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Frequently Asked Questions

This page is designed to address many of the questions graduate students have about the processes and procedures that are involved in completing their degree requirements. Students should consult the Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog and the Graduate Program Details page of the Philosophy Department web site for detailed information about the specific policies and course requirements pertaining to their degree programs.

Click on a topic below to view questions and answers.

All Philosophy graduate students (M.A. and Ph.D.)

Course and program requirements

1. I noticed that UNM and the Philosophy Department list different course and program requirements for graduate students. Must I fulfill both sets of requirements?

Yes. The UNM requirements (as listed in the Catalog) pertain to all graduate students enrolled at UNM, whereas the Philosophy Department requirements pertain specifically to graduate students in Philosophy. As stated in the The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog, “Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the general University rules and regulations pertaining to graduate study at the University of New Mexico and the specific academic requirements of their particular degree program. They are also expected to be aware of their academic standing at all times. Ignorance of a rule will not be accepted as a basis for waiving that rule”.

2. Where can I find the UNM and Philosophy Department course and program requirements for graduate students?

The Philosophy Department requirements for its M.A. and Ph.D. programs are found on the Graduate Program Details page of its web site. To find the UNM requirements, consult The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

3. The policies listed in the UNM catalog have changed since I first enrolled in the Philosophy graduate program. Which set of requirements must I fulfill?

As stated in The Graduate Program section of the UNM catalog, “Students may graduate under the degree requirements of any catalog in effect since the year in which they were first enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program at The University of New Mexico, provided that they have maintained continuous active status and they complete the graduation requirements for the degree sought within the appropriate time period”. Students will specify the catalog under which they intend to graduate on their Program of Studies (for M.A. students) or their Application for Candidacy (for Ph.D. students).

4. The policies listed in the Graduate Program Details for the Philosophy Department have changed since I first enrolled in the Philosophy graduate program. Which set of requirements must I fulfill?

Typically, if the Philosophy Department changes the requirements for its graduate programs, students can choose which set of requirements to fulfill. That is, students can fulfill the requirements as stated the year they enrolled in the program, or they can fulfill the new requirements. In rare cases, the Department will institute changes that will be applicable to both entering and currently enrolled students. Students will be informed of any such changes in a timely manner.

Philosophy coursework completed prior to enrolling in the Philosophy Graduate Program at UNM

1. Prior to enrolling the Philosophy graduate program, I completed graduate-level coursework (at UNM or another accredited university). Can this coursework be counted toward my current graduate degree requirements at UNM?

Yes, under certain conditions. As per UNM policy, graduate coursework that you completed prior to enrolling in the graduate program at UNM can be transferred as graduate credit if you “earned a grade of B or better in the courses for which transfer credits are requested. Courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis and/or courses taken as extension credit at other universities will not be accepted for graduate credit at the University of New Mexico”. Note also that for any coursework to count toward your Philosophy degree requirements, you must receive approval from the Philosophy Graduate Director, who makes decisions regarding transfer credits in consultation with the department’s Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). See #5 immediately below.

2. Is there is a limit to how many graduate credit hours can be transferred to UNM and counted toward my Philosophy graduate degree?

Yes. As stated in The Graduate Program section of the UNM catalog:

(a) “No more than 9 hours of graduate credit taken in undergraduate status may be applied to a graduate degree at the University of New Mexico”;
(b) “The number of transfer and/or applied (including non-degree) credits used toward a graduate program may not exceed fifty percent of the required coursework for the degree”; and
(c) “Course work that has been counted toward a previous degree may not be counted again toward any other degree except Master’s course work for a doctoral degree” (p. 24). A note of clarification: If you enter the Philosophy Ph.D. program with an M.A. in Philosophy (from UNM or another accredited institution), then the coursework you completed for the M.A. can be counted towards your coursework requirements for the Ph.D., subject to the additional conditions above as well as the conditions stated in The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

3. Which coursework requirements can transfer credits fulfill?

Upon approval from the Graduate Director and the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC), transfer credits may be used to fulfill general graduate credit requirements, Distribution Requirement Designations (DRDs), and 500-level course requirements. NOTE: As per UNM policy, courses for which you receive graduate credit, whether through transfer or while in residence at UNM, cannot be used to fulfill your Background Core Requirement.

