Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
A student admitted into the Ph.D. Program is classified as a Ph.D. Applicant. After the successful completion of the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination (described below), the classification of the student changes to Ph.D. Candidate. Each Ph.D. Applicant must obtain, from the Office of Graduate Studies, the Ph.D. Forms Booklet. This booklet contains forms for filing Plan of Study, appointment and approval of supervising professor, appointment of various examination committees, and reporting of the results of these examinations. The rules, regulations, and procedures pertaining to the required credits and the governance of the Ph.D. Candidacy Examinations are described below.
3.1 Ph.D. Degree Requirements
The Ph.D. degree requirements include 5 major elements:
- Course Requirements
- Candidacy Examination
- Thesis Committee and Meetings
- Thesis Proposal
- Thesis Completion and Defense
3.1.1 Ph.D. Course Requirements
By graduation, Ph.D. students must have completed:
(a) For students entering the Ph.D. program with a M.Sc. degree – 45 credits of graduate courses out of which 18 credits are graduate courses exclusive of Independent Study and Dissertation. If the M.Sc. degree was not from the MEM department, 12 of these 18 credits must be MEM graduate courses (600-level or above).
(b) For students entering the Ph.D. program with a B.Sc. degree (i.e. without a M.Sc. degree) – 90 credits of graduate courses. 45 of these 90 credits must satisfy the MSME degree requirements. The remaining 45 credits must satisfy the requirement in (a) above.
3.1.2 Ph.D. Candidacy Examination
Every Ph.D. Applicant is required to take the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination.
A graduate student in the Ph.D. program with good academic standing must be nominated by his/her supervising advisor to take the candidacy examination.
188.8.131.52. Examination Committee
a. The Candidacy Examination Committee can be formed as soon as the student enters the PhD program, but no later than four weeks before the student takes the candidacy examination.
b. With the consent of the student, the supervising advisor forms the Candidacy Examination Committee for the student. The supervising advisor may serve in this committee but cannot serve as chair of this committee.
c. Membership of the Committee is as stipulated in the Graduate Studies Office D3 Form: The Committee must consist of at least five members, at least three of whom must be currently tenured or tenure-track Drexel faculty members. At least two of the committee members must be from outside the student's major area. At least one of the committee members must be from outside the student's department.
d. During the transition period of 12 calendar months from the start of implementation of the new rule (i.e. starting from May 1st 2010), the following transitional mechanism is activated:
Unless otherwise approved by the Graduate Advisor, one member of the candidacy exam committee will need be a member of the Graduate Curriculum Committee – in order to ensure consistency and provide feedback to the Graduate Curriculum Committee on the way the candidacy exams are administered. At the discretion of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, the Graduate Advisor can deputize an experienced non-committee faculty member to perform this service on behalf of the Graduate Curriculum Committee.
The above transitional mechanism will sunset (cease to apply) after 12 calendar months.
184.108.40.206. Structure of the Candidacy Examination
The Candidacy Examination consists of two components: 1) a “course component” and 2) a “research component”. The student must demonstrate excellence in both components.
220.127.116.11.1. Course Component
At the discretion of the supervising advisor, and with the approval of the MEM Graduate Advisor, the course-component for attaining Candidacy can be satisfied by either one of the following two mechanisms
Excellent performance (a grade of A) in any two core courses from MEM core areas
Excellent performance in a written examination prepared by the Candidacy Examination Committee. The content covered in this examination is decided by the Committee.
18.104.22.168.2 Research Component
The research-component of attaining Candidacy is satisfied by a written report and an oral presentation of a review. The Committee selects three or more papers in student’s declared research area for student to conduct a critical review. In three weeks the student submits a written report (less than 10 pages) and makes an oral presentation within one week after the written report has been submitted. The presentation (less than 40 minutes) is followed by questions by the Committee. The goals of the questions: To evaluate the student’s knowledge in the scientific fields related to the research area, including related background and fundamental material, and the student’s ability to integrate information germane to success in research.
Post-BS PhD student (i.e. student who enters the Ph.D. program without a prior M.S. degree): Must take the Candidacy Examination within 2 years after entry to the PhD program. Post-MS PhD student (i.e. student who enters the Ph.D. program with a prior M.S. degree): Must take the Candidacy Examination within the first year after entry to the PhD program. This timing is consistent with the Graduate Studies Office requirement on accumulated credits to attain Ph.D. Candidate status, and with the Graduate Studies Office requirement that all programs must allow their doctoral students to attain Doctoral Candidate Status within the first 2 years of the program.
