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    Feb 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctoral degree requirements



Application for admission

Applications must be submitted online at www.applytexas.org. Application is made through the Toulouse Graduate School. Most doctoral programs require supplemental application materials. Contact the academic program for additional information on supplemental materials and deadlines.

General requirements

The candidate must earn a minimum number of hours of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree or hours beyond the bachelor’s degree as specified by the degree program. These minimum graduate credit hours, which are at least 30 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, as developed by the program’s graduate faculty and approved by graduate council will vary by discipline as required to achieve a level of research expertise that is competitive for graduates from the program.

Program quantitative requirements must be regarded as a minimum. The quantity of course work to be completed by each candidate is arranged individually by the supervisory committee, subject to the approval of the graduate school, and may be modified both as to quantity and as to type during the progress of the student’s course work.

Minor field

The candidate for the doctoral degree ordinarily is required to select a minor field. A minor is defined as graduate work completed outside the student’s major. Minor areas of study can only be chosen from academic areas in which the University of North Texas is already authorized to offer a major or where specific Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval has been given to offer courses for the purposes of a minor.

When an official minor is required or opted, the candidate’s graduate advisory committee must include a faculty member from that area who will verify accountability in the minor area through comprehensive examinations, dissertation projects or other appropriate means.

For doctoral degrees, the student must complete at least 12 hours in a single area to have the area count as a minor. All hours counted toward a minor must carry graduate credit and must be numbered 5000 or above. No more than one-half of the required hours toward a minor may be transferred from another institution unless an approved graduate school minor articulation agreement is in effect.

Twelve hours of undergraduate credit or appropriate graduate-level work are the usual prerequisite for a minor in any field. (Exception: In the case of a minor in a foreign language, the student is required to have completed the second term/semester of the sophomore year of study in the intended minor language.) In departments that offer no freshman courses only 6 hours of undergraduate credit are required as prerequisite to a graduate minor in that field.

Minors are not required on certain graduate degrees. Consult subsequent sections of this publication for specific regulations governing the degree sought.

Entrance examinations

Doctoral programs may require an admission examination. Entrance examination requirements vary according to the requirements of the different departments and colleges. Entrance requirements ordinarily must be completed before the close of the first term/semester of doctoral study. Consult the appropriate graduate advisor for specific entrance examination requirements.

Residence requirement

Every doctoral degree candidate must complete the residence requirement at UNT. The residence requirement in a doctoral program is to ensure the educational immersion of students in a research and learning environment with faculty, peers and staff. This involvement can take place in forms other than those of a student being physically on campus. Programs are allowed to set the residence requirements that best fit their program. Students are expected to consult with their departments regarding specific residence requirements for their degree.

Level of work required

All of the courses required for the doctorate above the level of the master’s degree must be numbered 5000 or above. Hours counted toward earning a master’s degree cannot be counted toward hours necessary to complete the doctorate.

Time limitation

All work to be credited toward the doctoral degree beyond the master’s degree must be completed within a period of 8 years from the date doctoral credit is first earned. Course credit beyond the master’s degree that is more than 10 years old at the time the doctoral program will be completed will not be counted toward the doctorate, unless a request for an extension of time to include those courses is submitted with all necessary department and college support.

Students exceeding the time limit may be required to repeat the comprehensive exam, replace out-of-date credits with up-to-date work, and/or show other evidence of being up-to-date in their major and minor fields. Students anticipating they will exceed the time limit should apply for an extension of time before their seventh year of study. For information regarding extensions go to tgs.unt.edu/extension.htm. Holding a full-time job is not considered in itself sufficient grounds for granting a time extension.

Time spent in active military service of the United States will not be considered in computing these time limits. However, career members of the armed forces should consult the graduate school concerning credit given to work completed before or during active military service.

