Ph.D. Regulations and Procedures

Regulations and Procedures

All University graduate/doctoral academic and non-academic procedures and regulations are subject to change. Therefore, all procedures and regulations in effect at a given time may not be reflected in the current catalog. When such changes do occur, notice of the change may be in the form of an addendum or in the next catalog. Catalog addenda are effective on the date published unless otherwise stated.

Student Responsibilities

Students are responsible for being fully informed about all procedures and regulations governing their participation in Embry-Riddle’s graduate programs. The necessary information may be found in the current catalog, Student Handbook, orientation and information packets published and distributed by the campuses, and periodic announcements published by the University. A student who requires clarification of any policy or regulation should seek help from their academic advisor or ERNIE Central. University regulations will not be waived because a student is unaware of established standards and procedures.

Schedule of Classes and Registration

Ph.D. course schedules are published by the appropriate university registrar offices and by the specific department offering the course(s).

An academic credit hour requires a minimum of 700 minutes of classroom or comparable instruction time during which the registered Ph.D. student and the course instructor are directly engaged. In the event of the cancellation of a scheduled classroom meeting, either as a result of factors beyond the University’s control or for a special academic activity or due to instructor illness, the instructor will make every effort to reschedule the class.

Students are required to register for each term of enrollment. Tuition deposits, registration, and fee payments must be -completed according to instructions -published by the Office of the Registrar. Students are not officially enrolled until they complete all phases of registration, including -financial requirements.

Late registration will be allowed during the first five days of classes if unusual circumstances prevent the student from
registering during the normal registration period. Registration will not be allowed after the last day for late registration, as designated in the academic calendar of this catalog.

A schedule of classes is prepared for each term. The University reserves the right to make necessary and appropriate adjustments to the published schedule to include cancellation or rescheduling of any class.

Academic Integrity/Conduct

Embry-Riddle is committed to maintaining and upholding intellectual integrity. The faculty, colleges, divisions, or campuses of the University may impose sanctions on students who commit the following academic integrity violations.

Cheating: The use of inappropriate sources of information on a test or being a party to obtaining or possessing an examination before the time the examination is scheduled.

Plagiarism: Presenting as one’s own the ideas, words, or -products of another.

Forgery and unauthorized alteration or misuse of one’s own or another’s academic records or transcripts.

Knowingly furnishing fake or misleading information to the University when seeking admission to the University or campus.

Forging, altering, falsifying, destroying, or unauthorized use of a University document, record, or identification. This includes using the logo, stationery, or business cards of the University or otherwise identifying oneself as an agent of the University for personal, non-University business.

Misuse of computing facilities and/or security violations, including attempted violations of computing facilities.

Sanctions may include a failing grade on the assignment, a failing grade for the course, or dismissal from the University.

Class Attendance

Because regular attendance and punctuality are expected in all courses, attendance may be included in the grading criteria of an individual class. Absences are counted from the first scheduled meeting of the class.

A final examination is normally given in each course at the end of the term. A student who misses a final examination without advance permission from the instructor may be assigned a failing grade (F) for the course. A grade of incomplete (I) may be given if the student has obtained advance permission from the instructor or can provide satisfactory evidence that the absence could not be prevented.

Unit of Credit

Semester credits are used throughout the University system. Transferred quarter hours will be converted to semester credit hours on the following basis: A quarter hour equals two-thirds of a semester hour.

Course Load Status

Full-time doctoral students normally take nine semester credit hours. The minimum course load for full-time status is six credit hours. Additional courses above this load require permission from the appropriate department chair. If a student demonstrates exceptional academic performance, the department chair or designee may approve a maximum one-course overload. A student’s enrollment may be restricted when deemed in the best interest of the student.

Grading System

Letter Grade Student Performance Grade Points Per Credit Hour
A Excellent 4
B Satisfactory 3
C Conditional/Passing 2
F Failure 0
WF Withdrawal from the University-Failing 0
W Withdrawal from a course N/A
AU Audit N/A
I Passing but incomplete N/A
IP In progress N/A
N No grade submitted by instructor N/A
S Satisfactory N/A
U Unsatisfactory N/A
T Transfer credit N/A

Grade Reports

Final grades are issued at the end of each term. Students can access their grades immediately after they are posted, via Student Online Services.

The University is prohibited from releasing grade information without the express written authorization of the student. Such authorization must be granted each term because blanket authorizations are prohibited by law.

Grade Point Averages:

A term grade point average (GPA) and cumulative grade point average (CGPA) are computed for each student after every term. The GPA is calculated by dividing the number of grade points earned during the term by the number of hours attempted in that period. The CGPA is determined by dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of hours attempted at the University. Grade points and hours attempted are accrued in courses graded A, B, C, F, and WF only. The courses and credits from another graduate program at Embry-Riddle, accepted by the appropriate department chairman as applicable toward the Ph.D. program, will be included in the CPGA.