22.214.171.124.1. Repeat examination
At the discretion of the Candidacy Examination Committee, a student who does not pass the course-component and/or the research component of the Candidacy examinations may retake the respective component examination once.
126.96.36.199. Release from Ph.D. Program
Release from the Ph.D. Program will be consistent with Drexel policy. A student who does not attain Candidacy status within two years after first entry into the Ph.D. program, will be released from the Ph. D. program.
3.1.3. Thesis Advisory Committee and Committee Meetings
Upon successful completion of the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, the student’s Supervising Professor will form a Thesis Advisory Committee for the student. This committee is chaired by the Supervising Professor. Its membership is governed by the stipulation in Form D-5 "Ph.D. Thesis Advisory Committee" of the Office of Graduate Studies. The Thesis Advisory Committee is required to meet at least once every twelve months.
3.1.4. Thesis Proposal
The Ph.D. Candidate is required to give a presentation of his/her Dissertation topic to his/her Thesis Advisory Committee. This presentation should be publicly announced and open to the public. The student will submit a comprehensive Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal, which normally will include but not limited to abstract, introduction, detailed literature review, research progress, proposed research, and timetable. The committee will approve/reject the general methodology and approach and the scope of work so that it can be completed in a manageable time. The result of the presentation will be reported to the Graduate Advisor on MEM GR-4 Form "Approval of the Ph.D. Dissertation Topic" (see Section 5 Required Forms).
3.1.5 Foreign Students with M.S. Degree from Foreign Institutions
Students under this category may be required to take a special course in an "English as a Second Language" Program before entering Drexel University. Information on this course is provided upon application to the Graduate Program at Drexel University. Once admitted to Drexel University, in order to be appointed as Teaching Assistants, students must enter into Drexel's Incoming Foreign Teaching Assistant Program. The program is recommended for all incoming foreign students for improving their proficiency in the English language and for exposing them to the teaching techniques and campus life at Drexel University.
3.1.6 Other Requirements
All Ph.D. Candidates are expected to teach and participate in other educational activities of the MEM Department, such as the departmental Seminar Series.
3.2 Ph.D. Procedural Requirements
3.2.1 The D Forms
The sequential D-Forms of the Office of Graduate Studies guide the student step-by-step through the procedural requirements of the Ph.D. process.
Form D-1[PDF]: Plan of Study
Upon approval by their Advisors, students in the Ph.D. Program must file a Form D-1 "Ph.D. Plan of Study" with the Office of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Advisor as soon as possible but prior to the third quarter of study. This Plan of Study should clearly indicate how the course requirements cited above are satisfied, and list all required examinations, such as Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, along with the dates taken or expected to be taken.
Form D-2[PDF]: Appointment of a Supervising Professor
A supervising professor should be appointed using the Form D-2 by the end of a doctoral student's second year of study.
Form D-3[PDF]: Doctoral Candidacy Committee Appointment & Exam Schedule
The Form D-3 must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies at least four (4) weeks prior to the scheduled date of the examination. This form specifies the required composition of the Doctoral Candidacy Committee and documents the committee members. Please follow specific committee composition requirements on the form.
Forms D-4 and D-4a[PDF]: Reports on Candidacy Examination
Students should bring Form D-4 and copies of Form D-4a for each committee member to their examination.
Form D-5[PDF]: Appointment of the Thesis Advisory Committee
The Form D-5 should be filed prior to the proposal defense. This form specifies the required composition of the Thesis Advisory Committee and documents the committee members. Please follow specific committee composition requirements on the form.
Form D-6[PDF]: Appointment of the Final Oral Defense Committee
This form is used to schedule the final defense of the dissertation. It is to be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies at least four (4) weeks prior to the final defense date.
Form D-7[PDF]: Report of the Final Oral Defense Committee
This form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies within 48 hours after the completion of the final oral examination. This form documents the results of the final dissertation oral defense. Students should bring Form D-7 to their examination.
3.2.2 Clearance of Ph.D. Candidate for Graduation
The Ph.D. Candidate will be cleared for graduation by the Graduate Advisor after filling out the MEM GR-5 Form [PDF] "Clearance for Ph.D. Degree Applicant" (see Section 5 Required Forms) to ascertain that all departmental requirements have been satisfied. This form must be filed 30 days prior to and not later than 10 days before the end of the quarter in which the student is expected to complete the requirements.
Finally, following the approval of MEM GR-5 Form, the Ph.D. Candidate must complete the Completion Form [PDF] with the Office of Graduate Studies. Submission of the Dissertation with the Drexel University Library is a prerequisite for completing this form. The Completion Form should be filed as soon as possible but no later than the first day of final examination week of the term in which they plan to graduate.