Path to Degree Completion
Students will be assigned a temporary advisor at admission. Doctoral students and master’s students in Plans A or B are encouraged to explore opportunities with various faculty members to choose their major advisor.
Doctoral students and master’s students in Plans A or B, in consultation with their advisor, must assemble a supervisory committee with Form or Change Supervisory Committee. Requirements for the supervisory committee can be found here for master’s students and here for PhD students. Changes to the supervisory committee may be made with the Form or Change Supervisory Committee form.
Plan of Study
The Plan of Study is an agreement between the student, the academic program, and the Graduate College that specifies all courses required to earn the graduate degree. The Plan of Study must be approved by the student's advisor, supervisory committee, and graduate coordinator. Students need to submit the Plan of Study to the Graduate School using Master's Plan of Study or Doctoral Plan of Study. Course deletions or substitutions may be made with the Change to Plan of Study form. The student, advisor, graduate program coordinator, and the Graduate College must approve changes.
Preliminary Examination for Doctoral Students
The preliminary examination consists of a written portion (a.k.a. comprehensive examination) and an oral portion (a.k.a Qualifying Exam or research proposal defense). More information about the written portion of the preliminary examination can be found here. Before a doctoral student can apply to take the oral portion of the preliminary examination, they should have:
- passed the written portion of the preliminary examination (comprehensive exam);
- taken at least 21 course credits at the graduate level at NDSU;
- submitted a paper as first author to a high-quality journal or conference on a topic related to their Ph.D. dissertation.
The Notification of Scheduled Examination form is required for the oral portion of the preliminary examination. This form must be submitted to the Graduate College at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the examination date. The Plan of Study must be approved at least 30 calendar days prior to scheduling the oral portion.
It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the Report of Preliminary Examination, ensure it is signed by all committee members, and submit it to the Graduate College within 14 calendar days following the defense.
Passing both the written and oral portions of the preliminary examination allows the student to be formally admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.
Final Defense (Examination)
The ﬁnal defense is an oral examination in which the author of the dissertation (for doctoral students), thesis (for Plan A master’s students) or paper (for Plan B master’s students) demonstrates to the supervisory committee a satisfactory understanding of both the focus area of their project and the broader field.
The final defense cannot be completed in the same semester as the doctoral preliminary examination.
The Notification of Scheduled Examination form must be submitted to the Graduate College at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the examination date.
The dissertation, thesis, or paper must be distributed to the committee members for review at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the defense.
It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the Report of Final Defense form, ensure it is signed by all committee members, and submit it to the Graduate College within 14 calendar days following the defense.