Adding, Dropping, or Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add or drop a course during the add-drop as designated by the campus and the program. If a course is dropped, the course will not be entered into the academic transcript. Refunds will be in accordance with the applicable schedules published by the University.

A student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty until the published course withdrawal date. The student must complete the proper university forms to accomplish the withdrawal. An official withdrawal cannot be accomplished simply by ceasing regular class attendance. When a course has not been completed and the official withdrawal procedure has not been properly followed, a grade of F will be assigned.

Auditing a Course (AU)

Because students audit a course solely to enhance their knowledge, academic credit is not granted toward degree requirements for audited courses. Students may change their registration from audit to credit during the “add” period only, with the approval of the chair (or designee) of the Ph.D. department in which the student is enrolled. They may change from credit to audit until the last day of the withdrawal period. When a student auditing a course fails to maintain satisfactory attendance, as determined by the instructor, a grade of W will be assigned.

Incomplete Grade (I)

An instructor may assign an “I” grade to a student who is passing, but is unable to complete the course requirements before the scheduled end of the term because of severe hardship beyond the control of the student, as determined by the instructor.

An “I” grade must be redeemed within thirty days following the end of the term in which the “I” grade was assigned. The campus Associate Vice President of Academics and the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies may waive/extend the period.

Incomplete grades which are not redeemed are automatically converted to course grades of “F” upon expiration of the redemption period.

Repeating a Course

Students may petition to repeat one course in which a grade of C was earned for the purpose of improving their grade point average, a student must submit a written request and receive approval of the department chair or designee. Both grades earned appear on the transcript, but only the replacement grade is included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Withdrawal from the University

Students who leave the University for any reason must officially process a withdrawal clearance through through ERNIE Central to be processed by the Office of the Registrar. When a student withdraws from the University after the end of the scheduled withdrawal period, a WF grade will be assigned for all courses in which the student is enrolled unless an exception is granted for medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances by the Associate Vice President or designee.

Academic Probation and Dismissal


Full-time students whose cumulative grade point average (CGPA) falls below 3.20 are placed on Academic Probation. Students on Academic Probation must raise their cumulative grade point average to 3.20 in the next 12 hours of graduate work.

Students will be dismissed from their Ph.D. program whenever any of the following conditions occur:

Students on conditional status who fail to satisfy the conditions of their admission.

Earn less than a B in two graduate courses.

Earn an F in any graduate courses.

Two grades of U occur during the course of the dissertation research.

A student does not complete the degree requirements of a Ph.D degree within seven years of starting the Ph.D. program and an extension to the time to degree has not been granted.

Students may appeal their academic dismissal from the University only once.

Students may appeal their academic dismissal from the University by submitting a petition in writing detailing the existence of any exceptional, mitigating circumstances to the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies (CAO) or designee within 30 days of the receipt of the dismissal notice. The campus CAO or designee will refer the student petition to the appropriate appeals committee for recommendation. Upon recommendation of the appeals committee, the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies or designee reviews the case and makes the final determination of the action to be taken. Such action will be taken in a timely manner not to exceed 30 days following the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies or designee's receipt of the petition. If confirmed, academic dismissal is final.

Dismissal for Cause

The University reserves the right to dismiss a student at any time and without further reason, if the student exhibits the following undesirable conduct:

Academic performance issues, academic misconduct, non-academic misconduct.

Actions that pose a risk to the health, safety, or property of members of the University community, including, but not limited to, other students, faculty, staff, administrative officers, or the student himself/herself.

Conduct that disrupts the educational process of the University.

Any other just cause.

Loss of Doctoral Status and Readmission

Under certain circumstances (other than graduation), a Ph.D student may lose postgraduate status and will no longer be considered a student at Embry-Riddle. This can occur when:

A student voluntarily withdraws from the University.

A student is dismissed from the University and the dismissal becomes final.

A student fails to meet the requirement for continuous enrollment. This occurs when a student does not complete at least one course in a two-year period.

A student does not complete the degree requirements of a Ph.D program within seven years of starting the post Ph.D. program.

Students who fail to maintain continuous enrollment for any reason are required to apply for readmission under the catalog in effect at that time.

Time Limitation for Degree Completion

The student has seven years from the date of admission to the doctoral degree program to complete the degree. No Embry-Riddle course older than seven years at the time of graduation may be used in the program of study for a doctorate degree. (Prerequisite courses are exempt from this requirement.) Transfer courses older than seven years, earned at other universities, may be accepted at the discretion of the appropriate program coordinator. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment (missing enrollment at the University for a period of two years) must file for readmission to the University, although seven years is measured from when the student was first admitted to the program.