Leave of absence

Leave of absence applies to students admitted to the master’s or doctoral degree who wish to discontinue work toward the degree for a specified period of time due to exigent circumstances. If approved, the leave of absence may “stop the clock” on the time limit for the degree for a maximum of three terms (excluding summer). In the case of extenuating circumstances, a second leave of absence may be requested and may be approved by the Associate Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School on the recommendation from the student’s committee, graduate coordinator, department chair, and the college academic associate dean. If the student has begun their dissertation and is under the continuous enrollment requirement, a waiver of continuous enrollment must also be requested and approved by the Toulouse Graduate School. Degree requirements and graduation must be completed within the appropriate time limit for completion of the degree.

Transfer credit

Subject to the approval of the department, program, school or college, a student who holds a bachelor’s degree and who has been admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School at UNT may apply into a doctoral degree. This section applies only to graduate credit not used for a degree. Subsequent sections note use of credit for concurrent and conferred degrees.

Credits earned for graduate study at other universities (both domestic and international) may be applied toward an advanced degree. Typically, semester credit hours associated with graduate courses for which grades of B or better were earned are eligible for transfer. Any additional conditions under which credit transfers may be made are determined by the departments/programs. For courses to count toward a doctoral program at UNT, they must have been taken from an accredited degree-granting institution. 

Advanced study may be accepted and credited toward the doctorate, provided the candidate’s advisory committee and/or department recommends acceptance of transfer credit to the graduate school. Graduate semester credit hours taken as a non-degree seeking or certification-only student may be used toward a degree with approval from the academic department.

In accordance with the rules of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, at least one-third of the semester credit hours required for any graduate degree must be completed in course work at UNT. The graduate program committee is responsible for compliance with program accreditation requirements. For any transfer credit to count toward a doctoral degree, the courses transferred must have been taken within the time limit established by the Toulouse Graduate School.

The number of semester credit hours accepted by transfer from an institution within the UNT System or an accredited university is determined by a student’s department and/or program.

Requirements for the concurrent degree

Subject to the approval of the Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School and the department, division, school or college concerned, a graduate student may be allowed to complete a concurrent doctoral degree with a minimum of 36 additional semester credit hours of approved course work in residence at UNT in accordance with the specifications of an approved degree plan. In most cases, the applicant’s major on the first doctorate will be counted as the minor on the second doctorate, thus the reduction in the minimum require hours to 36.

The maximum number of semester credit hours that are usable from a concurrent master’s degree is 6 hours. A graduate student may be allowed to complete a concurrent doctoral degree with a minimum of 36 additional semester credit hours.

The 36-hour minimum will ordinarily include dissertation credit amounting to 12 hours. Provision of a minimum number of credits to be earned in no way restricts the major department from requiring additional deficiency work and/or additional work on the doctoral program itself.

Transfer credit for conferred semester credit hours

Students in any graduate program may request the use of a limited number of credits from a conferred degree toward the requirements of a second degree. Credits may never be used for three or more degrees; if a student seeks a third degree, it must stand alone. A degree may overlap with only one other degree for the purpose of using credits from a previously conferred degree. This only applies to graduate level credits earned for a graduate level degree.

The maximum number of semester credit hours that are usable from a previously conferred master’s degree is 6 hours.

Students pursuing two overlapping degrees have the option to use credits from a prior degree, where the courses meet specific requirements in a degree such as a minor or specific tool requirement. In all cases the program faculty must review the courses and make a decision about the appropriateness to their program. In terms of the use of conferred degree credits, the maximum number of semester credit hours that are usable from a previously conferred doctoral degree toward the new degree is determined as follows:

  • up to 6 semester credit hours in a 30- to 35-hour program,
  • up to 9 semester credit hours in a 36- to 59-hour program,
  • up to 12 semester credit hours in a program of 60 hours or more.

For any transfer credit to count toward a degree, the courses transferred must have been taken within the time limit established by the Toulouse Graduate School. The number of credits counted from a conferred degree will have to be determined on a program-by-program basis dependent upon the number of credit hours in the program. Departments and programs may limit the counting of previously conferred semester credit hours below the maximum but may not allow counting above the limit. Some programs may not allow counting of previously conferred degree semester credit hours.

