Skip to Content Find it Fast

This browser does not support Cascading Style Sheets.


Graduate Course Catalog 2016-2017

Academic Regulations and Degree Requirements


« Doctoral Degree Requirements

The degree of doctor of philosophy is conferred on qualified candidates who have passed an oral or written examination(s) on the subject matter of their field of study, who have completed an original investigation in this field and have embodied the results in an acceptable dissertation, and who have passed an oral examination in defense of the dissertation. The degree of doctor of philosophy is essentially a research degree.

The degree of doctor of nursing practice is a practice based doctorate that prepares nurses for the highest level of specialized nursing practice. DNP graduates are prepared to translate evidence into practice, improve systems of care, and measure health outcomes in diverse settings. Graduates of the DNP program are prepared for culturally competent, evidence-based, system-based care, interprofessional collaboration and leadership. DNP graduates are distinguished by their abilities to:

Responsible Conduct of Research
As a land-grant institution, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) is accountable to New Hampshire residents and to the University community to ensure the ethical and safe conduct of research and scholarly activity. As an institution of higher education that prides itself on extensive research endeavors and the involvement of undergraduates and graduate students in research projects, UNH has an obligation to teach and actively promote integrity in research and scholarship.

To fulfill its obligations, UNH has embarked on a program on the responsible conduct of research and scholarly activity (RCR) to:

To support these efforts, the Graduate Council has mandated that all incoming Ph.D. students complete RCR training approved by the Graduate School by the end of their first semester. For more information, visit the RCR website


A minimum of three academic years of graduate study is required for the Ph.D degree. Resident graduate work done at other universities may be counted toward the minimum requirement upon approval of the guidance committee and the dean of the Graduate School, but one full academic year must be in residence at the University of New Hampshire. In individual cases, the major department and the dean of the Graduate School may grant permission to pursue the research for the dissertation at another institution where access to special facilities would be advantageous.


Each program specifies the number of courses required for the Ph.D. degree.

The DNP program requires 21-33 credit hours. 


Doctoral Research (999)

A minimum of two semesters of registration in Doctoral Research is required for Ph.D students. However, Ph.D. students at candidacy must register for 999 each semester during the academic year, even if the minimum requirement has been met.

Guidance Committee

A guidance committee is appointed by the dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the program faculty as soon as possible after a student has begun study for the doctoral degree. The committee assists the student in outlining a program and preparing for the qualifying examination, and administers the examination.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination, which must be taken at UNH, is required and may be written, oral, or both. This examination will test (1) the student's general knowledge in the student's major and minor work and (2) the student's fitness for engaging in research, particularly in the subject proposed for the dissertation. The chairperson of the student's program will communicate the examination results to the Graduate School dean. (See academic standards for details.)

Language/Research Proficiency

Each doctoral program has its own language and/or research proficiency requirements. These requirements can be found in the individual program descriptions.

Degree Candidacy

A Ph.D. student is advanced to candidacy for the degree by the dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the graduate program coordinator after the student has passed the qualifying examination, met the language or proficiency requirements as are deemed desirable by the student's program, and declared a topic for dissertation research.

Doctoral Committee

After a Ph.D. student has been advanced to candidacy, a doctoral committee will be appointed to supervise and pass on the dissertation and administer the final examination. This committee will be nominated by the department of major concentration and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. It shall consist of a minimum of five members, usually three from the major department and two from related departments. The dean of the Graduate School is an ex officio member of all doctoral committees.

Time Limit

All graduate work for the doctorate must be completed within eight years of matriculation (enrollment after admission) or within seven years if the student entered with a master's degree in the same field. A Ph.D. student must be advanced to candidacy within five years after matriculation or within four years if the student entered with a master's in the same field.


The dissertation must be a significant contribution to scholarship in the student's discipline, demonstrating the student's ability to conduct independent and original research and to communicate the results of the research through a coherent, integrated, and mature piece of writing.

Final Defense

A copy of the completed dissertation must be made available to the members of the examining committee two weeks before the final examination date.

The final oral examination is conducted by the doctoral committee and is intended to give the candidate an opportunity to defend the dissertation. While it is desirable for all committee members to participate in dissertation defenses, whether in person or through virtual means such as conference calls or video conferencing, outside scholars are not required to be present at the defense. Departments will determine how to obtain meaningful and substantive evaluations from external members in consultation with the Graduate School. A written final examination, on subject matter not covered in the qualifying examination, may also be required. This written examination is conducted by the major department. These final examinations must be completed by the date listed in the Graduate School calendar. After consultation with the major program, the dean of the Graduate School may appoint, for participation in the final oral examination, additional members of the faculty under whom the student has worked. The doctoral committee alone shall decide on the merits of the candidate's performance by a majority vote.

Submission of Dissertation

The final approved dissertation must be submitted for publication by ProQuest via the UNH ETD Administrator website by the appropriate deadline as published in the Graduate School calendar.  Bound copies are available for purchase through ProQuest at the time of submission.  Students should check with their department to determine if a bound copy is required.  Students may choose to copyright their thesis at the time of publication.  All fees are to be paid by the student at the time of submission.   If the dissertation material is further published, it should be designated as having been accepted as a doctoral dissertation by the University of New Hampshire.