Graduation Requirements

The following summary of graduation requirements is provided for all students. An Embry-Riddle Ph.D. degree will be conferred upon the successful completion of the general requirements of the University and the specific requirements of the degree sought.

  • All course, dissertations, and other academic requirements, as appropriate, must be met.
  • The student will have registered, presented and successfully defended a Ph.D. dissertation as determined by the Ph.D. department.
  • All debts and obligations to the University are satisfied.
  • The student is not under University investigation for misconduct or other disciplinary matters.
  • A student must be enrolled in the term in which he/she graduates.
  • The student is expected to complete the degree within seven years of matriculating into a Ph.D. program unless a specific extension has been granted by the department chair and approved by the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.
  • An application for graduation and the request to participate in Commencement exercises must be initiated by the student and received within the time limit specified by the Office of the Registrar.
  • Participation in graduation exercises will not be permitted, a diploma will not be awarded, and a transcript will not be complete, until all the degree requirements have been satisfied.

Ph.D. students earning Master's degree

  • Ph.D. students admitted straight from a Bachelor’s degree will earn the Master’s degree and the Ph.D. upon completion of all requirements for the Ph.D.  The Master’s graduation application fee will be waived.
  • The Master’s degree will be conferred once all Master’s requirements are fulfilled if utilizing Master’s degree for teaching credentials in the department.  The Master’s graduation application fee will be waived.
  • Courses utilized toward the Master’s degree will be designated by the department on a Plan of Study.  These courses will be moved to the Master’s transcript prior to degree conferral.

Transcript Requests

Transcript can be ordered online through ERNIE. Under the Office of the Registrar page there is a link for an official transcript to be ordered.

Student Grievances

It is the policy of Embry-Riddle to administer its educational programs in a fair, equitable, academically sound manner and in accordance with the appropriate regulations and criteria of its governing board, accrediting associations, and federal and state laws and regulations. To this end, graduate students are given an opportunity to express any complaint, grievance, or dispute that upon investigation may be redressed.

Student Education and Assistance

Embry-Riddle promotes substance abuse awareness by sponsoring educational programs and distributing literature. The University is additionally committed to assisting students in the resolution of problems associated with substance abuse and encourages students to seek additional help through referrals from the University Health Services and Counseling Offices.

Ph.D. Teaching and Research Assistantships

The University may provide Ph.D. assistantships (tuition waivers and/or financial stipends) to selected, qualified students in certain Ph.D. programs.  They are designed to assist graduate students early in their Ph.D. studies with the cost of maintaining enrollment in the Ph.D. program and to provide teaching and/or research experiences that contribute to an enrichment of  the academic experience.  It is expected that following the assignment of the Ph.D. student to a research advisor, grant and/or contract support (when available) will be used to fund financial stipends supporting the student and to help defray course tuition and research credit costs.

To be eligible for a University-funded assistantship (Graduate Teaching Assistantship), a student must be enrolled in a Ph.D. degree program and be performing satisfactorily.  Satisfactory performance includes maintaining a CGPA of 3.20 or higher out of a possible 4.00 through the end of the semester preceding the appointment.

Ph.D. teaching assistants who act as the teacher of record (i.e., having primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit and/or assigning final grades for such a course) must be credentialed for teaching according to university policy.

Ph.D. students receiving University-funded assistantships must be registered as full-time students as determined by individual department guidelines. 

University-funded assistantships providing financial support are generally awarded on a 12 month basis and require the recipients to devote twenty hours each week to carry out their assigned duties.  In the case of partial levels of assistance, the number of hours per week worked is determined by the department but will not fall below ten hours per week.

While holding a university-funded assistantship, a student’s total University employment (including the assistantship) may not exceed twenty-five hours per week.  Students holding an assistantship may have other university employment, but it must be approved by the sponsor of the assistantship.

University-funded assistantships providing course credit tuition waivers and financial support to Ph.D. students are generally available until the end of the semester the student sits for the Qualifying Examination. 

Oversight of a Ph.D. student’s performance while supported by a University-funded assistantship (tuition waiver or financial support) is the responsibility of the immediate supervisor and the department chair.

Non university-funded Ph.D. research assistantships (Graduate Research Assistantships) funding Ph.D. candidates doing research for their dissertation (usually following admission to candidacy) are the responsibility of, and are expected to be provided by, research advisors with funding from grants or contracts supporting the faculty research. The level of financial support and the duration of such support will be decided by the research advisor in consultation with the department chair but is expected to be reasonably consistent with University guidelines as advised by the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Examination & Admission to Candidacy

The student must pass a written qualifying examination in the field of study.  At the discretion of the department the qualifying examination may also include an oral examination.  Upon successfully passing the qualifying examination, the student is considered for admission to candidacy for a Ph.D. degree.

