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ARTICLE VI. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE

ARTICLE VI. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy will be awarded upon the student's demonstration of a broad understanding of certain fields of knowledge, ability to conduct independent research, and ability to organize research into an acceptable dissertation that will represent a contribution to a field of study.

Section 1. Residence and Course Requirements

The minimum residence and course requirements for the degree are as follows:

The completion of a course of study beyond the bachelor's degree shall cover a minimum of six semesters of full-time residence and graduate study in courses (at least 9 credits per semester) yielding 72 graduate credits (inclusive of dissertation) or the equivalent in such courses if extended over a longer period.

At least four semesters of residence and full-time study (at least 9 credits per semester) or the equivalent, shall be in the Graduate School, Howard University. Two of these four semesters of residence and full-time study, or the equivalent, shall be consecutive.

A minimum of 12 credits of work toward the degree shall be pursued after admission to candidacy.

B. Residency and Transfer of Credits: Residency in graduate programs (Ph.D.) at Howard University cannot be transferred. Thus, although a certain number of hours may be transferred from other accredited graduate institutions, such hours may not be used
to meet the residence requirements. The number of hours allowed for transfer is discussed under the section on "Transfer of Credit to
the Ph.D."


C. Course Viability, Any course that was pursued more than seven (7) years prior to the term in which the student presents himself or herself for the final oral examination will not be credited toward fulfillment of the requirements for the degree.

However, credit for such course may be restored and counted toward the fulfillment of the requirements for the degree provided (1) the chairperson submits to the Dean a written petition/recommendation and (2) the student has passed:

(1) a comprehensive examination in the field in which the course falls, or

(2) a written examination especially administered for the purpose of restoration of credits in the course concerned.

Under no circumstances, however, may a student receive credit toward the degree for a course which the student pursued more than ten (10) years prior to the time the student presents himself or herself for the student's final examination.

D. Length of Time for Completion of the Ph.D. Degree. Students are expected to complete a doctoral degree within a maximum of seven calendar years from the date of initial registration in the program. Those who have not completed the degree within that time will be automatically dropped from the program. Students dropped in this manner may petition for readmission for a specified period upon recommendation of the departmental Graduate Faculty and approval of the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.

E. Enrollment in Dissertation Courses. As long as a student is using the University facilities, or is conferring in person with his dissertation advisor, be must continue to enroll in a dissertation course. Such a student shall register as an auditor if he has already accumulated the maximum number of hours permitted for the dissertation courses. A Ph.D. student is not permitted to register for dissertation courses until after admission to candidacy.

F. Assignment of Grades for Dissertation Courses. Dissertation courses shall be assigned a grade of Incomplete. These incompletes are removed after the final oral exam on the dissertation.

G. Enrollment in the Terminal Semester. A candidate for a degree must be enrolled in the Graduate School during the semester in which the degree is conferred.


Section 2. Grades and Academic Status:

A student with no previous graduate work is subject to the academic requirements of the master's program until he, or she, has earned the first 30 credits. A cumulative average of 3.00 (B) is required for graduation. A department shall recommend courses in which the grades of "B" or better will be required.

A student will be permitted only two "C" grades. After the student receives a third "C" grade, he will be dropped. "C" grades earned at the master's level at Howard University or elsewhere are not to be included in this count; only "C" grades received in a Ph.D. program at Howard are counted.

The Graduate Faculty of the department can recommend the dismissal of a student who demonstrates an inability to perform satisfactorily at the graduate level.

Section 3. Program of Study:

The Graduate Faculty of the department in which the student does his, or her, major work will stipulate the program and specify the departmental requirements for each of its candidates, with the approval of the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.

Section 4. Transfer of Credit to the Ph.D. Degree

A. Transfer of Credit for Holders of the Bachelor's Degree Only. The maximum number of hours allowed for tr cannot exceed 25 percent of the total number of hours required beyond the bachelor's degree for the Ph.D. A total of 54 hours must be earned at Howard University if the student does not have a master's degree. The minimum number of course hours required for the Ph.D. (inclusive of dissertation credit) is 72. Exceptions may be granted only by the Graduate Faculty through the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.

