Doctoral Degree Requirements
UCSB offers three doctoral degrees: the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) (Closed to new applicants). The Ph.D. is not a unit-count degree, but a research degree awarded upon demonstration of the student’s academic excellence and research capability. To that end, doctoral students must pass doctoral qualifying examinations to demonstrate mastery of their chosen field and produce a dissertation acceptable to their doctoral committee. Doctoral students normally follow a plan of study determined in consultation with their advisors. The D.M.A. is a professional degree with distinct course, performance, and research requirements and the Ed.D. is a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Specific degree requirements for each discipline are described in the department’s section in this catalog.
Nomination of a doctoral committee is required prior to advancement to doctoral candidacy. Nomination of a doctoral committee is required prior to advancement to doctoral candidacy. In most departments, the same doctoral committee is nominated to administer and assess the student's qualifying examinations and supervise dissertation work. In some departments, separate qualifying examination and dissertation committees are nominated. Doctoral committees are nominated by the department and appointed, by, and responsible to, the Graduate Division Dean. The committee must consist of at least three UC ladder faculty Academic Senate members (Assistant, Associate, and/or Full Professors). Two members of the committee must be ladder faculty from the student's home department, one of whom will be appointed as chair or co-chair. Appointment of additional members (beyond the first three) is at the discretion of the department and does not require approval.
Departments set different requirements for the qualifying examination(s) to advance to doctoral candidacy. Students should refer to their department-specific advancement to doctoral candidacy requirements in the General Catalog and department handbook (designated by admission year).
To take the qualifying exam(s), students must meet the following requirements:
- Satisfactory completion of all preliminary requirements established by the University and their department (Senate reg. 350D). Students should understand their department-specific requirements as many departments have additional standards above those established by the University
- Registration in three consecutive quarters prior to the quarter of the qualifying exam(s)
- Registration in the quarter taking the qualifying exam(s)
- An approved doctoral committee on file with the Graduate Division
- To advance to doctoral candidacy, students must first pass the department-specific written and oral exams conducted by a doctoral committee. (Senate reg. 350D)
After the exam(s), the committee completes and signs the Doctoral Degree Form II, indicating if the student passed or failed. If a student does not pass all or part of the qualifying exam(s), the Committee Chair should submit to the Graduate Division the Doctoral Form II including a brief summary explaining committees' decision and re-examination requirements.
Advancing to Doctoral Candidacy
To advance to doctoral candidacy, students must:
- Pass the qualifying exams
- Pay the $50.00 advancement to candidacy fee at the Cashier's Office
- Submit to Graduate Division the completed Doctoral Form II and Cashier's receipt
- After advancing to doctoral candidacy, a student's class level changes to P2 the next registered quarter, non-resident tuition is reduced (if applicable), and additional borrowing privileges are granted at the Davidson Library.
Preparing for the Dissertation
When preparing for a dissertation defense, students should:
- Verify with their department that all University and departmental degree requirements have been met
- Verify the defense format required by your department (Senate reg. 355)
- Review and use the Thesis and Dissertation Formatting and Filing Requirements resources
- Verify with your department that dissertation committee membership is current. If there has been a change in the committee from the time of advancement, a Committee Form 1-A must be submitted to the Graduate Division
- Have a Graduate Division Academic Advisor conduct a "pre-check" of your dissertation
- Have signature page(s) and Doctoral Form III or IIIA ready for committee to sign
Preparing to File and Completing the Filing Process for a Dissertation
For details about the dissertation filing process, visit the Graduate Division's website at www.graddiv.ucsb.edu