Advising and Performance

Formation of Academic Committee

While the Ph.D. Committee, through the Program Advisor, is responsible for guiding, evaluating, and providing feedback to doctoral students during their first two years in the program, the student’s Academic Committee (AC) will assume these responsibilities once the student passes the Preliminary examination, although some guidance begins in the latter part of the second year. Specifically, the AC is responsible for: a) the authorization of the degree plan (selection of focused research and other relevant courses for the student’s dissertation plans); b) the Preliminary exam; and c) assessing the dissertation proposal and dissertation defense.  Given the importance of the AC, students are encouraged during the first year of study to take the initiative to meet the department’s faculty to identify research interests and a potential chair for the academic committee.  Appointments of chairs of academic committees will be determined in consultation with the Department Head.

Performance Standards

The grading standards within the department are significantly more rigid than the university requirements.  Any student who receives two C’s or two U’s or a combination of the two while in the program will be recommended to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for automatic dismissal.  In addition, students are required to maintain a GPA of 3.5.  If the GPA falls below this threshold, a student will be put on academic probation for the following semester.  Failure to raise the grade above the threshold by the end of the following semester will result in recommendation to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for automatic dismissal.

The Ph.D. Coordinator will review the performance of each Ph.D. student at the end of each semester in the first two years of the program.  This process will be based on grades to date and completed questionnaires from faculty conducting Ph.D. seminars and other courses.  The purpose of the review is to provide constructive feedback to students and for them to know whether or not they are making satisfactory progress in the program.  Students with two or more performance reviews of unsatisfactory progress may be recommended for dismissal.