General University Requirements for Ph.D.

General University Requirements

  • Catalog and Time Limit
    Graduate students may elect to graduate under the degree requirements in effect and published in the UAF catalog in any one of the previous 10 years as doctoral students. To be considered enrolled in their doctoral degree program they must meet the registration requirements per academic year. If enrollment occurs through the non-degree student registration process, the student is 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 used for degree requirements. Students must satisfactorily complete all coursework listed on the individual's Advancement to Candidacy form and all other degree requirements within 10 years as a doctoral student.
  • Grades and Grade Point Average
    Graduate students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the courses identified on their Advancement to Candidacy form to both remain in good standing and graduate. In addition, for the purpose of satisfying degree requirements, students 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. A B- is less than a 3.0 and, if obtained in an F400-level course, will not count for meeting degree requirements; likewise, a C- is less than a 2.0 and, if obtained in an 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 formally request a leave of absence.
    Additionally, graduate students must be registered in both the semester of dissertation defense and the semester in which the degree is received as per the requirements under Graduation.
  • Temporary Leave of Absence
    If a student needs to temporarily suspend studies while earning a graduate degree, they must obtain an approved leave of absence. If a student fails 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, 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
    Credit by examination, audited courses, F100-, F200-, F300-, and F500-level courses, or courses that are taken under the credit/no credit option cannot be used 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 director of the Graduate School must approve requests for exceptions to the limit.
  • Deficiencies
    The graduate advisory committee may require that students remedy any deficiencies. The committee will determine early in the program both how to remedy the deficiencies and the minimum level of performance required of the student. Graded undergraduate courses taken to remedy a deficiency must receive a grade of B (3.0) or better. Deficiency courses cannot be listed on the Advancement to Candidacy form.
  • English Proficiency
    Graduate students must be proficient in written and oral English. The graduate advisory committee will determine the requirements to address any deficiencies in communication. These requirements may not be used to fulfill departmental language/research tool requirements.
  • 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

A graduate student may change their program. 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), the student must submit a new application for admission so faculty in the new degree program can fully review the student’s credentials. To change the area of emphasis, add a degree or the degree within the same department (e.g., from an M.A. in anthropology to a or add a Ph.D. in anthropology, or from a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology to a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry) the student may change or add programs by completing a change of major form.  The form is available from the Graduate School’s website. Regardless of when the form is submitted, a change of program doesn’t become effective until the beginning of the upcoming fall or spring semester. For more information, contact the Graduate School at 907-474-7464.


  • Responsibility
    The student is responsible for meeting all requirements for graduation. The Advancement to Candidacy must be received by the Graduate School the semester before the student intends to graduate.
    • All Ph.D. programs

      • The student must be registered for a minimum of 3 graduate-level credits within their discipline the semester of successfully defending their dissertation and plan to graduate.

      • If the student has already successfully defended but missed the previous semester's graduation deadline, then they must be registered for a minimum of 1 graduate-level credit within their discipline the semester that they plan to graduate.

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

  • Application for Graduation
    The student must file an application for graduation and a non-refundable fee with the Office of the Registrar. The Graduate School encourages the student to work with their 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. The student needs not to have all requirements met before they apply for graduation. The application is an indication that they 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 the 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.