For a doctoral student who wants to use their doctoral credits toward a master’s degree in another program, the department/program granting the master’s will decide how many credits may apply toward the master’s degree as long as they are within the limits allowed for as described above. Departments must include documentation for approved transfer courses, stating what course(s) the transfer work is substituting, and the reasons for allowing the substitution.

Graduate academic certificates transfer credit

Subject to the approval of the department, program, school or college, a student who is enrolled in a graduate academic certificate and who has been admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School at UNT may apply to a graduate degree.

Credits from graduate certificates leading to a doctoral degree must have been taken within the time limit established by the Toulouse Graduate School.

At the discretion of the department/program, stackable certificates may be applied towards a doctoral degree. Students are encouraged to apply for and be admitted to a doctoral program as early as possible.

Foreign language or tool-subject requirement

The tool subject is at the discretion of the program and is not a university requirement. Foreign language or tool-subject requirements differ for the various doctoral degrees and majors. Some departments require students to satisfy the foreign language requirement while other departments have established other tool-subjects. Students should consult subsequent sections of this publication or the graduate advisor of the major department or school for the specific requirements of the degree sought.

Foreign language requirements may be satisfied in any one of the following ways or in a manner acceptable to the program:

  1. By passing the Foreign Language Proficiency Examination administered each term/semester and summer session/term by the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (contact that department for examination requirements). The application, together with information on a prerequisite screening test, must be obtained in the office of the chair of the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures; scheduled dates for taking the examination in the current academic year appear in the online academic calendar at www.unt.edu/catalog.

  2. By submitting a transcript of undergraduate credit showing completion of at least the sophomore year in a single foreign language, provided the grade point average on all language courses is 2.75 or higher.

    Language requirements must have been satisfied no earlier than 10 years prior to the date on which the student completes the qualifying examination and is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. If the student’s language proficiency or proficiencies have been demonstrated at an earlier date, they must be validated in a manner acceptable to the program.
     
  3. Students may use their native language (other than English) to satisfy this requirement if their native language is relevant to their degree program and proficiency can be established by the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures or by working with their academic department to obtain evidence of proficiency that is relevant to the discipline. If the academic department establishes proficiency, a letter documenting the process and stating the proficiency should be sent to the graduate school for the student’s file.

Tool subject requirements are designated at the academic program level. Students must check with their program advisor for courses that satisfy the tool subject requirement.

Candidates for graduate degrees to be awarded at the close of any summer session/term must have satisfied the foreign language or tool subject requirements for the degree sought prior to the first class day of the second term of the session. Candidates for graduation at the close of the spring or fall term/semester must have satisfied the foreign language or tool subject requirements prior to the last day for filing dissertation in the graduate school. Consult the online academic calendar (visit www.unt.edu/catalog/ and select “Online Academic Calendar”) for the proper deadline.

Degree plan

A degree plan listing all courses required for the doctoral degree should be completed by the student, approved by the student’s advisory committee and department chair, and submitted to the graduate school at an early point in the student’s progress toward the degree, preferably soon after the first term/semester of doctoral study has been completed.

The major professor and committee members are chosen on the advice of the department or division chair or graduate advisor in the major area. All subsequent requests for degree plan changes must be submitted in writing by the major professor to the graduate school.

Specific graduate degree requirements are stated in the approved degree plan and can be based on either the Graduate Catalog currently in force at the time the student first matriculates or subsequent Graduate Catalog under which the student enrolled.

Courses listed on the degree plan must carry letter grades, with the exception of those courses in which the student is engaged in individual research and is not attending an organized class. These courses, with the approval of the department, may be assigned pass/no pass grades.

The student should review the entire Doctoral Requirements section of the current catalog to prepare the degree plan. The degree plan should also be reviewed by the student in the semester prior to graduation in order to update any changes to the plan with the major professor and the graduate school.