Therefore, in graduate programs requiring a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree, students who hold only the bachelor's degree are permitted to transfer 18 semester hours (25% of 72 semester hours) of graduate work upon the recommendation of the department and with the approval of the Graduate school.

B. Transfer of Credit for Holders of the Master's Degree. If a student already has a master's degree from a recognized accredited institution, the residence requirement is four semesters.


This makes a minimum of 36 hours which must be earned at Howard University. He, or she, may transfer up to 24 hours from the master's degree to the Ph.D. program. (The 25-percent transfer rule is applicable for master's degree holders where the number of hours required in a Ph.D. program may be far in excess of the minimum of 72. Thus, in such cases, the number of semester hours allowed for transfer is either 24 hours, or 25 percent of the total required in the program; whichever is the larger.)

Section 5.  Foreign Language Requirement:

The foreign language requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy shall be determined by the department.

The following departments require students to fulfill the requirement of reading proficiency in a foreign language: African Studies and Research, Biochemistry, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Physics, Romance Languages, and Sociology and Anthropology.

In some departments reading proficiency in a foreign language is optional. In these departments the requirement of competency in the tools of research may be met by such means as foreign language, computer competence, research methods, statistics, or some other approved alternative. Such policies shall be explicit, and the Office of the Dean shall be informed of the action of the particular department with regard to the foreign language requirement.

Candidates who are required to demonstrate a reading ability in French, German, Russian, or Spanish have the option of the Graduate School Foreign Language Tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) or the departmental examination prepared by the foreign language departments at Howard University. Department examinations shall be administered and evaluated by the language departments of the University based on materials submitted by the department concerned.

Section 6. Admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D. Degree

Admission to graduate work is not tantamount to admission to candidacy. Before a student can be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, he/she must have:

Secured an admission to candidacy form from the Office of the Dean for completion by departmental representative. The student must submit a list of graduate courses completed, being taken, and yet to be pursued in the field of his/her graduate study.

Completed the number of credits in graduate courses specified by the department. 
Passed the qualifying examination administered by the department concerned. 
Satisfactorily demonstrated expository writing proficiency to the Office of Educational Affairs. 
Passed the foreign language examination or fulfilled the approved substitute (where applicable). 
Submitted an approved topic and proposal for dissertation research. 
Received the recommendation of his/her major department. 
Secured the approval of the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.

A student is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree by vote of the Graduate Faculty. The candidate for admission shall make formal application to the head of his major department and the Dean of the Graduate School, who shall present the student's record to the Faculty of the Graduate School. A student must be admitted to candidacy no later than the semester before he/she expects his degree.

In order to be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, a student must have received approval of a topic for dissertation research and a copy of the proposal with the signature of the advisor and the committee members. The proposal must be submitted along with the candidacy form. Upon the student's admission to candidacy, the major department shall appoint a committee of at least three members of the Graduate Faculty to supervise the studies upon which his dissertation will be based, and the department shall inform the Dean of the Graduate School of the personnel of the committee.

Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree shall be valid for no more than five calendar years. Any student whose candidacy has expired may make application to the Executive Committee of the Graduate School for readmission. The department in which the student is seeking the degree shall determine the conditions under which he, or she, may be reinstated, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.

The responsibility for fulfilling these requirements on time is that of the student. Students should consult with the Dean of the Graduate School if in doubt as to any of the requirements. Students should note carefully the specific requirements of their departments relative to admission to candidacy and regard them as additional to these general requirements.

Regulations pertaining or related to admission to candidacy should be interpreted as applicable to the date of actual approval by the Executive Committee of the Graduate School. However, deadline dates established by the Graduate School for submitting applications must be honored and no exceptions will be made.

Section 7. Ph.D Qualifying Examinations

The student will be required to pass a comprehensive examination administered and supervised by the department in which he is seeking his degree. This examination will be given only once each semester. A student may take the examination while earning his first 48 credits towards the Ph.D. degree, or as required by the department concerned. Any student who fails the examination for a second time will not be allowed to continue work for the Ph.D. degree.

