The Ph.D. program prepares students for positions in academia and research through coursework, mentorship and research.The program of courses is established by the student's Doctoral Committee. It is recommended that this consist of approximately 30 credits of courses beyond the Masters degree, although the number of credits may be more or less than this amount based on the student's experience and knowledge in the field of study.
Each student accepted into the Ph.D. degree program must pass the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, which requires students to display an understanding of basic material in all AE option areas, along with an in-depth understanding of material covered in the AE undergraduate courses within their area of focus. This examination must be taken no later than the beginning of the student's second year in the program.
Each Ph.D. student must also pass an English Proficiency Examination that is offered by the Department, typically during the first semester.
At the conclusion of the student's coursework, the Ph.D. student must take a 2-day written comprehensive examination that is developed by the student's Ph.D. committee. Following the comprehensive exam, continuous registration is required for all Ph.D. graduate students until the dissertation is approved.
For the Ph.D. degree, a dissertation that displays a student's ability to conduct high-quality original scholarly work is required of all Ph.D. students. Each student presents a comprehensive thesis proposal to his/her committee prior to starting the dissertation research and must present the results of this research in a final oral examination. The research must be original, of high quality and display the student's ability to conduct research, synthesize results, and present this information in a clear and professional manner.