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Degree Requirements

The PhD degree is the highest degree conferred by the university. As such, it is conferred after a student has reached a high attainment in some special branch of learning and has given evidence of ability to carry on independent research by making a contribution to knowledge that competent judges have approved. Although the awarding of the PhD degree represents the culmination of a highly individual program, the requirements for the degree can be described in terms of a series of steps.

PhD Course Requirements

The PhD program is a 72 credit hour program beyond the bachelor’s degree. Only 12 hours of research will count toward the 72 hours. A minimum of 24 hours of MU coursework at the 8000/9000 level (exclusive of research, readings, and problems) is required. Transfer credits will be determined by the student’s doctoral committee.

The PhD builds upon the MS programmatic areas. The 3 focal areas are: Operations Research and Statistics, Manufacturing/Production/Service Systems and Enterprise Information Systems. Fundamental IE knowledge in each area below is expected:

  • Operations Research and Statistics: theory and application of discrete and stochastic operations research methods, such as mathematical programming, fuzzy sets, meta-heuristics, Markov processes and queueing models.
  • Manufacturing/Production/Service Systems: advanced theory and application of flow shop, job shop and cell-based production systems, including production and facilities planning and inventory control systems; CAD/CAM, prototyping, process planning modeling, and simulation; and the theory of integrated systems.
  • Enterprise Information Systems: theory and implementation of business strategies, systems engineering, dynamic systems modeling, and value chain analysis. Also the design and analysis of enterprise information and communications systems.

In addition every PhD student must have fundamental knowledge in probability, statistics and statistical design of experiments.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for the PhD degree requires 3 steps:

  1. passing the qualifying examination
  2. selecting and advisory committee, and
  3. filing the Qualifying Examination/Confirmation of Advisor form (D-1)

PhD Qualifying Process

The purpose of the Qualifying Process is to help the Committee in assessing a student’s general background and prospects for successfully completing the PhD degree. The results of the process are also used to help in planning the student’s program of study. The objective of the process is, therefore, assessment and guidance.

All entering PhD students are required to pass the qualifying process. The qualifying process must be completed by the end of the student’s first year in the PhD program. There are 2 ways to pass the qualifying process.

1. The student will take a written exam in a selected focus area. Or
2. The student will complete the qualifying process by taking and receiving a B or better in each course of a set of courses associated with a focus area as determined by the departmental faculty.

The qualifying process must be completed within the first year and will form the basis for specific recommendations. These recommendations will take the form of courses for the student’s program of study. Occasionally this includes remedial courses or the recommendation that the student undertake the qualifying process a second time. The qualifying process may be taken at most twice.

Doctoral Committee

Early in their studies, students must declare an emphasis area from the 3 approved programmatic areas. At or near this time the student should agree upon a major advisor and begin to select a committee. This should occur before the end of the first semester but no later than the end of the second semester after passing the qualifying process. At that time, the D-1 Qualifying Examination Results and Doctoral Committee Approval form must be filed with the Graduate School. The purpose of this form is to show the student’s name as it should appear on the diploma, student number, universities/colleges attended with degrees and dates, degree program and serve as an official record of the members of the student’s doctoral committee. The form also indicates the results of the qualifying process and what course of action is proposed if the student did not pass the qualifier. (See Appendix B)

The Doctoral Committee is made up of 5 people – the student’s advisor (who must be a member of the doctoral faculty), 2 members from within the Department (who must be doctoral or graduate faculty), and 1 member from outside of the department, usually from an area pertinent to the research subject. Additional members may be selected from inside or outside of the department or even from industry. If the fifth member of the committee is from off-campus, a copy of his/her curriculum vitae must be attached to the D-1 form upon submission. The final committee must have at least 3 doctoral faculty members.

Program of Study

After successfully completing the qualifying process, the doctoral candidate, in conjunction with their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, will design a program of study that meets the needs of their emphasis area and the requirements of the Graduate School. This program of study must also be approved by the student’s doctoral committee. The total program of study must constitute a definite educational plan for research and scholarly investigation in their emphasis area. The D-2 Plan of Study for the Doctoral Degree form should be submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the third semester. The purpose of this form is to plan the program of study that the student will follow and certify that all committee members approve the program, including the recommended hours of transfer credit. MU requires a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree for the PhD. No more than 12 research hours may be included in this 72 hour requirement. (See Appendix B)

Comprehensive Examination

At least 1 week before the comprehensive examination begins, the committee reports to the Graduate School the readiness of the student to undertake the examination. The student must be enrolled to take this examination. It is not administered unless MU is officially in session.

The comprehensive examination is the most advanced posed by MU. It consists of written and oral sections and must be completed at least seven months before the final defense of the dissertation. The 2 sections of the examination must be completed in 1 month. The written section or sections of the examination may be conducted in 1 or both of the following 2 ways:

1. The written sections may be arranged and supervised by the major advisor, in which case questions are prepared and graded by the doctoral program committee; or
2. The major advisor may delegate responsibility for arranging, preparing, supervising and grading the written sections of the examination to 1 or more departmental/program committees appointed for this purpose.