4. Must previously completed coursework that will count towards my Background Core Requirement be transferred to UNM?

No. The six classes needed to fulfill your Background Core Requirement are undergraduate level courses, and the transcript from your undergraduate institution will suffice as evidence that you have met some or all of these requirements. NOTE: If, after enrolling in the UNM graduate program, you take courses at UNM to fulfill the Background Core Requirement, these will not count for graduate credit, and hence, will not count towards your graduate credit coursework requirements for your degree.

5. When and how will the transfers be decided?

At the start of your first semester in residence at UNM, you will meet with the Graduate Director to discuss the possibility of having previously completed coursework count towards your degree requirements. The Graduate Director will consult with GAC to make final decisions about transfer credits. Once those decisions have been made, you will receive a memo from the Philosophy Department indicating which transfer credits have been approved, and a copy of that memo will be kept in your departmental file. NOTE: The decisions of the Graduate Director and GAC are then subject to Graduate Studies approval when you submit your Program of Studies form (for M.A. students) or Application for Candidacy form (for Ph.D. students).

Selecting and registering for courses

1. Does the Philosophy Department have any general advice for how graduate students should select their courses?

Yes. If you have not yet fulfilled your Background Core Requirement, this should be your highest priority. Note as well that, effective Fall 2012, the Philosophy Department has instituted a general rule that graduate students (1) should complete four of the six “background core” courses prior to enrolling in graduate-level Philosophy courses, and also (2) should complete the “background core” courses that are pre-requisites for the graduate-level courses in which they enroll (e.g., a student should have completed the modern philosophy background core before enrolling in Phil *410: Kant). Students who have not met these requirements will only be allowed to enroll in a graduate-level course with prior permission from both the Graduate Director and the instructor for the course.

If you have completed or are nearing completion of your Background Core Requirement, then your next priority should be fulfilling your DRDs and 500-level requirements. It is best to complete these requirements during the early part of your academic career so that you can have more freedom selecting classes as graduation nears.

2. If, in a given semester, I am taking one or more undergraduate courses at UNM to fulfill the Background Core Requirement, will I lose my standing as a UNM graduate student?

No. Regardless of how my undergraduate courses for which you are registered, your UNM academic record will still indicate that you are a graduate student in Philosophy so long as you are enrolled in at least one graduate-level credit hour. However, to be considered a full-time graduate student at UNM, a student must be enrolled in at least 9 graduate credit hours each semester, or, if holding a Teaching Assistantship, in at least 6 graduate credit hours each semester.

3. When and how are DRDs for a particular semester decided?

After courses for a particular semester are announced, the Graduate Director will consult with the members of GAC and the Philosophy Department to decide which courses may count as DRDs. These designations are typically decided within 2 weeks of courses being announced, and they will be listed on the DRD page of the Philosophy Department web site.

4. Who should I consult for more specific advice about selecting courses?

You should consult with your faculty advisor or the Chair of your dissertation or MA committee. They will help you decide which courses might best contribute to your chosen area of concentration. You are also required to consult with the Graduate Director. See immediately below.

5. I have decided on the courses for which I would like to register. Are there further procedures I must follow before registering?

Yes. Once you have selected the courses for which you would like to register, you must complete a Graduate Program Coursework Form. You must then schedule an appointment with the Graduate Director to discuss the courses you’ve selected and review your progress toward your degree. The Graduate Director must sign the Graduate Program Coursework Form before you register for courses. It is highly recommended that you have this meeting with the Graduate Director by week 14 of each semester so that you can register in a timely fashion and secure a spot in the classes you’d like to take.

6. For which UNM Philosophy courses can I earn graduate credit?

Students can earn graduate credit for any *400 course as well as any course at the 500- or 600-level. If a course is offered as a 400/500 course, then a graduate student must register for the 500-level section of the course to earn graduate credit. NOTE: The 500-level section of a 400/500 course will have a different Course Record Number (CRN) than the 400-level section. If a student registers for the 400-level section, he/she will not earn graduate credit.

