Chapter 5

University Degree Requirements

(Amended October 15, 1995)

This section details the University-wide requirements for obtaining degrees. Each Department offering a degree has a set of requirements which are a superset of those listed here. Individual degree requirements are listed in the NPS Academic Catalog.

5.1 Bachelor's of Science/Arts Degree

(Approved April 13, 1994) (Amended January 25, 2012) (Amended May 15, 2013)

The Bachelor degree may be awarded for successful completion of a course plan provided the course plan has been previously presented by the academic unit awarding the degree, reviewed by the Curriculum, Certificate and Degree Requirements Committee (sec. 2.6.4) and approved by the Academic Council. Such course plans shall conform to current practice in other accredited institutions and shall contain a well-defined major. Each academic unit is qualified to offer a major field of study for a Bachelor's degree. Academic units wishing to grant the Bachelor’s degree must maintain a current list of required courses.

A student wishing to pursue a Bachelor's degree program must receive approval from the Council via the Chair of the academic unit awarding the degree prior to matriculating into the degree program.

General NPS minimum requirements for Bachelor's degrees include:

  1. 180 quarter-hours of which 90 hours must be numbered 2000 or above.
  2. One academic year in residence.
  3. General education requirements:
    1. 24 quarter hours in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    2. 36 quarter hours in Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

In addition, the student must complete all of the courses required by his/ her major academic unit, and must have a 2.0 TQPR upon graduation.

The Naval Postgraduate School is not currently admitting students for or awarding Bachelor’s degrees.

5.2 Master's Degrees

(Approved November 16, 1994) (Amended January 24, 2007) (Amended January 25, 2012) (Amended August 21, 2013)

The master's degree may be awarded for successful completion of a curriculum which has the approval of the Council as meriting the degree.

General NPS minimum requirements for a master's degree program include the following:

  1. 32 hours of graduate level courses, of which 24 hours must be earned from NPS.
  2. A thesis or its equivalent, except in cases where the Academic Council has specifically approved a course-only option or curricula.

In addition a student must also possess:

  1. a 3.0 or higher GQPR;
  2. a 2.75 or higher CQPR

to graduate with a master's degree.

5.2.1 Thesis or Capstone Project Advisor Qualifications

(Approved April 13, 1994) (Amended January 25, 2012) (Amended June 11, 2014)

Naval Postgraduate School faculty holding the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Professor of the Practice, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, or Research Assistant Professor may serve as thesis or capstone project advisors if approved by the academic unit Chair who has cognizance of the degree. NPS staff, faculty of other academic institutions, members of Naval laboratories, etc., may serve as co-advisor with one of those listed above if approved by the Chair of the academic unit.

5.2.2 Joint Theses

(Approved April 13, 1994)

Joint authorship of a master's thesis by two or more students is allowed by the Council, but may be restricted by the major academic unit.

5.3 Engineer's Degrees

(Approved November 16, 1994) (Amended January 17, 2007) (Amended January 25, 2012)

An Engineer's degree may be awarded successful for completion of a program preapproved for this degree.

The NPS requirements for an Engineer's degree are as follows:

  1. 72 hours of graduate level courses beyond the bachelor's level, including greater than 30 hours in courses numbered 4000 or above; and
  2. a thesis approved by the academic unit.

The student must complete all departmental requirements for the degree, and must possess a GQPR of at least 3.0 upon completion of the program.

A maximum of 27 hours of graduate level courses, including no more than 12 hours numbered 4000 or higher, may be waived in consideration of course hour credits acquired in pursuit of an appropriate master's degree from another institution. Students need not request formal transfer of credit for this purpose, but must gain departmental approval for this waiver.

5.4 Ph.D. Degrees

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012)

The degree Doctor of Philosophy is awarded as a result of meritorious and scholarly achievements in a particular field of study which has been approved by the Academic Council as within the purview of the Naval Postgraduate School. A candidate must exhibit faithful and scholarly application to all prescribed courses of study, achieve a high level of achievement, and establish an ability for investigation leading to original contributions to fundamental knowledge.

Any program leading to the degree Doctor of Philosophy requires the equivalent of at least three academic years of study beyond the baccalaureate level, with at least one academic year (or its equivalent) being spent in residence at the Naval Postgraduate School.

