2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
    Jul 15, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Policies & Procedures for Ph.D. Degree

Admission requirements

Applicants to a doctoral program at the University of New Haven must fully qualify for admission to the doctoral program prior to being admitted to the program. This document contains some of the requirements that applicants must meet for admission to any doctoral program at the university, but applicants must also meet the requirements for admission of both the specific program to which they apply and the College within which it is housed. Acceptance to the Ph.D. is made official by a letter from a duly authorized representative of the University upon completion of its selection process. Upon acceptance, prospective students will matriculate into the doctoral program when all the requirements for initial admission, registration and enrollment have been satisfied. Admission to the university doctoral program is not the same as candidacy for the Ph.D., as described in this document.

Continuing registration/enrollment requirements pre-candidacy

Students working towards Ph.D. candidacy must meet continuing registration/enrollment requirements. This document contains the university-wide registration/enrollment requirements, but applicants must also meet all the additional requirements of both the College and their program.

Candidacy requirements

In order to make appropriate progress in the doctoral program, the student must complete all required coursework, and pass all qualifying exams (and prepare and defend a prospectus for the dissertation, if required). The student must have completed required coursework, and passed their qualifying exams prior to defending their prospectus. Upon successful defense of the prospectus, a doctoral student will have met candidacy criteria for the Ph.D. and is said to be a "Ph.D. candidate," and to have completed "all but dissertation." This document contains the university-wide requirements for Ph.D. candidacy, but students must also meet all additional requirements of both College and program.

Continuing registration/enrollment for Ph.D. candidates

Candidates for the Ph.D. who have met all requirements but the dissertation will continue registration at the university during the period in which they conduct research, write and prepare to defend the dissertation. This document contains the university-wide registration/enrollment requirements for this period, but candidates must also meet all the additional requirements of both the College and their program.

Graduation requirements

Candidates who successfully defend their dissertation and meet all other university-wide, College, and program requirements will be eligible to receive the doctoral degree.  Students must apply to graduate.

Admission to the program

Minimum requirements for admission to Doctoral Study at the University of New Haven

Doctoral programs of the University of New Haven adhere, without waiver or substitution, to the university-wide requirements for admission to doctoral study, identified herein.  These requirements are in addition to the requirements of the programs, academic units, and Colleges:

University-wide requirements of any applicant to the Ph.D. degree are as follows.

  1. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree or a master's degree, recognized and approved by University of New Haven, from an accredited college or university. Official transcripts from each institution attended must accompany the application. These documents are to be submitted by the issuing academic institution(s) directly to the university's Office of Graduate Admissions.
  2. The Ph.D. minimum of 30 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree or at least 15 credits of coursework beyond the master's degree assumes that the applicant's degree was preparatory to that program. The final decision on recognition and approval of the degree as sufficiently preparatory for the Ph.D. is made by the program department. In cases where the degree is mostly but not fully preparatory to the Ph.D. program, the program and department may recognize and approve specified additional coursework. Students seeking both Master's and Ph.D. degrees must complete at least 45 credits of coursework.
  3. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of an additional 12 credits of dissertation research, including any work towards preparation of a prospectus.
  4. If the applicant's most recent degree was awarded more than ten years prior to the intended start of the Ph.D. program, evidence of currency in the intended discipline of study must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the program administrator.
  5. Applicants must provide official reports of scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and/or other equivalent standardized examinations acceptable to the program, administered not more than two years prior to the date of application to the doctoral program. These are to be submitted by the testing authority directly to the university's Office of Graduate Admissions.
  6. Applicants must furnish three confidential letters of recommendation. Two of the letters are to be from persons familiar with the candidate's scholarly abilities. These letters are to be submitted directly by their authors to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The letters are to address specifically the applicant's:

    - ability to conduct research in the proposed field of study,
    - writing ability, and
    - integrity.
  7. Applicants must submit an essay of no more than 1,500 words describing the area of interest that the applicant proposes to pursue and the motivation for pursuing the degree.
  8. Applicants must submit an additional writing sample of previous academic, professional, or published work.
  9. In the case of an applicant whose first language is not English, that applicant must furnish documented evidence of their ability to communicate (write, read, and speak), in English. All applicants to the university whose native language is not English must present satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum TOEFL scores for admission to the Ph.D. program are 250 on the computer-generated score, 100 on the Internet-based test, or 600 on the paper-based test. Scores on the IELTS should demonstrate an equivalent or higher standard. The test must have been taken within the two years immediately preceding the requested term of admission. In extraordinary circumstances, applicants who do not meet the above TOEFL scores may be admitted, but only with approval from the Dean of the College and the Provost. Applicants who have completed requirements for a bachelor's or a master's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university are not required to submit a TOEFL score. When a TOEFL score is a requirement for admission, the department administering the program may require a TOEFL score higher than the university-wide threshold scores previously listed.
  10. There is no University-wide foreign language requirement for the doctoral degree. Applicants should consult the requirements for individual programs to see whether a foreign language may be required for a particular program.

Application deadlines

Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit their application documentation as early as possible. Applicants should also be aware that financial aid/assistantship/fellowship requests may have deadlines prior to those for matriculation. Unless otherwise specified by a doctoral program's admissions policies and procedures, the university's Office of Graduate Admissions must receive all application materials not later than 45 days prior to the start date of matriculation for which the applicant has applied. Students who wish to be considered for fellowship funding should submit a completed application by January 15th.

Applicants will be notified by the university as to whether or not they have been admitted no later than 31 days prior to the anticipated date of admission.

Pre-candidacy, continuing registration/enrollment

Incoming doctoral students will work closely with the coordinator of the student's doctoral program, or designee, who will serve as or appoint the student's advisor of record during the period prior to completion of the candidacy requirements.

The student will work with their advisor to select appropriate courses, to plan for qualifying examinations, to identify an appropriate dissertation advisor, and to plan the development of an appropriate dissertation prospectus.

At intervals determined by each program, the Doctoral Program Advisory Committee, chaired by the Program Coordinator, will evaluate each student's progress in the program using criteria developed by the program. The outcome of these evaluations will be shared with the students in writing.

Doctoral students are encouraged to establish relationships with other faculty within the program during the first terms of study. This will enable the students to make informed decisions about the selection of faculty to serve on their dissertation committee. 

Grades, Satisfactory Progress

Valid grades are described in the Graduate Catalog under Academic Policies.

Satisfactory Progress requires a cumulative QPR of 3.0 or greater. A student who falls below 3.0 (cumulative) may not register without permission from their academic advisor. The advisor may permit a student not making satisfactory progress to register, but only with written conditions being set. If the conditions are not subsequently met, the student would not be permitted to continue in the program.

All research must be done in conformance with UNH policies on responsible conduct of research.

Ph.D. Candidacy requirements

Qualifying/Comprehensive Examinations

The student is required to pass a comprehensive qualifying examination in order to be admitted for candidacy. The faculty of the doctoral program is responsible for the qualifying examination process and procedure as well as preparing and administering the examinations themselves. Examinations may be written and/or oral and may be portfolio based.

Program faculty develop and publish the processes and procedures for qualifying examinations.  Such procedures must be approved by the program's curriculum committee and the University Graduate Curriculum Committee. These processes and procedures will include, e.g., a detailed schedule of requirements and a statement that addresses whether re-taking a failed examination is permitted and, if so, in what ways.

Following the successful completion of the qualifying exam or prospectus defense, deferential to program guidelines, candidacy for the Ph.D. is formalized and recorded by the Registrar's Office.

Continuing registration/enrollment requirements for candidates

All candidates are expected to maintain continuous registration in the appropriate department in each full academic term until the dissertation has been completed and successfully defended. Full-time candidates will register for at least 3 credit hours of dissertation research per term while conducting the dissertation research.

Enrollment at a rate of 3-credit hours of dissertation research per semester will be considered equivalent to full-time status. Dissertation research may be conducted part-time. A candidate must have prior written approval of the dissertation committee and the Provost before performing research part-time. A candidate conducting dissertation research part-time must be continuously registered for dissertation research at a rate of at least 1 credit hour per semester.

During this time, candidates should demonstrate continuous academic progress to their dissertation committee. Grades of T will be awarded while work on the dissertation is still in progress.

Minimum graduation requirements

Program credit and residency requirements for graduation

A minimum of 30 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree or at least 15 credits of coursework beyond the master's degree are required for the Ph.D. degree apportioned as follows.

