Academic Program FAQs

Student forms are completed and submitted electronically. GradPath is the Graduate College’s nearly paperless degree audit process. Students should access GradPath through UAccess Student. Once logged into UAccess from the main page of the Student Center, click “Advising” and choose “GradPath" from the drop down menu.  



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Students can check the status of particular forms at any time. GradPath lets students know what forms next need their attention (See below). 

The following forms must be filled out by the Doctoral Candidate via GradPath (select GradPath Forms), unless otherwise noted: 

  1. Responsible Conduct of Research Form 

  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit (If applicable) 

  1. Doctoral Plan of Study 

  1. Comprehensive Exam Committee Appointment Form 

  1. Announcement of Doctoral Comprehensive Examination 

  1. Results of the Oral Comprehensive Examination for Doctoral Candidacy (submitted by committee chair) 

  1. Verification of Prospectus/Proposal Approval (submitted by Graduate Coordinator) 

  1. Doctoral Dissertation Committee Appointment Form 

  1. Announcement of Final Defense 

  1. Results of Final Defense (submitted by committee chair) 

  1. Archiving the Dissertation 

Faculty Advisors will initiate the Results of Comp Exam and Results of Final Oral Defense forms.  

GradPath forms will prevent common errors (e.g., typos in course numbers, illegible faculty names, etc.). There is also some built-in logic to notify Students/Major Advisors/Graduate program coordinators when there is a problem with a form, such as courses outside the time limit. Such messages include links to policy. The automated workflow engine will route the electronic forms to everyone who needs to see or approve them. 

For assistance in completing or routing these forms, contact the PTYS Graduate Coordinator. 

In conjunction with the Faculty Advisor, the student is responsible for developing a Plan of Study in the first year, to be filed with the Graduate College no later than the third semester. The Plan of Study identifies: (1) Courses the student intends to transfer from other institutions; (2) Courses already completed at the University of Arizona, which the student intends to apply toward the graduate degree; and (3) Additional course work to be completed in order to fulfill degree requirements. The Plan of Study must have the approval of the student's Faculty Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies before it is submitted to the Graduate College. 

Once the Plan of Study has been agreed upon by the student and their Faculty Advisor, the student should submit the Plan of Study Form via GradPath. After submission, the Plan of Study must have the approval of the following people in this order: PTYS Graduate Coordinator, Faculty Advisor, DGS, and the Graduate College (Degree Counselor). All approvals are completed in GradPath. Once the Graduate Coordinator has approved the Plan of Study, they will notify the student and it is their responsibility to notify their Faculty Advisor to do the same. 

Students may register for PTYS 920 only after they have passed both portions (written and oral) of the Comprehensive Examination. PTYS will not permit enrollment in 920 units unless coursework on the approved Doctoral Plan of Study has been completed. Dissertation units may be taken concurrently with the last remaining units from the Plan of Study. Please consult with the Graduate Coordinator to confirm your eligibility for enrollment in 920 units. The minimal required number of PTYS 920 units (18) must be completed either before, or in the same semester as, the dissertation defense. Students may not register for more than nine PTYS 920 credits per semester. 

Most of our students graduate during their 5th or 6th year. 

The Faculty Advisor serves as the student's research advisor and primary mentor. The Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Admissions and Advising Committee may designate a temporary Faculty Advisor for incoming students; however, students should confirm a Faculty Advisor during their first year. Students may change advisors but are required to have a Faculty Advisor in order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.  

Ph.D. students will likely have more than one advisor during the course of the program. The Faculty Advisor shares a common research interest; in most cases, the Faculty Advisor provides funding through a research assistantship and/or sponsors funding proposals. The role of the Faculty Advisor/Dissertation Chair has additional special responsibilities:  

  • Assume principal responsibility for advising PhD and/or Master’s students. 

  • Commit the time for this work and be accessible to the student.  

  • Establish appropriate benchmarks with the student to help ensure timely degree completion. 

  • Take primary responsibility for the development and administration of the appropriate examinations, including thesis/dissertation work through completion of the degree. 

  • In concert with the student’s committee, oversee and approve the candidate’s comprehensive exams, dissertation/thesis proposal, dissertation/thesis research, and final written dissertation/thesis/creative project.  

  • Uphold the standards and quality expected of graduate students in the specific graduate program and their professional field. 

PTYS expects that each entering graduate student will choose a Faculty Mentor, distinct from the faculty advisor, soon after beginning the program. Early stages of a program of study require many decisions on the part of the student, so it is important that the counsel of a mentor be available from the very beginning. The mentor is expected to interact with the student on a regular basis, providing guidance, advice and intellectual challenge necessary for the student to complete the program. It should be recognized that the specific mentor and role of the mentor may change over time. Students may have more than one mentor during the course of a degree program. In practice, a student may have more than one mentor at any given time. That is, although the student may choose a single faculty member as the primary mentor, other individuals may play significant mentoring roles for the student. 

PTYS graduate students are required to meet with their Faculty Mentor each semester and document the meeting for the Graduate Coordinator using the Faculty Mentor Meeting form

Each incoming student is assigned a Peer Mentor, selected by the year’s graduate student representative from a pool of students who volunteered to serve as mentors. Peer Mentors can help to introduce new students to the department, the program, the university, and the community, and help to answer questions and ease the transition to graduate school. 

Students are free to change the direction of their research program; however, there must be constant, forward progress towards the Ph.D. degree. Maintaining satisfactory academic standing in the Ph.D. program is contingent on continuing satisfactory progress.

If you have completed all course requirements, the written and oral portion of the Comprehensive Exam, and the 18 thesis credits you may register for 1 credit to maintain continued enrollment. However, certain rules apply. For example, for students holding teaching or research assistantships/associateships, the minimum enrollment required is 6 graduate units. Visa issues may apply for international students and there can be rules around fellowships and other financial aid. Consult the Graduate College policy on enrollment and make sure to confirm with the Graduate Coordinator.  

Nearly all PTYS students graduate with either published work or work submitted for publications. However, the Ph.D. program does not require a minimum number of publications. The Dissertation Chair and Committee will advise you about expectations for publications. Publications are important for a post-doctoral academic career. 

This dissertation defense is distinct from the Comprehensive Exam and occurs at the end of the dissertation work, by mutual agreement between the student and the Dissertation Chair/Committee. In the rare occasion that such agreement cannot be reached, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies.