See the Graduate School website for a listing of all deadlines that apply to the following steps. All required forms are available from the Geography Degree Program Assistant or the Graduate School website.

  1. Secure admission to status as prospective degree candidate for the Ph.D. degree (see Sections A and B);
  2. Obtain advisement from the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Studies Committee until a Major Professor is selected.
  3. Select a Major Professor (form required) by the end of the first semester of residence in the doctoral program and formally establish an Advisory Committee (form required) by the end of the second semester of residence in the doctoral program;
  4. Formulate a Preliminary Program of Study (form required) with the Major Professor and Advisory Committee (see Section G) by the end of the second semester of residence in the doctoral program. The Advisory Committee normally will meet with the student to consider preliminary dissertation research plans and to approve the Preliminary Program of Study by the end of the second semester of residence in the doctoral program;
  5. Complete all required course work (see Section C);
  6. Present the dissertation proposal at an open meeting presided over by the Advisory Committee (approval form required). Unless individual circumstances warrant, this should be completed by the end of the fifth semester of residence in the program. The presentation and defense of the dissertation proposal may take place before or after the written and oral doctoral comprehensive exams, but may not take the place of the oral doctoral comprehensive exam;
  7. Submit the Final Program of Study form approved by the Major Professor, Advisory Committee and Graduate Coordinator to the Geography Degree Program Assistant for subsequent submission to the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the oral doctoral comprehensive examination;
  8. Take written and oral doctoral comprehensive examinations. The comprehensive exams are arranged and administered by the Advisory Committee and should be completed by the end of the fifth semester of residence in the program;

    The doctoral comprehensive examinations consist of two parts: a written section and an oral section. The student must pass the written section before he/she is eligible to take the oral exam. The appropriate form shall be submitted to the Geography Degree Program Assistant only after the completion of both parts of the doctoral comprehensive examinations.  The general Departmental policy is that:

    1. The Ph.D. written examination will test over (1) a major area, (2) a minor area, and (3) normally a cognate (outside the Department). If there is no cognate, a second minor area will be included.

      Examples:

      1. (1) plant geography (major), (2) climatology (minor), (3) botany (cognate)
      2. (1) transportation (major), (2) industrial location (minor), (3) marketing (cognate)
      3. (1) remote sensing (major), (2) geomorphology (minor), (3) cartography (minor)
    2. The structure and length of the written comprehensive exam will be determined by the student’s Advisory Committee. The major professor will solicit questions from all members of the Advisory Committee to be included on the written exam to ensure adequate coverage and focus for the exam. All members of the Advisory Committee will see and approve the exam before it is given. The major professor will administer the written exam. The written exam will be graded by the appropriate member of the Advisory Committee. All members of the Advisory Committee shall have an opportunity to review the entire written exam and to judge the student's overall performance.
    3. The oral comprehensive examination can proceed only after the Advisory Committee communicates to the Major Professor that the student has passed the written section of the examination. The oral examination is open to all members of the University of Georgia faculty and the date and time will be announced by the Graduate School. The Graduate Coordinator must notify the Graduate School of the time and place of this examination at least two weeks before the date of the examination. In order to verify that the student’s file is complete and to provide time to process the required paperwork, the information needed to notify the Graduate School of the oral comprehensive exam will be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator’s office three weeks prior to the date of the oral exam;
    4. The oral examination will normally start with a fifteen minute discourse by the student on a subject from his major field which has been assigned by his Major Professor after successful completion of the written examinations;
    5. The oral examinations should last approximately two to two and one-half hours;
  9. File Admission to Candidacy forms (see Section I) as soon after completion of the comprehensive exams and the defense of the dissertation proposal as possible. Ph.D. candidates must register for two semesters of full-time work, normally in GEOG 9300, beyond Admission to Candidacy before they are eligible for graduation.
  10. Complete dissertation under supervision of the Major Professor and the Advisory Committee. (See Instructions for Preparing the Thesis and Dissertation available from the Graduate School of the Geography Degree Program Assistant.)
  11. The student’s Advisory Committee shall determine the appropriate style manual for the written dissertation.  In addition, it has become common for at least three manuscripts suitable for submission to refereed professional journals to constitute the body of the dissertation.  Graduate students encountering problems associated with the timely return of their dissertation materials (2 to 8 weeks depending on circumstances) from either the major professor or Advisory Committee (#12 below) should report their concern to the Graduate Coordinator, who, in consultation with the Head, will inquire into the nature of the delay.
  12. The dissertation, approved by the Major Professor, is submitted to the Advisory Committee which acts as a reading committee and represents the Graduate Faculty in determining the acceptability of the dissertation. A majority of the Reading Committee members and the Chairperson of the Reading Committee must be on the Graduate Faculty (see Section J). The responsibilities of the Reading Committee Chairperson are:
    1. to coordinate the reading and evaluation of the thesis or dissertation after it has been submitted to the Reading Committee by the Major Professor;
    2. to communicate the salient points of the Reading Committee's evaluation of the thesis or dissertation to the Major Professor, and
    3. to verify that the recommendations of the Reading Committee made during the review process and the final oral exam are incorporated into the final copy of the thesis or dissertation by signing the cover page of the final copy immediately below the signature of the Major Professor.
  13. The Final Oral Examination, which is a defense of the dissertation, is given after the dissertation is approved by the Advisory Committee. The Major Professor will arrange the time and the place of the examination. It is administered by the Advisory Committee. The Major Professor should notify the Graduate School through the Department Degree Program Assistant at least three weeks before the Final Oral Examination date so that the Graduate School can announce to the university public about the examination.  The Major Professor serves as Chair. This examination is normally confined to the dissertation topic and related matters. After passing the Final Oral Examination for the Ph.D., students must complete all remaining degree requirements (outlined in Steps 14-17) by the end of the semester following the semester in which the exam was administered. Failure to do so will result in the need to retake the Final Oral Examination.

    A candidate for the doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination within five years after passing the written and oral doctoral comprehensive examinations and being admitted to candidacy will be required to take another set of written and oral doctoral comprehensive examinations and be admitted to candidacy a second time.

  14. Once the dissertation has been approved by the advisory committee and the final oral examination has been passed, the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School for final approval no later than two weeks prior to graduation of the following semester. Dissertations which are not submitted by this deadline must be defended again and approved by the Advisory Committee before they will be considered by the Graduate School for final approval.
  15. One complete formatted copy of the dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School for a format check no later than four weeks prior to graduation.  For details and guidelines on how to submit, consult the Graduate School Website at: http://grad.uga.edu/index.php/current-students/policies-procedures/theses-dissertations-guidelines/format-check/.
  16. The Graduate School must receive the Final Defense Approval forms and an electronic submission of the corrected dissertation no later than two weeks prior to graduation.
  17. An application for graduation must be filed with the Graduate School no later than Friday of the second full week (first full week in summer) of classes in the graduation semester. Applying for graduation is available through Athena. Because of the short length of time between this date and graduation day, no exceptions will be made by the Graduate School. Formal graduation exercises are held in May and December. Students must be registered at the University of Georgia for a minimum of three credit hours the semester in which they complete all degree requirements and a minimum of 10 hours over at least two semesters after admission to candidacy.