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 Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

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 submitted via Workday requests by the academic department. Students are required to enroll in the doctoral milestones’ courses in Workday for the semester they sign in with their academic departments to take the exam. Consult with your thesis advisor concerning qualifying examination requirements.

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 are submitted in Workday. Time limit extension requests require the approval by the Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education upon reviewing of the student’s request for a program time limit extension in Workday.

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 submit a request in Workday for a Leave of Absence which must satisfy certain conditions prior to an approval. A leave of absence is generally granted for one year. The period may be extended at the discretion of the Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education. 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 Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

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. Students may need to reapply for their programs with the Graduate Admissions Office if they have exceeded the limit and failed to maintain the continuity of enrollment. Students may contact the Graduate Academic & Student Success for any questions.

Interdisciplinary Programs

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 Graduate Admissions

  • Graduate Admissions submits the application along with the statement of purpose to the Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

  • If the Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education 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 then prepares a study plan and submits it to the Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education 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 passing the department’s qualifying exams, 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 advisory committee is composed of at least four members (3 members must be from the same department conducting the doctoral research & at least on member must be from outside the department (external)). It is permissible and desirable to have a highly qualified individual from outside of Stevens serve as a committee member. A Stevens faculty member from another department or program may also serve as an external member.

In the case of an interdisciplinary program this requirement is usually automatically satisfied. Doctoral students in an interdisciplinary doctoral program are required to have five committee members. The committee must consist of two co-advisors, one member from outside of both programs but within Stevens, and two members, one from within each program. 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. 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 Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education that the meeting was held. A Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment form is completed and submitted to the Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education for approval, the process is initiated in Workday by the doctoral student.

Publication of Dissertation

After the dissertation is accepted, the student and his or her research advisor are urged if not already done 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 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 Senior Vice Provost for Graduate Education 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.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy represents the significant milestone wherein the student has fulfilled all academic coursework and other requirements, including the dissertation proposal. This achievement signals readiness to dedicate their time exclusively to research endeavors, ultimately resulting in the composition and defense of the doctoral dissertation.

Minimum Requirements* to Advance to Doctoral Candidacy
  • Completion of all coursework required for the Degree.

  • Completion of all program-level non-course work advancement requirements.

  • Thesis Committee approval of the dissertation proposal.

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.2

*Students should contact the Doctoral Program Coordinator or director of graduate studies in their department, with any questions about departmental requirements beyond the minimum requirements. other program-specific requirements for advancing to candidacy, imposed by a given doctoral program, should be outlined in the graduate handbook or on the website for the doctoral program. For more information on process to apply for doctoral candidacy visit the Graduate Academic & Student Success Webpage.

Program Completion

Apply for Program Completion

Within two weeks after the start of the last semester, or according to the deadline posted in the academic year calendar, in which the student expects to complete the requirements for the doctorate, the student needs to submit an Application for program completion in Workday. The request will be processed by the Registrar’s Office and will reflect in Workday as a “Pending Completion” status under the student’s academic record in Workday.

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 announcement & abstract shall be submitted to Graduate Academics & Student Success via the designated submission link 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 Graduate Academics & Student Success 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 Graduate Education via Workday requests by the student’s advisor.


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 Graduate Academics today!