Continuous Enrollment Requirement for Dissertators

Continuous Enrollment Requirement policy

Once students achieve dissertator status they must maintain continuous enrollment until completion of the doctoral degree. In order to maintain continuous enrollment, dissertators must enroll each fall and spring semester for 3 credits (300 or above) directly related to their dissertation research (generally research and thesis and/or required seminars). In some cases, the 3 credits can be a combination of research and a seminar. Fall and spring enrollment are required whether or not they reside in Madison.

Audits and pass/fail do not satisfy this requirement. Additional courses taken audit or pass/fail will result in removal of dissertator fee status.

Students are exempt from the requirement to enroll for the summer term, unless they are defending and/or depositing their dissertation or have a Research Assistantship (RA), fellowship, or traineeship that requires summer enrollment, or are using university facilities (including faculty and staff time).

If dissertators do not maintain continuous enrollment, they will be assessed a degree completion fee equal to 12 times the current per-credit rate in effect at the time that they submit their dissertation to the Graduate School for final review.

See Degree Completion FeeDissertator StatusEnrollment RequirementsReadmission to Graduate School (for previously enrolled graduate students)

Committees (Doctoral/Master’s/MFA)

Committees (Doctoral/Master's) policy

Committees advise and evaluate satisfactory progress, administer preliminary and final oral examinations, evaluate a thesis or dissertation, and/or sign a degree warrant. A student’s program arranges a committee with appropriate expertise to afford the breadth and depth needed in degree examinations. The responsibilities of individual committee members are determined by the program. The executive committee (or its equivalent) of a program/department is responsible for approving the composition of all graduate committees. The final warrant request which includes committee membership must be submitted to the Graduate School at least three weeks before the examination date. Students should consult their advisor and their program’s student handbook for the specific function of degree committees in their program.

Use this online tool to help you determine whether the proposed committee would meet the following criteria.

THE GRADUATE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATE COMMITTEES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

For doctoral committees/final oral examination committees:

1. The chair or one of the co-chairs of the committee must be graduate faculty1 from the student’s program.  (Note:  Faculty who retire or resign retain graduate faculty status for one year and can serve as chair or a co-chair during that time.)4,5
2. The committee must have at least four members. The committee must have members from at least two University of Wisconsin—Madison graduate programs.3,5   
3. Three of the committee members must be UW–Madison graduate faculty or former UW–Madison graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement.
4. At least three committee members must be designated as readers.6
5. The fourth member and any additional members may be from any of the following categories, as approved by the program executive committee (or its equivalent): graduate faculty, faculty from a department without a graduate program1, academic staff2 (including emeritus faculty), visiting faculty, faculty from other institutions, scientists, research associates, and other individuals deemed qualified by the executive committee (or its equivalent).
6. All committee members have voting rights. To receive a doctoral degree, students cannot receive more than one dissenting vote from their committee on the final degree warrant.

For MFA final committees:

1. The chair or one of the co-chairs of the committee must be graduate faculty1 from the student’s program.  (Note:  Faculty who retire or resign retain graduate faculty status for one year and can serve as chair or a co-chair during that time.)4,5
2. The committee must have at least four members.
3. Three of the committee members must be UW–Madison graduate faculty or former UW–Madison graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement.
4. The fourth member and any additional members may be from any of the following categories, as approved by the program executive committee (or its equivalent): graduate faculty, faculty from a department without a graduate program1, academic staff2 (including emeritus faculty), visiting faculty, faculty from other institutions, scientists, research associates, and other individuals deemed qualified by the executive committee (or its equivalent).
5. All committee members have voting rights. To receive a MFA degree, students cannot receive more than one dissenting vote from their committee on the final degree warrant.

For master’s thesis committees:

1. The chair or one of the co-chairs of the committee must be graduate faculty1 from the student’s program.  (Note:  Faculty who retire or resign retain graduate faculty status for one year and can serve as chair or a co-chair during that time.)3,5
2. The committee must have at least three members.
3. Two of the committee members must be UW–Madison graduate faculty or former UW–Madison graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement.
4. The third member and any additional members may be from any of the following categories, as approved by the program executive committee (or its equivalent): graduate faculty, faculty from a department without a graduate program1, academic staff2 (including emeritus faculty), visiting faculty, faculty from other institutions, scientists, research associates, and other individuals deemed qualified by the executive committee (or its equivalent).
5. All committee members have voting rights. To receive a master’s degree, students cannot receive more than one dissenting vote from their committee on the final degree warrant.

For master’s non-thesis committees:

1. The committees must have at least one graduate faculty1 from the student’s program.3,5
2. To receive a master’s degree, students cannot receive more than one dissenting vote from their committee on the final degree warrant.

