The general requirements for the doctor of philosophy degree are:
1. satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy,
2. a minimum total of 80 semester credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, at least 50 of which should be coursework credit hours,
3. a minimum of 20 semester credit hours of appropriate research credits,
4. satisfaction of academic standards as prescribed elsewhere in this catalog, including maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA,
5. at least 2 consecutive semesters of residence as a full-time student,
6. a dissertation that conforms to standard American English style and usage, and
7. satisfaction of any departmental or program specific requirements (see department/progam specific requirements in the department section of this catalog),
Between 3 and 4 academic years of full-time graduate study beyond the baccalaureate degree normally are required to earn a doctorate. Ph.D. candidates already holding an M.S. degree may request up to a maximum of 24 semester credits of appropriate M.S. coursework credits and up to a maximum of 6 credits of acceptable M.S. research credits to apply to the Ph.D. credit requirement. Students wishing to make such a request must use the reduction of credits form found on the graduate education website.
A candidate who has entered a Ph.D. program directly from a baccalaureate program may be allowed to use up to 12 credits of upper-division undergraduate 400-level courses (which have not been applied toward the baccalaureate) toward the 50 credit-hour course requirement for the degree with the same restrictions and procedures as those specified for master’s degrees. Ph.D. candidates already holding an M.S. degree may use up to 6 credits of 400-level coursework in addition to any courses credited from the M.S. degree.
The head of the student’s major department must petition the Council of Graduate Education through the dean of graduate education for use of 300-level credits for Ph.D. programs.
The graduate student advisory committee approves the total number of research credits that the candidate may carry, consistent with departmental, continuing registration, and other requirements.
The graduate student advisory committee can recommend to the dean of graduate education a program requiring more credits than the minimum indicated above if it believes that this is in the best interests of the student.
The committee may approve a plan for the student to undertake work at other institutions, but may not reduce the two semester residence requirement.
The Qualifying Examination
Doctoral students admitted into all Ph.D. disciplines must pass a qualifying examination, normally to be taken no later than the second semester of enrollment. A master’s student who proposes to continue into a doctoral program should so advise his or her major professor in a timely manner. Thereupon, the student will be given an examination by the graduate student advisory committee to determine whether to permit the student to proceed to the doctoral level of graduate study. This qualifying examination may be scheduled in the semester during which it is expected that 36 hours of credit beyond the B.S. degree, (which are deemed acceptable toward the student’s doctoral program) will be accumulated. The examination for the master’s degree may be used as the forum for the qualifying examination, at the discretion of the department/program.
The Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy
When the student’s program of coursework has been substantially completed, she or he will undertake the comprehensive examination for admission to candidacy. This examination will consist of written and/or oral examinations covering his or her field of study and related subjects. It will be prepared by the graduate student advisory committee, with potential suggestions from any faculty member from whom the student has taken a graduate course.
The graduate student advisory committee schedules and arranges the written and oral examinations. Review of the examinations will be accomplished as soon as possible by all members of the committee. If the graduate student advisory committee and department head/program coordinator approve the application by certifying that the candidate has passed the comprehensive examination, the signed admission to candidacy form must be submitted to the dean of graduate education who, in turn, will admit the student to candidacy.
Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination requires that no more than one member of the graduate student advisory committee votes against passing. If the student passes with conditions, such as failure to pass a part of the examination, the committee shall inform the student promptly as to how and when the conditions may be removed. If, in the opinion of 2 or more members of the graduate student advisory committee, the student has failed the comprehensive examination, another such examination may not be attempted during the same semester. After failure to pass a second time, work toward the doctorate can be continued only with the consent of the graduate student advisory committee, the Council of Graduate Education, and the dean of graduate education.
The comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy should normally be passed at least 5 months before the dissertation is defended.
Dissertation Submission Requirements
The dissertation is expected to advance or modify knowledge and demonstrate the candidate’s technical mastery of the field of study. In lieu of the conventional dissertation format, the dissertation can consist of a compilation of published and/or submitted journal manuscripts that are derived from the candidate’s doctoral research and are either authored or co-authored by the candidate. Dissertations submitted in this form must have an introduction and conclusion to tie the journal papers into a cohesive research paper. The final dissertation must be accompanied by an abstract of 250 to 350 words and vitae of the candidate.
The dissertation is written under the direction of the major professor, but the student should seek guidance from all members of the graduate student advisory committee. Before starting to write the dissertation, the student is urged to review the document titled “Instructions for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations” on the graduate education website and to consult style manuals online or in the SDSM&T Devereaux Library. In general, the dissertation may follow the style of captions, footnotes, and bibliographical references used by the leading technical journal in the student’s field.
A final draft of the dissertation should be submitted by the student to each member of the graduate student advisory committee a minimum of 2 full weeks before the time and date of the student’s scheduled defense. Earlier submission deadlines may be required by the graduate student advisory committee.
