(For Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. candidates only)


The Graduate School does not specify course requirements for the Ph.D. However, the Graduate School will not, ordinarily, approve the taking of the qualifying examination until the student has had a minimum of one continuous academic year of graduate work in courses, seminars, and directed or tutorial study. 60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree are the minimum requirement for the Ph.D., and not less than half of the total credit hours must be in work open only to graduate students. At least 24 credit hours must have been taken in residence at the University of Miami. A minimum of 12 dissertation credit hours must be taken. Graduate students studying for the Ph.D. who have received their master’s degree in the same field must take at least 24 credit hours in residence at the University of Miami in doctoral status. 

The specific course requirements for the Ph.D. are established by the major department or program which may require such additional graduate credit hour as it deems necessary. Such requirements will be found in that part of the Bulletin which lists course offerings.


A student must take a minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research except where otherwise stated. Not more than 12 credit hours of research may be taken in a regular semester, nor more than 6 in a summer session.

Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. degree students must defend their dissertation, doctoral essay, or lecture recital essay by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar and on the ETD website, upload one Dissertation Editor-approved PDF conforming in style to the standards set by the Graduate School to the ETD database, complete any online requirements, and submit the final three forms to the Graduate School in the semester the student wishes to graduate. Final forms include one Certificate of Defense Approval form, one ETD Final Content Approval form, and one ETD Availability Agreement form. All three forms are available on the Forms page of the Graduate School website.

All students are required to adhere to the following deadlines (and the requirements associated with these deadlines) posted on the ETD website: 1) Deadline to defend the thesis, dissertation, or doctoral/lecture recital essay; 2) Deadline to submit the full draft of the thesis, dissertation, or doctoral/lecture recital essay draft for formatting review by the Dissertation Editor; 3) Deadline to produce the final PDF; and 4) Deadline for completion.

The candidate is well advised to have a final, acceptable typescript of the dissertation in the hands of each member of their committee a minimum of two weeks prior to the defense. It is the duty of the student to acquire a copy of the guidelines for preparing theses and dissertations and to conform to the requirements therein. It is recommended that students begin the process early in the semester by discussing with their advisors a suitable timetable for meeting the ETD deadlines. All information pertaining to the formatting and electronic guidelines for electronic thesis and dissertation submission can be found on the ETD website. It is the duty of the student to acquire a copy of the formatting guidelines for preparing theses and dissertations and to conform to the requirements therein. All dissertations are also published by ProQuest/University Microfilms, Inc. The Graduate School also encourages students to contact the Dissertation Editor early in the semester at grad.dissertation@miami.edu if they have questions regarding any aspect of the ETD process.

The dissertation may be written in a language other than English at the recommendation of the dissertation committee and with the approval of the program and the Graduate School. Graduate School approval will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Dissertation Chair will submit a memorandum from the Department Chair to the Dissertation Editor together with the student’s application for admission to candidacy explaining why it is both relevant and appropriate for the dissertation research to be written in a language other than English. Acceptable “relevant and appropriate” reasons for writing the dissertation in a language other than English include, but are not limited to: relevancy to research where presentation in a non-English language expands knowledge of that language; relevancy where the loss or weakening of the research’s meaning and impact if primary data, e.g., interviews, are translated into English; or appropriateness where the majority of the bibliographic sources, references, and potential outlets for future publication are anticipated to be in that language other than English. Both the memorandum and the application for admission to candidacy form must be submitted to the Graduate School at the same time. In some cases upon review of the memorandum, the Graduate School may determine that the student will also be required to submit an English translation of the non-English dissertation. For all approved cases, an abstract in English should be included in the final dissertation.

Electronic Theses and Dissertation (ETD) Embargo Policy

Graduate students can elect to withhold their electronic thesis or dissertation for up to two years before the work is available for download from the University of Miami’s Scholarly Repository. The metadata for all theses and dissertations regardless of the availability option elected (i.e., open access, UM campus only, or embargo) will be immediately available for viewing in the university’s Scholarly Repository after the Dissertation Editor has approved and released the thesis or dissertation to the repository. If embargo is elected by the student, the existence of the student’s information page will appear in the Scholarly Repository right away displaying title, defense date, abstract, committee, keywords, etc., but the PDF of the electronic thesis or dissertation will not be downloadable until the term of embargo elected has expired. After the elected embargo period has expired the electronic thesis or dissertation will be released for open access in the Scholarly Repository. Students requesting embargo should carefully review the details of embargo election described in the ETD Availability Agreement form available on the Graduate School website to ensure they fully understand the terms of access for their embargoed work.

Research in Residence

Once a student has completed all course and required research credit hours, they must enroll in Research in Residence status until the degree has been granted. Research in Residence status is considered full-time enrollment. Time restrictions on obtaining degrees will be strictly enforced and can be waived only by the Dean of the Graduate School. Research in Residence students, while not required, may purchase or receive any perquisites that are normally available to graduate students. (See Recency of Credit section.)


