The Graduate College awards the doctoral degree for excellence in research and scholarship, not merely because the student completes a program of courses or spends a given time in its pursuit. The doctorate signifies the attainment of independently acquired and comprehensive knowledge and attests to the general professional competence of the recipient. The Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center normally grants a doctoral degree only to individuals who do not already hold a PhD or similar graduate degree.
A student should expect to spend a minimum of four full academic years beyond the bachelor's degree. During this period the student shall take adequate course work, successfully complete the general examination, and successfully defend the results of original research presented in a dissertation.
The minimum required number of semester hours for the doctoral degree, combining both formal courses and hours of research is 90 post-baccalaureate hours. Up to 6 hours of 5980, Research for the Master's Thesis, may be included in the 90 hours.
After admission to the Graduate College, students become prospective candidates at the discretion of their Advisory Conference Committee. Full candidacy is granted only upon successful completion of the General Examination.
Students who finish a master's degree cannot continue graduate study unless they are admitted into a doctoral program by the recommendation of a program and approval of the Graduate Dean.