PhD students enter the program on a probationary basis and begin by taking a prescribed 2 year course sequence. During the second year the faculty evaluate the student's performance and decide whether the student "qualifies" for continuation in the program. After qualification a research advisory committee is formed. After qualification and completion of coursework, in the third year, a research-based candidacy examination (designed in collaboration with the committee) determines whether the student is ready to pursue dissertation research. The research topic is set and the student works with his/her mentor and committee until completion of the research, writing of the dissertation, and its defense.
All of our PhD students are supported with graduate school tuition waivers, graduate student health insurance, and a monthly stipend for work performed as Teaching Assistants in our instructional activities or Research Assistants in our research groups.