Coursework requirements

Credit requirements

A minimum of 90 semester credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the completion of the Ph.D. program. The division of these credits will be as follows: at least 12 credits of coursework in the major (not including directed study or research credit); 32 additional credits of coursework, pre-dissertation research and directed study; and 30 credits earned in four consecutive candidate status semesters (9991, 9992, 9993, 9994) of dissertation research and direction after candidacy has been approved. Each department determines its own requirements for a minor. The total Ph.D. program must include 30 credits, excluding candidate status semesters, in courses open only to graduate students (i.e., 7000-level and above).

The Ph.D. program should provide for effective concentration in a major field with supporting courses in related fields.

Program load

The university considers a program of eight graduate credits per semester to be full-time study. Candidate status and maintenance status (9995) registration also afford students full-time status.

A student with a strong academic record who is devoting full-time to graduate study and carrying no outside employment may register in a program not to exceed 16 credits per semester.

Graduate assistants are required to register for a minimum of six credits each semester.

Plan of Work

The doctoral student, with the advisor's assistance, must plan a sequence of study that satisfies the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. An initial plan should be developed as early as possible and updated annually. The final Plan of Work, approved by the advisor and the departmental graduate director, may be submitted to the Graduate School for approval at any time, but must be submitted before a student has completed 40 graduate credits, including any transferred credits from the master's degree. The Plan of Work form is used for this.

Transfer of credit

Students may request to transfer graduate credit earned at other institutions toward the Ph.D. degree. Transfer credit must be appropriate to the student's degree program, as determined by the department. A minimum grade of B is necessary to transfer credits — credits graded B- (minus), P or S cannot be transferred. Transferred credits may not be used to reduce the minimum requirement of 30 credits of coursework, excluding dissertation, that must be earned at WSU.

A Transfer of Credit form should be used. The form should be submitted to the Graduate School when the final Plan of Work is submitted.

Directed study

Independent study may be authorized for areas of interest not covered by regular courses. Only advanced students should engage in directed study. The student should confer with their advisor to get permission for and to plan the study. The advisor typically serves as the instructor for the study. The plan for a directed study should indicate the outline of the study, its significance to the student's program and the evaluation method. The advisor and the graduate director must approve the study before the student's registration for the course can be approved by the department. A Directed Study form is available.

Residency requirements

The Ph.D. residence requirement stipulates that the student must elect at least 30 credits in graduate work, exclusive of dissertation registration, at Wayne State University.

In addition, the Ph.D. requirement of one year of residence is met by the completion of at least six graduate credits in coursework, exclusive of dissertation research, in each of two successive semesters. The spring/summer semester may be excluded from the definition of successive semesters. Additional residence requirements may be imposed by departments. Students should learn whether such additional requirements exist.

In the experimental sciences, for which it can be demonstrated that a student's research must be completed on campus, the residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree may be met by the dissertation director's written certification that the student has been in full-time residence for at least two successive semesters and one summer session. In such cases, a count of course credits is not required for fulfillment of the residence requirement, but specific dates of residence must be furnished.

Foreign language requirement

Each graduate department establishes its own foreign language requirement and the level of competency required.

Repeating courses

Each department sets its own policy on the number of courses with unsatisfactory grades that it will allow its graduate students to repeat. If a student repeats a course, the original grade remains on the transcript, but only the repeated grade will be used in calculating the GPA. Students will not receive university financial aid for repeating a course.

View the Graduate Bulletin for additional information.