Usually, students will sit for the qualifying exam during or immediately following their last semester of coursework.  If the performance on the examination is unsatisfactory, the Ph.D. program chair will determine whether the student is allowed to retake the examination or any part of the examination according to the individual program requirements. 

Admission to a Ph.D. program does not automatically include admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The faculty of the department must evaluate the progress of the student and determine that the student has completed all course and other requirements, has passed the qualifying examination, and is otherwise qualified to fulfill the research requirements leading to completing the Ph.D. dissertation. 

Departments may follow different procedures for formal admission to candidacy.  The student should consult with the department chair or dean for information on these procedures.


The dissertation is required of every candidate for the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation is an original, critical treatment of a topic chosen by the candidate and approved by the Dissertation Advisory Committee, composed of individuals delegated by the appropriate department as detailed in the specific department guidelines.  It is written in English.

If the Ph.D. candidate has collaborated with others in carrying out the research upon which the dissertation is based, the candidate’s own contribution to the research must be specified and clearly stated in a separate section immediately preceding the text. 

The dissertation, when completed, must be of publishable quality and able to be published, although publication is not required.  It must not be restricted by any entity outside the University from being published.  It is expected to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge of the discipline.  If all or part of the dissertation is published, a statement that the publication is based upon the dissertation must be included in the publication.  Other criteria may be imposed by the appropriate department.

When preparing the dissertation document, the Ph.D. candidate will follow the procedures detailed in the University’s guidelines for preparation of dissertations and theses, which are available through the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, the Ph.D. department offices, or the University web site.

Dissertation Advisory Committee

Each student will have a Dissertation Advisory Committee to assist in advising and guiding the student through the dissertation in all of its phases.  This Advisory Committee will be formed either upon candidacy (or as soon thereafter as appropriate) or when the dissertation proposal is accepted, depending upon the particular Ph.D. program guidelines.

The composition of the Dissertation Advisory Committee should be of individuals of assistant professor rank or higher and will follow the guidelines of the particular Ph.D. program.

Dissertation Oral Committee

The role of the Oral Committee is to provide explicit final judgment of the quality of the work of scholarship submitted and defended by the Ph.D. candidate. 

The voting members of the Oral Committee are appointed by the Department Chair in consultation with the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies. The Committee will consist of the members of the Dissertation Advisory Committee and one full-time faculty member with the rank of assistant professor or above who is a member of a department other than that of the candidate.  Other department specific criteria may apply to the membership of the Committee and are described in the Guidelines for the formation of the Dissertation Advisory Committee.

Additional guest members with or without vote may be appointed to the Oral Committee by the Department Chair in consultation with the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.  Such guest members are expected to be recognized experts in the field of the candidate’s dissertation.

The Oral Committee will also have a member representing and appointed by the office of the University Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.  This person will serve as an ex officio representative of the University in a parliamentary capacity to assure that each final oral examination follows procedures consistent with University expectations and rules of order and to assure that all appropriate necessary documentation is in order and complete.

Dissertation Oral Examination

The purpose of the oral examination is to determine whether the candidate has satisfactorily presented a significant, original thesis in the dissertation and whether the candidate has adequately defended the dissertation.

The presentation and defense of a significant, original dissertation is the culmination of the work for the Ph.D. degree.  Everything else is considered preliminary for this presentation.  Prior coursework prepares the student for research work on the dissertation and the Qualifying Examination is used to determine whether that preparation is adequate. In effect, the oral examination provides an explicit final judgment of the quality of the work of scholarship but, also, implicitly judges the quality of the entire graduate education of the candidate leading up to and culminating with the presentation and the defense of the dissertation.

The candidate is eligible to take the oral examination only after completing all other requirements for the degree.  The oral examination will focus on the subject matter covered by the dissertation and in the specific field in which the dissertation is written.

At least six months must have elapsed since the candidate’s admission to candidacy for the degree.  The oral examination will be administered at locations specified in the Guidelines for each program.

The dissertation must have been registered with the office of the University Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to the oral examination.  Oral examinations will be scheduled by the department chair but not less than five weeks prior to the Commencement ceremony elected for degree conferral.

The vote of the Oral Committee will be taken by the chair. More than one dissenting vote by the committee will signify that the candidate fails this exam. The candidate will be allowed one repeat examination if there is a failure of the examination unless a majority of the voting members of the Oral Committee vote against a repeat examination.  

The copyright for the dissertation belongs to the candidate.

The candidate is required to supply a digital version of the dissertation to the library which will be published through the University’s subscription to UMI’s ProQuest online dissertation services.