5.4.1 Sequence of Events Leading to a Ph.D.

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012) (Amended October 29, 2014)

The following is a general outline of a student's progress through the program, with amplification in subsequent paragraphs:

  1. Admissions: The student applies for admission to the program and is accepted.
  2. Dissertation Committee: The departmental Ph.D. committee nominates, for approval by the Academic Council, a dissertation committee, which henceforth bears the responsibility for the study program, and for general guidance in research program. Until the dissertation committee is named, the departmental Ph.D. committee has the responsibility to oversee the student's study program.
  3. Study Program: The study program may, at the discretion of the student's major academic unit, include one or more minors, a foreign language requirement or a computing requirement.
  4. Qualifying Exam: When the student's study program is essentially complete, the departmental Ph.D. committee or those it designates on its behalf, administers a written and oral qualifying examination. All minor departmental requirements must be satisfied prior to taking the oral qualifying examination.
  5. Dissertation Supervisor: The departmental Ph.D. committee names a member of the dissertation committee to be dissertation supervisor, and certifies to the Academic Council that the individual so named is qualified under the guidelines of this Manual.
  6. Advancement to Candidacy: Upon successful completion of the study program, any minor, language or computing requirements, passage of the written an oral qualifying examinations and approval of a dissertation topic, the student becomes eligible for advancement to candidacy. The departmental Ph.D. committee then recommends that the Academic Council advance the student to candidacy for the doctorate.
  7. Dissertation Defense: When the candidate's investigations are complete and the dissertation has been submitted, the dissertation committee administers a final oral dissertation defense.
  8. Approved Dissertation: When all members of the dissertation committee, the departmental Ph.D. committee Chair, and the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs have approved the dissertation and have signed the dissertation approval and release form, the signed approval form along with a notification from the thesis processing office are submitted to the Secretary of the Academic Council.
  9. Nomination for Degree: After the unanimous recommendation of the dissertation committee and the completion of all other degree requirements, the Academic Council makes the final decision to nominate a candidate for the award of the Ph.D. degree.

5.4.2 Departmental Ph.D. Committee

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012)

Each academic unit offering a Ph.D. degree must have a standing Ph.D. committee. It shall be the responsibility of the departmental Ph.D. committee to oversee the Ph.D. program for the academic unit. Among the duties of the departmental Ph.D. committee are the following:

  1. Ensuring that the Ph.D. program designed for each student conforms to the minimum requirements imposed by the Academic Council in this Manual.
  2. Determining any standing requirements, beyond those of the Academic Council, that must be fulfilled by all Ph.D. students in the academic units.
  3. Nominating, for approval by the Academic Council, the members of each Ph.D. student's dissertation committee, the dissertation supervisor, and certifying to the Council that the dissertation supervisor is qualified to hold that position.
  4. Overseeing the administration of the written and oral qualifying examinations for each Ph.D. student, and insuring that the nature of those examinations conform to the requirements of this Manual.
  5. Requesting that the Academic Council advance a student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree upon approval of a dissertation committee, dissertation topic, and successful completion of all screening, minor, language, computing, and qualifying requirements and exams.

Prior to the naming of a dissertation committee and a dissertation supervisor, the departmental Ph.D. committee has the responsibility of supervising the student's program of study. After the naming of the dissertation committee and dissertation supervisor, the departmental Ph.D. committee retains the responsibility of overseeing the activities of the dissertation supervisor and the dissertation committee, maintaining quality control of the departmental Ph.D. program.

*In this Manual, "departmental" shall refer to any body with the authority to recommend candidates for the Ph.D. degree, as approved by the Academic Council.

5.4.3 Selection of Dissertation Supervisor, Dissertation Committee, and Dissertation Topic

(Approved May 5, 1995)(Amended October 30, 2013)

The departmental Ph.D. committee nominates a dissertation committee, to be approved by the Academic Council. The departmental Ph.D. committee shall designate one or more members of the dissertation committee to be the dissertation supervisor, and the departmental Ph.D. committee must certify to the Academic Council that the individual(s) so named are qualified under the requirements of this Manual. The student, in conjunction with the dissertation supervisor, identifies a dissertation topic, which must be approved by the dissertation committee. The departmental Ph.D. committee also designates the member of the dissertation committee who shall serve as dissertation committee chair, if that person is to be different from the dissertation supervisor or if there are multiple dissertation supervisors.

5.4.4 The Dissertation Committee

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended September 27, 2000) (Amended January 25, 2012)

The candidate's dissertation committee, once established, is responsible for supervising the candidate's completion of his/her degree, including completion of course of study, dissertation research, and production of the dissertation document.

