Academic Programs Catalog

College of Natural Science

Graduate Study

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded for an original contribution to scientific knowledge and high attainment of scholarship in the mathematical or natural sciences.  This degree, with its emphasis on research in the frontiers of science, is the traditional terminal degree in the College of Natural Science.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Admission may be granted to a student who has a record of high scholastic attainment and demonstrated research potential acceptable to the department or program and to the college. A master's degree in an appropriate subject–matter field may be required, but the completion of a master's degree is not a guarantee of admission. Most programs require the applicant to submit Graduate Record Examination General Test scores; many also require the Graduate Record Examination Subject Test in the area of specialization.

Admission to provisional status may be used to indicate incomplete records, incomplete interpretation of available records, grade–point average below 3.00 but with additional evidence of good capacity, or minor deficiencies in subject matter.

Students may be transferred from one classification to another at any time by the dean, normally upon the recommendation of the department.

Academic Standards

The minimum standard is a 3.00 grade–point average. Standards may be set higher than the minimum by the academic unit responsible for the degree program. The accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each, or deferreds in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each at any given time, or a combination of the above in excess of four courses automatically removes the student from candidacy for the degree.

A student who fails to meet the academic standards for any program may, on recommendation of the director, be required by the dean to withdraw at the end of any semester.


In some programs a student may be permitted to enter the doctoral program without taking a master's degree. In such cases 30 semester credits of approved work are considered the equivalent of the master's degree, and the minimum residence requirement for the combined program is three semesters, involving at least 4 credits of graduate work each semester.