DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
Requirements and Procedures for Doctoral Degrees
The rules and requirements listed below are those of the Graduate Division and must be observed by all doctoral students. Note that some graduate programs have special requirements.
The minimum residence requirement for the doctoral degree is three semesters of full-time work or the equivalent in credit hours at UH Manoa.
Candidates for doctoral degrees will be expected to complete all requirements within seven years after admission into the doctoral program. Candidates who fail to complete all requirements in the specified time are automatically dropped from the program. Reinstatement for a limited period of time is possible only upon submission of a petition by the graduate chair providing a detailed degree plan and a time line specifying steps to the completion of all degree requirements.
Credit Hour Requirements
There is no minimum number of required course credit hours set for doctoral degrees. Registration in courses by doctoral students is governed by (1) the judgment of advisors or faculty in charge of the relevant program of study as to the importance of particular course work to the training and preparation of the candidate for the writing of examinations and/or the dissertation, (2) residence requirements, and/or (3) provisions of graduate assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships. For information regarding required or recommended courses, see the section appropriate to the graduate program.
At the option of the graduate program, intended candidates for the doctoral degree may be required to take a written examination to demonstrate comprehension of one or more foreign languages. To pass the examination they must be able to read research materials in their graduate program at a reasonable speed. English is not considered a foreign language in this context.
No limit has been placed on the number of times students may take the examination. However, it must be passed before students can be advanced to candidacy and take the comprehensive examination.
The doctoral committee may be selected at any time after a student becomes an intended candidate. The chair of the graduate faculty of the program recommends to the Graduate Division appointment of a doctoral committee consisting of at least five members of the graduate faculty. The committee must include one graduate faculty member from another field of study. This outside faculty member must be a full member of the regular graduate faculty. The majority of the committee and the committee chair must be from the graduate program in which the degree program is offered. This committee, appointed by the Graduate Division, prescribes for the candidate a course of study in preparation for the comprehensive and oral examinations described below. It also approves the dissertation research topic and the dissertation itself.
It is the student’s responsibility to select an appropriate dissertation topic coinciding with the expertise and interest of a graduate faculty member who is willing to work with him/her.
Doctoral candidates must pass the following examinations:Qualifying Examination
A qualifying examination may be required by some graduate programs. The
purpose of this examination is to determine whether to encourage students
to proceed in a doctoral program and, if encouraged, to enable advisors
to assist students in planning a program that will familiarize them with
the requisite knowledge and techniques of their chosen graduate program.
Graduate programs requiring this examination give it early in the intended
candidate’s program (often coinciding with the master’s final
examination). It may be oral and/or written and is conducted by a special
examination committee appointed by the graduate chair of the graduate
program or by the student’s doctoral committee. A student who fails
the qualifying examination may repeat it once at the discretion of the
graduate faculty concerned. However, students failing the qualifying examination
a second time are dropped from the program and lose their status as classified
The comprehensive examination is an important step in the sequence of study toward the doctoral degree. This examination covers the major graduate program and work fundamental thereto and minor fields as may be required by the graduate program. Its purpose is to ascertain the student’s comprehension of the chosen graduate program.
The examination is given only after the student has completed the foreign language requirement, if any, and when, in the judgment of the graduate faculty, the student has had sufficient preparation in the graduate program either through course work or other individual study and research. The comprehensive examination may be either oral or oral and written. It is conducted by a committee of the graduate faculty.
A student who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat it once at the discretion of the graduate faculty concerned. A student who fails the examination a second time is dropped from the program and loses classified graduate student status.
The student who passes the examination is eligible, at the option of the various graduate programs, to receive a UH certificate indicating that all requirements of the doctorate except for the dissertation have been completed.Final Examination
A final examination in defense of the dissertation may also cover related subjects and is required of all candidates for the doctoral degree. The examination is oral and is conducted by the candidate’s doctoral committee. It is never less than one hour in length. Arrangements for the final examination must be made at least two weeks prior to the date of examination, since an announcement must appear in the News@UH. The examination must be held while UH is in session and must be open to the public.
A candidate who fails the final examination may be allowed to repeat it upon approval by the graduate faculty concerned and the Graduate Division. A candidate who fails the final oral examination twice is dropped from the program and loses classified graduate student status.
A candidate who passes the examination, and who has met all other requirements, will be awarded the doctoral degree at the end of the appropriate term.
The doctoral dissertation for the PhD is expected to be a scholarly presentation of an original contribution to knowledge resulting from independent research.
An essential aspect of dissertation research is the free and full dissemination of research results. Moreover, all dissertations must be publicly defended in an oral examination. Therefore, proprietary or classified information is not suitable for a dissertation; data which cannot be made public at the time of the final defense should not be incorporated into the student’s research.
When the dissertation topic has been approved by the doctoral committee, it will notify the Graduate Division through submission of Student Progress Form II. The candidate may then register for the dissertation research course (800) during the next registration period.
A candidate should look to the chair of his or her doctoral committee for primary direction regarding research methods and the preparation of results. It is the joint responsibility of the chair and the student to see that all members of the committee are kept informed of the scope, plan, and progress of both the research and the dissertation. Guidelines for preparation of the dissertation can be obtained at the Graduate Division website.
Copies of the completed dissertation must be submitted to committee members at least four weeks prior to the date of the final oral examination. Two unbound, clean copies must be deposited with the Graduate Division by the deadline specified in the “Calendar.” Original signatures are required on the signature page.
A majority of the members of the doctoral committee, including the committee chair, must approve both the dissertation and the oral defense of the dissertation. A minority member has the right of appeal to the Graduate Division for a final decision. The chair must ensure that the final form of the dissertation, including revisions and amendments agreed upon, is acceptable to a majority of the committee. The committee members express their approval on the signature page of the dissertation and on Student Progress Form III.
Candidates must be registered in the appropriate dissertation research course (800) during the term in which the work for the degree is completed. Failure to make satisfactory progress on the dissertation does not entitle a student to a refund of tuition.
The graduate chair of a program has the privilege of being an ex officio member of all doctoral committees in the field.
All doctoral students are required to publish their dissertation (in
its entirety) with ProQuest Information and Learning or an equivalent
publishing firm suggested by the student and approved by the Graduate
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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