Program Policies


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Ph.D. Sub-Council

Zabi Rezaee, ACCT
William Smith, ECON
David Allen, MGMT
Brian Janz, MIS
Carol Danehower, Ex-Officio

Approved by the faculty of the Fogelman College of Business & Economics
January 17, 2003

Policies & Procedures | Concentrations | Admissions | Assistantships | Completion of Degree | Communications & Record Keeping | Comprehensive Exams | Curriculum


Ph.D. Program Policies and Procedures

The Ph.D. program in the Fogelman College of Business and Economics provides rigorous training in theory and empirical methods necessary for becoming an effective researcher and educator in the various individual disciplines of the College. Each Department may offer a concentration within the Ph.D. degree program if the Department has sufficient qualified faculty to staff Ph.D. level courses and staff and chair dissertation committees. Currently Economics, Management and Marketing are admitting students and other Departments may begin admitting students when these criteria are met.

The Ph.D. Sub-Council of the College Graduate Council determines all policies for the Ph.D. program, approves and recommends, as appropriate, the unique policies of individual concentrations, courses and curriculum, evaluates the accomplishments of faculty to determine appropriate doctoral faculty status and Ph.D. mentorship status in accordance with University and College policies, makes recommendations concerning best article awards and faculty research grants, makes program budget recommendations and considers, upon the recommendation of the appropriate administrator or a Departmental Ph.D. Coordinator serving as a member of the Sub-Council, all exceptions to existing policies. All proposals for new or significant changes in curricula (degrees, majors and minors) and other matters as appropriate are then referred to the general meeting of the faculty for final approval according to existing College guidelines. The Associate Dean for Academic Programs and the individual Department Chairs are responsible for administering the program and implementing the policies approved by the Sub-Council and the faculty of the College, as appropriate.

The Ph.D. Sub council of the Graduate Council consists of one member of each Department, holding appropriate rank, Associate or Full Professor, and appropriate Graduate faculty status, Full Graduate Faculty status and typically Ph.D. Mentor. For those departments with a concentration in the Ph.D. program that individual is usually the Ph.D. Coordinator for the Department. The Chair of the Ph.D. Sub-Council is Co-Chair of the College Graduate Council and, along with the other Co-chair of the Graduate Council responsible for Masters Programs, is a member of the University Graduate Council representing the College. The Co-chairs are elected by the respective Sub- Council.

Each Department will form a Ph.D. Program Committee or appropriate sub committee of the Department Graduate Programs Committee for the purpose of developing Departmental policies and procedures and curriculum for the Ph.D. program and considering all exceptions to those policies. The Committee members must hold appropriate rank and graduate faculty status. (The Chair of this committee is typically the Department's Ph.D. Coordinator). This Committee is also responsible for admissions into the Department's concentration and awarding of assistantships, subject to the College policies and any unique policies or requirements of the Department. The Chair of this Committee also appoints the Ph.D. comprehensive examination committees. Other committees may be appointed by the Chair of the Department to deal with graduate program issues on an ad hoc basis, such as committees to examine specific curriculum issues or retention appeals.

The general requirements for the Ph.D. program are found in the University Graduate School Bulletin. Specific College requirements are further detailed in the Fogelman College Ph.D. Handbook for graduate students and the individual guides for each concentration. The following general guidelines for the administration of the program have been approved by the Ph.D. Sub-Council, the Graduate Council (October 18, 2002) and the College faculty (January 17, 2003).

Departmental Ph.D. ConcentrationsTop of Page

Each Department may offer a concentration within the Ph.D. degree program if the Department has sufficient qualified faculty to staff Ph.D. level courses and staff and chair dissertation committees. At a minimum a department must have at least five faculty with full graduate faculty status and at least three with Ph.D. mentor status. The Department must maintain a ratio of at least one Ph.D. mentor for every three students in the program who have completed comprehensive exams. Faculty with Associate and Adjunct Graduate Faculty status may teach courses and be a member of dissertation committees if appropriate, but to a limited extent, i.e., no more than two such faculty members on a Ph.D. committee.

The Department is responsible for developing and administering a rigorous and challenging doctoral level curriculum that satisfies University of Memphis Graduate School requirements (pp. 14-15 and 22-24 of the 2001-2003 Graduate Bulletin), College requirements (pp. 92-92 of the 2001-2003 Graduate Bulletin) and AACSB guidelines. The Department Chair is responsible for scheduling courses, assigning qualified faculty to those courses, maintaining reasonable average enrollment targets in all 7000/8000 level courses and monitoring the progress of students in the program. The curriculum for each concentration must have a well-defined body of theory and appropriate research core and be approved by the Ph.D. Sub-Council, the College Graduate Council, College faculty and University Graduate Council. The curricula and faculty of Departments currently admitting students may be found in Appendix 1 of this document. Additional details are provided in the Ph.D. Student Handbook of the Fogelman College (subject to revision) and the Guides to the Ph.D. Concentrations prepared by each department. (These may be found in Appendix 2 to this document).

