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PhD Candidacy & Dissertation


Doctoral students must have submitted at least two publications/presentations/posters to peer-reviewed journals or proceedings approved by their committee before candidacy.

Entrance into Candidacy

Candidacy is a designation controlled by the UT Graduate School. The student must formally apply to the Graduate School for admission to Candidacy, and as such the student is responsible for ascertaining the procedures required by the Graduate School at the time of their application and ensuring that they are followed. One element of the procedure is recommendation for Candidacy by the School of Information GSC. Entrance into candidacy may occur prior to or immediately following the successful dissertation proposal defense.

The School of Information GSC, represented by the School of Information members of their committee, will recommend a student for candidacy once the student has completed the qualifying procedure and identified their entire dissertation committee.

Once a student is approved for candidacy by the Graduate School, the student’s enrollment requirements are governed by Graduate School policies. Following Graduate School rules, candidates are required to enroll in Dissertation Readings (INF X99R, the X signifying that the course may be taken for three, six, or nine credit hours) in their first semester of candidacy, and Dissertation Writing (INF X99W) in all subsequent semesters.

Two years after admission to candidacy, the graduate school will ask the GSC whether to extend the student’s candidacy. The GSC may recommend that the student's candidacy be extended for one year or that the candidacy be terminated for lack of satisfactory academic progress. Recommendations are forwarded to the graduate dean for approval. Extensions are uncommon and extensions beyond one additional year very uncommon.

Proposal and Dissertation Defenses

Students must publicly present and defend a proposal for a dissertation and, once the dissertation is complete, they must publicly present and defend the completed dissertation. The procedures for the two defenses are similar; they are described below together, with notes indicating anything specific to proposal or dissertation defenses.

While the rules for the dissertation proposal are determined within the School of Information, the Graduate School has specific deadlines each semester by which dissertation defenses and formal Doctoral Graduate Applications must be filed. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that a dissertation defense is scheduled early enough to meet these deadlines and to undertake any revisions prior to these deadlines.