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Academic Process for Doctoral Students

Step 1: Choose an adviser

The student selects an adviser or co-advisers by mutual consent from doctoral faculty members who are dissertation supervisors in the department or area program in which the major work is planned. More »

Step 2: Complete qualifying examination or process

To be officially admitted to doctoral candidacy, the student must pass a qualifying examination or process. Any department or area program may limit the number of times this examination or process may be attempted.

Step 3: Choose doctoral program committee

All members of the doctoral program committee participate actively in the activities of the doctoral student at all the stages of the student's career at MU, except the qualifying examination or process. More »

Step 4: Submit plan of study

A plan of study is a list of courses and the credit to be earned in each of them. More »

Step 5: Take comprehensive examination

The comprehensive examination consists of written and oral sections. It must be completed at least seven months before the final defense of the dissertation. The two sections of the examination must be completed within one month. More »

Step 6: Write dissertation

The dissertation must:

  • Be written about a subject approved by the candidate's doctoral program committee
  • Embody the results of original and significant investigation
  • Be the candidate's own work.  More »

Enrollment information

Candidacy for a doctoral degree is established by passing the comprehensive examination. Status as a continuously enrolled doctoral student begins the term after that in which the comprehensive exam was completed successfully. Students must maintain continuous enrollment during their candidacy.

International student enrollment

View the enrollment guidelines on the International Center website.