  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of course work corresponding to 10 or more courses must be taken in residency at the University of New Haven if a student is entering with a bachelor's degree 
  • A minimum of 15 credit hours of course work corresponding to 5 or more courses must be taken in residency at the University of New haven if a student is entering with a master's degree
  • A minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research, including any work towards preparation of a prospectus, is required. 

Course work residency and transfer credit

No more than 6 credits of coursework transfer credit can be recognized towards the Ph.D. All transfer credit must meet the minimum standards described in the Graduate Catalog. In addition, those used for credit towards a Ph.D. must be transferred from other institutions with similar doctoral or relevant master's program. Transfer credits for a doctoral program require approval of the College Dean and the Program Coordinator.

Dissertation research minimum time requirement

A candidate is required to devote the equivalent of at least one year of full-time dissertation research in residence at the main campus or at a location appropriate to the dissertation research.

Dissertation, defense, and completion

The candidate is responsible for the content and form of the dissertation. Consistent with the candidate's field of study, and subject to the evaluation of the faculty of the program, it must: 

  • present the research problem,
  • review the background of the problem,
  • present the study objectives,
  • demonstrate the significance of the study or of the results,
  • explain the research methods and approaches used,
  • describe the results of the research,
  • discuss the results and their application to the field of study.


The dissertation format must follow the University Master's thesis and Ph.D. dissertation documentation requirements.

The dissertation must be successfully defended, approved, and properly submitted for the Ph.D. degree to be granted.

Upon recommendation of the student's dissertation committee, the doctoral candidate will arrange a date for the dissertation defense. Arrangements for the date and time of the oral defense will be made through the Chair of the dissertation committee and program director.

The Chair of the dissertation committee must schedule a public defense and issue an invitation to the Provost, the Dean of the College and the full-time faculty of the University. Notice of the defense must be a minimum of two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the defense. Copies of the dissertation must be made available to members of the dissertation committee, the Provost, the Dean of the College, full-time faculty members in the department, and interested members of the full-time faculty not later than two weeks prior to the scheduled defense. The defense must be open to all university faculty members with everyone in attendance allowed to make comments and ask questions.

At the defense, the dissertation committee may request that corrections be made to the dissertation, and will specify a timeline for the completion of these revisions. Final acceptance of the dissertation is contingent on approval by the dissertation committee, the Dean of the College, and the Provost.

After a successful defense and any resulting changes in the dissertation have been completed, the candidate will prepare two copies of the dissertation in accordance with the Dissertation and Thesis Manual, and obtain the required signatures from the:

  • dissertation committee chair
  • dissertation committee members
  • Director of the doctoral program
  • Dean of the College, and
  • Provost.

With the Provost's signature, these become the official copies of the dissertation.

Time limits

The time allowed to earn the Ph.D. from matriculation in the doctoral program to completion is 6 years for students entering with a master's degree and 8 years for students entering with a bachelor's degree. Under extraordinary circumstances and upon approval of the dissertation committee, the Dean of the College, and the Provost, an extension may be granted to finish, defend, and submit the dissertation.

Program oversight

The Provost has university-wide oversight of all doctoral programs to ensure that institutional standards are met and procedures are followed.

Other academic policies

Leave of absence

●    A leave of absence (LOA) from the Ph.D. program is an interruption in the formal program of study due to extenuating circumstances and may only be taken with approval of Provost, considering the academic department's recommendation.

●    A LOA may be for personal, medical, professional, or parental reasons and may be granted for up to one year at a time. If more than one year is needed, another application would be required.

●    A student must notify the registrar in writing of the intent to end the LOA and resume registering.

●    Students may complete INC grades during a LOA, but no other formal program progress may be made during that time.

●    The duration of an approved LOA will not be counted toward the time limits set to complete the Ph.D. program or its component phases.

●    A LOA cannot be back-dated.

●    A student who is not registered for study and who does not have an approved LOA will be presumed to have withdrawn from the program and will be notified in writing to that effect.

Withdrawal and re-admission

A student who voluntarily withdraws from a Ph.D. program or withdraws by virtue of non-registration may subsequently re-apply for admission. Such applications are judged by the admissions standards in force at the time of the subsequent application. If the student is re-admitted, they are subject to the program requirements in force at the time of re-admission. Previous credit earned will be evaluated in that light.