Doctoral Degree Requirements

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Requirements for the completion of master’s and doctoral degrees in the College are governed by department- or program-specific policy, College policies and procedures, Graduate Studies policies, and the University Senate Rules and Regulations.

Information on degree requirements presented in this section are limited to the most frequently consulted policies and key milestones in the graduate career. Students will find additional information under the KU Policy Library, the Graduate Studies and College's graduate regulations sections of the online catalog, the academic unit’s handbook, and the University of Kansas Rules and Regulations.


Coursework requirements for the doctoral degree are established and tracked by the department or program. Please consult with your advisor, the academic unit’s graduate handbook, and the relevant Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for further information on specific courses or course sequences required for the degree.

Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship

Graduate Studies requires that all doctoral students meet the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship» requirement before proceeding to the Comprehensive Exam. Specific requirements are determined by each department or program in consultation with Graduate Studies. Consult with your advisor and the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for further information.


Two semesters, which may include one summer session, must be spent in resident study at KU. The College requires that residency be fulfilled before the comprehensive oral examination is scheduled. For more information on residency requirements, please see the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Comprehensive Oral Examination

The comprehensive oral examination covers the major field and any additional content for which the academic unit wishes to hold the student responsible. The examination is expected to be broader than a defense of the dissertation proposal.  Exam dates must be approved in advance by the College.

The student must be enrolled the semester or summer session in which he or she completes the comprehensive oral examination. This enrollment may count toward the post-comprehensive enrollment requirements as described in Graduate Studies’ Candidacy for Doctoral Degree policy.  If more than 5 years elapse between the completion of the comprehensive exam and degree completion, the student may be required to retake the exam.

More information about comprehensive exam requirements may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Dissertation and Final Exam

Completion of the dissertation is the culminating phase of a doctoral program, marked by the final oral examination and defense of the dissertation. In all but the rarest cases, tentative approval of the dissertation is followed promptly by the final oral examination. Exam dates must be approved in advance by the college. Refer to the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for further information on the regulations governing the final oral examination, including committee composition and attendance regulations.

Guidelines for preparing and submitting the final copies of the dissertation are available on the Graduate Studies website.


At the end of each Spring semester, the College holds a master’s hooding ceremony and Graduate Studies organizes the annual doctoral hooding ceremony. The School of the Arts also hosts a ceremony for SOTA graduates. University Commencement information is available in the KU Commencement section of the KU website.

Attendance at these ceremonies is optional. Please consult the COGA website for more information.

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