Doctoral Degree Requirements

Op3.19-2 Doctoral Degree Requirements

The completion of a doctoral program indicates the attainment of the highest possible training and intellectual development in one’s discipline. As such, the rigor of a doctoral degree program is necessarily higher than that of a master's degree program and is set above the level that an average student would generally be able to attain. Because the requirements for completion of a doctoral degree are discipline-specific, and often linked to national accreditation standards, some programs may have higher/additional requirements. Nonetheless, minimal university-wide standards include:

  1. All students much complete the stated courses and minimum number of required credit hours for the program. Keep in mind that courses taken for undergraduate credit may not be used for a doctoral degree.
  2. Complete at least one-half of the minimum semester hours in courses with no undergraduate parallel course.
  3. No more than 49% of the required semester hours may be fulfilled by combining senior permission (up to 12 hours), courses taken prior to admission to the program (up to 30%), transfer (up to 30%), and assessment of prior learning.
  4. Attain a grade point average of at least 3.0 on all graduate work utilized in the degree program that includes Missouri State University and transfer courses.
  5. All students must complete a doctoral research project or a doctoral thesis.
    1. A doctoral research project must be overseen by a committee that consists of at least three (3) members. The Director must be a faculty member from the discipline (usually the Department) and hold Graduate status (may be Research or Professional), and the other members must have expertise in the area of project focus.
    2. A doctoral thesis must be overseen by a committee that consists of four (4) members. The Chair (Director) of the doctoral thesis committee must hold Graduate Research Faculty Status. Two members of the committee must hold Graduate faculty status (may be Research or Professional). The fourth committee member must come from outside the department and have expertise in the area of research focus.
  6. Presentation of the research results (thesis or project) at a forum approved by the department.
  7. Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive exam, as specified by the department.
  8. Students must complete all degree requirements within an eight-year period (excluding time spent in the United States Armed Forces).
  9. Students must meet all program-specific degree requirements (including research, practicum, comprehensive examination, etc.).