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Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Requirements for Completion

During the course of their studies, PhD students will spend a minimum of one year at the USC campus in Los Angeles, CA to meet the USC residency requirements. This includes at two weeks during the PhD screening exam, one month during the PhD Qualifying exam, 3 month during preparation for the final defense and preparation of thesis   and two semesters while conducting research. The remaining degree requirements including course work, reproach at KOC facilities, under the supervision of a USC, faculty can be completed in Kuwait.

Course Requirements

Satisfactory completion of at least 60 units of approved graduate level course work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 is required of all Ph.D. students in engi­neering. Up to 30 semester units may be transferred from another accredited institution. A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in a course to receive graduate credit. Work graded C- or below is not acceptable for subject or unit credit toward any graduate degree. Undergraduate prerequisites and graduate course work will be required in accordance with the regulations of the major department or program and the recommendations of the student’s guidance committee. Deficiency courses for non majors taken in Kuwait may be approved based on a competency test administered by USC in Kuwait and on a case by case basis

Transfer units are subject to approval by the Degree Progress Department (for course work taken at institutions in the U.S.) or by International Admission (for course work taken at institutions outside the U.S.) and by the guidance committee.
Screening Procedure

The original admission decision admitting a student to the Ph.D. program is based on the student’s previous academic records, Graduate Record Examinations scores and other evidence of scholastic abilities indicating promise for completing graduate studies. It is also a prerequisite that all Ph.D. students successfully complete the screening procedures designated by the department. These usually consist of a written and an oral examination administered by the faculty. Students who fail the screening procedure will be advised that they are not recommended to continue in the Ph.D. program and that any additional work may not be counted toward the degree. The PhD screening exam will be administered at USC.

Guidance Committee

The Ph.D. student’s program of study is supervised by the guidance committee, which is formed immediately after passing the screening examination. The committee consists of five tenure-track faculty members in addition to one from KOC who holds a Ph.D, four from the major department and one from outside the department representing the minor area. Reporting the screening procedures and forming the guidance committee are accomplished by filing the appropriate forms obtainable in the Graduate School Student Services Office, Grace Ford Salvatori Hall 315. KOC.USC Admin assistance will help is securing the forms and associated paperwork.

One senior scientist at the KOC who holds a Ph.D. can serve as the student’s co-advisor and can be a member of the student’s guidance and dissertation committee. Other KOC technical staff can serve as mentors and tutors.
Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examinations are taken during the last semester of the second year of graduate study or, at the latest, in the fifth semester or equivalent. The Request to take the Qualifying Examinations must be filed in the semester prior to taking the examinations and at least 30 days before beginning the examinations. The examinations are intended to determine the extent of the student’s knowledge in basic science and engineering areas as well as the ability to do original and scholarly research. The guidance committee decides the nature of the qualifying examinations (both oral and written portions) according to the policies applicable in each department.

The examinations may be scheduled at any time during the semester provided that all members of the committee are available to administer them. All portions of the examinations must be completed within 60 days. After passing the qualifying examinations the Ph.D. student is admitted to candidacy by the Dean of Graduate Studies and the dissertation committee is established. After this step students will normally engage in at least one year of full-time graduate study and research on campus. The PhD qualifying exam will be administered at USC.
Doctoral Dissertation

An acceptable dissertation based on original investigation and supervised directly by the dissertation committee is required. The dissertation must show mastery of a special field, capacity for independent research and a scholarly result. Candidates are expected to keep all members of the dissertation committee informed of their progress at all stages of the dissertation.

Defense of the Dissertation

After satisfactorily meeting all other requirements and after the research and writing of the dissertation are substantially complete, the Ph.D. candidate must pass a general final oral examination devoted to the major field and to the topic of the dissertation. The examination will be conducted in such a manner as to determine to the satisfaction of the dissertation committee that the candidate has attained the stage of scholarly advancement and power of investigation demanded by the university for final recommendation to the doctorate. The faculty is invited to attend and to participate in the final oral examination. However, only the dissertation committee may vote. Unanimous approval of the committee is required for the student to proceed to final typing of the dissertation. The PhD qualifying exam will be administered at USC.

Departmental Requirements

The requirements and regulations set forth in this portion of the catalogue are to be construed as the minimal requirements only as established by the Graduate School. In addition, students must meet all the requirements established by their department.

Students who successfully pass the screening exam will be assigned a faculty mentor who will work with KOC researchers to identify focus areas.