Graduate Policies--Doctoral

The policies and requirements outlined in this section of the catalog apply without exception to all departments or programs at the University of Texas at Tyler that offer doctoral degrees. The Graduate School and the Graduate Council work closely with departments and programs to coordinate degree requirements and to ensure that they are fairly and equitably applied.

For a detailed set of doctoral policies and procedures, students should download the UT Tyler Graduate Handbook at  

Doctoral Excessive Hours Fee ("99-Hour Rule")

All doctoral students (regardless of state residency classification) who exceed 99 hours of doctoral coursework will be required to pay out-of-state tuition. Doctoral coursework is any coursework taken by a student seeking a doctoral degree after the completion of an initial 30 semester hours of graduate credit (typically master’s level work, regardless of whether the hours are taken as part of a master’s degree, as a non-degree seeking student, certificate work, or as part of the doctoral program). (See Texas Education Code Sec. 61.046 (l))

This rule applies to all students admitted to a doctoral program at UT Tyler. This tuition structure applies to Texas residents as well as out-of-state residents and international students who were eligible to be charged tuition at the resident rate as a result of scholarship, fellowship awards, or employment as Graduate Assistants.

Program of Study

All doctoral programs consist, at minimum, of a coherent set of courses and other educational experiences, a Preliminary Examination for Candidacy, a dissertation, and a Final Oral Defense. Students must satisfy not only their departmental requirements, but also any additional requirements specified by the The Graduate School.

Foreign Language Requirements

The Graduate School has no foreign language requirement for doctoral degrees; however, knowledge of one or more foreign languages may be required by individual doctoral programs.


The University of Texas at Tyler admits students to its Ph.D. programs under the Full Admission criteria. Conditional Admission may be considered under certain circumstances with the approval of the program and The Graduate School.

I. Full Doctoral Admission

Students seeking a doctoral degree must fulfill the following admission requirements:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Have of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all upper-division (junior- and senior-level) coursework, or a 3.00 grade point average in the last graduate degree earned.
  3. Satisfy any additional requirements (official entrance examination scores, essay, grade-point average, letters of recommendation, etc.) for the selected degree program. If the GRE is required, the test must have been taken within the past 5 years.
  4. Additional consideration for admission will be based upon the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to his or her chosen field of study, involvement and level of responsibility in non-academic matters including extracurricular activities, employment, community service, and socioeconomic background.

II. Conditional Doctoral Admission

Under certain circumstances and with the approval of the doctoral program and the The Graduate School, a student may be admitted conditionally. This status is granted to applicants who, at the time of enrollment, require leveling work or additional courses to prepare them for doctoral work. An applicant who has been admitted conditionally will complete a degree plan with the graduate advisor that specifies the conditions to be met. The conditions may not include more than 9 hours of graduate work. Upon completion of the requirement(s), the student’s academic record will be reviewed for consideration to be granted full doctoral admission.

Because some programs accept only a limited number of students, or do not have the faculty or facilities to accommodate a student’s particular area of study, some applicants who exceed minimum requirements for admission may not be accepted.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

Students wishing to apply transfer credits toward a doctoral program must complete a Graduate Transfer Credit Approval Form within the first semester following admission into a doctoral program.

Transfer of graduate credit from a regionally accredited institution is limited to 20% of the total hours required for the doctoral degree. Hours transferred into a doctoral program should represent credit earned after the award of the master’s degree. Exceptions to the number of hours transferred may be requested by the program to the Dean of the Graduate School. Only credit with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred.

Credit earned more than six calendar years before admission to the program will not be accepted for transfer. A graduate program may request the Dean of The Graduate School to approve additional transfer credit. The program will determine what courses, if any, are accepted for transfer. The doctoral student may be examined on all transferred courses at the time of the doctoral preliminary examinations.

Transfer work does count toward the 99-Hour Rule for tuition purposes. See state law regarding the 99-Hour Rule.

University Requirements for Doctoral Degree

  1. Satisfactory completion of all coursework required by the plan of study.
  2. Satisfactory completion of the Preliminary Examination
  3. Registration for at least three credit hours during the semesters in which the Preliminary Examination and the Oral Dissertation Defense are taken and during the semester in which graduation is expected.
  4. Completion of the required residency requirements before Candidacy is awarded.
  5. Graduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0
  6. Satisfactory completion of the Oral Dissertation Defense.
  7. Submission of both a hard copy and electronic version of the approved dissertation, a separate copy of the dissertation abstract, copy of Human Subjects or Animal Subjects approval form (if required), Survey of Earned Doctorates, payment of the doctoral hood and thesis binding fees.
  8. Completion of Ph.D. degree requirements within five years after being admitted to candidacy.
  9. Completion of any incomplete coursework within 30 days of the final day of the graduation term.
  10. Complete the Application for Graduation form and return it to the Enrollment Services Center. Refer to the Application for Graduation Deadlines section for filing deadlines.

Residency and Enrollment Requirements

The doctoral degree is granted in recognition of high attainment in a specific field as demonstrated by passing coursework, the successful completion of required examinations and the successful defense of a dissertation based on original research. Consequently, the University does not specify a minimum number of courses or credits that must be completed for the degree.

Residency Requirement

The residency requirement provides students an opportunity to be engaged in concentrated study over an extended period of time in association with faculty and other students in an atmosphere conducive to a high level of intellectual and scholarly activity.

Doctoral students must be registered for nine (9) hours each semester at UT Tyler for a minimum of two consecutive semesters or six (6) hours each semester for three consecutive semesters (not necessarily including summer). However, the student does not necessarily have to be physically present on campus (for example, the student may be taking courses over the internet or doing field research). The residency requirement must be met prior to admission to candidacy.

