The challenges in fulfilling degree requirements are myriad, including such issues as personal motivation, developing a passion for research and a clear research trajectory, being well organized, avoiding or managing health, financial or relationship problems, and maintaining positive momentum and speed throughout the program. Various graduate deans, dissertation advisors and former doctoral students address such issues; see, which is available through the School of Information Doctoral of Philosophy program site (under “Dissertation Proposal and Defense”):

Nevertheless, this Section addresses some of the key points about coordinating with the UT Graduate School and other UT units, including the School of Information, to fulfill degree requirements. For the most part, the Graduate School’s requirements and those of other UT “parent” units provide a framework for (and take precedence over) School of Information degree requirements. Accordingly, this Section also addresses working, as appropriate, with several UT units, including the Graduate & International Admissions Center (GIAC), Registrar, International Office, Dean of Students, and Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Office of Research Support and Compliance.

General degree requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy are summarized in the Graduate Catalog: Requirements stated in the Graduate Catalog supersede information issued by the School of Information and other schools and departments. School of Information degree requirements elaborate on Graduate Catalog requirements and (as stated earlier) are summarized at: In developing your Plan of Study, it is useful to articulate these two sets of requirements to provide your own general framework. It is generally advisable to continually consult the Graduate School web site for updates on travel scholarships, application deadlines, and so on.

The following subsections briefly discuss how to coordinate your efforts with the Graduate School and other UT units. No attempt is made here to duplicate the information provided by the Graduate School and these other units. Instead, the following paragraphs point out a few critical tasks and refer you to basic sources of information.

Graduate & International Admissions Center and International Office

GIAC provides graduate application and reapplication information for US citizens and residents and for international applicants. It also provides information about living in Austin and a general orientation to UT graduate education, including interdisciplinary programs. See

Note that the International Office provides an array of services for international students, including English as a Second Language (ESL) programs and services for all graduate students who might wish to pursue part of their education abroad or participate in multi-cultural research. See

Graduate School

The Graduate School provides voluminous information for graduate students, and it pays to consult this site for answers to basic program questions and updated information and forms. The Ph.D. degree is a research degree, not a professional degree. You must comply with Graduate School and School of Information guidelines for fulfilling course and research methods requirements, forming supervisory and dissertation committees, developing a Plan of Study, taking qualifying exams, applying for admission to candidacy, participating in reviews of progress, and proposing, writing, defending, submitting, and publishing a dissertation, and ensure the successful completion and submission of all required paperwork. Note that the Graduate School site provides links to online forms and deadlines, funding, employment, student services, and professional development. Notice also a booklet on GradGuide.

The Graduate School site index can serve as a good reference resource to answer various degree requirement questions and to provide problem-solving guidance. Site index topics include, for example, awards, authorization to teach graduate courses, conditions for employment, copyright tutorial, deadlines, candidacy and graduation forms, Graduate School Personnel and their duties, leaves of absence, portfolio programs, etc. You should be thoroughly familiar with all Graduate School publications and their site throughout your program. See

Office of the Registrar

The Registrar provides essential information for program planning and fulfilling degree requirements, including the issuance of catalogs, course schedules and calendars, information on registration, transcripts, grading and graduation. Their “Questions and answers” feature can be useful for finding information about privacy of your information, getting a UTEID, updating your information, financial and advising bar removal, etc.


Office of Research Support and Compliance

This Office (also referred to as the “Institutional Review office” or sometimes as the “Human Subjects” office) is important for planning, scheduling and conducting research to guard the rights, welfare, privacy and confidentiality of those involved in your research, either directly or indirectly. Whether or not you think that your research project is exempt from Institutional Review Board (IRB) review (or less formal review), you should consult the resources of this Office to answer your questions, and file necessary forms for approval of your project as necessary. Also work with your School of Information faculty advisor and Department Review Chair (DRC) to clear your study if the study is not clearly exempted from review. All School of Information doctoral students should read the Office’s feature on “Human Subjects” and consult their “User Guide.” Training in human subjects and research compliance is also provided, as are forms and templates.


Additional Resources

Graduate and International Admissions Center:

Graduate Studies, Office of:

Bursar (Cashier's Office), Office of Accounting:

Center for Teaching and Learning:

Rick Cherwitz's site:

UT Dissertation Advice:

How to write a literature review:

How to write a dissertation

Dissertation Advice:

Alternative Printing / Publishing Avenues for your Dissertation:

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