7. How can I check on which coursework and program requirements remain for me to fulfill?

Your progress towards fulfilling your graduate coursework and program requirements will be noted in your departmental file, and each semester, you will be reminded of outstanding course requirements when you meet with the Graduate Director to discuss your class schedule for the next semester (see question #5 immediately above). That said, you are expected to be aware of your academic standing at all times, so you should keep your own records of your progress towards your degree. Doing so will allow you to complete your degree program in a timely and efficient manner. If questions should arise, meet with the Department Administrator (currently, Mercedes Nysus) to verify that your records match what is in your departmental file.

Paperwork, advising, and other stuff

1. What sort of paperwork must be completed in order for me to complete my degree and graduate in a particular semester?

The paperwork and graduation procedures are different for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Consult the section of this FAQ that pertains to your specific degree program (Section II for the M.A. Program and Section III for the Ph.D. Program).

2. When I entered the Philosophy Graduate Program, I was assigned a faculty advisor. Am I required to meet with him/her every semester?

No, you are not required to meet with your faculty advisor every semester; however, you are strongly encouraged to do so. The Philosophy Department assigns every entering graduate student a faculty advisor so that students have the opportunity to meet more of our faculty and gain different perspectives on the department, our courses, the graduate program, and the life of professional philosophy. We expect that having brief conversations with your faculty advisor each semester can be incredibly valuable. NOTE: It is your responsibility to set up these meetings, and you should contact your faculty advisor early during your first semester in residence to introduce yourself to him/her.

3. Who are the members of the Philosophy Department’s Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC)?

The Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) is made up of the Graduate Director and two full-time faculty members in the Philosophy Department. Membership rotates each academic year. If you are interested in finding out the current members of GAC, contact the Department Administrator in Philosophy.

4. I would like to pursue a Transcripted Minor while completing my graduate degree in Philosophy. What are the policies and procedures for earning a Transcripted Minor?

Philosophy graduate students in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs can pursue a Transcripted Minor from a select number of departments at UNM. The list of approved Transcripted Minors, and requirements specific to each department, can be found on the Graduate Studies website. The general UNM requirements for completing a minor are different for M.A. and Ph.D. students.

To declare a Transcripted Minor, a student must first get approval from the Philosophy Department and the department in which he/she would like to minor. A form must then be submitted to Graduate Studies for approval. Philosophy graduate students wishing to pursue a Transcripted Minor should discuss this option with the Graduate Director early in their academic career.

5. I would like to pursue a Transcripted Graduate Certificate while completing my graduate degree in Philosophy. What are the policies and procedures for earning a Transcripted Graduate Certificate?

Philosophy graduate students in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs can pursue Transcripted Graduate Certificate from a very select number of departments and programs at UNM. (There are currently only 9 Transcripted Graduate Certificates available) For details on how graduate students can complete a Transcripted Graduate Certificate, consult the Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

To add a Transcripted Graduate Certificate, a student must first get approval from the Philosophy Department and then apply to the department or program in which he/she would like earn certification. An application form can be found on the Graduate Studies website. Philosophy graduate students wishing to pursue a Transcripted Graduate Certificate should discuss this option with the Graduate Director early in their academic career.

6. What are the requirements for the Graduate Proseminar that is required for each entering graduate student in Philosophy?

The Graduate Proseminar (PHIL 520) is a 1-credit hour, CR/NC course that is structured to give our entering graduate students exposure to the research being completed by faculty members in the Philosophy Department. Typically, the Proseminar will meet for 2.5 hours five or six times over the Fall semester. During each session, a Philosophy faculty member will discuss work(s) related to his/her current research. To earn credit for the course, a graduate student must complete a short (roughly 10-page) paper based on the material covered during one of the Proseminar sessions. The paper will be graded by the faculty member who led that session, and the grade will be reported to the Graduate Director, who will record the student’s grade at the end of the term. The schedule of meetings and topics is usually announced to entering graduate students during the second week of the Fall semester.

7. Are there funding resources for Philosophy graduate students outside of the Philosophy Department?

Yes. Graduate students can find out about funding opportunities outside of the Philosophy Department by visiting the University of New Mexico Scholarship Office website as well as the Graduate Studies (GS) website. Under the “Funding” tab of the Graduate Studies site, students will find useful information about fellowships, job opportunities, and travel grants for UNM graduate students.