Qualifying examination and admission to candidacy

The student who has completed all courses required for the degree (exclusive of dissertation) and has satisfied all admission, residency, language and other tool-subject requirements should request that the major professor arrange for the qualifying examination to be held. Consult the graduate advisor in the major area for information about the qualifying examination requirement.

Ordinarily no dissertation enrollment is permitted until this examination has been passed. Students are admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree by the graduate school upon successful completion of the qualifying examination and other requirements. The department should notify the Office of the Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School when a student passes the qualifying examination and is admitted to candidacy.

Dissertation requirement

Continuous enrollment

A dissertation is required of all candidates for the doctorate. No more than 9–12 semester hours of dissertation credit are applied to the degree program, even though more dissertation hours may be accumulated. The student is required to enroll for dissertation credit in the major department under the course number 6950/6954 and must maintain continuous enrollment in a minimum of 3 semester hours of 6950/6954 during each fall and spring term/semester until the dissertation has been accepted by the graduate school. Maximum enrollment in 6950/6954 is 9 hours in a fall or spring term/semester. Dissertation registration in at least one summer session/term is required if the student is using university facilities and/or faculty time during that summer session/term or to graduate in August. Doctoral students must maintain continuous enrollment subsequent to passing the qualifying examination for admission to candidacy. Grades of PR will be recorded at the end of each term/semester of enrollment with satisfactory progress until the dissertation is filed with and approved by the Toulouse Graduate School.

Students admitted to doctoral study who wish to complete a pass-through master’s degree that requires a thesis must also maintain continuous enrollment in a minimum of 3 semester hours each fall and spring term/semester and in at least one summer session/term if the student is using university facilities or faculty time during that summer session/term. Continuous enrollment is required through the graduating semester.

Failure to maintain continuous enrollment through the semester in which the defended dissertation is filed with the graduate school will either invalidate any previous dissertation credit or will result in the student’s being dismissed from the degree program, unless granted an official leave of absence by the graduate school in advance. Strict adherence to the on-time filing deadlines for graduation is required or additional registration in 6950/6954 may be necessary.

Composition of the dissertation examination committee

A dissertation committee is composed of graduate faculty with the expertise needed to support the research goals of the student. Dissertation committee members serve in a mentoring capacity, offering constructive feedback on research and the written and oral presentation of that research. Within the program’s guidelines and upon collaboration with faculty, a dissertation committee is established that creates a balanced academic experience that exceeds the needs of the student. The University of North Texas and the Toulouse Graduate School rely upon committee members to oversee all aspects of a student’s dissertation/thesis research. The committee is responsible for ensuring that the student complies with all the policies and regulations of their program, college, and the university. The number of members on such committees will normally be three to five, and at least three are required.

In cases in which the academic unit has specified particular departmental or college procedures for dissertation committee members, the student will follow the specified procedures provided they do not conflict with this policy. In cases in which an interdisciplinary program is not housed under a specific discipline, the interdisciplinary program will coordinate the selection of committee members with involved disciplines and the Toulouse Graduate School.

The dissertation chair is the student’s mentor and guide through this process of the demonstration of independent scholarship. Therefore, the chair of the dissertation committee, who must be willing to serve, is selected by the student in consultation with the appropriate graduate faculty, doctoral advisor or department chair in the student’s discipline. The dissertation chair must hold full membership on the graduate faculty. The Graduate Faculty is composed of Full Members and Associate Members. Students should consult the departmental policy for the selection of the remaining committee members.

A person who is not a regular member of the University of North Texas graduate faculty may receive a temporary graduate faculty appointment from the Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School in order to serve on a committee. For these appointments, the dissertation committee chair should submit an associate membership nomination form, a justification for the appointment and a vita of the prospective committee member. Associate members typically cannot chair a thesis or dissertation committee. With the approval of the department, associate members who have a terminal degree may serve as co-chairs of master’s and doctoral committees in partnership with a full member of the graduate faculty. Exceptions may be permitted in limited circumstances for associate members with a terminal degree to serve as chair, at the request of the department and with the approval of the graduate school. The majority of committee members must hold regular UNT faculty status.

