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Student Initiated Doctoral Program Requirements (SIDP or IIDP)

Student Initiated Doctoral Programs provide students with the opportunity to combine studies from two Ph.D. programs, which will lead to a single Ph.D. citation. It should be noted that because of the depth and breadth of study inherent to these programs, only those students whose performance is considered to be strong academically should be encouraged to apply.


The following conditions apply to the Student Initiated Doctoral Program:

  1. The request for a Student Initiated Doctoral Program should be submitted after the student has been admitted to a regularly approved Rackham program and completed at least one term of coursework.
  2. The application should be completed the semester before a student plans to become a candidate. If a student is currently a candidate, they will return to pre-candidate status once the Student Initiated Doctoral Program is approved. To return to candidate status both programs must approve the recommendation for candidacy.
  3. The graduate chair from each department should assist the student in developing their degree program.

The Role of Advisors

Advisors help students to understand the goals for the program and the nature of the milestones to degree completion. Students working in degree programs will rely on advisors who understand how the requirements in both fields fit together.

Advisors are responsible, in particular, for:

  1. Supervising student’s pre-candidacy work, including recommendations for any changes that may be desired in the specifications for the student’s degree program;
  2. Conducting preliminary examinations, specifically determining the nature of the examinations (or an examination) and how the prelim(s) will examine the student’s proficiency in each area; and
  3. Recommending the student for candidacy with both programs approving the Recommendation for Candidacy online.

The Role of the Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee is charged with the supervision of a candidate’s dissertation activities. The entire committee is intended to be a resource upon which the candidate may draw throughout the period of the dissertation-oriented research. It is highly recommended that after achieving candidacy, and with the advice of the Committee Chair, students should form a Dissertation Committee. It is recommended that the membership of the Dissertation Committee be submitted to the graduate school for approval at least six months prior to the student’s oral defense. Please see the Guidelines for the Dissertation Committee. A minimum of two faculty members from each program is required. Co-chairs and a cognate member are not required.

Apply to SIDP or IIDP