduling, administration, and evaluation of the examination is to be determined by each department and school. To apply for comprehensive examinations a student must:
- be in good standing in a program, and
- have a Degree Audit on file in the department or school,
- not be on academic probation,
- and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at the time of the examination.
A student who fails the examination must wait until the next academic term before repeating the entire examination unless there are reasons that make an exception advisable. Exceptions must be requested from the Graduate School in writing by the student and advisor/director. Students who have twice failed the examination are not to repeat the exam unless they have completed further study as prescribed by the department chair or school director. Comprehensive examinations may not be administered more than three times to individual students. Department chairs and school directors are to notify students, by letter, of examination results within thirty days from the examination date. A copy of this letter is to be sent to the Graduate School. (If it is a student’s second failure, recommendations for further study and appropriate warning of the situation are to be included in the letter.) At the point of the third failure of comprehensive examination, the department or school will recommend to the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from the degree program.
The Graduate School must receive the results from the department or school within 5 working days of notifying the student.
Registration for Dissertation Work
Fifteen semester hours of 599 Doctoral Research are required for the doctoral degree. Any student using the services of the academic staff or the facilities of the University must be registered for the semester or term during which the services are rendered or facilities are used. Also, to register for 599 the student must actually be working on the research under the direction of the advisor or dissertation chairperson.
Once admitted to candidacy in a doctoral degree program, as defined by the Admission to Candidacy policy, and after the student has completed all coursework on the Degree Audit and the required number of hours (15) of 599 Doctoral Research, the student is required to maintain continuous registration until the deposit of the final dissertation in ProQuest and approval of the dissertation in the Graduate School. The requirement for continuous registration may be fulfilled by maintaining registration in 1 hour of 599 each semester through the semester of degree completion. (Students registering for less than 9 credit hours in fall or spring, or less than 6 credit hours in summer, will not have the insurance fee automatically assessed. (See the Health Insurance website for further information.) The requirement for continuous registration does not apply during a summer term unless the student is graduating in that term. Registration for 599 may be in absentia. If circumstances prohibit continuous registration a student must request a leave of absence from the department and then from the Graduate School. Any student interrupting registration without obtaining a leave of absence, upon re-enrollment and/or reinstatement, must pay tuition and fees for one credit hour of 599, at the current tuition and fee rates, for each of the delinquent semesters. Any student requesting reinstatement in a degree program after a lapse of one calendar year must complete an application for readmission.
Full Time Equivalency 499A90/599A90
If a student has completed the maximum requirement of thesis/dissertation hours for the program, but more time is needed, a student may register for 1 credit of thesis or dissertation for up to two (2) semesters. This 1 credit course will be counted at a level equivalent to full-time study for the purposes of loan deferment, continued use of university student services, and graduate assistant full-time enrollment eligibility requirements. Please note: by enrolling in the 1 credit of thesis or dissertation this does not in any way guarantee a graduate assistant position. Selection of this option only allows a student to meet the full-time eligibility criteria if they are offered a graduate assistant position.
If more time is needed beyond the first two (2) semesters, a formal request for an extension can be made to the graduate school by the thesis/dissertation advisor and/or graduate coordinator. Extension requests would be permitted for a maximum of two (2) additional semesters only. If the extension request is approved, the full-time equivalency could be used for loan deferment or continued use of student services ONLY and would NOT be considered for maintaining eligibility requirements as a graduate assistant.
An extension request must address the following:
- An explanation of why the extension is necessary;
- If the extension is being requested for one or two semesters;
- Explanation of how the student is working at a full-time equivalency on thesis or dissertation work;
- A timeline for completion in the requested time-frame; and
- Approval of the thesis/dissertation advisor, the graduate coordinator, and the Graduate School.
Use of the 1 credit thesis/dissertation option (or extended period) may also affect the cost of attendance if a student is applying for federal and state financial aid. Students should consult the Financial Aid department to determine how use of the option will impact the student’s eligibility for federal and state financial aid.
Approved 4/23/92; revised 4/22/04
A dissertation is written under the direction of a dissertation committee appointed in a manner specified by the department. The committee must consist of three (3) members from within the department and may include additional internal or external members at the department's discretion. The chair and a majority of the committee shall be full members of the Graduate Faculty from the department in which the degree program is located. Proposed committee members who are not members of the Illinois State University Graduate Faculty must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. See the “Graduate Committee Information” section on the Proposal Approval Form to indicate the faculty that need approval to serve on the committee. All committee members must have terminal degrees.
The Proposal Approval form is available at Grad.IllinoisState.edu/students/forms.
Approved 12/11/86, updated 2/18/99
The student is required to file a Proposal Approval Form with the department or school and with the Graduate School for approval before embarking on dissertation research. Institutional policy also requires that all research proposals involving human subjects be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Research proposals involving animals must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Research proposals involving biohazards must be reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The dissertation for the doctorate must involve independent research and an original contribution to knowledge. See RSP.IllinoisState.edu.
Approved 3/23/95, edited 2/5/08; 2/17/15
A complete draft of the dissertation must be uploaded to ProQuest before the “Right to Defend” will be issued to the student. View complete details on the completion of the dissertation.
Each department is responsible for advising each student upon admittance to the program and informing the student of the source of this assistance. The student's Degree Audit must have the approval of appropriate departmental or school officials and the Graduate School and should be submitted early in the student's program. For a complete listing of each program’s graduate coordinator(s) or director(s) please visit Grad.IllinoisState.edu/Faculty/Coordinators/.