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Final Graduation Requirements

A printable version of the Program Curriculum (8/15/2010) can be downloaded here.

Following successful completion of the Preliminary examination, students formally begin their dissertation research. By the end of their third year, students will be required to select a dissertation advisory committee of a minimum of five members. It is expected that this advisory committee will be the dissertation examination committee; however, it is reasonable for either the student or advisor to invite other faculty or technical experts to join the group to provide specific advice and expertise as needed.

The dissertation committee is ultimately appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation UIC Cityof the Program. The committee can include the thesis advisor – no more than three members of the committee can come from the home Department of the student’s thesis advisor.

Graduate College Rules require that at least one member of the dissertation committee “must be from outside the degree-granting program, which may include graduate faculty from other UIC departments or Colleges.” Of course this rule was written when all Graduate Programs were housed intra-departmentally. The Graduate College now agrees that due to the multidisciplinary nature of the Program that inclusion of examiners from “outside” the home Department of the advisor is appropriate. Yet, it is still recommended that the "outside" examiner be from outside the University.

A procedural chair who is a full member of the Graduate College isselected; the chair's duty is to insure that the committee meets with the student at appropriate intervals to insure the successful progress of the students. At least two members of the committee must be tenured faculty at UIC; two must be full members of the Graduate College. The student is required to meet with the committee at least once each year in the Spring. The committee will serve in an advisory role and will work with the advisor to evaluate student progress and ultimately determine when the student is ready to write and defend his/her dissertation. The committee will be asked to submit a Progress Report to the Director of Graduate Studies each year to certify that they have met with the student. Students will maintain a continued exposure to the integrative aspects of the program through their required participation in Journal Club, their participation in the Annual Graduate Student Symposium each Spring and their attendance at required seminars and special lectures.

Final Graduation Requirements: Upon the approval of their dissertation advisory committee, students can complete their dissertation and prepare their defense. A written dissertation and oral defense before their Dissertation Committee as defined and approved by the Graduate College will be required. Students will also be required to offer a final formal public seminar in partial fulfillment of their graduation requirements. Students need to refer to the Graduate College site (see Quick Links) for specific details regarding graduation including the format of the thesis and required forms.

The Executive Graduate Studies Committee will represent the Program and serve as an intermediary between the students, Director of Graduate Study and Program Chair. This panel of experts will be positioned to assess and promote the quality of the educational program (both formal course work and informal exercises) and maintain the highest standards of excellence. They will review all students’ evaluations on a yearly basis and intervene and advise when problems or conflicts arise. Given the subjective nature of the evaluation process, especially when it involves research critical to an individual investigator’s program, it is critically important to rely on an independent and knowledgeable body of peers to insure the fair and impartial evaluation of student progress.

The average Ph.D. candidate finishes their student career in about five years, from matriculation to thesis defense.

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