You may also find it worthwhile to talk with other Philosophy graduate students about funding opportunities. Several of our current students have been successful in procuring funds for travel to conferences through various UNM sources.

8. I have a question about my course and/or program requirements that isn’t answered on the Philosophy Department web site, in the UNM catalog, or on this FAQ page. Whom should I contact for an answer?

Typically, the first person you should consult is the Administrative Assistant in Philosophy. While the Administrative Assistant may not have an answer to your question, there is a very good chance that he/she can direct you to the person or office that will have an answer.

Philosophy M.A. Program

NOTE: All students entering the M.A. Program in Philosophy are automatically enrolled in the Plan II (M.A. paper) option, and the vast majority of our M.A. students complete their degrees under this plan. As such, the questions and answers below pertain to students completing Plan II degree requirements. If you are a student completing the Plan I (M.A. thesis) requirements, please consult pages 32-36 of The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog and meet with the Graduate Director for answers to your questions.

Program of Studies

1. The UNM Catalog states that I must file a Program of Studies before I can complete my degree requirements. What is a Program of Studies?

The Program of Studies is a form that each M.A. student must complete in consultation with the Graduate Director and then submit to Graduate Studies. Among other things, the Program of Studies will include the UNM graduate courses and transfer credits that will count towards your coursework requirements.

2. When should the Program of Studies be completed and submitted to Graduate Studies?

The Philosophy Department recommends that M.A. students consult with the Graduate Director about completing the Program of Studies either in the third semester of residency or after completing 12 credit hours of graduate coursework, whichever comes first. It is a good idea to have the Program of Studies approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies and on file with Graduate Studies as soon as possible for reasons detailed immediately below.  Guidelines for completing the Program of Study form are available here

3. I haven’t yet decided on a topic for my M.A. paper or selected a faculty member to chair my M.A. committee. Can I still complete and submit my Program of Studies?

Yes. The Program of Studies is a form pertaining to your graduate coursework requirements and does not require information about a student’s M.A. paper or M.A. committee.

4. Must I submit my Program of Studies to Graduate Studies before I can take my M.A. exam?

Yes. There are strict deadlines for submitting the Program of Studies to Graduate Studies based on when a student plans to defend his/her M.A. paper and graduate, namely:

  • If a student plans to graduate during a spring semester, the Program of Studies must be submitted to Graduate Studies by 1 October.
  • If a student plans to graduate during a summer semester, the Program of Studies must be submitted to Graduet Studies by 1 March.
  • If a student plans to graduate during a fall semester, the Program of Studies must be submitted to Graduate Studies by 1 July.

Further details about the Program of Studies can be found on page 33 of The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

The M.A. Paper

1. When and how should I decide on a topic for my M.A. paper?

Entering M.A. students should be thinking about the topic for their M.A. paper as soon as they enroll in the Philosophy graduate program. Some M.A. students arrive at UNM with a very definite idea for their M.A. paper topic already in mind. Others do not. Whichever position you’re in, the sooner you decide on a general area of concentration for your M.A. paper (e.g., 19th Century Continental Philosophy, 20th Century Phenomenology, or Indian philosophy), the easier it will be for you to navigate through the requirements of the M.A. program. If you are unsure about the area of philosophy on which you would like to focus, talk with your faculty adviser and the Graduate Director during your second semester at UNM. They can offer advice on how you might narrow the area and topic for your M.A. paper.

NOTE: It is not uncommon for M.A. students to use a paper that was completed for a graduate seminar as the basis for their M.A. paper. As such, it could be very helpful, during your first year in the M.A. program, to take a couple courses in areas that interest you or, if you’ve yet to decide on an area of interest, to take a wide variety of graduate courses.

2. How should I decide on a Chair for my M.A. committee?

Your faculty advisor and the Graduate Director can offer advice about which faculty member to approach to serve as the Chair for your M.A. committee. If you would like to develop a paper completed for a graduate course into your M.A. paper, then the instructor for that course would be the best candidate to serve as the Chair of your committee.

3. How should I decide on the other members of my M.A. committee?

You should choose the other two members of your M.A. committee in consultation with the Chair of your committee. He/she will be familiar with the research interests of other Philosophy faculty members and can give you advice on which faculty members to approach to serve on your committee.

