Satisfactory completion of individual program requirements and all requirements as noted in the “Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree” must be documented.
The student is expected to have satisfactorily met all financial obligations to the LSU Health Sciences Center and the LSU System at least ten days prior to graduation.
Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree
The doctor of philosophy degree is the highest degree offered by universities. It is conferred only for work of distinction in which the student displays original scholarship.
Residence - Three years (9 semesters) of full-time residence are required, although in most programs more time is needed. Exceptions may be made by petition to the Graduate Dean. One year (three consecutive semesters) must be taken in residence at the Health Sciences Center following completion of the preliminary examination. Credit may be transferred from other institutions if approved by the Major professor and Department Head. Written notification clearly listing the courses to be transferred must be sent to the Dean who will notify the Registrar.
Course Requirements - Specific course requirements are dependent upon individual Program policy. However, in general, a minimum of 60 credit hours is required and at least 30 of those hours must be taken in courses, which require a letter grade for evaluation. The minimum courses required by each Program are listed in the Course Descriptions in the Catalog/Bulletin. Some of the credit must be earned in one or more minor fields and, ordinarily, it is expected that a student should have at least twelve hours outside of the major field. At least 15 hours must be in courses outside of the medical or dental curriculum. No more than fifteen credits may be counted for research and dissertation and no more than four credits for seminar, even though both may be carried throughout the program. Programs may have additional requirements for students to participate in teaching in the graduate, medical, dental, nursing, allied health, and undergraduate courses. INTER 220 and INTER 260 are required courses for all students.
Transfer Credit - Candidates for the doctor of philosophy degree may receive up to twenty-six hours of transfer credit at the discretion of the Program involved, providing they have completed courses, which are comparable to School of Graduate Studies’ courses in another graduate level institution, and satisfy the subject matter requirements. No transfer credit is permitted for course work receiving a grade below B and transfer of the credit does not reduce the residency requirement.
Qualifying Process - Each Program will be responsible for the qualifying process and will develop appropriate policies, which will be on file in the Dean’s Office.
Foreign Languages - There is no School of Graduate Studies requirement for foreign languages, but individual Programs may require one or more.
Preliminary Examination - The applicant becomes eligible for the Preliminary Examination at a time chosen by the faculty but not less than one academic year (three consecutive semesters) before graduation. The student and his/her major professor, with the approval of the Department Head and the Dean, will recommend a research committee and petition the Dean to appoint the committee and allow the student to schedule the examination. Examination and defense request forms are available from the Student Affairs Office. To access fillable PDF forms, use the “Forms” link on the School of Graduate Studies Website.
The preliminary examination committee will ordinarily consist of the student’s major professor and at least four other Graduate Faculty members representing major and minor disciplines. At least one member must be from another Department and one member may be from outside the Health Sciences Center. Substitution or addition of committee members may be made by the Dean after consultation with the major professor and Department Head, but continuity of membership is sought to provide consistent guidance of the student through the program. This examination is the most thorough in the doctorate program. It should require the candidate to demonstrate competence in a broad segment of the major and minor fields. Although the examination may be solely oral or written and oral, a written section is strongly recommended. If there is no more than one negative ballot out of a minimum of five, the student becomes a “candidate” after the Dean has been notified by the student’s major professor and Department Head of successful completion of the preliminary examination.
Dissertation - The dissertation must be a significant contribution to the field, suitable for publication in a peer reviewed journal of international repute. Instructions on the preparation of the dissertation may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies Website. The format of the dissertation should follow the rules formulated in the current edition of the CBE Style Manual: A Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers in the Biological Sciences. Copies of this manual are available in the Isché Library. For the planned graduation date, the student should check the school calendar for the final date for submission of the dissertation to the School of Graduate Studies.
Dissertation Defense - One year (three consecutive semesters) following the preliminary examination, the student is eligible to take this final examination if the dissertation is complete to the satisfaction of the Committee. The Defense may be preceded by an open seminar of the student’s dissertation research. The student must petition the Dean for permission to take the examination. The examining committee is made up of no less than five graduate faculty members, one of whom must be from a Department other than the student’s Department, nominated by the major professor, Head of the Department and appointed by the Dean. The Dean may serve as a member or may appoint members to the Committee. Traditionally, this examination is a test of the student’s intimate knowledge of the area of the field in which the student is working. However, at the discretion of the Committee or the Dean, the examination may include questions from the major or minor fields in general. Voting is by secret ballot, and to pass the examination there may be no more than one negative vote.
Certification - If not more than one member of the examining committee dissents and if the dissertation is accepted, the candidate will be certified to the Graduate Faculty and Chancellor as having met all requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy.
Time Limit - The School of Graduate Studies requires that all work towards a PhD degree be completed in not more than eight calendar years. Any requests for extension of this policy are subject to approval by the student’s Graduate Research Committee and the Dean.
Fees for graduation are normally assessed at registration for the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Diploma fees for doctorate degrees are $25. The fee for a duplicate diploma is $5; this is assessed when a diploma is ordered and the student does not graduate as scheduled. A fee of $15 is charged to cover the cost of thesis or dissertation binding.
The Chancellor’s Award - A cash award of $500 is presented annually. Selection of the awardee is based upon research performance as demonstrated by the quality of the dissertation and related research accomplishments while a student in the School of Graduate Studies. Selection is made by a committee of the faculty appointed by the Dean. This award was established by the Chancellor of the Health Sciences Center in 1979.