Minimum Semester Hours Required
At least 96 from the baccalaureate or at least 64 from the master’s degree; some degree programs require more.
Credit for Prior Master’s Degree
Doctoral candidates who have previously earned a master’s degree or its equivalent from UIC or another accredited institution may be granted 32 semester hours of credit toward the doctoral degree if approved by the program and the Graduate College at the time of admission. Degree equivalency from foreign institutions is determined by the Office of Admissions. The 32 hours are subtracted from the total hours required from the baccalaureate. The 32 hours are not included in the maximum allowed transfer credit limit. A petition is not required.
At least 48 semester hours beyond the master’s level or its equivalent must be taken at UIC. The formal course requirements for a master’s degree must be met within the 96 hours.
Students who do not hold a fellowship, assistantship, or tuition and fee waiver, and who have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation, and who do not wish to register for additional coursework, must register for Zero Hours.
Not required by the Graduate College; may be required by the program.
Departmental Qualifying Examination:
Preliminary Examination (Admission to Candidacy):
Students must be registered the term in which the Preliminary Examination is taken, even if the exam will occur in the Summer term. Once the Preliminary Examination is passed, students must maintain registration through the term of successful defense, excluding Summer terms, unless the defense will occur during a Summer term. If the defense occurs during the first official ten days of the term (five days in Summer), the student does not have to register if the student was registered the previous term.
Students who do not complete the degree requirements within five (5) years of passing the preliminary examination must retake the examination; programs may specify a shorter time period. Combined programs leading to two degrees may require additional study beyond the period normally involved for completing requirements for the PhD degree; and may require an extension of the 5 year rule.
Prior Publication of Research Findings:
All candidates for the PhD degree must have an advisor who is a member of the UIC graduate faculty. The advisor is considered the primary reader of the dissertation. The defense must be open to the academic community of the university and be publicly announced one week prior to its occurrence.
The dissertation committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the student’s department or program. The defense committee consists of at least five persons, of whom one must be from outside their program. The chair of the committee must be a full member of the UIC graduate faculty. At least two members of the committee must be tenured faculty at UIC; at least one must be from outside the degree-granting program, which may include graduate faculty from other UIC departments or colleges. The outside member can also be from outside the university, in which case the member must demonstrate equivalent academic standards; the members’ curriculum vitae must accompany the Committee Recommendation Form. A Committee Recommendation Form must be submitted to the Graduate College three weeks prior to the dissertation defense. The committee vote is “pass” or “fail.” A candidate cannot be passed if more than one vote of “fail” is reported. The Department Head or Director of Graduate Studies signature is required on the Committee Recommendation Form before a student is considered to have met the requirements of the dissertation.
Students must be continuously registered from the term in which the Preliminary Examination is taken through the term of a successful defense (not graduation), excluding Summer terms, unless the defense will occur during a Summer term. If the defense occurs during the first official ten days of the term (five days in Summer), the student does not have to register if the student was registered the previous term.
Students admitted to the Graduate College with a master’s degree or who continue in the Graduate College after completing the master’s degree at UIC must complete the degree requirements within seven consecutive calendar years after initial registration as a doctoral student. Students admitted to the Graduate College without a master’s degree who proceed directly to the doctorate must complete degree requirements within nine consecutive calendar years of initial registration as a doctoral student. Students who do not graduate by these deadlines will be dismissed from the Graduate College for failure to progress. Time spent on a leave of absence approved by the program and the Graduate College is not counted toward the degree time limit (see Leave of Absence (PDF)).
Attendance at commencement is voluntary. Because doctoral candidates are individually recognized and hooded by their research advisor at the ceremony, they must inform the Graduate College whether or not they will attend. The yearly commencement exercises in May recognize all students awarded degrees in the previous three terms. More information.