4. Are there restrictions on who can serve on my M.A. committee?

Yes. According to UNM policy, you must have a minimum of three faculty members on your committee, and at least two of these members (including your Chair) must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members in the Philosophy Department. If a member of your committee is not a full-time member of the Philosophy Department, you may need to gain approval from Graduate Studies. For more details and further restrictions on M.A. committee formation, refer to the Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

5. Once three faculty members have agreed to serve on my M.A. committee must I submit any paperwork to the Philosophy Department or to Graduate Studies?

No. No official paperwork concerning your committee needs to be filed until your M.A. exam is announced (more on those procedures immediately below). However, as soon as you have formed your committee, it’s not a bad idea to inform the Graduate Director so that the names of your committee members can be included in your departmental file.

Scheduling the M.A. Exam and Graduation Procedures

1. Is the semester in which I defend my M.A. paper the same semester in which I will graduate from the M.A. Program in Philosophy?

Yes. The M.A. paper defense is considered your final exam for the M.A. program, and upon successfully defending your M.A. paper, you will have met all the requirements for the M.A.

2. What is the process for scheduling the defense of my M.A. paper? And how is the semester for my defense decided?

You will not be allowed to schedule your M.A. exam (i.e., defend your M.A. paper) until you receive approval from the Graduate Director, who will verify that you have submitted your Program of Studies to Graduate Studies and also verify that you will have completed all necessary coursework by the end of the semester in which you hold your M.A. exam. (Also note that, according to UNM policy, a student must be enrolled during the term in which the M.A. exam takes place.)

Immediately after you gain approval from the Graduate Director, you should speak with the Chair of your M.A. committee. Once your Chair is confident that you can successfully complete and defend your M.A. paper in a semester’s time, then you must notify the Graduate Director of your intent to graduate the term prior to the anticipated term of graduation. Specifically, and as per UNM policy, you must announce your intent to graduate to the Graduate Director by 5pm of the last day of classes of the preceding semester. For example, if you intend to graduate during a spring semester, you must announce your intent to graduate to the Graduate Director by 5pm of the last day of classes of the preceding fall semester.

3. I have announced my intent to graduate in a particular semester. How do I schedule the specific date for my M.A. exam?

The date for your exam will be decided by the Graduate Director, in consultation with you and the Chair of your committee. NOTE: For graduation purposes, there are firm deadlines for when an M.A. exam can take place. As per UNM policy, an M.A. exam can be held no later than 1 November for Fall graduation, no later than 1 April for Spring graduation, and no later than 1 July for Summer graduation.

In order for these deadlines to be met, and in order that the necessary paperwork be submitted in time for graduation, you should anticipate submitting the final draft of your M.A. paper to all members of your M.A. committee no later than 10 October for Fall graduation, no later than 10 March for Spring graduation, and no later than 10 June for Summer graduation. Your specific submission deadline will be set by the Chair of your committee. Once you have submitted the final draft of your M.A. paper to your committee, you should ask your Chair to contact the Graduate Director, who will set the specific date for your M.A. exam in consultation with you and the Chair of your committee.

4. What is the necessary paperwork that needs to be submitted to complete my graduation requirements? Is this paperwork that I need to submit to Graduate Studies?

The answer to the latter question is “no.” The paperwork is completed and submitted to Graduate Studies by the Administrative Assistant for Philosophy, in consultation with you, the Graduate Director, and your M.A. committee members.

Once your Program of Studies has been submitted to and approved by Graduate Studies, and after you declare your intent to graduate, there are two pieces of paperwork that will be submitted to complete your graduation requirements.

  1. An Announcement of Examination form must be electronically initiated by the student a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled date of the examination.  The online link to initiate an Announcement of Exam is available at the Graduate Studies website under "Resources" > "Graduate Studies Forms" > "Examination/Grades".
  2. A Report of Examination form (see page 2 of the Announcement of Examination form), which must be submitted to Graduate Studies no later than two weeks after your M.A. exam. This report indicates the result of your exam, as determined by your M.A. committee, and must be filed with Graduaet Studies by November 15 for Fall graduation, by April 15 for Spring graduation, and by July 15 for summer graduation.