AdmissionsTop of Page

The College provides general administrative support and financial resources for publicizing the Ph.D. program and recruiting applicants (the College Ph.D. Handbook, the web page, various mailings and so forth). However, each department is responsible for recruiting students, evaluating applications and mentoring students through their individual concentration. In the fall of each academic year the assistantship budget and financial resources available for supporting the Ph.D. program will be reviewed and allocated to the Departments for the following academic year. Recruiting activities generally take place during the fall semester for the following academic year. Although the university maintains a rolling application process (with a deadline for international students of May 1 prior to the Fall semester) the College and Departments should encourage all prospective students to apply as early as possible if they wish to be considered for an assistantship or other financial assistance. (See below for policies regarding assistantships).

Students are typically admitted to begin the program in the fall semester of each academic year. Each Department must maintain high admission standards. For admission an applicant must provide evidence of a high likelihood of success in the program. Typically, this includes 1) a GMAT score of 600 or higher, or 600 or higher for the average of the verbal and quantitative score on the GRE, 2) a GPA of at least 3.2 in undergraduate studies or in the last degree attained, and 3) three letters of reference attesting to the strengths of the student and likelihood of success in a challenging doctoral program. These GMAT/GRE and GPA scores are regarded as targets rather than minimums. Given the number of available admissions simply attaining a given score is not sufficient to guarantee admission. Similarly, not attaining the targeted score does not preclude admission to the program. Therefore, because none of these alone is sufficient to indicate that an applicant will be successful in the program the Departmental Committee is given the discretion to admit an applicant that does not meet the targeted GMAT/GRE score or undergraduate grade point average, if the scores and GPA are reasonably high. If the GMAT/GRE score is less than 570 or the undergraduate GPA/last degree is less than 3.0 for an individual applicant, the Department Ph.D. Coordinator must request, in writing and with appropriate justification, that the student be considered by the Ph.D. Sub council for admission as an exception to the above guidelines. Departments must strive to attain a 600 average GMAT/GRE score for each incoming class regardless of the number of exceptions.

Admission to the Ph.D. program does not assure the award of an assistantship or other financial support. Students may be admitted as a full or part time student depending upon the Department's policies. It should be understood that the maximum length of time to completion of the degree program is ten years regardless of whether or not the student is full or part time.

AssistantshipsTop of Page

An assistantship is designed to provide a rewarding professional experience in teaching and research. Students will be assigned to work with individual faculty on research projects or to provide teaching assistance ranging from grading assignments to giving lectures to classes. After the student has demonstrated competence in the discipline and has completed, or is concurrently enrolled in, the Ph.D. teaching practicum he/she may be assigned to teach an independent section of a course under the supervision of a teaching mentor.

Each Department will be allocated funds for a minimum number of assistantships in the fall of each academic year. Each Department will evaluate applications for admission and for assistantships as they arrive. Assistantship awards will be announced at the discretion of the Department no earlier than January 1 and may continue until funds are exhausted. If a Department has not awarded all of the funds allocated for assistantships to applicants in its concentration by June 1, those funds will be reallocated to a central pool. At that point admitted students who have not received an assistantship from any Department may compete for an assistantship. Each Ph.D. Coordinator will present applicants and provide a rationale for the request for an assistantship to the PhD Sub-Council and the Sub council will determine the award. An assistantship award for an incoming student will provide a stipend, tuition and fee waiver and employment expectation that is renewable for four years. The annual stipend for a Ph.D. student for the 2003-2004 academic year is $12,000 and a full tuition waiver for 20 hours of employment. In appropriate circumstances a partial, 10 hours of employment, assistantship may be awarded. The stipend will be one half of the regular amount, $6,000 for 2003-2004, and the tuition waiver will also be for one half of the regular full time tuition and fees. In addition to an assistantship a student may be awarded a fellowship or scholarship carrying an additional stipend, but in no circumstances may the student be employed for more than twenty hours per week. The student should not be distracted from study and assistantship obligations.

