General University Requirements for Ph.D.

This is an archived copy of the 2020-2021 catalog. Access the most current version of the catalog.

General University Requirements

  • Catalog and Time Limit
    You may elect to graduate under the degree requirements in effect and published in the UAF catalog in any one of the previous seven years in which you are enrolled as a master's degree student, or in the previous 10 years if you are a doctoral student. To be considered enrolled in your master's or doctoral degree program you must meet the registration requirements per academic year. If you enroll through the nondegree student registration process, you are not considered enrolled as a degree student during that time.
    All nonacademic policies and regulations listed in the current catalog apply, regardless of the catalog you are using for your degree requirements. You must satisfactorily complete all course work listed on your Advancement to Candidacy form and all other degree requirements within seven years for a master’s degree and 10 years for a doctoral student.
  • Grades and Grade Point Average
    You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the courses identified on your Advancement to Candidacy form to remain in good standing and to graduate. In addition, for the purpose of satisfying degree requirements, you must earn a B (3.0) or better (no P grades) in each F400-level course and a C grade (2.0) or better in each F600-level course. NOTE: A B- is less than a 3.0 and, if obtained in a F400-level course, will not count for meeting degree requirements; likewise, a C- is less than a 2.0 and, if obtained in a F600-level course, will not count for meeting degree requirements.
  • Registration Requirement
    Graduate students must be registered for at least 6 credits per year (fall, spring, summer), at the graduate or F400-level in courses relevant to the graduate degree, while actively working toward a degree. Those who wish to temporarily suspend their studies should obtain an approved leave of absence.
    Additionally, you must be registered in both the semester that you defend and the semester in which you receive your degree as per the requirements under Graduation.
  • Temporary Leave of Absence
    If you need to temporarily suspend studies while earning a graduate degree, you must obtain an approved leave of absence. If you fail to register for at least 6 graduate or F400-level credits in a school year (fall, spring or summer semester) or to obtain a leave of absence, you will be dropped from graduate study and will have to be reinstated before resuming graduate studies. Contact the Graduate School for information at 907-474-7464.
  • Transfer Credit
    Up to one-half of all graduate degree credits approved for a graduate program may be transferred from UAA and UAS. No more than one-third of approved program credits may be transferred from other accredited institutions outside the UA system. Transferred credits may not be used from previously earned undergraduate degrees. A minimum B grade (3.0) is required in all graduate courses presented for transfer. A P grade (pass) is not acceptable for transfer credit.
  • Credits Earned While Nondegree Seeking
    A student who earned post-baccalaureate degree credits while studying as a nondegree student at UAF may, with approval of the graduate advisory committee, apply those credits toward a graduate degree. However, no more than one-half of all credits used to meet the requirements of a graduate degree may be credits earned as a nondegree student.
  • Course Restrictions
    You may not use credit by examination, audited courses, F100-, F200-, F300-, and F500-level courses, or courses taken under the credit/no credit option to fulfill the basic course requirements of any degree program. No more than 12 credits of special topics courses (F693 or F695) or individual study (F697) may be used toward a graduate degree. The dean of the Graduate School must approve requests for exceptions to the limit.
  • Deficiencies
    Your advisory committee may require that you remedy certain deficiencies in your program. Your committee will determine early in the program both how to remedy the deficiencies and the minimum level of performance required of you. Graded undergraduate courses taken to remedy a deficiency must receive a grade of B (3.0) or better. Deficiency courses are not listed on the Advancement to Candidacy form.
  • English Proficiency
    You must be proficient in written and oral English. Your advisory committee will determine requirements to remove any such deficiencies. These requirements may not be used to fulfill the language/research tool requirement of some departments.
  • Cooperative Programs
    Some students may develop cooperative programs using specific courses from other universities before being admitted to graduate study at UAF. As part of the application process, the cooperative program must be included in an approved Graduate Study Plan. The student must complete a minimum of 12 semester credits in residence at UAF, in addition to thesis and research.
    The following guidelines are for collaborative Ph.D. graduate studies across all UA academic units. Some individual degree programs have additional requirements which are included in specific program descriptions in the graduate degree program section. The guidelines described here apply only to programs that have not established different requirements.
    1. At least four faculty members shall serve on the graduate advisory committee for each Ph.D. student. At least two committee members shall be UAF faculty. One of the UAF committee members must be on a tenure-track appointment in a Ph.D.-granting department. The committee shall be chaired or co-chaired by a UAF faculty member.
    2. The graduate advisory committee and its chair and/or co-chairs must be approved by the program director and the dean of the Graduate School.
    3. UAF rules and regulations on graduate studies shall apply to all UAF graduate students, including those concurrently enrolled at UAA and UAS.
    4. The graduate advisory committee must meet at least once a year to update the Graduate Study Plan and to review the student’s progress toward the degree. The annual progress report must be signed by all committee members and submitted to the dean of the UAF Graduate School.
    5. A comprehensive exam committee composed of the student’s advisory committee will administer the Ph.D. comprehensive exam for each student.
    6. The Ph.D. thesis defense is to be conducted on the UAF campus.

Changing Programs

Graduate students may change their program only when the areas of emphasis or the degree are within the same department (e.g., from an M.A. in anthropology to a Ph.D. in anthropology, or from a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and molecular biology to a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry). If the change meets those requirements, you may change programs by completing a change of major form, available from the Graduate School’s website. Regardless of when you submit the form, a change of program doesn’t become effective until the beginning of the upcoming fall or spring semester. If, however, you want to change to a program in a different department, school or college (e.g., from an M.S. in civil engineering to an M.S. in biology), you must submit a new application for admission so faculty in the new degree program may fully review your credentials. For more information, contact the Graduate School at 907-474-7464.


  • Responsibility
    You are responsible for meeting all requirements for graduation. Your Advancement to Candidacy must be received by the Graduate School the semester before you intend to graduate.
    • Master’s with thesis or project and all Ph.D. programs

      • You must be registered for a minimum of 3 graduate-level credits within your discipline the semester that you successfully defend your thesis or project and plan to graduate.

      • If you have already successfully defended but missed the previous semester graduation deadline, then you must be registered for a minimum of 1 graduate-level credit within your discipline the semester that you plan to graduate.

    • Master’s with non-thesis/non-project

      • You are not required to register for the semester within which you plan to graduate.

    • Graduate Certificate or Graduate Licensure

      • You are not required to register for the semester within which you plan to graduate.

      • No Advancement to Candidacy required.

Additional information on the steps or paperwork required to graduate for all Master’s and Ph.D. programs is available on the Graduate School's website.

  • Application for Graduation
    You must file an application for graduation and a non-refundable fee with the Office of the Registrar. We encourage you to work with your advisor/committee chair before applying for graduation to meet any departmental deadlines. Applications for graduation filed after the published deadline will be processed for graduation the following semester. You need not have all requirements met before you apply for graduation. The application is an indication that you are planning to finish all degree requirements during the intended graduation semester. Students who apply for graduation and who do not complete degree requirements by the end of the semester must reapply for graduation and pay the fee again.
  • Diplomas and Commencement
    UAF issues diplomas to graduates three times each year: in September, January and June. All students who complete degree requirements during the academic year are invited to participate in the annual commencement ceremony at the end of spring semester. Names of students receiving degrees appear in the commencement program and are released to the media unless the student has a confidential hold on file with the Office of the Registrar. Students who do not want their names to be released may so indicate on the application for graduation form. Graduates are responsible for ordering caps and gowns through the UAF bookstore in early spring.