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PhD Graduate Program Guide

Doctoral Program

Degree Requirements

Admission to Candidacy

Upon passing the comprehensive examination the student becomes eligible for admission to candidacy. The Application for Candidacy form must be filed in the Graduate School and approved by the Graduate Dean at least one semester prior to the awarding of the degree. Once this approval is received the student is deemed a PhD candidate.

Research Proposal

The research proposal serves two purposes, it shows to the committee the work that the candidate has already completed on the topic of planned dissertation and secondly, the work that the candidate plans to pursue towards completion of the dissertation. It is the committee's discretion to require the student to make an oral presentation; however a research proposal document must be submitted to the committee and filed with the CSE department.


The most clearly distinguishing characteristic of a program leading to the Ph.D. degree is the requirement that the candidate write a dissertation embodying the results of significant and original investigation. The dissertation must make a real contribution to the engineering or the applied science discipline, and it is expected to be a mature and competent piece of writing. The work that it reports may be basic scientific research, engineering research, or creative design.

All doctoral dissertations must be in the format prescribed by the Graduate Dean. Each student is also expected to submit papers for publication in a reputable scientific journal appropriate to the field of research. The final copies of the doctoral dissertation must be prepared according to the regulations described in the current edition of "An Illustrated Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations" available from the UTA Bookstore, in the reference section of the Library, and discussed in The Graduate School's seminar on thesis / dissertation preparation. The catalog section on Tuition and Fees lists dissertation binding, microfilming, and copyrighting fees.

The Assistant Dean of the Graduate School examines each dissertation and determines whether or not the dissertation meets Graduate School requirements for format and mechanical presentation. Details of the dissertation submission process are available from the Graduate School Office. The original and five copies of the dissertation must be delivered to the Graduate School following the dissertation defense. The original title page must be signed in black ink by all members of the advisory committee.

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree pay the cost of binding five copies of the dissertation, and of microfilming the dissertation and publishing the abstract in Dissertation Abstracts, a service performed by University Microfilms, Inc. ( At the student's option a copyright can be obtained at the same time upon payment of an additional fee. The Graduate School retains three bound copies for distribution and returns two to the student. The student must submit one copy to the major professor and one copy to the CSE department. The student may have additional copies bound for a fee.

Dissertation Defense

The student must file an application for the dissertation defense in the Graduate School no later than three weeks before the final date for submission of approved dissertations and dissertation defense reports. The dissertation examining committee must have copies of the dissertation at least four weeks prior to the dissertation defense. Exceptions to this four-week limit can be sought from individual members of the committee.

The dissertation defense will be oral and open to all members (faculty, students, and invited guests) of the university community. The questioning of the candidate will be generally directed by the student's Supervisory Committee, but any person attending the defense may participate in the examination. Although the defense is concerned primarily with the dissertation research and content, the committee may explore the student's knowledge of areas interrelated with the core of the dissertation problem.

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