The dissertation committee is nominated by the departmental Ph.D. committee, and will consist of five or more members. Four of the committee members must be full-time NPS faculty. At least one of the NPS faculty members shall be from outside the academic unit that is granting the degree. One or more members of this committee may be from another university or appropriate institution. At least four members must have earned the doctorate and the committee may contain no more than two members who have not earned the doctorate. The departmental Ph.D. committee shall designate one or more members of the dissertation committee to be the dissertation supervisor.

5.4.5 Qualifications and Responsibilities of the Dissertation Supervisor

(Approved May 5, 1995)

The dissertation supervisor has the responsibility to supervise the student's program of study in accordance with the requirements of the major academic unit and Academic Council.

The dissertation supervisor should have the following qualifications:

  1. a doctorate in the his/her field of specialty;
  2. experience in thesis advising;
  3. activity and productivity in research, as evidenced by recent publications of his or her research in recognized journals, or a broad reputation as a productive researcher in his or her field of specialty. Other evidence may be considered which is pertinent to demonstrating research activity or productivity.

5.4.6 The Dissertation Topic

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012)

The distinct requirement of the doctorate is the successful completion of a scholarly investigation leading to the original and significant contribution to knowledge in the candidate's major area of study. The subject of the investigation must be approved by the dissertation committee, and must be submitted to the Council no later than the time of the request for advancement to candidacy.

5.4.7 Minor Fields, Language, and Computer Related Requirements

(Approved May 5, 1995)

The program of study may, at the discretion of the major academic unit, include one or more minor fields suitable to the needs of the student and to the research to be undertaken. Such requirements may be satisfied within the major academic unit or through another academic unit, as specified by the major departmental Ph.D. committee. Any minor requirement will be satisfied by procedures specified by the academic unit of the minor; these may include written or oral examinations, completion of a sequence of courses, etc.

An up-to-date written statement of minor field procedures, including the format of written or oral examinations, must be filed by each academic unit with the Academic Council.

If a language requirement or computing requirements are to be satisfied, the student is to demonstrate proficiency before an examiner appointed by the departmental Ph.D. committee, or through completion of an appropriate sequence of courses approved by the departmental Ph.D. committee.

5.4.8 Written Qualifying Examination

(Approved May 5, 1995)

The written qualifying examination is a comprehensive test of the student's basic knowledge of and skills in the major area. The exam is the responsibility of the departmental Ph.D. committee, and is administered by this committee or by faculty members whom the departmental Ph.D. committee designates to act on its behalf.

The written exam is administered after the student's program of study is essentially completed. An up-to-date written statement of the format and procedures of the examination must be filed by each academic unit with the Academic Council.

Passage of the written qualifying examination requires a unanimous vote of the departmental Ph.D. committee or those faculty members designated to act on its behalf.

If the student fails the first written qualifying examination, the departmental Ph.D. committee may grant a second examination opportunity to the student. If the privilege of re-examination is granted, the time period within which it must be accomplished is specified by the departmental Ph.D. committee, but it shall not exceed 12 months. Only two opportunities for passage are allowed.

5.4.9 Oral Qualifying Examination

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended March 26, 1997, December 15, 2004) (Amended January 17, 2007) (Amended January 25, 2012)

The oral qualifying examination may be scheduled only after successful passage of the written qualifying examination and fulfillment of any major and minor field requirements, language requirements, and computer competency requirements.

The oral qualifying examination is the culmination of the course of study. The purpose of the oral qualifying examination is to test basic knowledge and creative ability and to demonstrate the student's capacity to use material from the course of study. The oral qualifying examination shall contain no prepared presentation; its format shall be exclusively question-and-answer.

Passage of the oral qualifying examination requires a unanimous vote of the examiners. All departmental Ph.D. committee members or those designated on their behalf must be present during all phases of the oral exam. There must be a minimum of three examiners. An Academic Council representative must be present.

Whenever the Academic Council representative becomes of the opinion that the examination is not being conducted in accordance with the Policy of the Academic Council, the representative should suspend the examination and require that the Oral Examination be rescheduled. The representative should report the reasons for this decision to the Academic Council and to the departmental Ph.D. committee concerned as soon as possible. Such a finding should never be deemed a "failure" of the Qualifying Examination.

The extent of participation of all parties is determined by the departmental Ph.D. committee or those designated to act on its behalf.

The Academic Council representative must attend all phases of the oral examination, and shall report to the Academic Council that the examination was conducted in accordance with the rules of this Manual. Attendance at the oral qualifying exam is delineated in Table 5.1.

