Degree Requirements

University-wide Requirements

In order to receive a doctoral degree from UTSA, the following minimum requirements must be met:

  1. The student must be admitted as a doctoral degree-seeking ­student for the degree sought.
  2. The student must remove all conditions of admission, if any were assigned at the time of admission.
  3. The student must maintain continuous enrollment in doctoral-level courses until time of graduation. Exceptions are made for students on an approved leave of absence.
  4. Upon satisfying the admission to candidacy requirements, the student must be approved for admission to candidacy by the Graduate Program Committee, academic College and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  5. Upon satisfying the Dissertation Committee requirements and upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Committee, the academic College, and the Graduate School, the Dissertation Committee is appointed.
  6. The student must pass the final oral examination (defense of dissertation).
  7. All completed coursework included in the final program of study must have been taken within the preceding eight years to include successful completion and defense of the dissertation.
  8. The student must formally apply for the degree in the Office of the Registrar no later than the deadline for the semester in which they intend to graduate (for deadlines, see the online registration calendar).
  9. The student must meet the grade-point-average requirement of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in all work counted as part of the degree program.
  10. No courses in which grades of less than “C” (below 2.0 on a 4.0 scale) were earned may be applied to a doctoral degree.
  11. To graduate, all doctoral students must have an overall grade point average of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  12. The majority of graduate coursework must be completed at UTSA.

Milestones Agreement Form

Doctoral programs in The University of Texas System are required to use the Milestones Agreement form to develop an agreement between each student entering a doctoral program and the department administering the program. The Milestones Agreement form will address time-to-completion and meeting program expectations. Students entering a doctoral program are required to sign the Milestones Agreement form and to work with program faculty on a regular basis in order to assess progress toward the milestones identified by their program.

Academic Review and Individual Development Plan Form

Doctoral students are required to complete the Academic Review and Individual Development Plan (IDP) form each academic year. The Academic Review and IDP is an assessment of scholarly activities, types of funding received and sources, and future goals for the upcoming academic year. Students will complete the form with their currently assigned graduate advisor and submit to the Graduate School for review.

Grade Point Average

A grade point average of “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) must be maintained in each of the following:

  1. All coursework completed at UTSA.
  2. Graduate courses in the student’s major.
  3. Graduate courses in the student’s support field.

In computing grade point averages, grades from other institutions are not used.

Course Requirements

No specific number of semester credit hours of coursework has been established for doctoral programs at UTSA, although advanced coursework is an essential part of a doctoral candidate’s preparation. Individual doctoral programs may set minimum semester-credit-hour requirements for the attainment of the degree.

Support Work

In addition to courses and research in a field of specialization within the major, supporting coursework will be taken to broaden or supplement the student’s preparation.

Support work may consist of coursework in one area or several; it may be in conference, laboratory, or problems courses; it may be a supervised activity off campus relevant to the major interest. Some portion, not necessarily all, of the support work is normally outside the major area unless that area is of a multidisciplinary nature. At least three courses, or their equivalents, from outside the area of specialization are generally required.

Language Proficiency

Students are required to possess a competent command of English. Proficiency in a foreign language is a matter of degree option. Students should refer to individual degree descriptions for English and foreign language proficiency requirements.

Continuous Doctoral Enrollment

By 5 p.m. on Census Date for Fall, Spring and Summer semesters of each academic year, all doctoral students are required to be enrolled in doctoral-level classes until the time of graduation. 

Doctoral students receiving funding are required by their funding source to enroll on a full-time basis (9 hours fall and spring, 3 hours summer). Students should confirm with their doctoral program to ensure compliance with all funding requirements.

If a student has been admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree, registration in the dissertation course or the equivalent is required. The only alternative to continuous registration is a leave of absence.

If a student who is not on approved leave fails to register by Census Date, he or she may not return to the University without applying for readmission to the graduate program and must pay the Graduate School application fee. The application is reviewed by the Doctoral Studies Committee, which may choose to readmit the student or to deny admission.

Leave of Absence

Students enrolled in a doctoral program may apply for a leave of absence for one Fall, Spring and Summer semester when events such as illness or injury, active military service, or the need to provide care for a family member prevent active participation in the degree program. Continuous registration as a doctoral student is required unless a formal leave of absence is granted by the dean of the college in which the student’s program is administered. A leave of absence may be granted for military duty or medical reasons. A leave of absence may be granted for other reasons if additional approval is obtained by the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School. No degree examinations may be taken while a student is on a leave of absence. If the student has not yet been admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree, this request must be approved in advance of the leave by the graduate adviser. If the student has been admitted to candidacy, the application must be approved in advance by the graduate adviser and the graduate associate dean of the college and Dean of the Graduate School. A leave of absence is required for Fall, Spring or Summer semesters. Under no circumstances may a leave of absence be applied retroactively.

A leave of absence will prevent the student from receiving student funding from his or her program and may affect ability to receive financial aid or loans and/or to defer payments on loans. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid with questions regarding financial aid or loan status.

A student returning from a leave of absence must enroll for the following Fall, Spring  or Summer semester or provide a written request for a leave of absence extension (a leave of absence may not exceed one year throughout the student’s degree program).

A student who does not register or who does not secure an approved leave of absence extension each semester may not return to the University without applying for readmission to the graduate program and must pay the Graduate School application fee.