5. Are there other resources that detail the graduation procedures for M.A. students?

Yes. In addition to reading the relevant portions of the UNM Catalog, students can consult the Graduate Studies web site for their listing of graduation requirements for M.A. students and for an MA Graduation Checklist.

Philosophy Ph.D. Program

The Qualifying Exam (QE)

1. Will my exam include questions related to each text on the Reading List for the QE?

Not necessarily. You should certainly enter the exam prepared to answer questions related to any of the texts on the Reading List. However, due to time constraints, it could very well be that some texts will not be addressed during the exam.

2. Does the Philosophy Department have any general guidelines for how one should study for the exam?

Our general advice is that you should begin studying the texts on the Reading List as soon as possible. As questions arise about the content of the texts, you should then consult faculty members in the Philosophy Department for guidance. Also, you may want to contact the doctoral students in your entering class about the possibility of forming a study group dedicated to the texts on the Reading List.

3. Must any paperwork be submitted to Graduate Studies before and/or after I take my QE?

No, unless you are using the QE to earn an M.A. in Philosophy en route to your Ph.D. See #5 below.

4. In the Graduate Program Details it states that a doctoral student can earn an M.A. degree in Philosophy if he/she earns a Ph.D. or M.A. pass on the exam and also requests the degree. Are all Ph.D. students eligible for this option?

No. According to UNM policy, only doctoral students who have been admitted directly to a Ph.D. program without an M.A. in Philosophy may earn an M.A. degree by completing the Philosophy Department’s QE. See the Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

5. Related to question #4 above, I entered the Philosophy graduate program without an M.A. degree. What procedure must I follow to earn the M.A. degree by passing my QE?

As per UNM’s policy, you must complete all of the requirements for the M.A. Plan II (the non-thesis option). In practical terms, this means that, by end of the fall semester during which you take your QE, you must have completed the coursework necessary for the M.A. Plan II. (For those requirements, see the Philosophy Department’s Graduate Program Details as well as the Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.) The QE will then serve as the master’s examination required to earn the M.A.

If you will have completed the coursework requirements for the M.A. Plan II by the end of the semester that you take your Q.E. and would like to earn an M.A. en route to your Ph.D., then, the summer semester prior to taking your QE, you must (1) declare your intent to graduate with an M.A. in the fall semester and (2) file a Program of Studies form with Graduate Studies. To complete these requirements, please consult the Graduate Director. For more information on the Program of Studies form, see the questions and answers under Section II. A of this FAQ.

Once those requirements are completed, two pieces of paperwork must be completed:

  1. An Announcement of Examination form must be electronically initiated by the student a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled date of the examination.  The online link to initiate an Announcement of Exam is available at the Graduate Studies website under "Resources" > "Graduate Studies Forms" > "Examination/Grades"; the form will indicate that your QE will serve as your M.A. Exam.
  2. A Report of Examination form (see page 2 of the Announcement of Examination form), which must be submitted to Graduate Studies no later than two weeks after your QE.

This paperwork will be completed and submitted to Graduate Studies by the Administrative Assistant in Philosophy in consultation with you, the Graduate Director, and the members of your QE committee. Assuming you earn an M.A. or Ph.D. pass on exam, and assuming that the Report of Exam is filed with Graduate Studies no later than 15 November, you will graduate with an M.A. in Philosophy at the end of the fall semester of your QE.

The Dissertation Prospectus Exam

1. I passed my QE with a Ph.D. pass. When will I be eligible to take the DP exam?

The DP exam, which is considered your doctoral comprehensive exam, cannot be taken until all your graduate coursework requirements have been completed, though it is possible to take the exam during the same semester in which you will complete your coursework requirements. Prior to taking the DP exam, you are also very strongly encouraged to complete your language requirement. NOTE: As per UNM policy, you must be enrolled in at least one hour of graduate credit in the semester in which the DP exam is taken. See the Graduate Program Section of the UNM Catalog for UNM policies governing the doctoral comprehensive exam.