Format

Before beginning the dissertation, the student should consult the graduate reader for information concerning the proper form for preparation of the paper.

Openness of theses and dissertations

The University of North Texas, as a member of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), endorses the fundamental tenet on openness and access of thesis and dissertation research as stated in the CGS policy manual The Doctor of Philosophy Degree: A Policy Statement (CGS, 2005). In compliance with CGS, it is the policy at the University of North Texas that “an essential aspect of [thesis] and dissertation research and scholarship is the free and full dissemination of research results. Restrictions, either in the conduct of [thesis] and dissertation research or in the sharing of its results, are antithetical to that spirit.” Therefore, research that is classified by a government agency or that is proprietary in nature and restricted, insofar as it must be held to secrecy and cannot be openly evaluated or published, is unsuitable for master’s or doctoral research (CGS, 2005, pp. 29–30).

Faculty advisors of students conducting thesis and dissertation research shall advise their students and abide by the following:

  1. If the faculty director of the thesis or dissertation is covered by a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), if either the faculty director and/or the student know in advance that the information or work planned for use in the thesis or dissertation is under an NDA or other restriction in which the work must be held to secrecy, or if at the time the topic of the thesis or dissertation is set there is any other substantial possibility that the work will lead to a thesis or dissertation that is secret (either in whole or in part), the student will not include this information or work as part of the thesis or dissertation.

  2. If in the process of the student’s thesis or dissertation research the student is developing a patentable work, the Vice President for Research and Innovation must be notified as soon as possible and the utility patent filed so as to allow an open defense and publication of the thesis or dissertation.

  3. In the circumstances in which the dissertation is close to completion or has been completed and a patentable work was unforeseen, the defense examination will be open only to the student’s committee and departmental faculty and the dissertation held from publication until the utility patent has been filed or for no longer than 90 days after the defense examination, whichever is the shorter time period, unless the Vice President for Research and Innovation requests an additional limited period of time for the utility patent.

  4. Students may place a 6-month, 1-year, 2-year, or 5-year embargo on their electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD).To allow students to receive informed guidance from their faculty advisors, embargo choice must be approved by the major professor at the time the ETD is filed with the Graduate School. An embargo prevents any and all users from viewing or downloading the ETD PDF, for the duration of the selected embargo period; however, the abstract and library catalog entry are available to all users throughout the entire embargo period. Embargo period begins on the 1st day of month following the graduation month, and expires on the last day of the month at the end of the embargo period. Students have the option of adding a period of restricted access at the end of the embargo period, lasting 5 years. Faculty approval is not required for extension requests. During the restricted access period, the ETD is available to the UNT community only (i.e., users with a valid UNT login). Distribution via interlibrary loans is not permitted; however, the abstract and library catalog entry continues to be available to all users. Students will need to notify Toulouse Graduate School (email acceptable) within 30 days prior to the expiration of the embargo, if optional restriction is desired.

[Attributions: Portions of this policy were taken from The Doctor of Philosophy Degree: A Policy Statement (Council of Graduate Schools, 2005) and Openness in Research (Stanford University Research Policy Handbook, Document 2.6, 2001).]

Completion

When the dissertation is completed and has received preliminary approval of the advisory committee, the student’s major professor will schedule the final defense and will notify the Toulouse Graduate School of the date and time of the examination. Students should apply for graduation with the graduate school in accordance with the graduate graduation deadlines and at least 10 days prior to the final defense of their dissertation. The dissertation may not be submitted to the dean of the student’s college or the graduate school until this final examination has been passed.

No dissertation credit will be recorded until the dissertation has been approved by the student’s advisory committee, submitted and approved by the Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School. Instructions for submission of the dissertation may be obtained from the graduate school.

