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Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering is awarded for mastery of subject matter and demonstration of research ability. It is given in recognition of the candidate’s superior attainments and ability in his or her field. A student must maintain high academic standards to retain matriculated status in the doctoral program. Normally four or more years of full-time study and research beyond the bachelor’s degree are needed to complete the doctoral program. See section on time limits for degree.


At least 60 credits of approved graduate work, consisting of 48 credits course work and 12 credits Dissertation Research, including the course requirements in the field of specialization, are required for the degree.

Transfer of Credit

A maximum of 30 acceptable graduate credits taken prior to admission to the doctoral program at The City College may be applied toward the degree provided the courses were completed with a grade of B or higher within an appropriate period preceding the time of application and are equivalent to comparable courses at City College. Exceptions to the above regulations may be considered under special circumstances. An evaluation of previously earned credits will usually be made before the end of the student’s first year in residence by the student’s program.


At least 30 of the credits required for the degree must be taken in residence at The City College. Doctoral students are expected to spend at least one year in full-time residence at The City College. Full-time residence consists of a schedule of no fewer than 12 credits or the equivalent for each of two consecutive semesters.

First Examination (Qualifying Exam)

Each student must pass a First Examination in his or her field. The examination shall be written and/or oral and may be administered within a narrow time period or may be administered in parts over a more extended time period. A student may continue in the doctoral program after completing 45 credits only if he or she has passed this examination.

Choice of Mentor

Soon after having completed 30 credits and, in any case, shortly after having passed the qualifying examination, a student must obtain the consent of a member of the doctoral faculty to act as mentor. A memo to this effect will be sent by the faculty member to the Graduate Engineering Office (room: ST -209, phone: 212 – 650 - 8030) for inclusion in the student’s file. Finding a mentor is the responsibility of the student.

The Guidance Committee

After a subject for the dissertation has been agreed on, the student, with the approval of the mentor, will solicit the consent of members of the faculty with expertise in the various aspects of his/her research to act as his/her Guidance Committee. In general the Guidance Committee, including the mentor, should number three (3) or four (4) and should include no more than one non-tenured faculty on it. The student will then request the Executive Officer or his/her designee to appoint the Guidance Committee.

The student is required to keep the Guidance Committee informed of the progress of his/her research: as a minimum, a one-page summary must be provided once a year.

The Examining Committee

The Examining Committee will have no less than five (5) members; it will consist of the Guidance Committee (3 to 4 members) and at least two faculty members or recognized experts in the field, of which at least one should be from outside of the Grove School of Engineering and, preferably, outside of CUNY. The mentor will serve as chair of the Examining Committee.

Tools of Research

Students must qualify in such tool subjects (computer languages, novel experimental techniques, statistics, etc.) as are necessary to conduct research in his/her field.

After approval of the research proposal, the Guidance Committee will determine what special tools of research the student needs and will communicate this to the Executive Officer.

Proficiency in the use of this tool of research will be attested by the mentor, on the basis of observation or, if necessary, after a special examination.

Second Examination

A research proposal outlining the dissertation research will be prepared as soon as possible and distributed to the Guidance Committee for its approval. Substantial changes to the dissertation aims will be described in amendments to the proposal, which must be approved by the Guidance Committee.

After the Guidance Committee has approved the original research proposal, the mentor will request the Office of Graduate Affairs (room: ST -209, phone: 212 - 650 - 8030) to schedule the Second Examination.The request to schedule the Second Exam must be submitted four (4) weeks before the proposed exam date.

A student must prepare a research proposal and present it orally to his/her Examining Committee. The Second Examination is usually taken after the completion of course requirements. A student may be admitted to the Second Examination only upon recommendation of his/her mentor and Guidance Committee.

The Second Examination is expected to test the student’s preparation to conduct research in his/her chosen area; the aim is to ensure that the student’s preparation is adequate both for the task of completing his/her dissertation research and to allow him/her initial entry as a professional in his/her specialization.

Advancement to Candidacy

Before a student can be certified as a candidate for a doctoral degree, he or she must have completed the following requirements: all required course work (of which at least 30 credits must be taken at the City University) with at least an overall B average; the First and Second Examinations; tools of research; and any special departmental requirements for certification.

Third or Final Examination (Defense)

The defense will be scheduled only after the Examining Committee has given preliminary approval of the draft dissertation. Like the Second Examination, the Third Examination is a public event open to all faculty of the school. Notices announcing them must be circulated among the faculty at least two weeks before the examination date. The request to schedule the Final Exam must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Affairs (room: ST -209, phone: 212 - 650 - 8030) at least four (4) weeks before the proposed examination date..

Doctoral students may attend at the discretion of the chair of the Examining Committee and then only during the presentation by the candidate. Questions by faculty other than those on the Examining Committee will be entertained at the discretion of the chair of the Examining Committee.The deliberations and voting of the committee are private; besides the committee members, only the Executive Officer may attend (with voice but no vote)..

The deliberations and voting of the committee are private; besides the committee members, only the Executive Officer may attend (with voice but no vote).

A passing vote can contain no more than one negative vote or abstention. Absent members are deemed to have abstained. If two or more members are absent, the examination will be postponed.

Scheduling of the Third Examination during summer recess should be avoided.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree in order to maintain status at the City College of New York, Grove School of Engineering and to be eligible for any student financial assistance. A student is deemed not be making satisfactory progress if he/she has a grade point average below 3.00, has accumulated more than two open grades (INC, INP, NGR, ABS, and ABP), has completed 45 credits without having passed the First Examination, has completed 8 semesters without having passed the Second Examination, has received two “NRP” grades in succession, or has exceeded the time limit for the degree.

