Jul 17, 2024  
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

VIII. PhD Degree Requirements

VIII.1. PhD Program Requirements
VIII.2. The Qualifying Examination
VIII.3. The Comprehensive Examination and Admission to PhD Candidacy
VIII.4. Dissertation Submission Requirements
VIII.5. Dissertation Defense Requirements
VIII.6. Residence Requirements

1. PhD Program Requirements

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 72 semester credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, at least 36 of which should be coursework credit hours,
  3. a minimum of 20 semester credit hours of appropriate research credits,
  4. meeting or exceeding academic standards 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 all departmental- or program-specific requirements.

Between 3 and 4 academic years of full-time graduate study beyond the baccalaureate degree normally are required to earn a doctorate. PhD candidates already holding graduate credits from another institution may request to apply them to the credits required for the PhD, under terms of section GEP VI.4.f. Applying Credits from Outside Institutions .

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.

2. The Qualifying Examination

Doctoral students admitted into all PhD disciplines must pass a qualifying examination, normally to be taken within the first two years of enrollment, as per the specific guidelines of the program.  The “qualifying exam” is a course-work based exam to test and demonstrate the doctoral student’s proficiency in the foundational material of his or her discipline.  When the student’s program of foundational coursework has been substantially completed, she or he will undertake the qualifying examination.   Results of this Qualifying Exam must be filed with the Office of Graduate Education by the department or program within two weeks of completion of the exam.

A master’s student who proposes to continue into a doctoral program should so advise his or her major professor in a timely manner.  The examination for the master’s may be used as the qualifying examination, at the discretion of the department/program.

3. The Comprehensive Examination and Admission to PhD Candidacy

The “comprehensive exam” is a wide-ranging exam to test and demonstrate the doctoral student’s readiness to pursue doctoral research.   It includes a defense of a written dissertation proposal, and may also include additional written or verbal exam components to demonstrate the student’s proficiency in his or her field of study.  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’s advisory committee and department head/program coordinator certify that the candidate has passed the comprehensive examination, the signed admission to candidacy form must be submitted by the graduate representative or another committee member to the dean of graduate education for review and approval.

Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination requires that no more than one member of the graduate student advisory committee votes against passing.  Upon satisfactory completion of the comprehensive exam, the student is then eligible for admission to candidacy.  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 the student has failed the comprehensive examination, another such examination should not be attempted during the same semester, though exceptions to this may be granted by the student’s committee in consultation with the dean of graduate education.  If the student fails 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 subsequent admission to candidacy, should be passed at least 12 months before the dissertation is defended.   Results of the comprehensive exam and admission to candidacy must be filed with the Office of Graduate Education by the graduate representative within two weeks of completion of the exam.

4. Dissertation Submission Requirements

The dissertation is expected to advance or modify knowledge and demonstrate the candidate’s technical mastery of the field of study.  Refer to section GEP VI.5. Thesis/Dissertation Submission Requirements  for information on the submission of the PhD dissertation.

5. Dissertation Defense Requirements

Refer to section GEP VI.6. Thesis/Dissertation Defense Requirements  for information regarding the scheduling and conduct of the dissertation defense.

6. Residence Requirements

PhD students are required to spend at least 2 semesters as a student in residence at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology unless an exception is granted to the program by the dean of graduate education, the Council of Graduate Education, and the Faculty Senate. To request an exception, the department head or program coordinator must submit an alternative residence plan which outlines how the department/program will ensure that non-resident students receive adequate access to mentoring and research facilities.