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Doctor of Philosophy Program

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Ph.D. Program information

The doctoral program prepares students for careers in academia and for advanced professional careers in research and development. Doctoral students are capable of advancing the frontiers of knowledge through independent research and scholarship.

Visit the following to learn more about the requirements of the Ph.D. degree.

The chair of the Advisory Conference Committee in consultation with the Advisory Conference Committee will decide on the number and nature of courses that will be taken, subject to the following minimum coursework requirements.

   1. The following 9 credit hours of core courses are taken by all graduate students (unless waived as described below):

·         ISE 5013 Statistical Analysis

·         ISE 5023 Systems Optimization

·         ISE 5033 Systems Engineering

   2. At least 9 credit hours of electives that are approved by the Advisory Conference Committee and Graduate Liaison are required in addition to the 9 credit hours of core courses.

   3. At least 12 credit hours of coursework must be taken in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the 5000-level or above.

   4. At least 9 credit hours must be 6000-level courses in Industrial & Systems Engineering. These can include ISE 6990 Independent Study when taught by the advisor and when approved by the Advisory Conference Committee.

   5. Students with an MS thesis from a recognized industrial/systems engineering program may petition the Graduate Committee to apply up to 30 credit hours from the MS degree and waive the core course requirements. If a student is approved to waive core course requirements, these courses must be replaced by other courses not including independent study.

   6. A minimum of 30 and a maximum of 42 credit hours can be given for research on the doctoral dissertation.

The student is responsible for meeting the requirements and deadlines established by the Graduate College. These are listed in the current Graduate College Bulletin. Some of the major requirements are:

   1. A minimum of 90 graduate credit hours beyond the Bachelor's Degree.

   2. Following the initial enrollment in ISE 6980 (dissertation research), the student must maintain continuous enrollment in a minimum of two credit hours each fall and spring semester until all degree requirements are completed.

   3. Normally expect to spend at least the equivalent of three full academic years beyond the bachelor’s degree to obtain the doctoral degree.

   4. Must be in residence as a full-time student at OU for at least two consecutive 16-week semesters and be engaged in coursework or research activities as prescribed by the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering.

Transfer Credit

If a student has performed graduate-level coursework at another institution that has not been applied to a previous degree and that might be equivalent to an OU course, the student may request an evaluation to determine whether transfer credit can be given. Transfer credit cannot be more than five years old at the time of admission to the graduate program. When combined, hours transferred from other institutions and residence credit taken prior to admission to the doctoral program may not constitute more than 49 percent of the minimum number of 90 credit hours required for the doctoral degree. The number of transfer hours accepted for each student is determined on an individual basis at the advisory conference.

To request a transfer credit evaluation:

1.     Ensure a transcript is on file with Graduate College Admissions.

2.     Complete the Request for Transfer Credit Evaluation form.

3.     For each course for which transfer credit is requested, provide documentation such as a course syllabus, a course description, an outline of the topics covered in the course, the name of the textbook, etc.

4.     Submit the form and accompanying documentation to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator in CEC 124.

5.     The Graduate Liaison and the instructor of each course for which transfer credit is being requested will review the course information and make a determination of equivalency. All approvals are subject to the Graduate College Guidelines for Transfer Credit.

 

The purpose of the Qualifying Exam is to assess at a relatively early point in time whether or not a student has the aptitude for conducting a program of independent scholarly research at the doctoral level. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that this assessment is completed prior to completion of the first 18 credit hours of coursework taken as a doctoral student.

Procedure

The Qualifying Examination is giving according to the following procedure:

Students intending to take the Qualifying Exam shall submit a written request to the Graduate Liaison that suggests the names of two or more ISE professors in their area of research interest who might be requested to serve as examiners and the semester in which the examination will be taken. The Graduate Committee will make the final determination on which faculty will administer the exam.

A committee of (at least) two faculty members administers the exam. The committee shall include the student’s advisor when one is declared.

The examiners will prepare an exam that is designed to assess the aptitude of the student for conducting a program of independent scholarly research at the doctoral level. The exam will be provided to the student in written form.

The student must work independently on the exam.

The student will prepare a scholarly written report for evaluation by the examination committee. The exam may require that the written report contain elements such as:

·         a detailed description of the research problem,

·         a review of relevant literature,

·         development of mathematical models, algorithms or computer codes applicable to the problem,

·         numerical examples or results from pilot studies, and

·         a discussion of possible extensions of the research area examined, including the appropriate experimental methodology and analysis techniques.

The examination committee may, at their option, also request the student to appear for an oral examination covering the report. The examiners will report the outcome of the exam (pass or fail) to the Graduate Committee.

The student must complete the exam within a period of time agreeable to  both faculty members, but the time cannot exceed one semester. The    exam must be completed and the outcome reported to the Graduate  Committee prior to finals week of the semester when the exam is given.

