Procedures for Ph.D. Students

A document outlining "Procedures for Ph.D. Students" is available: 


PhD students must complete at total of 108 graduate credits, including at least 27 credits of non-blanket courses and 36 thesis credits (BIOE 603). No more than 15 credits of blanket-numbered courses, other than thesis, may be included in the minimum 108-credit program. A minimum of one year of residence, continuously, at OSU (i.e., three consecutive quarters as a full time student) is required. At least half of the non-blanket courses must be graduate stand-alone courses. The remaining courses can be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses. Note: blanket courses are courses with a zero as the second number, e.g., BIOE 507. 

A program of study form must be approved during a meeting with the student’s committee and filed with the graduate school.  The program of study defines the student’s path to completion of coursework, and, once approved, it becomes the obligation of the student to complete the requirements as formulated. Doctoral students are required to submit the program of study form by the fifth term, but students are encouraged to complete the program of study early so they can get input from their committee. Changes in the program may be made by submitting a Petition for Change of Program form available in the Graduate School. Students who wish to transfer credit must submit a Transfer Credit Request form before the end of their first year of study. The final plan of study must be submitted to the Graduate School six weeks before the student’s oral preliminary examination.

Advisor Selection

Students should select a research advisor during their first term at OSU. It the student’s responsibility to identify and contact faculty members to set up a meeting to discuss research opportunities. In addition to meeting with faculty, it can also be helpful to meet with graduate students, attend lab meetings and visit the lab. At the end of the term, students should submit an Advisor Selection Form listing their top three choices for preferred advisors. The selection process will be finalized by the start of the next term.  The student must sign a “letter of intent” to work with the specific advisor. This agreement is binding except in extraordinary circumstances.  If a student believes a change of advisor is warranted they are encouraged to talk with the Graduate Program Coordinator.


The principal authority over a student's program resides with the student's Doctoral Committee.  This committee is responsible for assuring that University and School requirements are satisfied, monitoring student progress, assigning and approving courses of study, approving dissertation topics and paths-forward, and administering preliminary and final oral examinations. The committee consists of at least 5 members:

  • the student's major professor;
  • two other BIOE faculty members;
  • the student's minor professor, or if no minor is selected, committee member may be from graduate faculty at-large; and
  • one Graduate Council Representative.

The committee is originally formed, with approval from the major professor, at the student's invitation.  The Graduate Council Representative is selected from a list generated by the online GCR list generation tool.  The GCR is a permanent member of the committee and must attend all committee meetings, including the preliminary program committee meeting, the oral preliminary exam, the dissertation proposal meeting and the final examination (dissertation defense). 

Preliminary Oral Exam

Students must successfully complete the preliminary oral exam to advance to candidacy in the PhD program. The preliminary oral exam is taken near the completion of all course work on the Program of Study, typically around spring quarter of the second year. To schedule the oral preliminary exam, students must contact the members of the committee to arrange the date, time, and place, then schedule the exam with the Graduate School not less than two weeks before the examination using the Exam Scheduling Form.Students must be formally enrolled (for a minimum of 3 credits) during the term in which the exam takes place. For the preliminary oral exam, students must write a research proposal (~10 pages) on a topic provided by their advisor, orally defend the research proposal and answer questions from the committee on the proposal topic as well as topics from the student’s coursework. The written proposal should be submitted to the committee at least one week prior to the oral exam. 

Dissertation Proposal Meeting

After completing the preliminary oral exam and advancing to candidacy, students should schedule a dissertation proposal meeting with their committee to present their plan for completing their doctoral research. The purpose of the dissertation proposal meeting is to allow the committee to provide feedback to the student on their plan of research. This meeting typically takes place during year 3. 

Doctoral Dissertation and Final Oral Exam

After completion of or while concurrently registered for all work required by the program, the student must pass a final oral examination. The final oral examination must be scheduled in the Graduate School not less than two weeks prior to the date of the examination. The Graduate Program Coordinator must also be notified for announcement in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering no less than two weeks prior to the examination date.

The initial portion of the final oral examination is open to all interested persons.  After the open portion of the exam, the examining committee excludes all other persons and continues with the examination of the candidate’s knowledge of his or her field.  The committee then votes on whether or not the student should pass.  If more than one negative vote is recorded by the examining committee, the candidate has failed the examination.  Only one re-examination is permitted.  The oral final examination should be scheduled for at least two hours.

The final oral examination must be taken within five years after the oral preliminary examination.  If more than five years elapse, the candidate is required to take another oral preliminary examination.

When scheduling their final oral examinations, doctoral students are required to submit the pretext pages of their dissertations to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination. Pretext pages include the abstract, copyright (optional), title page, approval page, acknowledgment page, contribution of authors, table of contents, list of figures, tables, appendices, dedication (optional), and preface (optional). It is expected that students will distribute examination copies of their dissertation to all committee members, including the Graduate Council representative, sufficiently early to permit thorough review of the thesis prior to the student’s final oral examination.

Within six weeks after the final oral examination or before the first day of the following term, whichever comes first, students must upload one PDF copy of the thesis, without signatures, electronically to ScholarsArchive and submit the signed ETD submission approval form with a copy of the title page to the Graduate School. Signatures on the ETD submission approval form can be electronic, signed, scanned and emailed or faxed. If final submission occurs after the initial six-week period, the student may be subject to re-examination. Please refer to the Graduate School's website for complete details.

Within six weeks of the final oral examination, one printed copy your thesis must be submitted to the School of CBEE main office for binding and archiving in the CBEE thesis library.