2. What is the Application for Candidacy form?

The Application for Candidacy is a form that each Ph.D. student must complete in consultation with the Graduate Director and then submit to Graduate Studies. It must be approved by Graduate Studies before a Ph.D. student can advance to candidacy, i.e., be considered ABD (“all but dissertation”). Among other things, your Application for Candidacy will include the UNM graduate courses and transfer credits that will count towards completing your graduate coursework requirements. You can get the form on the Graduate Studies web site. This form should be submitted to Graduate Studies immediately after passing your DP exam.

3. Must I have already selected my dissertation committee before taking my DP exam and/or filing my Application for Candidacy?

Though it is not necessary to formally announce your dissertation committee prior filing your Application for Candidacy or taking your DP exam (see question #6 below for when the formal announcement is made), you are strongly encouraged to assemble your dissertation committee very soon after passing your QE and well before taking your DP exam. Since you will be writing your dissertation prospectus under the guidance of faculty members in the Philosophy Department, and under the direct supervision of the faculty member who will Chair your dissertation committee, it is expected that the faculty members conducting your DP exam have already agreed to serve on your dissertation committee.

4. How will the date for my DP exam be chosen?

The date for your exam will be decided by the Graduate Director, in consultation with you and the faculty member(s) supervising the completion of your dissertation prospectus. Once you have submitted the final draft of your dissertation prospectus to your supervising faculty members, you should ask the Chair of your dissertation committee to contact the Graduate Director, who will set the specific date for your DP exam. The date for the exam will be no sooner than two weeks after the final draft of your dissertation prospectus has been submitted to your committee members.

5. Must any paperwork be processed before and/or after I take my DP exam?

Yes. Two forms of paperwork are involved in the DP exam process:

  1. An Announcement of Examination form must be electronically initiated by the student a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled date of the examination.  The online link to initiate an Announcement of Exam is available at the Graduate Studies website under "Resources" > "Graduate Studies Forms" > "Examination/Grades".
  2. A Report of Examination form (see page 2 of the Announcement of Examination form), which must be submitted to Graduate Studies no later than two weeks after your DP exam.

This paperwork will be completed and submitted to Graduate Studies by the Administrative Assistant in Philosophy in consultation with you, the Graduate Director, and the members of your DP exam committee.

6. I have passed my DP examination and submitted my Application to Candidacy to Graduate Studies. Have I now officially advanced to candidacy? In other words, am I now considered ABD ("all but dissertation")?

No. As per Graduate Studies policy, you will not officially advance to candidacy and be considered ABD until you have completed your language requirement and filed your Announcement of Dissertation Committee form with Graduate Studies. If you completed your language requirement prior to submitting your Application to Candidacy to Graduate Studies, this will be noted on the Application to Candidacy form. However, if you complete your language requirement after you pass your DP exam and submit your Application of Candidacy to Graduate Studies, then a Certification of Language Skill Requirement form must be submitted to Graduate Studies once that requirement is fulfilled.

In sum, then, you must do the following to achieve ABD status:

  • Pass your DP exam
  • Fulfill your language requirement
  • Submit your Application to Candidacy to Graduate Studies
  • Submit your Announcement of Dissertation Committee form to Graduate Studies

Once all these steps are completed and you have approval from Graduate Studies, you will officially advance to candidacy and be considered ABD. (See Section III.H. Language Requirement of the Philosophy Department’s Graduate Program Details for more information about this requirement.)

NOTE: The time frame for completing your dissertation commences the semester you pass your DP exam, regardless of whether you have officially advanced to candidacy during that semester. Specifically, you have 5 years from the completion of your DP exam to defend your dissertation.

7. When am I eligible to begin enrolling in PHIL 699: Dissertation?

Typically students do not enroll in PHIL 699 until the semester after they have passed the Dissertation Prospectus (DP) exam. However, you may enroll in PHIL 699 earlier. Specifically, if you have completed all of your graduate coursework requirements and have, in consultation with the Graduate Director, scheduled your DP exam, then you may enroll in a minimum of three credit hours of PHIL 699 during the semester in which the DP exam is scheduled. If you would like to pursue this option, then you must submit the Announcement of Dissertation Committee form to Graduate Studies prior to taking your DP exam. If you wait to enroll in PHIL 699 until the semester after you pass your DP exam, then you must file the Announcement of Dissertation Committee form to Graduate Studies at the start of that semester.