Outcome

Failure of the Qualifying Examination is grounds for disenrollment from the doctoral program. If a student fails the exam, a committee of two faculty members (to include the student’s advisor if one is declared) will be formed. This committee may uphold disenrollment of the student, or decide that the student be allowed to continue enrollment with a change of advisor (in which case the student must pass the qualifying exam in the next semester), or recommend that the student be transferred to the M.S. program (in the case of students without an M.S. degree in Industrial
& Systems Engineering).

Waiver

If a student’s advisor assesses that the background and record of the student indicates the student is qualified to conduct doctoral research, then the requirement for a qualifying exam may be satisfied by a memo sent from the advisor to the Graduate Committee that briefly describes why the student is qualified to conduct doctoral research.

 

The purpose of the advisory conference is to aid the student in developing an overall plan for attaining a doctoral degree.

Timing

It is recommended that the student schedule the Advisory Conference in consultation with the chair of the Doctoral Committee (or else the Graduate Liaison) within the second semester of enrollment in the doctoral program.

Procedure

At the conference, it is the duty of the chair of the Advisory Conference Committee to secure approval of each committee member so that the student may file the Advisory Conference Report in the Graduate College. Each program of study will be tailored to the needs and interests of the individual student. However, certain basic requirements must be satisfied. Also, the Advisory Conference Committee will determine how to redress any deficiencies in course work.

If any changes later become necessary in the Advisory Conference Report, file a Request for Change in Doctoral Advisory Conference Report. This request must be approved by all members of the Advisory Conference Committee and the Graduate Liaison. 

 

Members of the student's Doctoral Committee will be responsible for advising, directing, assisting and encouraging the student throughout the student’s career as a doctoral candidate. The Doctoral Committee must be composed of at least four members from the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering and one member from outside of the School. The student’s doctoral committee will:

·         Prepare and conduct the General Examination

·         Conduct the Proposal Defense

·         Supervise the preparation of the dissertation

·         Conduct the final oral examination over the dissertation.

In most cases, the Advisory Conference Committee will become the student’s Doctoral Committee.

The Graduate College must approve any change in membership of the Doctoral Committee.

 

The General Examination is intended to test the student’s mastery of a number of related fields as well as the student’s capacity for synthesis and sound generalization, ability to engage in critical thinking, and readiness to undertake doctoral research.

Timing and Conditions

When all required coursework has been completed or will be complete in the current semester, the student may request to schedule the General Examination. The General Exam should be scheduled to occur as soon as coursework is substantially complete and therefore typically will occur well before the Proposal Defense. The Graduate College will not allow a student to enroll in ISE 6980 (dissertation research) until the semester in which the General Exam is taken.

Before that point, the student must take either graded courses or ISE 6990 (independent study). The Advisory Conference Report can be amended after the General Exam has been passed to adjust the remaining number of credit hours of ISE 6980 that are required based on the number of ISE 6990 credit hours taken prior to the General Exam. Note that no more than 50% of coursework may be S/U graded. However, the number of credit hours used when making this determination includes the master’s degree.

A doctoral student who enters the graduate program with a bachelor’s degree is expected to pass the general examination within five calendar years of the student’s first graduate enrollment in the doctoral program. A doctoral student who enters the University of Oklahoma program with a master’s degree is expected to pass the general examination within four calendar years of the student’s first enrollment in a post-master’s course used toward the doctoral degree.

The student must be in good academic standing during the semester the General Examination is held. In addition, the student must be enrolled in at least two graduate credit hours at the University of Oklahoma in the semester the General Examination is held.

The oral portion of the General Examination cannot be scheduled when classes are not in session, during finals week or at any time when the doctoral committee cannot be assembled. 

Procedure

The student shall arrange with the doctoral committee a time and place for the oral portion of the General Examination. Refer to the Graduate College Bulletin for additional requirements concerning the mode of participation of members of the doctoral committee during the oral portion of the General Examination.

The Application for General Examination must be completed and signed by the student, all members of the Doctoral Committee, and the Graduate Liaison. The student should then file the Application for General Examination in the Graduate College a minimum of ten working days (two weeks) prior to the date of the oral portion of the General Examination. The student must complete the General Examination during the semester in which the authority is given.

The General Examination consists of a written portion followed by an oral portion held in the presence of the entire doctoral committee. Both the written and oral portions should be taken during the same semester.

The written portion of the General Examination will be prepared by the advisor in consultation with the Doctoral Committee. The Doctoral Committee will meet to determine the results of the written examination. A student cannot proceed to the oral portion of the General Examination until the written examination has been satisfactorily completed. If the written portion of the General Examination is failed, a report must be submitted within 72 hours of the exam to the Graduate Dean indicating that the General Examination was failed.

Outcome

Within 72 hours after completion of the oral portion of the General Examination, an Authority Report Form signed by the entire Doctoral Committee must be submitted to the Graduate Dean. The Authority Report Form indicates whether the student has passed or failed the examination. The result of the exam can also be held in abeyance for a limited time.

