Doctoral Handbook

Admission Requirements 

Admission to the doctoral program requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, college, or engineering school.

A student who has earned a master's degree at Stevens and who wishes to continue for the doctorate should apply to the appropriate department (or departments in the case of an interdisciplinary program) for admission to the doctoral program. Graduate Admissions will be advised of acceptance by memorandum.


Effective Fall 2012, the minimum requirements for the Ph.D. degree are 84 graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree including institute requirements. (See Institute Requirements).  A prior master's degree earned at another institution may be transferred for up to 30 credits without specific course descriptions with approval of the department/program and the Dean of Graduate Academics. Up to one-third of additional course credits may be transferred with the approval of the advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Academics. A grade of "B" or better (3.0) is required for such courses. (A grade of B- is not acceptable.) No credits may be transferred towards dissertation research. The additional credits required for the Ph.D. beyond the master's degree may not have been already used towards any other degree.

Institute Requirements

Students admitted into a Ph.D. program (discipline specific or interdisciplinary) as of Fall 2012 are required to earn a minimum of 84 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree.  Institute requirements beyond the credit requirement include and are limited to:

A written dissertation proposal and a successful defense;

The successful completion of the 3-credit course PRV961 (included in the 84 credits), taken after passing the qualifying examination and preferably concurrent with the preparation of the dissertation proposal; and 

At least one manuscript based on dissertation work submitted to a peer-reviewed journal at the time of the dissertation defense.


The student must spend one year "in residence" performing research. In residence means that the student shall spend a substantial portion of each week on the campus or at a research facility acceptable to the student's dissertation advisor. The details of the residency are subject to the approval of the Dissertation Advisor and the Dean of Graduate Academics.

Qualifying Examinations

It is recommended that within one year after admission to the doctoral program or after receipt of the master's degree, whichever comes first, the student take the department qualifying examination. The Report on qualifying examination form is filed with the Office of the Registrar. Students are permitted to enroll in a maximum of nine dissertation credits prior to taking the qualifying examination, with permission of the academic advisor. Consult with your thesis advisor concerning qualifying examination requirements.

Activity Report

Each semester, doctoral students enrolled in research credits or Maintenance of Matriculation must submit a Research Activity Report to his or her advisory committee. This form is to be signed by the thesis advisor and a copy forwarded to the Office of the Registrar. Students who do not submit such a report cannot enroll in additional credits. 

Preliminary Examinations

Some departments/programs require preliminary examinations but these are not required by the Institute.  In some cases a preliminary examination and qualifying examinations are combined.  It is the student’s responsibility to determine his or her specific department/program requirements.

Foreign Language Requirements

Foreign language requirements are left to the discretion of the department. The report on Language Examination form is filed with the Graduate Admissions Office.

Time Limit

A student who has earned a master's degree or its equivalent is allowed a maximum of six years to complete the requirements for the doctoral degree. Requests for an extension of this limit may be made to the Dean of Graduate Academics. 

Enrollment and Leave of Absence

All regular students are expected to maintain continuity of enrollment, except for summer sessions. If this cannot be done, the student must apply in writing for a leave of absence, which is subject to the approval of the Dean of Graduate Academics. A leave of absence is generally granted for one year. The period may be extended at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Academics. Time spent in the Armed Forces of the United States while on leave of absence is not included in the six-year limitation noted above. Time spent on leave of absence for other reasons may or may not be included in the six-year limitation. Each case is decided on the basis of individual circumstances by the Dean of Graduate Academics.

Leave of Absence does not waive a review of an action on a student's academic performance. Students who do not maintain continuity of enrollment and who do not obtain a leave of absence may be dropped from the program. Re-enrollment requires permission of the Dean of the Graduate Academics and the department direct.

Interdisciplinary Programs

This paragraph is the same as that for the master's degree, except that there is the additional requirement that the Advisory Committee recommend, subject to the approval of the Dean of Graduate Academics, which qualifying examinations and preliminary examinations the student will be required to pass.


A student interested in a program which does not fit the requirements of any of the existing Ph.D. degree programs proceeds as follows:

  • Along with the


    Application for Admission


    the student outlines in writing the program that he or she would like to take including a statement of purpose and submits it to the


    Office of Graduate Admissions


  • Graduate Admissions submits the application along with the statement of purpose to the Dean of Graduate Academics.

  • If the Dean of Graduate Academics approves the program, he or she appoints an interdisciplinary advisory committee from the pertinent disciplines of study.

  • If the committee accepts the program, the student is admitted as an interdisciplinary student. The committee prepare a study plan and submit it to the Dean of Graduate Academics for approval.

One member of the committee is appointed to be the student’s faculty advisor and the committee performs the usual departmental functions.