Levels: Doctoral Students

Doctoral tuition charges are based on student’s “level,” which is determined by a combination of the number of graduate credits completed (including, in the case of transfer students, credits accepted by the Grove School of Engineering) and specific academic accomplishments.

Level I – Students who have completed fewer than 45 credits of graduate work (including approved transfer credits) or who have not passed the First Examination.

At Level I only, students who are New York State residents and enrolled on a part-time basis (total of credits and Weighted Instructional Units or WIUs do not exceed 6) are billed on a per-credit basis. In addition, at Level I, both full-time and part-time out-of-state and international students are billed at the per-credit rate for all credits/WIUs.

Note: For billing purposes, courses taken by Level I student on an audit basis will be treated the same as courses taken for credit and will be included in the assessment of tuition charges.

Level II – From the semester following the completion of 45 credits (fully earned and evaluated and including approved transfer credits) and passing of the First Examination, to advancement to candidacy.

Level III – From the semester following advancement to candidacy.

Level III students registering for courses for credit other than 90000 will be charged additional tuition on a per credit basis. Level III students do not incur additional tuition charged for courses audited.

Petition for a Change of Level

Students are responsible for ascertaining that their tuition level had been properly established. Students who believe they have been billed inappropriately because of an inaccurate level designation must petition the Office of Graduate Affairs for a reassessment of their level by the second week of classes for a re-assessment of their level. Unless such a petition is filed by the dead-line, no retroactive changes in level can be made. Special problems should be referred, in writing, to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs prior to the stated deadline..

Full Time Status: Doctoral Students

A student may attain full-time status for financial-aid purposes either by registering for a minimum of 7 academic units (doctoral degree students) or for a minimum of 12 academic credits (master’s degree students) or by receiving certification for an equivalent academic commitment composed, in part or entirely, of Weighted Instructional Units (WIUs), which are assigned for such activities as teaching, exam preparation, and research. Level I doctoral students whose combined total of course credits and WIUs is 7 or greater are required to pay full-time tuition.


The student must complete a dissertation that embodies original research. The dissertation must be defended at an oral Final Examination and be deposited in The City College library before the degree is granted. In order to defend the dissertation, the student must have been advanced to candidacy. The dissertation must be microfilmed or published. Instructions for preparing the dissertation may be secured from the library at The City College.

The preparation of a dissertation and a defense of it constitute the final evaluation of a candidate’s qualification for the Ph.D. degree in Engineering. Approval by the Grove School of Engineering is typically confirmed by action of The City College Faculty Senate and the City University’s Board of Trustees.

Graduate office will announce to the Provost and, by posting and/or other means, to the general public and the members of the committee, the time and date of the defense. Additional examining member(s) may be invited to the Final Examination.

Time Limits for Doctoral Degree

The First Examination is typically completed within 2 – 4 semesters after admission to the program. Students must complete the Second Examination within 8 - 9 semesters after admission. All requirements for the degree must be completed no later than six years (12 semesters) after matriculation. A student who is admitted after the completion of 30 credits of acceptable work must complete all requirements within five years.

Immunization Requirement

In accordance with New York State Public Health Law, Article 21, Title VI, Section 2165, all full- and part-time students born on or after January 1, 1957, must present proof of immunization against measles, mumps, and rubella. The City College will be forced to bar registration or administratively withdraw (with tuition liability) students who do not comply. Health records will be kept confidential and will be available for reference only to those college personnel whose job duties require information from those records. Some students may be exempt from this requirement. A copy of Public Health Law 2165 is available in the Student Services Offices as well as in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Schedule Changes

Schedule changes must be approved by the student’s adviser or the Office of Graduate Affairs. The change in schedule must be done in accordance with the deadlines published each semester.


Written notice of voluntary withdrawal from the program must be approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.


Readmission following a withdrawal is at the discretion of the student’s department and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. A special Application for Readmission must be filed in the Office of the Registrar. It will be forwarded to the appropriate academic office for consideration. A $10 readmission fee will be assessed.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence will be granted to a student deemed to be in good standing who wishes to interrupt doctoral study. The leave request should be made in writing prior to the semester during which the leave will be taken. Each request for leave must be approved by the department's Ph.D. advisor and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Requests must be cleared by the Office of Financial Aid, the Library, the Bursar, the Business Office, the Office of International Students (if applicable), and the Office of Residence Life (if applicable). Requests for an extension of a leave of absence, for no more than one additional year, must follow the same procedure. A student cannot be granted a total of more than two years (four semesters) leave of absence during his/her entire period of matriculation. Official leave of absence time is not counted toward the time limit for completion of degree requirements. Any student subject to induction or recall into military service should contact the veterans’ certifying officer before applying for an official leave. A $10 readmission fee will be assessed.

During the period of a leave of absence, no changes in academic status, including such matters as the scheduling and taking of qualifying examinations and advancement to candidacy, may be effected.

En-Route Master's Degree

The master's degree is awarded to enrolled doctoral students who have fulfilled appropriate requirements. The requirements include a minimum of 45 credits with an average grade of B (courses taken for P credit ordinarily cannot be included), passing of the First Examination, and satisfactory completion of a major research paper. Transferred credits from other master's programs cannot be used.

Master's of Philosophy

The City College awards the Master of Philosophy degree (M.Phil.) to doctoral students who are advanced to candidacy. It is the responsibility of any student wishing this degree to file an application for the degree with the Registrar. Please note that the date of filing for the degree determines the date upon which the degree will be conferred.

Awarding of Degrees

Degrees are awarded three times per academic year. In order for the degree to be awarded (and for the dissertation to be deposited, if applicable) the candidate must meet academic degree requirements in their program of study and the following enrollment requirement:

For the degree to be awarded in February, candidates must be enrolled the proceeding Fall semester; for May/June, the concurrent Spring semester; for September 30, the preceding Spring semester.