Passing Outcome

A student becomes a doctoral candidate upon successful completion of the General Examination.

Following the initial enrollment in ISE 6980 (dissertation research), the student must maintain continuous enrollment in a minimum of two credit hours each fall and spring semester until all degree requirements are met.

Marginal Outcome

If the student’s performance is marginal, but not failing, and the Doctoral Committee wishes the student to do further reading, coursework, investigations, etc., the results of the examination can be held in abeyance with approval of the Graduate Dean.

The Committee’s request for an abeyance should state a specific time period (usually limited to two months but no longer than one semester) in which the student has to complete the extra work. At the end of the time limit the Committee must file a report with the Graduate College indicating whether the exam was satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Failing Outcome

If the General Examination is failed, the student may, on the decision of the Committee, make application to repeat the examination a second time in a subsequent semester.

If a student fails any portion of the General Examination on the second attempt, the student will be terminated from the doctoral program. The General Examination may not be given a third time.

 

The Proposal Defense occurs when a student is ready to defend his research proposal. It is a separate event from the General Examination and typically occurs at a later point in time.

Timing and Conditions

The research proposal should be prepared after conducting a comprehensive and thoughtful literature review and after having performed preliminary exploration to verify that what has been proposed can be accomplished with an acceptable likelihood. Spending a couple of years on a topic that goes nowhere is discouraging, and therefore the student should do enough preliminary work to ensure results will be attainable.

Procedure

The advisor will define requirements that the proposal should satisfy. Typically the proposal will include an introduction to the topic, a problem statement, a comprehensive literature review, a description of the methodology, preliminary results, and a detailed research plan.

At least two weeks prior to the scheduled Proposal Defense, a copy of the research proposal must be submitted to each member of the Doctoral Committee. The research proposal should be formatted in the same manner as a dissertation. See the Dissertation Instruction Packet published by the Graduate College for format requirements.

Outcome

If the Proposal Defense is unsatisfactory, a report of unsatisfactory progress will be made by the Graduate Liaison to the graduate college. The student may, on the decision of the Committee, make application to repeat the Proposal Defense a second time in a subsequent semester.

If a second Proposal Defense is unsatisfactory, the student will be terminated from the doctoral program.

 

A number of items must be completed during the semester in which a student expects to defend
the dissertation:

1.     Apply for graduation

File the Application for Graduation with the Office of Academic Records before the deadline.

2.     Distribute a reading copy of the dissertation

The student must distribute complete drafts of the dissertation to each Doctoral Committee member at least four weeks prior to the expected date of the defense.

3.     Schedule the defense

After the draft of the dissertation is approved by the advisor and other members of the Doctoral Committee, the student should arrange with members of the Doctoral Committee the time and location for the dissertation defense.

4.     Degree check

Complete the Request for Degree online at least two weeks prior to submitting the Request for Authority to Defend to the Graduate College and at least four weeks prior to the defense date.

5.     Obtain authorization for the defense

When the reading copy has received preliminary approval by the advisor and the other members of the Doctoral Committee, submit the Request for Authority for Dissertation Defense and IRB approval (if applicable) at least two weeks prior to the defense date.

When the request for authority is approved, the Graduate College will email the Authority Report Form for the Dissertation Defense to the student and the Doctoral Committee. A student is not authorized to defend until the Authority Report form has been received.

 

The dissertation defense is an oral examination conducted by the Doctoral Committee and is open to the public.

Timing and Conditions

A doctoral candidate is expected to complete all degree requirements, including the written dissertation and its defense, within five years after passing the General Examination.

The defense must be held no later than the last day of classes (i.e., before finals week) of the semester in which it is authorized.

Refer to the Graduate College Bulletin for additional requirements concerning the mode of participation of members of the Doctoral Committee.

Outcome

Only one attempt to defend the dissertation is afforded to the candidate. If the defense is determined to be unsatisfactory, the student will be disenrolled from the Graduate College and the student’s candidacy for the doctoral degree will be terminated. This outcome is final and the defense cannot be repeated.

Within 72 hours following the defense, the student must submit the completed Authority Report Form to the Graduate College. If applicable, the student also should contact IRB to inactivate his or her study and should submit a copy of the inactivation memo to the Graduate College.

DEPOSITING THE DISSERTATION

After the dissertation has been successfully defended, incorporate any corrections and comments into the final dissertation copy. Obtain signatures from all committee members.

Provide one bound copy of the dissertation to each member of the Doctoral Committee and provide one bound copy to the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering.

The student must make an appointment (iadvise.ou.edu) to submit the final printed copies of the dissertation, the Entry Form for Dissertation Title, the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and the Graduate College Exit Survey to the Graduate College.

Approval for Thesis/Dissertation Submission to SHAREOK.