Ph.D. Policies & Forms


You will be assigned an advisor at the time of admission, but you may choose a different advisor as you progress in the program. You are expected to maintain regular contact with your advisor and should be prepared for each advising meeting. Please communicate with your advisor about any circumstances that may affect their progress in the program. Another member of faculty who may help you, with any problems, issues or concerns, is the Director of Graduate Studies. Please use the Director of Graduate Studies as a resource.

Academic Policies

You can find departmental, college and university-wide information related to academic programs, policies, and appeals on the General Catalog and Graduate College websites.

If you feel you have been treated unfairly, there are a number of resources available located in the Summary of Grievance Types and Responsible Parties and the Graduate Grievance Policy .

Title IX No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The Dean of Students website offers many resources to assist if needed.

The Ombuds Program is in place to assist in effective communication, collaboration and conflict management.

It is your responsibility to be aware of and respond to all School of Information and Graduate College policies, requirements, formats and deadlines as they pertain to progression towards and completion of their degree. 

For additional policy information, please see: 

Ph.D. Student Handbook 2020-2021

Graduate College Policies

New Student Checklist - PhD Information

Annual Review

You and your advisor will complete an annual review of your performance each academic year (typically in April). The annual review form should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for review.

The Graduate Committee reviews each student to ensure satisfactory academic progress. If your major advisor and the committee agree that your progress is unsatisfactory you will be placed on internal academic probation. You will then work with your advisor to create a one-year action plan to bring the you back to the expected performance level and get approval from the Graduate Committee. By the following academic review, you must have successfully completed the action plan and made satisfactory academic progress to remain in the program.

Comprehensive Examinations

In general, we follow the Graduate College guidelines for comprehensive examinations, but have more specific requirements to maintain the high quality of the exams. Exams will involve the minor department to the degree required by that department. The minor cannot be the same as the major. The announcement of comps and their results are handled through the GradPath (see GradPath Forms). 

Your options for the exam may vary depending on when you were admitted to the program. We recommend completing the Comprehensive Exam Cover Sheet with your major advisor and committee members to the areas to be covered on the exam.  

Essay-format Exam

Option for students who entered prior to Fall 2018
Only option for all students who entered Fall 2018 or after

See details for essay-format exam

Question-based exam

Option for students who entered prior to Fall 2018

See details for question-based exam

Proposal and Dissertation Defense

Once you have an approved doctoral Plan of Study on file, have satisfied all coursework, language and residence requirements, and passed the written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination, you may appoint your dissertation committee for defense of your dissertation prospectus and final dissertation defense. 

This committee should include at least four faculty members. Two of these may come from outside of the School of Information and all of whom should be tenured, tenure-track or other approved equivalent. Follow Graduate College guidelines for special provision members. See the Graduate College guidelines on dissertation committees

To form the committee, complete the Committee Appointment form through GradPath. Announcement of dissertation defense and its result are also handled through the GradPath. See GradPath forms.

Other Resources