The student must spend at least two consecutive semesters beyond the first year’s graduate work, wherever taken, in full-time study at the University of Miami. With program approval,

  1. one summer of full-time study in two sessions can be substituted for one semester of residence, or
  2. full-time study for two successive summers can be substituted for two regular semesters.

Residence requirements may be altered only by the Dean of the Graduate School. (At least 24 credit hours must be taken in residence.)

The Supervisory and Dissertation Committees

A supervisory committee is usually appointed when a student is formally admitted to a doctoral program. For the dissertation/doctoral essay/lecture recital essay committee a student needs no less than four members. The committee chair must be Regular Faculty from the student’s program of concentration (this includes secondary appointments). In addition to the chair, two members must be Regular Faculty or have Graduate Faculty status in the student’s program of concentration. The fourth member must be an outside member. “Regular Faculty” are faculty having tenured or tenure-earning appointments of a program or department. A thesis or dissertation committee cannot be chaired by a person unless they hold a higher or equivalent degree as the candidate for the graduate degree. Exceptions to the committee composition may be approved by the Program Director (or Chair of the Department) and Dean of the Graduate School. A department, program, or school/college may require additional members.

This committee is nominated by the chairperson of the program concerned. It is appropriate for the chairperson to consult with the student regarding the membership of the committee. The supervisory committee is empowered to plan the course of study for the student; to determine deficiencies, if any; to set language and other requirements; to request applicable transfer of credit hour where appropriate and to make up and administer the qualifying examination.

When the student is admitted to candidacy, a dissertation committee is formed. This may be the supervisory committee, but it may also be a committee formed anew to undertake the duties of advising and passing upon the dissertation. The dissertation committee is nominated by the department or program concerned, and appointed by the Graduate Program Director and approved by the Department Chair. The dissertation committee is comprised of at least four members; this includes the committee chair (i.e. the primary research mentor/advisor), who may or may not be from the student's program, department or school (this includes secondary appointments), and must be a permanent member of the Graduate Faculty. Of the remaining members, it is also required that two shall be members of the program or department of concentration, as well as permanent members of the Graduate Faculty, and one from outside the program or department of concentration. See Faculty Senate legislation 2017-13B. A program may require additional members. The duties of the Dissertation Committee are:

  1. To consult with and to advise students on their research;
  2. To meet, at regular intervals, to review progress and expected results;
  3. To read and comment upon the draft dissertation;
  4. To meet, when the dissertation is completed, to conduct the final oral examination and to satisfy itself that the dissertation is a contribution to knowledge and that it is written in lucid and correct English and submitted in approved form.

No student gains the right to be recommended for the degree simply by fulfilling requirements. This right is reserved to the student’s committee. Changes of committee members must be approved by the Graduate Program Director, and submitted to the Graduate School.

Qualifying Examinations

A written qualifying examination is to be taken by each doctoral degree candidate in all doctoral programs, with the exception of Physical Therapy, at the time that the student and the supervisory committee deem appropriate. The major program may specify that its students must take an oral examination as well. In those cases, normally, the student shall pass the written examination before the oral examination is conducted. Upon completion of the examination process, the supervisory committee shall notify the Graduate School and the instructional school or program that the student has passed or failed the examination. A student who fails the examination will be given one opportunity to retake it with the permission of the supervisory committee. After a qualifying exam is failed for a second time, the student is terminated from the program. Some programs do not administer qualifying examinations during the summer months. Check with the Graduate Program Director for specific program requirements.

Admission to Candidacy

When the student has met all requirements and passed the qualifying examinations, admission to candidacy for the degree is approved. No student may receive the degree in the same semester or summer session in which they are admitted to candidacy. The student must be admitted to candidacy before the defense of dissertation is scheduled.

Final Examination

A final public oral defense of the dissertation is required. Refer to the Academic Calendar for the deadline regarding dissertation defense for each graduation. Graduate programs set the specific requirements and format of the defense. Please contact your Graduate Program Director for details.

Transfer of Credit Hour

Upon recommendation of the major program and the approval of the Graduate Program Director and Dean of the Graduate School, graduate credit hour from another accredited institution may be transferred in partial satisfaction of the doctoral degree.  Any student wishing to transfer credit hour must first be admitted to a doctoral program at the University of Miami.  The satisfaction of the requirements of another university does not relieve the student from the University of Miami's requirements.  Credit hour transferred is subject to the same recency rules as all other credit hour counted toward the degree, and is also subject to examination by the program.  An official transcript of work to be transferred must be on file in the Graduate School.  Credit hours that pertain to or have counted toward another degree cannot be transferred.  No transferred credit hours are calculated into the University of Miami G.P.A.  

Florida International University and University of Miami Agreement

Effective as of Fall 2007, students may take up to 6 credit hours at the host institution as long as the following requirements are met:

  1. Must be Ph.D. student or Master’s student in Latin American Studies.
  2. Approval from both home and host institution;
  3. Approval of Graduate School Deans;
  4. Space at the host institution is available.
  5. Approval of the faculty member teaching the course.

Tuition and fees are to be paid at the home institution. Performance level is set at host institution. Contact the Graduate School for more information. The application form can be found here.