The dean requires that the graduate student’s committee-approved draft of the dissertation be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education by the published deadline (approximately 2 weeks before graduation) to allow adequate time for grammatical review, corrections and revisions. This draft of the dissertation, after all revisions recommended by the committee have been made, must be signed by the author and approved, signed, and dated by all committee members, the department head/program coordinator of the student’s major department/program. The final unbound manuscript must then be reviewed and signed by the dean of graduate education before any copies are made of any submissions for binding are done.
The institution requires one electronic copy and 2 paper copies (the original unbound manuscript and one bound copy) of the thesis to be delivered to the Devereaux Library in final form. Additional copies may be required by the student’s program or department. In the case of a proprietary dissertation, which requires approval by the dean of graduate education and the student advisory committee prior to the defense, the original hard copy and digital version will be retained without reproduction in secured Office of Graduate Education files throughout the specified proprietary period, which may not exceed 3 calendar years.
Dissertation Defense Requirements
The defense of the dissertation is an oral examination open to the public except in preapproved situations where proprietary concerns have been addressed by the graduate student advisory committee and the dean of graduate education prior to the defense. The dissertation defense will be scheduled at any time after the student has completed the required coursework and after the graduate student advisory committee is satisfied that the dissertation is an acceptable manuscript, in terms of both technical quality and proper expression. The dissertation defense may not be scheduled during the period of university final examinations.
The student shall obtain and complete the appropriate form to schedule the defense, and in conjunction with the major professor, shall seek the approval of all committee members. The student shall return the form to the Office of Graduate Education no less than 5 working days before the defense date. The Office of Graduate Education will announce the defense to the campus community.
The student’s committee constitutes the examining board for the thesis defense. The major professor will head the session. The major professor is responsible for ensuring that a majority of the committee, as well as the graduate division representative, is present. The defense will not be held if these conditions cannot be met. A negative vote by any 2 or more members of the student’s committee or a negative vote by the graduate division representative will signify failure of the defense, pending review by the graduate student advisory committee and the dean of graduate education.
Results of all written or oral examinations will be attested to by all committee members on a form furnished to the graduate division representative by the Office of Graduate Education. The original form with signatures and dates will be filed with the Office of Graduate Education and a copy with the department/program. If the student passes with reservation or pending correction, a copy of the form will be filed with both offices. The originals will be filed with both offices, with the appropriate affirming signatures, when final corrections have been made and accepted. If the candidate fails to satisfy the examiners on either coursework or thesis, written or oral examinations, the committee may schedule a re-examination over general background, thesis, or both. The re-examination will be scheduled at the discretion of the graduate student advisory committee, normally 8 to 12 weeks after the date of the first examination. The student may petition his or her committee for re-examination prior to the 8-week limit.
Ph.D. Participation in Commencement
A student must apply to graduate by completing the application for graduation form on the graduate education website and must meet the program requirements before the degree is awarded. The application for graduation form also serves as a request to participate in the commencement ceremonies. In general, for each degree earned, a student is allowed to participate in commencement once and have his or her name in the commencement program once. Note that participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to the conferring of a degree. The degree is conferred when all requirements are met and the release of diploma process is completed.
The names of all students who have completed the requirements for graduation by the designated spring date will be included in the May program, and students who have completed the requirements by the designated fall date will be included in the December program. The student’s name will appear in the program in the semester of completion, whether the student is participating in the ceremony or not, except as noted below.
A Ph.D. candidate must have successfully defended his or her dissertation and be substantially finished
with all degree requirements by the designated date to participate in commencement and the hooding ceremony.
A student who wishes to participate in a commencement ceremony later than the semester in which the degree is completed must notify the Office of Graduate Education of his or her intent prior to the end of the semester in which the degree requirements are completed. In general, if a student wishes to participate in a commencement ceremony it is expected that the student will do so within one year of completing the requirements for the degree.
At least two consecutive semesters of residence as a full-time student are required at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology unless an exception is granted by the dean of graduate education and the Faculty Senate.
Time Limitation for Ph.D. Degrees
A doctoral degree program must be completed within 8 calendar years dating from the student’s formal entrance into a degree-seeking program. Courses taken by the student at any institution that may be credited to the degree program and that were taken more than 8 years prior to the date of anticipated graduation must be reviewed by the student’s major department/program and the dean of graduate education for possible acceptance. Following this review, the student’s major department/program and the dean of graduate education will determine whether a reduction in credits applicable toward the degree, a re-examination, or both, is required for the student to complete his or her degree program. In exceptional circumstances, students may petition the dean of graduate education for an extension to the 8 year time limit. The applicable forms are available at the graduate education website.
A student who is granted a leave of absence (see section titled Leave of Absence) will not be subject to continuing registration, and the leave of absence will not count toward the time limits to complete his or her program of study.