Hours taken as part of a master’s degree or during conditional admission status may not count toward the residency requirement.

Time Limit

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed and the degree awarded within a maximum of nine years from the term of full doctoral admission, and within five calendar years from the term after the student passes the preliminary oral examination.

(Example: if the date of admission is Fall 2008, the nine-year time limit ends Summer 2017. If the student in this example is admitted to candidacy in March 2010, the time to degree expires at the end of the spring semester 2015). When extenuating circumstances warrant, the Dean of The Graduate School may grant an extension for one year. The student must complete the Request for Extension of Time Form and receive approval from the major advisor/dissertation chair and the program’s graduate director, who forwards the request to the Dean of The Graduate School.

Leave of Absence

A student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence from doctoral study for up to one year for any of the following reasons: childbearing, adoption, illness, critical care of child, spouse or parent, or job related interruptions.

To be eligible for a leave of absence, a student must not have received an extension of the time limit for the degree, must not have any Incomplete (“I”) grades, and must be in good academic standing.

If the leave of absence is approved, the time of that leave will not count against the total time allowed for the degree. Ordinarily, a leave of absence may not be renewed.

To request a leave of absence, a student must complete and submit a Request for Leave of Absence Form and receive approval from the major advisor/dissertation advisor and the program’s graduate director, who forwards the form to the Dean of The Graduate School.

Upon returning from a leave of absence, the student must complete an Application for Graduate Studies.

Inactive Status

A student not yet admitted to candidacy who has not enrolled for two consecutive calendar years and has not been granted an extension or a leave of absence will be placed in inactive status.

In order to resume graduate studies, the student must complete an Application for Graduate Studies and meet all admission requirements in force at the time of the new application. Readmission under these circumstances is not guaranteed, however. If readmitted, the student will be subject to all program requirements in force at the time the student is readmitted.

Doctoral candidates who have not enrolled for two consecutive calendar years, have not graduated by the end of the five-year candidacy period, or have not been granted an extension or a leave of absence will be placed in inactive status and their candidacy revoked.

To resume studies, the student must complete an Application for Graduate Studies and receive approval from the dissertation chair, the program’s graduate director and/or Graduate Program Committee, and the Dean of The Graduate School.

Readmission is not guaranteed, however. The faculty in the major field and/or the Dean of The Graduate School may set any readmission conditions deemed necessary, such as, but not limited to, registering for additional coursework, retaking examinations, filing a revised doctoral proposal, or completing the degree within a specified time period.

Grading Policies

(See general graduate policies)

Repeating a Course

Doctoral students may repeat a 5000- or 6000-level course if the original grade earned was a C, D, F or NC. The course may be repeated only once and the original grade continues to be included in the computation of the graduate point average. There is no grade replacement at the doctoral level. Individual programs may have limits on the number of times a student may repeat courses.

Probation/Suspension for Doctoral Students

Academic Probation

A doctoral student who has a cumulative grade-point of less than 3.0 will be placed on probation. Students on academic probation must earn a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or above in each subsequent semester of enrollment (including summer, if registered) until the cumulative grade point deficiency is removed.

Students have two semesters to remove themselves from probation. Failure to do so results in academic suspension. A student on probation should not register for more than six hours and must obtain his/her advisor’s approval on a Graduate Probation Petition for Readmission to register.

Grade points earned at other institutions are not used in computing the grade-point average and may not be used to remove a deficiency. A doctoral student who leaves the University on probation will be readmitted on probation even if he or she has attended another institution in the interim. However, readmission as a degree-seeking student is not guaranteed.

Academic Suspension

A doctoral student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress may be dismissed from the doctoral program. Failure to make satisfactory progress may be the result of, but not limited to, failure to raise grade point average to 3.0 within the subsequent two semesters, poor performance on preliminary exams, unsatisfactory research progress, or inability to meet other degree requirements.

Although cases of improper conduct of research or unprofessional behavior are addressed according to other University procedures, these behaviors may also result in dismissal from the University.

For details regarding doctoral committees, preliminary examinations, dissertation and dissertation defense, etc. please refer to the UT Tyler Graduate Handbook at

Application for Candidacy

Provided that the student has completed all required coursework, has no “incomplete” grades, has satisfactorily completed all portions of the preliminary examination, and is in good academic standing, the student is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. Candidacy is effective at the end of the semester in which the signed Recommendation for Candidacy form is submitted to The Graduate School. A notation-- “Advanced to Candidacy for Doctorate”--will appear on the student’s transcript.


All doctoral candidates are required to complete and defend a dissertation. Only students who have been admitted to candidacy may register for dissertations hours. The University requires a minimum of 9 hours of dissertation credit; however, most doctoral programs require more hours.

The dissertation is an independent scholarly contribution to knowledge in the student’s area of specialization. By researching, writing, and defending a dissertation, the student demonstrates a high level of knowledge in the chosen field and the ability to conduct independent research.

Dissertations are regarded as publications and will be made available to the public once they are approved and submitted to the Graduate School. In order to protect patent or other intellectual property rights, the Dean of The Graduate School may, upon request, delay for a period of up to one year the binding, distribution, and/or publication of the dissertation. This request must be supported by a written recommendation of the Supervising Professor.

Doctoral candidates are required to register for a minimum of 3 credits of dissertation during each semester until the dissertation is accepted by the The Graduate School. (See, Enrollment Requirements)

Animal and Human Subject Approval

Federal regulations and University policy require that all investigations using animal or human beings as subjects of research be reviewed and approved by the appropriately constituted committees before such investigations may begin.

No dissertation based on the use of animals or human beings as subjects can be accepted without prior review and approval handled in accordance with University procedures. The faculty advisor requests such a review, where needed; however, each student should check to ascertain whether the review is required, and if so, the requirements for the review.