After passing the Oral Qualifying Examination, a student may apply to be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

At that time, upon the recommendation of the student’s major professor in consultation with the graduate advisor, the dean of Graduate Studies appoints a committee to direct the student’s research and to guide preparation of the dissertation.

A student’s major professor normally is the chair of the student’s dissertation committee and is therefore the faculty member who is most closely involved in the student’s preparation for research. For the dissertation, each student must develop and carry out an empirical investigation of a significant problem in the chosen area of specialization. Members of the faculty formally review the progress of all doctoral students annually.

As they near dissertation completion, the candidate will provide an exit seminar on their research, which will be open to faculty, graduate students, undergraduates students, and the public. The signatures of the dissertation committee members on the title page of a dissertation submitted in the required format to the Office of Graduate Studies are the final requirement for the Ph.D. degree.