In the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering the doctoral comprehensive exam is held in conjunction with the student’s dissertation proposal defense. This defense is of the proposed research that will be completed by the candidate in order to prepare their dissertation and constitutes the written part of the test. During the oral defense of the proposal, the faculty will also conduct the oral part of the comprehensive examination.

For the comprehensive examination to be successfully completed, the doctoral program committee must vote to pass the student on the entire examination, both written and oral sections, with no more than 1 dissenting or abstaining vote. The D-3 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Results form, carrying the signatures of all members of the committee, must be sent to the Graduate School not less than 2 weeks after the comprehensive examination is conducted. If failure is reported, the committee recommends remedial measures. (See Appendix B)

The student who fails may not take a second comprehensive examination for at least 12 weeks. Failure to pass 2 comprehensive examinations automatically prevents candidacy.

Final Examination

During the process of developing and completing the research work the PhD candidate must submit at least 1 article to a refereed journal. This requirement must be met prior to soliciting the Final Exam/Dissertation Defense. The submission of the student’s journal article must be reported to the Director of Graduate Studies using the D-5 form (see Appendix B) and must include a copy of the paper and the submission acceptance letter.

After the PhD dissertation is completed, the candidate should submit a copy to each member of the committee. At this time, the candidate is eligible to take the final examination. The PhD candidate is responsible for arranging the time and place of the Final Examination. An announcement must be sent to each member of the department faculty and publicly posted at least 2 weeks prior to the examination. Also, 2 weeks before the dissertation defense, the candidate should make arrangements to present his/her dissertation at a departmental seminar. It is the policy of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering to require the Final Examination be an oral defense of the work included in the dissertation and open to all members of the University graduate faculty. The candidate must be enrolled at the time of this examination and the examination cannot be taken when MU is not officially in session. It is recommended that the D-4 Report of the Dissertation Defense form be taken to the defense, along with the dissertation approval page (printed on the required cotton bond paper) so that committee members can sign both forms for students who successfully defend their dissertation. The purpose of this form is to record the official results of the dissertation defense. (See Appendix B)

Public Abstract for Dissertations

In keeping with the land grant mission of the University of Missouri to provide education, research and service to the people of the state and the nation, all graduates who submit a dissertation as part of their degree program requirements are to include a public abstract. The submission of a public abstract will not be included in the bound copy of a student’s thesis.

The public abstract will be used by the Graduate School to record and track graduate students’ research interests. It will also provide information to promote to university administration, local, state and national agencies, and to extramural funding sources the variety of scholarly work being done by graduate students at MU.

Exclusion from Candidacy

No individual who, at any time, has held the rank of assistant professor or higher on this campus is eligible for the PhD degree from the University of Missouri.

Requirements of Residence

A student is required as a minimum to have the equivalent of 3 full years of graduate work taken on the Columbia campus beyond the Baccalaureate degree. These 3 years must include at least 1 continuous year beyond the MS degree, or its equivalent, with a graduate registration of either 2, 12-semester hours or 3, 8-semester hours successfully competed within 18 months. If any advance work has been taken in residence at another institution, the faculty reserves the right to decide in each case whether this work may be properly regarded as having been spent in university studies under suitable guidance and favorable conditions to be acceptable as transfer toward meeting the PhD degree requirements. Private study pursued at a distance from libraries and laboratories will not be considered as equivalent to university work. All acceptable graduate work, including work for the MS degree, will be computed for meeting the residence requirements for the PhD degree on the basis of the following table.

Residency Requirements

Semester Credit Hours Residence Year Fractions
12 to 16 hours .50 year
9 to 11 hours .375 year
6 to 8 hours .25 year
3 to 5 hours .125 year
0 to 2 hours .0 year

The requirement above indicates the minimum time requirements for the PhD degree. A student who is a graduate assistant or who is engaged in other activities that reduce the time available for graduate work may find it necessary to devote more than the minimum time to meeting the course and dissertation requirements.

Time Limitation

A reasonable rate of progress toward the degree is required. The program for the doctoral degree must be completed within 5 years of passing the comprehensive examination. Candidates who passed their comprehensive exam before Fall 1994 must complete their degree program within 8 calendar years beginning with the first semester of enrollment as a doctoral student. Before the expiration of the applicable period, any candidate requiring additional time must submit a request for an extension. On petition of the candidate and the candidate’s department, an extension of time may be granted by the Graduate School. Departments specifically reserve the right to recertify currency in the discipline. All requests for extensions should be endorsed by the departmental director of graduate studies and accompanied by a description of the process whereby currency in the discipline is certified, if required by the department.

Continuing Registration

Continuous registration, requiring enrollment in each fall, winter and summer term is required for all doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive examination. If in residence, a student must enroll for credit commensurate with academic activity (e.g., the student should enroll for 12 hours of research credit) but in no case should the student enroll for less than 2 credit hours per semester for fall and winter semester or 1 credit hour for the summer semester. Failure to comply with this regulation results in the cancellation of candidacy. The candidate, if away from the Columbia campus after all requirements for the dissertation have been completed, must continue to enroll for 1 hour of research each registration period until the degree is awarded in order to continue to pursue the PhD degree.