Dissertation Advisory Committee

Within six months of becoming a doctoral candidate, the student needs to select a research advisor and agree upon a research topic. The research advisor will request that the department director nominate additional members of the advisory committee. A dissertation committee is composed of at least four persons, one of whom must be a Stevens professor from another department or program. In the case of an interdisciplinary program this requirement is usually automatically satisfied. It is permissible and desirable to have as a committee member a highly qualified person from outside Stevens. The chair or co-chair must be a tenure-track, full-time professor, professor emeritus or non-tenure track faculty who have been approved with current policy (Click here for policy). A Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment form is completed and submitted to the Dean of Graduate Academics for approval. Usually, the student's research advisor serves as chairperson of the advisory committee. The student and the advisory committee must meet at least once a year and report to the Dean of Graduate Academics that the meeting was held.

Publication of Dissertation

After the dissertation is accepted, the student and his or her research advisor are urged if not already don so to prepare a manuscript for publication. The publication should carry this statement, "This paper (or part thereof) has been submitted by ___________ in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in the Department of _________ at Stevens Institute of Technology."

If a student and his or her research advisor publish or present publicly any portion of the dissertation before it has been accepted, the publication should carry the statement, "This paper is taken in part from a dissertation to be submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree of _______ in the department of ___________ at Stevens Institute of Technology."

A Ph.D. student is not permitted to incorporate into the text of his/her Ph.D. thesis photocopies of previously published work. Text must be reformatted to conform to the rest of the thesis and to conform to the library's rules on format of Ph.D. theses.

Dissertation in Absentia

In general, a student is expected to complete his dissertation on campus. In special cases, if all other requirements have been fulfilled, a student may be given permission to complete his or her dissertation in absentia. This requires the recommendation of the advisory committee and the approval of the Dean of Graduate Academics.

Dissertation Format

The dissertation must be written in accordance with the Specifications for Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations, a copy of which may be obtained from the Library website. 

Policy for Masters and Doctoral Thesis Advisor Appointment

This policy defines the appointment of doctoral thesis advisors from the pool of tenured and tenure-track professors and other researchers who collectively are committed to research and to enhancing our cross-disciplinary initiatives.


Faculty who are designated to direct master's and doctoral thesis.

Criteria for Membership:

A full member should be -

  • Tenured or hold a tenure-track appointment or, if

  • Not on full-time tenure track appointment should

  • be a full-time faculty member

  • have an earned doctorate in the appropriate field

  • have (exemplary) scholarly accomplishments in the appropriate field

  • be active in research in the appropriate field

  • and must be found qualified by the process designation described below.

Process of Designation:

The process of designation as master's and doctoral thesis advisor will -

  • Originate from a nomination by the majority of the tenured members of a department or program with the concurrence of the dean of the school; or, in the case of an interdisciplinary designation, from the Dean of Graduate Academics and the majority of the members of each of the participating departments or programs and the concurrence of the deans of the schools;

  • Be endorsed by the P & T Review Panel and the dean of the school

  • Approved by the provost

  • The designation will be initially for a period of five years and renewable for additional five-year terms by re-nomination from the school and the approval of the Office of the Provost.

Program Completion

Application for Candidacy

Within two weeks after the start of the last semester in which the student expects to complete the requirements for the doctorate, the student needs to submit an Application for Candidacy to the Office of the Registrar.

Dissertation Dissemination

Six weeks before the date on which the student expects to defend the dissertation, student distributes copies to his or her advisory committee.

Final Examination

After the dissertation has been accepted and approved by the student’s advisory committee, the student, in conjunction with the appropriate department, shall schedule the final public oral examination. The dissertation abstract shall be submitted to the Office of the Registrar to publicize the "Public Defense of Doctoral Dissertation" at least ten working days before the examination. The formatting information for the notice is contained in the Specifications for Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertations, which is available from the Library’s website. The defense must take place at least three weeks before Commencement. At most one member of the advisory committee, but not the thesis advisor, may be absent from the defense.

Library Copies of Dissertation

Once the public examination is passed, the student provides the librarian with three copies of the dissertation, signed by all members of the advisory committee present at the defense, and six copies of the abstract along with the Survey of Earned Doctorates form, the University Microfilm (UMI) form, and such other documents as may be requested. The librarian notifies the Dean of Graduate Academics when the dissertation and all other required documents are received in satisfactory form.

Notification to the Office of the Registrar

When the final public examination is taken, one copy of the Report on Dissertation and Final Examination, signed by all the members of the advisory committee is submitted to the Office of the Registrar.


The student pays the graduation fee when registering for the semester in which the program is to be completed. The microfilming fee and the binding fee are paid to the Library when the thesis is submitted.

Current students and prospective interdisciplinary students: Questions about our doctoral programs? Please email the Office of Graduate Academics today!