Footnotes:
1 Graduate Faculty: The UW–Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures 3.05 contains the policies and exceptions regarding the graduate faculty status.
2 Academic Staff: The UW–Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures 3.05H contains the policy related to academic staff serving on the committees.
3 Program: Programs are officially approved courses of study and research leading to a master’s or doctoral degree. They may be administered from within a disciplinary department or across departments by an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary cluster of faculty. Some programs have official areas of concentration within them (called named options or subplans) at the master’s and/or doctoral levels. Both programs and named options appear on the student’s transcript. Some programs have unofficial tracks, specializations, or concentrations, but these are not listed on the transcript. Contact the program’s graduate coordinator for more information.
4 The advisor does not have to be chair of the committee, although it is often the case. Moreover, the co-advisors/co-chairs will be designated in the dissertation document.
5 Note that affiliate appointments may be used to satisfy this requirement.
6 Readers: Committee members who commit themselves to closely reading and reviewing the entire dissertation. The rationale for specifically designating non-reader status is to facilitate faculty participation in dissertations without automatically expecting the level of commitment associated with deeply engaging a PhD thesis. Given faculty workloads, designating a non-reader in some cases may permit faculty participation where engagement would otherwise be impossible. As long as the Graduate School minimum of at least three committee members that are readers is upheld, programs will remain in compliance with Graduate School policy. Programs may choose to have stricter requirements.

See Advisor

Change of Degree Level (Plan)

Change of Degree Level policy

A student’s program must report changes in degree level to the Graduate School (for example, if students with a master’s degree plan have completed their master’s degree and want to continue in the same program for the doctoral degree). If this change is not reported to the Graduate School, students may not be able to enroll or receive financial aid, and international students will be considered out of status. To pursue a graduate degree in a different program, see Addition/Change of Program, Plan, or Named Option. For questions, please contact the Graduate School Degree Coordinator.

See Addition/Change of Program, Plan, or Named OptionNamed OptionPrograms (or ‘Majors’)

Certification of Graduation (or ‘Degree Completion Letter’)

Certification of Graduation policy

The Office of the Registrar provides Degree Completion Letters. If you have completed all degree requirements and deposited your thesis or dissertation and are waiting until the next degree conferral date to receive your degree, you may request and receive a letter indicating that all requirements have been completed. All grades from the semester in which you are depositing your dissertation (and all other outstanding grades) must be reported to the Graduate School before you can receive a completion letter.

Additionally, master’s and doctoral degrees do not appear on transcripts until 4 to 6 weeks after the end of a semester. Students may obtain a letter from the Registrar’s Office that verifies degree completion before a transcript posting after all grades are finalized and their dissertation (doctoral degree) or thesis (if required for the master’s degree) is approved and deposited.

See Degree Conferral/Payroll End DatesDiplomaHolds

Certificate of Doctoral Candidacy

Certificate of Doctoral Candidacy policy

Dissertators who do not plan on finishing their degree may request a Certificate of Doctoral Candidacy in recognition of their completion of all requirements toward the doctoral degree except for the dissertation (sometimes called all but dissertation/ABD at other institutions). The certificate shows the date of the preliminary examination as well as the issue date, but does not substitute for an official transcript from the Office of the Registrar. To obtain the certificate, students, advisors, or graduate coordinators should contact the Graduate School Degree Coordinator.

See Dissertator Status

Breadth Requirements in Doctoral Education

Breadth policies

Breadth is a required component of doctoral training at UW–Madison. Given there are multiple paths to breadth, the Graduate School leaves the choice of whether students achieve breadth through a minor or other means up to the specific program.

See Minors

Advisor

Advisor

An advisor is a faculty member from the program responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies and for supervising a student’s degree program (including research). An advisor—sometimes referred to as the major professor, mentor, or trainer—generally serves as chair of a student’s final examination committee.

The advisor/student relationship is one of mutual agreement, which may be terminated by either party. If a student changes advisors, they need to notify their program coordinator. It is the responsibility of every graduate student to have an advisor. If students do not have an advisor, the Graduate School may suspend them from further graduate study at UW–Madison until they find an advisor. However, in some cases, particularly for incoming students, the program may assign an advisor.

With approval from the program, students can have a co-advisor/co-chair. The co-advisor/co-chair may be from any of the following categories: graduate faculty, faculty from a department without a graduate program, academic staff (including emeritus faculty), visiting faculty, faculty from another institution, scientists, research associates, and other individuals deemed qualified by the program executive committee or its equivalent. Effective September 1, 2017, the co-advisor/co-chair will be designated on dissertation documentation.

See Committees (Doctoral/Master’s)

Applying to Add/Change Program, Plan, or Named Option

Applying to Add/Change Program, Plan, or Named Option

Currently enrolled graduate students who want to apply to add, change or discontinue a program of study must submit the electronic Add/Change/Discontinue Program Request.  An admissions application and fee is not required.

Students must check with the intended program concerning admission requirements (for example, letters of recommendation or statement of purpose) and eligibility. Upon receipt of a recommendation from the program, the Graduate School will notify the student of the decision. Questions regarding the status of an application are best directed to the program.

If dissertators want to add a program, typically a master’s program or a certificate program, they cannot hold dissertator fee status while pursuing a graduate degree or certificate in a field other than the doctoral program. Dissertators who add a program or a certificate program must enroll and pay fees as a regular graduate student.

International students who add/change a program or a certificate program should contact International Student Services to discuss the possible effects this change of program could have on immigration status.

See Change of Degree Level (Plan)Change of Degree Named OptionDissertator StatusInternational Students Maintaining Legal StatusNamed OptionPrograms (or ‘Majors’)