NOTE: If you enroll in PHIL 699 during the semester in which your DP exam is scheduled but, for whatever reason, do not take or pass the DP exam that semester, then the credit hours of PHIL 699 for which are enrolled will not count toward your degree requirements. (Recall that a minimum of 18 credit hours of PHIL 699 are required to graduate with a doctorate.) See page 42 of The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog for other important policies about enrolling in PHIL 699.

Dissertation Defense and Graduation Procedures

1. Is the semester in which I defend my dissertation the same semester in which I will graduate from the Ph.D. Program in Philosophy?

Yes. The dissertation defense is considered the final exam for the Doctorate, and upon successfully defending your dissertation, you will have met all the requirements for the Ph.D.

2. I have advanced to candidacy and am working on my dissertation. When will the process of scheduling my dissertation defense begin? And how is the semester for my defense decided?

The process for scheduling your dissertation defense will not commence until the Chair of your dissertation committee is confident that you can complete the final draft of the dissertation in roughly a year’s time. At that stage, you should contact the Graduate Director and announce your intent to graduate. This announcement must be made the semester prior to the term you intend to defend your dissertation. Specifically, and as per UNM policy, you must announce your intent to graduate to the Graduate Director by 5pm of the last day of classes of the preceding semester. For example, if you intend to graduate during a spring semester, you must announce your intent to graduate to the Graduate Director by 5pm of the last day of classes of the preceding fall semester.

3. I have announced my intent to graduate in a particular semester. How do I schedule the specific date for my dissertation defense?

The date for your exam will be decided by the Graduate Director, in consultation with you and the Chair and other members of your dissertation committee. NOTE: For graduation purposes, there are firm deadlines for when a dissertation defense can take place. As per UNM policy, an dissertation defense can be held no later than 1 November for Fall graduation, no later than 1 April for Spring graduation, and no later than 1 July for Summer graduation.

In order for these deadlines to be met, and in order that the necessary paperwork be submitted in time for graduation, you should anticipate submitting the final draft of your dissertation to all members of your dissertation committee no later than 1 October for Fall graduation, no later than 1 March for Spring graduation, and no later than 1 June for Summer graduation. Your specific submission deadline will be set by the Chair of your dissertation committee. Once you have submitted the final draft of your dissertation to your committee, you should ask your Chair to contact the Graduate Director, who will set the date for your dissertation defense.

NOTE: As per UNM policy, a student must be enrolled during the term in which the dissertation defense takes place. You should thus expect to be enrolled in a minimum of three credit hours of PHIL 699 during the semester in which you will defend your dissertation.

4. Must any paperwork be processed before and/or after I hold my dissertation defense?

Yes. Two forms of paperwork are involved in the dissertation defense process:

  1. An Announcement of Examination form must be electronically initiated by the student a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled date of the dissertation defense.  The online link to initiate an Announcement of Exam is available at the Graduate Studies website under "Resources" > "Graduate Studies Forms" > "Examination/Grades".
  2. A Report of Examination form (see page 2 of the Announcement of Examination form), which must be submitted to Graduate Studies no later than two weeks after your dissertation defense. This report indicates the result of your exam, as determined by your dissertation committee, and must be filed with Graduate Studies by November 15 for Fall graduation, by April 15 for Spring graduation, and by July 15 for summer graduation.

This paperwork will be completed and submitted to Graduate Studies by the Administrative Assistant in Philosophy in consultation with you, the Graduate Director, and the members of your dissertation committee.

5. After I have defended my dissertation, are there other requirements that I must fulfill before I may graduate?

Yes. You must submit your dissertation to the Dean of Graduate Studies within ninety (90) days of passing your dissertation defense. If the dissertation is not submitted within that time, you will be required to schedule and complete a second defense of your dissertation. For more on how to format and submit your dissertation to the Dean of Graduate Studies, see pages 43-45 of The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog. You should also consult the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines, which are available on the Graduate Studies web site.

6. Are there other resources that detail the graduation procedures for Ph.D. students?

Yes. In addition to reading the relevant portions of the UNM Catalog, students can consult the Graduate Studies web site for their listing of Doctoral graduation requirements.