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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Students' Degree Program

Graduate Policies

Detailed information on graduate policies can be found in the policy memorandum "Policy on Procedures for Completing a Graduate Degree." Faculty and students should be familiar with the policies contained in this memorandum. Copies are on file in the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and in the academic department and program offices.

Program of Studies

Each student admitted to a graduate program will have a specific program of studies agreed upon in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee or graduate advisor for that program, except in those Schools with standard degree plans. A complete Program of Studies Form will be filed in and approved by the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies prior to the student’s registration for his/ her 19th semester credit hour to be counted toward a master’s degree, or 50th semester credit hour taken beyond the bachelor’s degree to be counted toward a doctoral degree.

Change of Program

A student must be in good academic standing to change from his/her admitted graduate program to another one within the same graduate department. A student wishing to change programs within their same UTD School must see their advisor prior to registration and no later than the first day of classes of a semester/term.  If the change of program is approved, the student will then be responsible for meeting all program requirements and course prerequisites of the catalog in effect at the time of the change. The student and advisor will prepare a new degree plan.

Transfer of Credit

A degree-seeking student may petition to have graduate coursework taken at another institution be counted towards satisfying the master’s or doctoral degree requirements. To qualify for transfer of credit the student had to be enrolled in a graduate degree program at an accredited college or university and the grade earned in the course must be a B or better. Grades of B- are not transferrable and the course must not be a correspondence or extension course. Courses delivered in a distance learning format will be considered by the Graduate Dean on a case-by-case basis.

An official transcript and an official explanation of the course numbering system at the school where the credit was earned should accompany the transfer request that must be prepared by the student’s Graduate Program and submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval.

Transfer of credit petitions are subject to the following limitations :

• No more than 25% of the total requirement of a masters degree may be transfer credits. Some degree programs have more restrictive transfer of credit requirements.

• Transfer of master’s level credit into a doctoral program is limited to a maximum of 36 hours.

• No more than 15 semester credit hours taken as a non-degree student at UT Dallas can be subsequently applied to a degree program at UT Dallas.

Exceptions to these transfer policies may be granted only on petition to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

All petitions for transfer of credit for coursework taken prior to enrolling at UT Dallas should be submitted to the student’s Program Graduate Advisor by the student prior to filing a Program of Studies; however, acceptance of transfer of credit hours will not occur until after the student has completed 9 semester credit hours at UT Dallas with a grade point average of at least 3.0. All petitions must be processed and approved no later than the semester prior to anticipated graduation. Accordingly, requests to take courses at another institution during the semester a student plans to graduate cannot be approved because the grades may not be received in time to certify the student for graduation.

General Degree Requirements

The student will be deemed to have completed the course work degree requirements when he or she completes the previously filed program of studies with acceptable grades.

Required Semester Credit Hours

The minimum semester credit hours required for the degree in a Program of Studies will be those shown in the catalog applicable to the student at the time of his or her admission or readmission to the program. In no case will a student be allowed to graduate with less than 30 approved graduate semester credit hours (including approved graduate transfer credit hours) for the master’s degree. Enrollment in doctoral study at UT Dallas for a minimum of three, consecutive long terms and for a minimum of 18 doctoral semester hours are required for graduation with a doctoral degree. Additional requirements for the doctoral degree may be specified by the faculty of each program as described in the individual degree program sections of this catalog.

Required Grade Point Average

In order to qualify for graduation, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in their degree program’s core courses.However, individual programs may have more stringent grade point requirements in selected courses, which must be satisfied for graduation.

The minimum acceptable University grade point average for graduation is 3.0 for all graduate courses taken in the student’s degree program at UT Dallas.

Registration Requirements

Examinations or Proposal Presentation

A student must be registered for at least three semester credit hours of graduate course work during the semester in which any major degree examination, such as the Qualifying Examination, Final Written Examination, or Final Oral Examination, is taken. A student must also be registered for at least three semester credit hours of graduate course work during the semester in which the Dissertation Proposal is submitted for approval.

Time Limits

All requirements for a graduate degree, including transfer credit, must be completed within the specified time period. Students exceeding the specified time limit will not be eligible for their degrees and will be dismissed from the graduate program. An approved leave of absence will not alter the time limits placed on graduate degrees.

All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within one six-year period. All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within one ten-year period. Students whose master’s degrees are accepted for full credit toward a Ph.D. must complete all requirements for the doctoral degree within one eight-year period. Work exceeding these limits, whether done at this university or elsewhere, will not count towards the degree.

