Class and Degree Policies

This page summarizes important information regarding class and degree policies for the PhD in HCC. All graduate students should consult the University Graduate School Catalog, which contains the University’s regulations and procedures for earning degrees.

  • Doctoral students should especially note the Graduate School’s regulations on University residency requirements.

Staying in Good Standing and Registration 

  • Doctoral students with previously earned master’s degrees may be excused from a maximum of six (6) courses, but must complete at least two courses at the 700/800 level in the HCC PhD program. The student’s mentor and the Graduate Program Director must approve the course waivers.
  • Doctoral students must maintain a B average, (i.e., 3.0 GPA).
  • Graduate students may be recommended for dismissal after earning three Cs (this includes C+, C, or C-), one D or one F in any graduate level course.
  • Doctoral students may not count courses that are audited as part of the Ph.D. program and may not take courses under the Pass/Fail option with the exception of the Doctoral Dissertation Courses, HCC 898 and HCC 899.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense

  • A PhD dissertation proposal must be pre-approved by the mentor and submitted to the dissertation proposal committee at least three weeks prior to the proposal defense.
  • The proposal defense must proceed according to the following structure:
    • Presentation of the research topic by the student,
    • Question session open to members of the dissertation committee and the audience,
    • Question session open to the committee only,
    • Discussion and evaluation of the defense by the committee (audience and the student are excused),
    • Announcement of the committee’s decision and recommendation to the student (audience excused).
  • If the committee is not satisfied with the outcome of the proposal defense, it can request the student to rework the proposal and repeat the proposal defense. Students can repeat the proposal defense once. The majority of the committee should agree to the decision on the proposal. Students, who successfully defend the dissertation proposal, must submit the admission to candidacy form to the graduate school within two business days. The proposal defense usually lasts approximately two hours.
  • A PhD dissertation must be pre-approved by the mentor and submitted to the dissertation committee at least one month prior to the final defense. Further rules for the dissertation defense and approval process from the UMBC Graduate School must be followed.

A PhD dissertation or proposal committee must satisfy the following conditions:

  • The committee must have at least five members;

  • At least one member must be external to the Department of Information Systems;

  • At least three members must be from the Department of Information Systems;

  • The largest number of members (not necessary majority) must be from the Department of Information Systems (e.g., if your committee has six members, then you can have three from IS department, two from place A and one from place B).