If the student fails the first oral qualifying examination, the departmental Ph.D. committee, or those acting on its behalf, may grant a second examination opportunity to the student. If the privilege of re-examination is granted, the time period within which it must be accomplished is specified by the departmental Ph.D. committee, but it shall not exceed 12 months.

Table 5.1 Attendance and Voting Privileges for Oral Qualifying

Category

Oral Qualifying Exam

Departmental Ph.D. Committee members or those acting on its behalf

A, B, C, D

Academic Council Representative

A, B, C

Other faculty

E

Examinee

A

Students, Staff, and Visitors

E

A: will attend Interrogation Phase, B: will attend Comment Phase, C: will attend Voting Phase, D: will Vote, E: may attend Interrogation Phase.

5.4.10 Report of Examination

(Approved May 5, 1995)

The result of the qualifying examinations must be reported to the cognizant Program Officer, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and to the Academic Council, not later than two weeks after the scheduled date of the oral qualifying examination. Each member of the departmental Ph.D. committee, or those designated to act on its behalf shall sign the report.

The Academic Council representative must submit a written report on the oral qualifying examination. The report is sent to the Academic Council to verify that the oral examination was conducted in accordance with the rules of the Academic Council.

5.4.11 Time Limits for Retaking the Qualifying Examination

(Approved May 5, 1995)

If a student, on first attempt, fails the qualifying examination, he or she may be re-examined only once, and only if the departmental Ph.D. committee, or those acting in its behalf, so recommend.

No student may take the oral qualifying examination more than twice.

The departmental Ph.D. committee, or those acting on its behalf, may recommend that only prescribed parts of the examination be repeated. If the privilege of re-examination is granted, the time period within which it must be accomplished is specified by the departmental Ph.D. committee, but it shall not exceed 12 months.

5.4.12 Advancement to Candidacy

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012)

Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student becomes eligible for advancement to candidacy. The departmental Ph.D. committee submits a written request recommending that the Academic Council advance the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Affirmative action by the Academic Council on this request will require that:

  1. a dissertation committee has been approved by the Academic Council;
  2. a dissertation supervisor has been named by the departmental Ph.D. committee, and approved by the Academic Council;
  3. any minor, language, or computing requirements have been fulfilled;
  4. the written and oral qualifying examination have been taken and passed;
  5. a dissertation topic has been approved.

5.4.13 Dissertation Defense

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended 15 December 2004) (Amended January 25, 2012)

When the dissertation research has been completed, the Ph.D. candidate prepares a draft of the dissertation and provides a copy to each member of the dissertation committee for approval. Upon the dissertation committee's unanimous acceptance of the draft as the basis for a dissertation defense, the dissertation committee chair notifies the departmental Ph.D. committee and provides it with a draft of the dissertation. The dissertation committee chair schedules the final dissertation defense. This examination must be scheduled later than one week after the submission of the draft of the dissertation to the departmental Ph.D. committee.

A minimum of six months must elapse between successful completion of the oral qualifying examination and the defense of the dissertation.

All members of the dissertation committee are required to attend the final defense and the entire Academic Council is invited to attend. The Academic Council shall designate a representative, who must attend the dissertation defense. In the final dissertation defense, the candidate presents the dissertation and is subject to such questions as the entire dissertation committee deem appropriate. The extent of participation of all parties is determined by the dissertation committee chair.

Attendance at the final dissertation oral examination is delineated in Table 5.2.

Whenever the Academic Council representative becomes of the opinion that the defense is not being conducted in accordance with the Policy of the Academic Council, the representative should suspend the defense and require that the dissertation defense be rescheduled. The representative should report the reasons for this decision to the Academic Council and to the departmental Ph.D. committee concerned as soon as possible. Such a finding should never be deemed a "failure" of the dissertation defense.

Table 5.2 Attendance and Voting Privileges for Dissertation Defenses

Category

Oral Final Exam (Dissertation Defense)

Dissertation Committee

A, B, C, D

Academic Council Representative

A, B, C

Other faculty

E

Examinee

A

Student, Staff, and Visitor

E

A: will attend the defense, B: will attend Comment Phase, C: will attend Voting Phase, D: will Vote, E: may attend the defense.

5.4.14 Report of Successful Defense

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012)

The results of the final dissertation defense are reported to the Academic Council by the dissertation committee Chair via a memorandum signed by all dissertation committee members.

The Academic Council representative must submit a written report on the dissertation defense. The report is sent to the Academic Council to verify that the defense was conducted in accordance with the rules of the Academic Council.

5.4.15 Approved Dissertation

(Approved January 25, 2012) (Amended October 29, 2014)

Upon final acceptance of the dissertation, the dissertation approval and release form shall be signed by each member of the dissertation committee, the major academic unit Chair, and the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. These signatures indicate approval of the dissertation.

5.4.16 Award of the Degree

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012) (Amended October 29, 2014)

Three documents are forwarded to the Academic Council before the Council's last meeting in the quarter of graduation:

  1. The dissertation approval and release form with all the required signatures certifying the dissertation meets degree requirements.
  2. Copy of the final acceptance email from the Thesis Processing Office.
  3. A memo from the Chair of the dissertation committee recommending the student for the degree are forwarded to the Academic Council before the Council's last meeting of the quarter of graduation. The Academic Council will make the final decision whether or not to nominate the candidate for the award of the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

No candidate shall participate in the graduation ceremony for the award of the degree until the President of the Naval Postgraduate School has accepted the Council's recommendation. The final version of the dissertation will be submitted to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at least one day before graduation.

5.4.17 Time Limits for Retaking the Dissertation Defense

(Approved May 5, 1995)

If a candidate, on first attempt, fails the final dissertation defense, then he/she may be re-examined only once, and then only if the dissertation committee so recommends. If the privilege of re-examination is granted, the time period within which it must be accomplished shall be specified by the dissertation committee, but it shall not exceed 12 months.

5.4.18 Time Limit for Completing the Ph.D.

(Approved May 5, 1995)

All requirements for completing the Ph.D. degree must be completed within a period of five years after advancement to candidacy.

5.4.19 Candidacy Extension

(Approved January 25, 2012)

The candidate’s academic unit Chair may request an extension of a student’s candidacy if the student is otherwise making adequate progress and if the delay can be attributed to factors largely beyond the student’s control. Requests for candidacy extension must be received by the Academic Council before candidacy has lapsed. The duration of each extension will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Requested duration of extension will be measured in academic quarters or years.

5.4.20 Termination of Candidacy

(Approved May 5, 1995)

If, in the judgment of the dissertation committee, a candidate does not qualify for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, the dissertation committee recommends that the Ph.D. program be terminated, and suggests an appropriate course of action for the candidate. The departmental Ph.D. committee must notify the Academic Council that this recommendation has been made. When the Academic Council has satisfied itself concerning all outstanding questions involved and has agreed upon any necessary action, the candidate's dissertation committee is dissolved by a formal vote of the Academic Council.

5.4.21 Restoring a Lapsed Candidacy

(Approved May 5, 1995) (Amended January 25, 2012)

Due to time limitations for completion of the Ph.D. program and the unique demands faced by NPS students once they have completed their residence, there may be instances in which a student wishes to renew their pursuit of a Ph.D. after their candidacy has lapsed.

The following procedure is designed for renewing Ph.D. candidacy:

  1. The student initiates the request (to the academic unit) for reinstatement of Ph.D. candidacy.
  2. The departmental Ph.D. committee, or special committee it designates, evaluates the reinstatement request. The committee shall seek answers to the following questions:
    1. Should the candidacy be reinstated?
    2. What will be required to reinstate candidacy (e.g., course work, written and/ or oral qualifying examinations for both major and minor areas of concentration?

Any request by the student to waive retaking the qualifying examinations should be submitted in writing to the academic unit at the beginning of the process.

After evaluating the student’s request for reinstatement to candidacy, the departmental Ph.D. committee makes a recommendation to the Academic Council.

The recommendation should include:

  1. Recommendation as to whether the student’s candidacy should be reinstated.
  2. Statement of any conditions necessary for the reinstatement of candidacy, such as retaking one or both of the qualifying exams.
  3. Nomination of the dissertation committee.
  4. Signatures of the departmental Ph.D. committee Chair.
  5. Signatures of all members of the nominated dissertation committee.

The Academic Council decides whether to accept or reject the departmental Ph.D. committee's recommendation. The request to the Academic Council should contain documentation of the process and a narrative describing the reasoning behind the recommendation.

If the Academic Council approves the student’s request, the academic unit Chair instructs the student on his or her status and what will be necessary to reinstate the candidacy.

Per section 5.4.18, all requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within five (5) years of the reinstatement to candidacy.