The Department Chair, in conjunction with the Department Graduate Programs committee, is expected to evaluate the performance of the student in the assigned research and teaching activities at the end of each semester. The evaluation will be satisfactory or unsatisfactory and the Department Chair must provide this evaluation, and appropriate guidance for improvement if warranted, to the student in writing. The evaluation will also be conveyed to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs. If the student disagrees with the evaluation he/she may appeal to the Associate Dean for a review of the evaluation. If there is a disagreement between the Associate Dean's evaluation and the Department Chair's evaluation the Dean of the College will make the final determination, which may not be appealed further. If a student receives an unsatisfactory evaluation for two semesters the assistantship will be revoked.

For a newly admitted student the award of an assistantship is automatically renewable for up to four years. If an assistantship is awarded to a student already participating in the program it is typically for fewer than four years, depending upon the student's length of time in the program. Under some circumstances an assistantship may be extended beyond four years. The primary criterion for an extension of an assistantship is the likelihood of completing the dissertation and graduating during the following academic year. The assistantship may be for 20 hours of employment with the full Ph.D. level stipend and tuition and fee waiver or for 10 hours of employment with one half the regular stipend and one half the tuition and fee waiver. Departments may provide additional support for students in various stages of the program in the form of teaching and research assistance opportunities if such employment does not exceed university maximums and does not interfere with progress toward completion of the degree.

Progress toward Completion of DegreeTop of Page

Each student is expected to maintain minimum grade point requirements, complete required courses in a timely fashion, pass the comprehensive examinations, meet all other departmental concentration requirements, complete a dissertation proposal and defend the dissertation in a timely manner according to the curriculum and guidelines stipulated by the Department. Typically all course work should be completed in less than three years.

Comprehensive examinations may be scheduled the last semester of coursework and must be successfully passed within two years of completing coursework. A dissertation proposal and final defense is typically completed in four to five years from entering the program. The College deadline for completion of degree requirements is ten years from the time of entering the program. These limits, two years from completion of coursework for passing the comprehensive exam, and ten years for completing the degree, may be extended for a student, otherwise in good standing, at the written request of the student's adviser and the Department Chair, only with the approval of the Ph.D. Sub council. The deadline for taking the comprehensive exam may be extended for up to one additional year and the deadline for completion of degree may be extended to 12 years, the maximum allowed by the University. The Department Chair is responsible for monitoring the progress of each student (this may be delegated to the Ph.D. Coordinator and dissertation advisers) and communicating any concerns that may arise considering a student's progress toward completing degree requirements. Lack of sufficient progress toward completion of the degree may result in termination from the program and/or loss of an assistantship.

Communications and Record KeepingTop of Page

During the application and admissions process the Associate Dean's Office will coordinate all communications with applicants. The Ph.D. Coordinator, the Chair of each Department and the Associate Dean's Office are the primary contacts for applicants and admitted students and will copy each other on all communications with the student. The Deans Office will convey in a timely manner all communications with the Graduate School, inquiries, applications and changes in application status to Department Chairs and Ph.D. Coordinators. The Department Chair is responsible for managing the admissions and awards of assistantships in the Department's concentration. The Dean's Office will monitor the admissions and awards of all Departments to ensure admission standards are maintained and the assistantship budget allocation is not exceeded.

Upon admission each student will be provided a copy of the College Ph.D. Handbook, and Departmental guidelines. These documents will be reviewed by the Departments and the PhD Sub-Council annually and modified as appropriate. Any revisions to these documents that may affect a student's program will also be conveyed in a timely fashion to all students affected.

The Associate Dean for Academic Programs is responsible for all formal communications with the student regarding admission, change of academic status, reappointment of assistantships or change in assistantship status, notification of scheduling of comprehensive exams, and so forth. The Department Chair and Ph.D. Coordinator, and, if appropriate, the Ph.D. Sub-Council and Graduate School will be copied on all communications with the student.

The Dean's office will maintain the official files of each student, although Departments may also keep various records for the purpose of advising, mentoring, and making appropriate assistantship assignments, inter alia.

Comprehensive ExaminationsTop of Page

The content and grading of comprehensive examinations is strictly a departmental function. The Ph.D. Sub-Council, in accordance with Graduate School policies, determines the specific policies regarding the scheduling of the comprehensive
examinations and the Dean's office administers the exam according to these policies.

CurriculumTop of Page

Each academic year each department, in collaboration with other departments, will review the curriculum of the individual concentrations (majors and minors). The objectives of the review are:

  1. to ensure the curriculum provides rigorous preparation in theory and empirical methods enabling our graduates to conduct high quality research and compete effectively in the job market.
  2. to ensure the knowledge and skills are delivered as efficiently as possible via collaborative design and scheduling of courses.
  3. The latter may require eliminating course duplication, if any, more common courses among the concentrations, and more effective scheduling of courses to generate larger class sizes. The Ph.D. Sub-Council will manage the review process and consider all proposed curriculum changes.