DePaul University Catalog > Colleges & Schools > College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Graduate > Doctoral Programs

Doctoral Programs

The Doctor of Philosophy, the highest academic degree that DePaul University confers, is offered in the department of Philosophy. The degree shows that the recipient has demonstrated proficiency in a broad area of learning, as well as the potential to explore and advance that field of knowledge by independent research. 

Following are the minimum general requirements for all candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in the areas of 1) academic achievement, 2) residence, 3) admission to candidacy, 4) dissertation, 5) final examination and 6) program time limitations. Additional requirements set by the departments are stated in the departmental sections of this Catalog. 

Academic Achievement

A student will be advised to withdraw from the doctoral program when the department judges that he or she is not maintaining satisfactory progress toward the degree. Students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 average. A course grade below 2.0 is unsatisfactory and will not be counted toward completing degree requirements. The determination of satisfactory progress is not limited to grades and grade point average, but includes all factors in the student’s performance. 


At least three consecutive quarters beyond the master’s level must be spent in full-time study at DePaul University. Full-time study is defined as registration for a minimum of eight quarter hours in a quarter. With prior approval of the department, the student may satisfy residency by course work, by participation in seminars, or by research performed off campus.  To reflect the diversity of graduate study for the Ph.D. degree at stages other than the residency stage, doctoral candidates are full-time students who are registered for Independent Study (four hours); for Dissertation Research (four hours); or for Candidacy Continuation (non-credit). 

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy implies that the faculty is satisfied the doctoral candidate is sufficiently knowledgeable in his or her area of specialization and in the use of research tools to be able to prepare an acceptable dissertation. 

For admission to candidacy the doctoral candidate shall have had the master's degree conferred and shall have completed three consecutive quarters of full-time study beyond the master’s level. Other requirements may include a comprehensive examination, departmental language or allied field study, and/or a dissertation proposal. 

The College Office will record the date of admission to candidacy. There is a time limit of four years between admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and admission to candidacy. Once admitted to candidacy, the doctoral candidate must maintain registration in the University in each of the quarters of the academic year until the degree requirements have been completed. Among other courses, the following are appropriate to maintain registration: Independent Study (four hours); Dissertation Research (four hours); or Candidacy Continuation (non-credit). Failure to comply with the policy governing registration in the University, in each of the quarters of the academic year until the degree requirements have been completed may result in dismissal from the doctoral program. Candidacy status may be reinstated only after the student has applied for readmission (see Readmission Procedures). 


The doctoral candidate will prepare a dissertation based on his or her research. The purpose of the dissertation is to demonstrate one’s ability to do scholarly work that contributes to the profession and the advancement of knowledge. The candidate will: 1) select a dissertation director; 2) have a topic of the dissertation approved; and 3) form a dissertation committee to help guide the production of the dissertation. Further details about the dissertation are available from the candidate's department. All doctoral dissertations are to be published through ProQuest and entered into DePaul University’s institutional repository. After all requirements have been completed, the dissertation document has been fully approved, purged of all errors, and in the correct format, the student must submit an electronic PDF copy of the dissertation to the College Office.  For more on dissertation requirements, accompanying forms, and associated fees, visit here.

Final Examination

The dissertation is the principal basis of the final examination. After completing the dissertation, and at least eight months after admission to candidacy, candidates should submit a petition for the final examination to their department. The department chairperson notifies the Graduate Office of the date, time and place of the examination and of the names of the members of the examining committee. After the examination, the chair of the committee sends a report of the results, signed by all committee members, to the graduate office. When these steps have been completed, the doctoral candidate becomes eligible for degree conferment at the next convocation. 

Program Time Limitations

For graduate students in a doctoral program, the time limits to complete the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree are 1) between admission to the doctoral program and admission to candidacy: not more than four years; and 2) between admission to candidacy and the final examination: not less than eight months, and not more than five years. When a graduate student fails to finish before the end of his or her fourth year prior to candidacy or his or her fifth year post candidacy, the department or program director may recommend, on receipt of the student’s petition, in writing, an extension of time with or without additional courses, examinations, or other conditions. ​