Doctoral students will be required to take a set of written comprehensive exams shortly after completion of their course work. In order to pass these exams, students will have to demonstrate a mastery of advanced planning and design theory, and their major and minor fields. At least three faculty members serve on the exam committee of which two must be from the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The members of the exam committee are selected by the student for their expertise in the student's chosen major and minor fields. The selection of the committee must be made with the approval of the student's advisor. The comprehensive exam is a three-day take-home exam. The questions will be written and graded by the exam committee. Click here for full comprehensive exams policy.
Students must complete and pass their comprehensive exam before they advance to candidacy and begin to take URSP 899 dissertation research courses. Click here for information pertaining to termination of candidacy, time requirements, and advancement to candidacy.
The student will assemble a dissertation committee, made up of at least five faculty members with expertise in the student's proposed research area. According to the university requirement: "The Committee must consist of a minimum of five members; additional committee members may be required or invited to serve at the discretion of the program. All members of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty of University of Maryland under one of the following membership categories: Regular Member; Adjunct Member; Special Member. At least three of the committee members must be Regular Members of the University of Maryland Graduate Faculty. "Once a prospectus is finished, it must be approved and signed off by the student's Ph.D. committee. Students will orally defend their dissertation proposal. The oral defense is informal. Students are expected to propose planning-related research and theory construction, which will lead to significant, original and relevant contributions to the field. The core course Advanced Planning and Design Theory is designed to assist students in the preparation of a thesis proposal.
The dissertation must demonstrate the ability to do independent research, on an original topic approved by the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the graduate program.