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PhD Degree Procedures

Major Professor

The Major Professor is chair of the student’s Advisory Committee and is the student’s primary source of advice on academic, scientific, and professional matters. The Major Professor will most likely be involved with a number of graduate students and other matters, so it is incumbent upon the student to use the School’s web site, the Graduate School Bulletin, and the PhD Student Checklist to insure adequate progress toward graduation.

Advisory Committee


Due: End of the first calendar year

  • Composed of the student’s major professor, who serves as chair, and three other voting members.
  • The major professor must be a member of the Warnell faculty (no adjunct members may serve), and working in the student’s study area.
  • The major professor and at least two other members of the committee must be UGA Graduate Faculty. If more than the required number of members are appointed to the committee, a majority of the committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty.
  • All UGA committee members must hold the rank of at least assistant professor or equivalent.
  • The fourth committee member may be a person who is employed at another institution and has no official relationship with the University of Georgia. [To nominate a non-affiliated member, the student’s major professor must submit to the Graduate Coordinator the nominee's current resumé and a letter addressed to the dean of the Graduate School explaining why that member’s services are requested. A person nominated must have distinguished credentials in the field of study.]

Program of Study


Due: End of the first calendar year

  • The Doctoral Program of Study must form a logical whole and consist of a minimum of 30 hours of graduate level course work. At least 16 semester hours must be in 8000/9000 level courses, exclusive of credit in Doctoral Research (FANR 9000) and Doctoral Dissertation (FANR 9300).
  • Of the 30 hours of graduate credit required, 3 hours must be in Doctoral Dissertation (FANR 9300), with no more than 6 hours in Research (FANR 9000).
  • 1 hour of Forestry and Natural Resources Seminar Series (FANR 8060).  Repeatable but no more than 1 hour may count toward the Program of Study.
  • 1 hour of Supervised Teaching Practicum in Forestry and Natural Resources (FANR 9990) is required if the student has not enrolled in (FANR 8900) University Teaching in Forestry and Natural Resources.
  • Students are allowed no more than 3 hours each of Problems or Applied Research under one faculty member, with no more than a grand total of 6 hours in these courses.
  • Program of Study for a student who bypasses the Master’s degree must include a minimum of 16 credit hours in 8000/9000 level courses, exclusive of credit in Doctoral Research (FANR 9000) and Doctoral Dissertation (FANR 9300), plus an additional 4 semester hours in courses open only to graduate students.
  • Warnell skills requirement: Experimental Methods in Forestry and Natural Resources Research (FANR 6750) or Statistical Methods II (STAT 6220) or a higher level statistics course. (This requirement can be satisfied by an equivalent graduate-level course taken elsewhere.)
  • For doctoral students who lack previous substantive research, 3 hours in Scientific Research in Forestry and Natural Resources (FANR 8200) is required.
  • Fisheries and Wildlife majors only: One semester hour of graduate seminar (e.g., WILD(FISH) 8300, ECOL 8220, CBIO 8490, etc.).
  • No more than 2 hours of seminar may count toward the minimum for graduate-only coursework.

An overall average of 3.0 must be maintained on all courses on the Program of Study, with no grade below a C on any course.


Research Prospectus


Due: End of the first calendar year.

Must submit a written research proposal for approval by the Advisory Committee.

Written & Oral Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

The purpose of the written and oral preliminary examinations is to provide the candidate with an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge in an oral and written manner, and to insure that advanced degree holders have attained a level of knowledge and understanding commensurate with their degree status.  Students who fail written or oral examinations will be allowed one re-examination. A minimum of 30 days should elapse between examinations. Upon failure of any part of the PhD preliminary examination, the committee may elect to re-examine the student. This can be done on either the subject areas in which the student performed poorly, or on all subject areas.  Upon successful completion of the written and oral comprehensive examination the student is admitted to PhD Candidacy.  

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