Ph.D. Progress Review

Students are evaluated for satisfactory progress every fall and spring semester. Semesters are counted from when students enter the PhD program. The table below indicates when evaluations take place, along with what benchmarks are used to determine satisfactory progress.


General Benchmarks

Action if Unsatisfactory


Third Semester Portfolio (Portfolio Check Sheet)

GPA above 3.33 and passed or enrolled in one 695C - 3 units

Warning and recommendations; if unsatisfactory after both semesters two and three, possible dismissal from PhD program


Fifth Semester Portfolio (Portfolio Check Sheet)

The Fifth Semester Portfolio is considered to be the Qualifying Exam.

GPA above 3.33, passed at least two 695Cs and enrolled in third, has doctoral advisor

Dismissed from PhD program after sixth semester


Comprehensive Exam

The dissertation proposal document and meeting are considered the Comprehensive Exam.

All major and minor coursework satisfactorily completed, including all 695Cs

May petition the Graduate Affairs Committee for second attempt; if not approved, will be dismissed at end of current term

8 Through Completion

Progress towards dissertation

If not satisfactory by next review, dismissed from PhD program at end of that semester

Faculty Advisors

PhD students are assigned a faculty mentor or advisor beginning the first semester. The student may choose to select this faculty member as the advisor for the entire PhD experience or may select another faculty member that better aligns with their research interests. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor regularly, at least once a month, to discuss research interests, course selection, progress to degree, and career aspirations.

Pre-Comprehensive Exam Committee Meeting

When a student selects a committee for the comprehensive exam, the student will need to meet with the full committee before taking the comprehensive exam so the committee can set expectations for the exam and provide feedback on the dissertation proposal.

Per Semester Progress Review

The student will need to meet with the full committee every semester (see guidelines for this meeting) and submit a committee report form. This form must be signed by the student and all committee members and submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC). These regular meetings will occur until the final dissertation defense. While the student is required to meet with the full committee at least once every semester, the student is encouraged to meet regularly with members of the committee to get feedback on research and progress to the next milestone.