Requirements for the second doctorate

Applicants who hold an earned doctorate from an institution with Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognized accreditation or an equivalent credential from a foreign institution may be admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School to work toward a second doctorate, subject to the following provisions.

  1. The applicant must meet all requirements governing admission to the Toulouse Graduate School and to the degree program to be pursued.

  2. The applicant must meet all requirements of the program to be pursued as to acceptable test (GRE, GMAT, etc.) scores, admission examinations, auditions, portfolios of work, letters of reference, etc.

  3. The applicant must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours of approved course work in residence at UNT in accordance with the specifications of an approved degree plan. In most cases, the applicant’s major on the first doctorate will be counted as the minor on the second doctorate, thus the reduction in the minimum required hours to 36.

This minimum program will ordinarily include dissertation credit amounting to 12 hours. Provision of a minimum number of credits to be earned in no way restricts the major department from requiring additional deficiency work and/or additional work on the doctoral program itself.

Continuous enrollment

A student must maintain continuous enrollment in a minimum of 3 semester hours of dissertation during each fall and spring term/semester, including the term/semester the dissertation is accepted by the Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School.

Dissertation registration in at least one summer session/term is required if the student is using university facilities and/or faculty time during that summer session/term or to graduate in August.

Doctoral students must maintain continuous enrollment subsequent to passing the qualifying examination for admission to candidacy.

Failure to maintain continuous enrollment through the semester of graduation will either invalidate any previous dissertation credit or will result in the student’s being dropped from the degree program, unless granted an official leave of absence by the graduate school in advance. Strict adherence to the on-time filing deadlines for graduation is required or additional registration in 6950/6954 may be necessary.

Milestones for the doctoral student

Procedure Initiate through Approved by Time
1. Apply for admission. Submit all official transcripts and an official copy of the appropriate standardized test score. Dean of Toulouse Graduate School Department Chair and Dean of Toulouse Graduate School At least six weeks prior to registration (7 to 8 months prior to registration for foreign students). Note: Some programs have specific deadlines in advance of these suggested time periods.
2. Become familiar with general regulations and appropriate doctoral degree section of catalog. Student   Before registration.
3. Meet with graduate advisor assigned by department chair to plan course of study for first semester. Department Chair and Graduate Advisor Graduate Advisor Before first semester registration.
4. Establish advisory committee; prepare proposed degree program. Graduate Advisor and Department Chair Major Professor, Department Chair and Dean of Toulouse Graduate School During first semester.
5. Submit degree plan to the Graduate School for approval. Advisory Committee, Major Professor, Graduate Advisor and Student Dean of Toulouse Graduate School During first semester.
6. Complete course work detailed on proposed degree program and meet foreign language or tool-subject requirement.     Prior to qualifying examination. (See specific degree requirements for details.)
7. Take written/oral qualifying examination. Major Professor   Per departmental requirements.
8. Submit form to add university member to doctoral committee. Major Professor Dean of Toulouse Graduate School Well in advance of dissertation proposal presentation.
9. Check Graduating Graduate Student website Orientation and Transition Programs   The beginning or your final year.
10. Submit proposal for dissertation. Major Professor and Advisory Committee   Well in advance of expected graduation date.
11. Prepare dissertation. Advisory Committee   Per departmental requirements.
12. Apply to graduate. Student Dean of Toulouse Graduate School During final semester. (See deadline at tgs.unt.edu/new-current-students/graduation-information).
13. Schedule final defense of dissertation. Advisory Committee Dean of Toulouse Graduate School No later than 4 to 5 weeks prior to filing deadline. Notify graduate school of date and time.
14. Submit final defended copy of dissertation. Advisory Committee and Dean of Toulouse Graduate School Dean of Toulouse Graduate School See deadline at tgs.unt.edu/new-current-students/graduation-information.
15. Arrange for cap and gown at University Bookstore.     By deadline date for placing order.