Qualifying examinations are:

  1. a screening examination which covers the early portion of the student's program and establishes that the student is of doctoral quality and capable of doing research at this level,
  2. a preliminary comprehensive examination which covers all or the major portion of the student's program. Departments may require both a screening examination and a preliminary comprehensive examination or a preliminary comprehensive examination only. This examination is referred to as preliminary in the sense that it precedes the final oral defense of the dissertation. In practice, it is the final comprehensive examination covering all course work.

In instances where a department requires a screening examination, it is expected that the results of such an examination will be reported in the Application for Admission to Candidacy and influence the department's decision to permit the continued pursuit of the degree. The screening examination may be written or oral. Such an examination must be administered as soon as possible during or after completion of two semesters in residence. If a screening

examination is used, it is expected that a possible dissertation topic would be considered about the same time and pending approval of the doctoral committee the student would be eligible to continue in the doctoral program. A screening examination is not a substitute for, but rather, is in addition to a comprehensive examination which it precedes.

In instances where a screening examination is not required, the preliminary comprehensive examination covering the course of study will be entered as the only examination. The preliminary comprehensive examination should be administered preferably after a candidate has completed at least 80 percent of course work for the degree. This examination does not include credit for the dissertation and must be a written examination which may or may not be supplemented by an oral portion.

Departments which do not require a screening examination have the responsibility of informing students at the end of their first year of study as to their strengths and weaknesses and the likelihood of their successful completion of the requirements for the doctorate.

In departments which require both a screening examination and a preliminary comprehensive examination, admission to candidacy will be predicated on the preliminary comprehensive examination.

Section 8. Submission of Dissertation Topic

As a condition for admission to candidacy the student must present an approved proposal for his doctoral dissertation research as authorized by his advisor and members of the dissertation committee. This should include an outline of the proposed research including the nature, scope and significance of the problem, and methodology with a tentative title. A copy of the plan must be submitted to the Graduate School. Individual departments may set earlier deadlines for the submission of this document.

Section 9. Dissertation

The candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is required to present a dissertation, which is the result of significant and sustained research in his major field. The student must demonstrate ability to organize and present effectively the findings and results of his research. When completed, it is expected that such research will make a contribution to knowledge.

The dissertation shall be deposited with the department concerned no later than three weeks before the date of the final examination for the degree. The candidate shall prepare three typewritten copies of the dissertation, original and first and second carbons (or duplicated copies), and four copies of an abstract of the dissertation, approximately 600 words in length.

For comprehensive instructions on the formatting of the dissertation, please refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Manual.

The dissertation shall be examined critically by a committee of at least three readers appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School on recommendation of the major department. Acceptance of the dissertation will be contingent upon the recommendation of the department concerned, and the approval of the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.

Section 10. Final Oral Examination and Defense of the Dissertation

The candidate shall be required to pass a final oral examination in defense of the dissertation. The examination shall be based primarily on his/her research, the field of his/her research, and related areas of study.

The examination committee shall consist of a minimum of rive members, at least one of whom shall be from outside the University. All committee members internal to the University must be members of the Graduate Faculty and the external member(s) must also be of comparable stature. Members of the examination committee shall be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the department.

Procedure for administering the final oral examination shall be as follows:

  1. The department shall communicate to the Dean that it wishes to conduct a final oral examination.
  2. The department shall submit to the Dean a list of recommended examiners.
  3. The Dean shall appoint an examination committee and shall notify each member of the committee of the date, time, and
    place of the examination.
  4. The Dean and Associate Deans of the Graduate School shall be members ex-officio of all examination committees.


The final examination shall be open to members of the faculties of the University, and to other persons who may be invited by the candidate's major department and the candidate. Final approval of the dissertation in all aspects is the responsibility of the full committee acting on behalf of the Graduate School.

As with all other qualifying examinations, any student who fails the examination for a second time will be dropped from the Ph.D. program. A student dropped for this reason will not be readmitted to the Graduate School.

A department can recommend dismissal of a student who, after failing the dissertation oral defense, does not resubmit the dissertation and present himself/herself for reexamination within a six-month period.