Individual programs may set shorter time limits. Exceptions to time limit specifications must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Additional Master's Degrees

Students are encouraged to pursue additional master’s degrees at The University of Texas at Dallas. To the extent that the requirements of some master’s degrees overlap, some of the credit hours taken in pursuit of previously earned master’s degrees at UT Dallas may be counted toward an additional master’s degree. The only limitation is that one-half of the credit hours for any master’s degree earned at UT Dallas must be satisfied by new course work. A student is required to develop an approved plan of studies through the department or program offering the master’s degree prior to enrolling in that degree. Similarly, a student wishing to earn two master’s degrees concurrently must develop an approved plan of studies through both relevant departments or programs. All coursework for any degree must meet the academic standards of that degree.

Supervising Committee for Thesis and Dissertation

A supervising committee will be appointed to approve a research topic, provide advice, and periodically assess progress and accomplishments for students pursuing degree options requiring a written master’s thesis, a doctoral dissertation or a research practicum report. The composition of the Supervising Committee must follow the guidelines contained in the UT Dallas policy memorandum, Policy on Procedures for Completing a Graduate Degree (87-III.25-48), and must be submitted by the appropriate committee or administrator of the degree program to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval. A student may obtain copies of this policy from their department or program office.

The Supervising Committee must meet at least once annually to assess the student’s progress, and send a written report to the Dean of Graduate Studies. This report should describe any problems which could delay the student’s research beyond its anticipated completion date. A copy of this report must also be sent to the student.

The student may request a meeting of the Supervising Committee through a written request to the appropriate committee or administrator of the degree program.

Admission to Doctoral Candidacy

The research potential and ability of each doctoral student to both understand and integrate previous coursework will be evaluated before a student can be formally admitted to doctoral candidacy. The format of this evaluation, hereafter referred to as a qualifying examination, varies amongst the degree programs and can be obtained from the student’s Graduate Program office. A student failing the Qualifying Examination is terminated as a doctoral student in that Graduate Program unless a two-thirds majority of the examining committee votes that a second examination be permitted. All committee members should have all evidence of the student’s academic record and Qualifying Examination performance prior to this vote. The second examination typically would be taken no sooner than six months after the first examination, and no later than one year. A student failing the second examination will not be allowed to pursue a doctoral degree in that program. Under no circumstances will a third examination be allowed. The student will have advanced to candidacy when she or he has:

         Passed the Qualifying Examination;

         Been assigned an approved Supervising Committee;

         Satisfied any other program or school candidacy requirements.

Candidacy must be achieved before a student is eligible to enroll in dissertation or in the chemistry internship practicum courses.

Doctoral Dissertation

Each doctoral candidate must prepare and submit for examination a written Dissertation meeting the guidelines specified in the "Guide for the Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations." A copy of the guide can be obtained from the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies or visit

The dissertation manuscript for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must demonstrate an independent research competence on the part of the candidate that substantially adds to knowledge in the candidate’s field with respect either to its intellectual substance or professional practice.

Final Oral Examination for Doctoral Candidates

The presentation and defense of the Dissertation will constitute the Final Oral Examination for the doctoral candidate. Specifics on the scheduling and conduct of the examination are contained in the "Guide for the Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations." The initial phase of the examination will be open to the public. Following the public presentation, the candidate will be examined by the members of the examining committee. This part of the examination is not open to the public. Depending upon the school’s policy, other members of the faculty may also attend that part of the examination. This portion of the examination will be chaired by the representative of the Dean of Graduate Studies. The examination will focus primarily on the candidate’s research contribution, although aspects of the general field in which the candidate’s research was conducted may also be covered.

One of five possible results of the examination will be reported: (1) passed the oral examination and manuscript accepted, (2) passed the oral examination and manuscript accepted pending specified revisions, (3) second oral examination required, but manuscript accepted or accepted with specified revisions, (4) major revisions of the manuscript and a second oral examination required, or (5) oral examination failed, manuscript not accepted and the committee recommends dismissal from the program.

If a recommendation for re-examination is made, the second Final Oral Examination must be taken between six months and one year after the first examination. In no cases will a third Final Oral Examination be given. See also Policy on Procedures for Completing a Graduate Degree (87-III.25-48), in the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures and/or the "Guide for the Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertation" or visit

Required Copies of Dissertation and Thesis

Three final, approved hard copies and one disk copy are required. After final, approved hard copies have been bound:

         one hard copy will be available to the public in the university library

         one hard copy will be sent to the Supervising Professor

         one hard copy will be sent to the program office

         one electronic copy will be sent to UMI

UMI will publish and make the dissertation/thesis available to the public for purchase both on the web and in hard copy.

Intellectual Property Rights

In order to protect patent or other intellectual property rights, the Dean of Graduate Studies may, upon request, delay for a period of up to one year the binding, distribution, and/or publication in microform of the thesis, dissertation, or research practicum report. This request must be supported by a written recommendation of the Supervising Professor.

Last Updated: October 6, 2010