Ph.D. in Engineering

Program Timeline and Milestone Deadline Policy

Program Timeline

You are encouraged to follow the prescribed timeline for meeting program milestones. Your progress will be monitored by the program. Focus area chairs will be notified should you fall behind the timeline.

Program Milestones: In addition to the suggested timeline, certain program milestones carry deadlines for completion. Please see the program milestone policies for details. Milestone deadlines and associated consequences are listed below the timeline chart.

Activity Deadline
Select dissertation advisor End of the first semester
Submit program of study
Identify dissertation committee
End of the second semester
Apply for program qualification End of the first year
Apply for candidacy exam After completion of coursework
Apply for research proposal exam After completion of coursework
Conduct dissertation seminar Prior to dissertation defense
Submit journal article Prior to dissertation defense
Apply for graduation Within the first three weeks of semester of intended graduation
(check with Graduate School for deadline date)
Distribute copies of dissertation to dissertation committee and focus area chair Two weeks before dissertation defense
Dissertation defense  

Milestone Deadline Policy

To ensure that all students make timely progress through the Ph.D. in Engineering Program, we have enacted a Milestone Deadline policy. Please refer to this policy as you schedule your courses, complete your Program of Study, and plan your examinations. Please contact the Ph.D. in Engineering Director with any questions or concerns about compliance with the Milestone Deadline policy.

Occasionally, scheduling constraints may interfere with timely completion of the Program Qualification deadline. In most cases, we can make adjustments to accommodate your choice of courses. Please contact the Ph.D. in Engineering Director for more information.

Milestone Deadlines

The Ph.D. in Engineering Director will monitor your progress. Your focus area chair and your faculty advisor will be notified if you fall behind the timeline.

NOTE: The timelines are specified for students entering the program with an M.S. degree. Students entering with a B.S. degree will have an additional 30 credit hours to meet the specified milestones.

  • Milestone 1: By the time a student has earned 32 credit hours after the M.S. degree, the student is required to complete either the Program Qualification or the Candidacy Exam.
  • Milestone 2: By the time a student has earned 64 credit hours after the M.S. degree, the student is required to take the Candidacy Exam and complete the Program Qualification.
  • Milestone 3: By the time a student has earned 96 credit hours after the M.S. degree, the student is required to present the Research Proposal.
  • Milestone 4: Within 128 credit hours after the M.S. degree, the student is required to have completed the Dissertation Defense.


IIf a student fails to meet a milestone, until the student is in compliance with the objective of the milestone:

  • Financial support, including tuition, from any university source, will be stopped
  • During the following summer, the student will not be permitted to register for dissertation or independent study hours

It is acknowledged that certain research involving human subjects and associated approvals by the Institution Review Board (IRB) requires more time. Students involved in such research will receive an extension of two years to complete their projects (Milestone 4). The dissertation advisor will submit a memo detailing the reason for the extension to the program office along with the completed Record of Research Proposal Defense.

For other exceptions, the student may petition to the Student Affairs Committee.

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