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Milestones Toward the Degree


  1. ALRS requires that before the first day of classes, there will be a meeting held with each ALRS student, program Chair and program coordinator.

  2. In accordance with the Graduate College, ALRS requires completing the Qualifying Examination, which the student schedules to be held before the scheduling of classes for the 2nd semester. The Qualifying Examination consists of a meeting between the student and a three-member committee of ALRS faculty (including one of the advisors from the selected area of concentration) formed by the student or the Chair of the ALRS Program. The purpose of the meeting is to develop an official Program Plan of Study. To achieve this, the student submits (1) a proposed program of study and (2) a description of his/her background, general research area, and career objectives. Based on this, the committee either accepts the proposal or suggests modifications. The final product is a mutually agreed upon program of study. The official Doctoral Plan of Study form must be submitted to the Graduate College by the end of the third year in the program or 10 (ten) working days prior to the beginning of the written comprehensive examination (whichever comes first). The student’s research interest will also be discussed at the Qualifying Examination, for the purpose of providing the student with guidance on choosing a major advisor, other appropriate major committee members, a suitable minor, and potential minor committee members.

  3. The Graduate College recommends the student read the brochure entitled “Mentoring: The Faculty-Graduate Student Relationship” during the first semester of study.

  4. A Graduate Committee is generally formed by the end of the first year in the program. This is a five-member committee, 3 (three) from ALRS faculty, and 2 (two) from the student’s minor. Among the ALRS faculty, 1 (one) should be chosen as the student’s advisor. The ALRS program requires each student to have 1 (one) committee meeting per year.

  5. Written Comprehensive Examination should be taken during the final semester of the student’s official Program of Study. The student is responsible for notifying the Graduate Program Office at least 10 (ten) working days prior to the intended start date of their intent to take this exam. The Graduate Program Office will be responsible for requesting, assembling, distribution and collection of the exam. Upon receipt of the first question the student has 30 (thirty) working days to complete the examination. Each faculty member reserves the right to impose a time limitation on the question they pose for the examination. Should this be the case a representative of the program and the student will identify a due date when the question is distributed.

  6. Application for Oral Comprehensive Examination and Committee Approval (original form and three copies) must be submitted to the Graduate College Degree Certification Office at least 7 (seven) working days (not to include official UA holidays) before the examination date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact their ALRS committee and schedule the exam. The Graduate Program Office can assist in the reservation of a location for the examination. The student must provide a copy of the completed application to the Graduate Program Office and to the ALRS Committee. The Written and Oral Preliminary Examinations must be completed within a six-month period. The Comprehensive Examinations (written and oral) must be passed before a student advances to formal candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

  7. Application for Candidacy (original form and four copies) is submitted to the Graduate College Degree Certification Office in the penultimate semester after successful completion of the Comprehensive Examinations. A copy of the completed form must be provided to Graduate Program Office.

  8. Dissertation(penultimate draft) must be submitted to each member of the Graduate Committee 3 (three) weeks (15 working days not to include official UA holidays) prior to the Final Examination. When preparing your dissertation please refer to the Manual for Theses and Dissertations for complete guidelines on dissertation format. This is available on the Graduate College Degree Certification website located at

  9. Announcement of Final Examination (original form and three copies) must be filed with the Graduate College Degree Certification Office at least 7 (seven) working days (not to include official UA holidays) prior to the date of the Final Examination. A copy of the form must be provided to the Graduate Program Office and ALRS Committee.

  10. Dissertation (final copy) Following the Final Examination, the candidate submits a final copy of the completed Dissertationto the dissertation director for review. The student’s major advisor is responsible for reviewing the dissertation to assure it meets established dissertation guidelines. After making the required corrections, the candidate submits 2 (two) completed and signed copies to the Graduate College Degree Certification Office. A copy of the Dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate Program Office of Arid Lands Resource Sciences. These tasks should be completed within 12 (twelve) months of the Final Examination.

  11. Policy for Dissertation Option to Include Published and Publishable Papers ALRS students have the choice of preparing their dissertations either in the traditional format (i.e., as a book or monograph) or as a collection of at least 3 (three) published and/or publishable papers. The appropriate format should be chosen after consultation with and approval by the student's dissertation committee. Students electing to use the format including published papers or manuscripts must follow the Graduate College guidelines for preparing and assembling the dissertation. If the dissertation is to contain manuscripts prepared for submission to peer-review journals (as opposed to published papers, papers in press, or papers accepted for publication), students must identify the journal for which the manuscripts were prepared and provide each committee member a copy of the journal's guidelines for manuscript preparation.

The appropriate times for filing the above-mentioned items, as well as other requirements, are summarized in the Deadlines for Doctoral Degree Candidates issued by the Graduate College each year . These may be found at the Graduate College Degree Certification website located at

Last updated 20 May 2011