Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Graduate School Policies
Doctoral Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Doctoral degrees at Virginia Tech must meet the semester credit hour requirements listed below and include a dissertation that involves original research/scholarship. Departments/programs may have additional requirements and an advisory committee may add specific requirements needed for an individual student's academic development. Graded course work on the Plan of Study must be taken for an A/F grade unless the course is only offered P/F (see Grading System Requirements). Students can apply graded coursework credits taken at Virginia Tech for a master's degree at Virginia Tech to a doctoral plan of study in the same program area if the Advisory Committee considers the courses appropriate for the doctoral degree. No Research and Thesis or Project and Report credits from a master's degree can be used for a doctoral plan of study. See Transfer Credit for policies about the transfer of graduate credits for use on the Plan of Study.

Minimum total credits: 90 credit hours

Minimum graded credits: 27 credit hours

  • The Plan of Study may include a maximum of 6 credits of Virginia Tech graded 4000-level undergraduate course work.
    • The 6 credits of Virginia Tech 4000 level course work may include Special Study (4984) courses but may not include Undergraduate Independent Study (4974) or Undergraduate Research (4994) courses.
  • All other graded credits must be at the 5000 level or higher (i.e., graduate course work). Some departments have approval from the Commission on Graduate and Professional Studies and Policies to reduce the minimum number of graded course work credits required for a specific degree program. See departmental degree requirements to determine if a department has approval for such changes in requirements.
    • The 5000-level course work may include a maximum 18 credits total in 5974, 5984, and 6984 courses and 4 credits of seminar.

Minimum research credits: 30 credit hours of Doctoral Research (7994).

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

The Graduate School course work requirements for the Ed.D. are the same as those listed above for the Ph.D. with the exception that the minimum number of Research and Dissertation 7994 credits is 24.The dissertation for the Ed.D. typically demonstrates the candidate's ability to investigate phenomena in educational institutions or service agencies to increase practitioners' understanding of practical problems and issues.