The Catholic University of America

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Coursework Requirement

To receive a doctorate degree, students that begin the program after completing a bachelor degree must complete 53 credits of graduate course work in a program prepared and approved by the Department in consultation with an advisor. The first 30 credits will be divided according to the general masters program rules.

A maximum of twenty-four (24) credits may be transferred from another university into a student's program. All transfer credits must be approved by the department within one semester of study.

The selection of courses and thesis topics are conducted with the approval of a faculty advisor. The choice of courses should reflect breadth and depth of knowledge in at least several areas of biomedical engineering and must be approved by the faculty advisor and the department chair.

Application to Candidacy

At the near completion of coursework and prior to registering for the comprehensive examination, each student should complete an Application to Candidacy form. The first part of this form refers to the major and minor areas of study taken to receive the doctoral degree. This application must be approved by the Biomedical Engineering Department. The approval is based upon the successful completion of coursework. If the coursework is deemed incomplete, further coursework can be recommended.

Comprehensive Examination

After fulfilling the coursework requirements, a student must pass a written comprehensive examination before being admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree. A student must register for the comprehensive examination and have his/her program of study reviewed and approved by the BE department. Upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination, the student will receive information concerning the Approval of the Dissertation Topic and Committee.

Approval of Dissertation Topic & Committee

There are two states to the approval of the Dissertation Topic and Committee. First, the student submits the doctoral dissertation topic to the BE department. A presentation of the topic to the dissertation committee and other guests may be required. After departmental review and approval, the topic is then submitted through the School of Engineering to the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies for further review. The Vice Provost's office will send the student official notification of final approval of the Dissertation Topic and Committee.

Scheduling the Oral Defense

Upon completion of the research and in coordination with the major professor and dissertation committee, the student will schedule the oral defense of the work. The signed Application for Candidacy form indicates that the Dissertation Committee has read the dissertation and that it is ready for oral defense.

An extended committee is established for the Oral Defense which consists of the Dissertation Committee plus a Chairman and Secretary, both chosen from outside the Department to represent the University. The Records Office must have four weeks prior to the scheduling date of the defense. Once the complete Committee is in place, the Oral examination for the Doctorate: Request for Approval form will be submitted to the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies. The process takes two weeks. Upon receiving approval of the date, time, and committee, a booklet will be prepared for the day of the defense. Samples of this booklet are available in the Records office.

Formal Approval and Submission of the Dissertation

At the conclusion of the Oral Defense, the extended committee will vote on the acceptance or rejection of the research investigation and sign all necessary forms. These forms will be returned to the Records Office and forwarded to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies for further processing.

Upon favorable vote of the Oral Defense, the completed dissertation is submitted to the Graduate Student Services office with the Permission to Publish form. It is the student's responsibility to meet the submission requirements of the Graduate Student Services office. A checklist of these steps is available in the Records Office. When the Graduate Student Services office notifies the Records Office of receipt of the dissertation, the student is considered to have completed all the requirements of the Doctoral Degree.