General Ph.D. requirements

The timeline below is meant to serve as a guide for Ph.D. students in the ISE department. It assumes the incoming student has completed a bachelor's degree, in which the student must complete 90 credit hours (see degree policies). Incoming students with master's degrees require only 60 credits, and therefore will achieve candidacy sooner (see degree policies). Each box lists annual goals and reporting requirements. The leftmost column shows coursework, the middle column shows key milestones and corresponding forms to be submitted, and the rightmost column shows annual review forms that must be completed by the student and advisor every year the student is in the program. 

Year 1
Milestones: Identify Advisor & File Plan of Work

Fall / Winter / Spring
10cr/ 10cr / 2cr
Core and Elective Courses
Mandatory RCR Course
Confirm Faculty Advisor
File Plan of Work
Qualification Exams
Annual Review /
Individual Development Plan

Year 2
Milestones: Prospectus and Candidacy

Fall / Winter / Spring
10cr/ 10cr / 2cr
Core and Elective Courses
Form Dissertation Committee
Annual Review /
Individual Development Plan

Year 3
Milestones: Present at Conference and Publish in Academic Journal

Fall / Winter / Spring
10.5cr / 10.5cr / 2cr
Dissertation Committee Meeting Prospectus 
Present at Conference
Publish in Journal
Annual Review /
Individual Development Plan

  1. A minimum of 90 credits must be completed beyond the baccalaureate degree or 60 credits following the award of a master's degree including: 
    • thirty credits of Doctoral Dissertation and Direction I, II, III and IV (IE 9991, 9992, 9993 and 9994), 
    • Combined maximum of eight credits of Directed Study (IE 7990) or Research (IE 7996), can be applied to the degree, unless substanially justified by both the student and the advisor and must be approved by the Graduate Program Officer.
    • two credits of Graduate Seminar (IE 8995) and 
    • minimum of 30 credits of 7000 level or higher course work approved by a dissertation advisor
      • Students are required to take two out of three of the Ph.D. core courses:
        • IE 7511: Linear & Non-Linear Optimization
        • IE 7220: Advanced Statistical Methods
        • IE 7710: Stochastic Processes
      • Besides the two core courses, students are required to take at least two more Doctoral level courses offered by the ISE Department for a minimum total of 12 Credits of IE doctoral level courses.
  2. Students must take the Ph.D. Qualifying (Preliminary) exams before completing three academic year semesters of work after their masters degree. Doctoral students entering the program in Fall are expected to take the exam after the following winter. Students who enter in winter would take the exam, a year later after their second winter semester. For more information: Global Executive Track students must complete two Teaching Case Studies including publicly presenting and defending cases to faculty committee.
  3. A student must find a dissertation advisor within two semesters of passing the preliminary exam; failure to find an advisor will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program. 
  4. A student must adhere to the PhD Program Handbook, Complete a Ph.D. Plan of Work form and present to dissertation advisor and departmental graduate officer for approval. The plan must be submitted to Graduate School before completion of 40 graduate credits which includes the approved transfer of a maximum of 30 credits from other universities via the Transfer of Credit form
  5. Form a doctoral dissertation committee.
  6. Advance to the rank of Ph.D. Candidate upon completing the Ph.D. Candidacy Status form, obtaining the recommendation of the department and the approval of the Graduate School. 
  7. Complete the Doctoral Prospectus and Record of Approval form and pass the Oral Qualifying Exam administered by the doctoral dissertation committee as part of the prospectus meeting. 
  8. Register for Doctoral Dissertation and Direction I, II, III and IV (IE 9991, 9992, 9993 and 9994) for a total of thirty credits. 
  9. Submit Final Report Dissertation and Public Lecture – Defense form to the Graduate School electronically, adhering to all the formatting instructions laid out in the Doctoral Dissertations Final Defense & Publishing Instructions.  Present the public lecture and pass the defense. 
  10. Receive approval of the dissertation manuscript from the Graduate School. 

Please visit the Graduate School for more detailed Ph.D. student information.

Coursework Funding Policy for Doctoral Students

All PhD Students receiving departmental funding for their education and research efforts in the form of GTA, GSA, Rumble Fellow, and GRA (funded by EMMP) shall have the primary focus of their courses and research be Industrial & Systems Engineering. All funded student research must have at minimum a collaborative effort with Industrial Engineering faculty and
approval from their PhD Advisor.

The Industrial & Systems Engineering Department will:

  • Require all PhD Students to consult with their Advisor prior to registering courses each term. If no Advisor has been identified, they must consult with the Department GPO for PhD programs.
  • Only pay for up to 12 credits of coursework from other Departments, AND those courses must be listed on an approved Plan of Work. This is to encourage students to take more relevant PhD coursework from the ISE Department. Special circumstances may exist for additional credits, but those will be handled on a case by case basis.
  • Not be responsible for costs associated with any coursework credits from other Departments that exceed 12 Credits or are not listed on approved Plans of Work. Any costs for credit hours above the 12 Credits threshold will be responsibility of the student.
  • Under no circumstances pay for non-ISE Department thesis credits.
  • Place Administrative Holds on registration for new students and any student who does not have an approved Plan of Work. This will occur each term. Holds will be released temporarily upon consulting with the Department GPO or Advisor to determine allowable courses for the term so that the student can register.

Students appointed to GRA positions throughout their studies are exempt from this policy. However, if a student is funded by a GRA position only for an interim period and transitions to a relevant departmental funded position, this policy would still apply. This policy shall go into effect on January 1, 2017 and shall apply to any courses that have not officially started
for the term.

Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies

In addition to the course offerings at Wayne State, students may elect to take courses at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, or other universities within the state through the Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies (MIGS) Program or the reciprocal registration agreement with the University of Michigan. Both programs are designed to allow graduate students to expand their curriculum beyond what is offered at Wayne State.

Credit earned through the MIGS program will be treated in the Plan of Work and grade point average as if it were earned at Wayne State. There may be additional tuition fees involved if the MIGS system is used. In order to enroll in courses through this program, a MIGS Application Form must be completed and signed by the student's academic advisor, the WSU MIGS Liaison Officer (Office of Admissions), the faculty contact and department chair of the host institution, and the MIGS Liaison Officer of the host institution. It is recommended that this process be started as early as possible before the semester in question in order to minimize potential problems.

No additional tuition is charged for students registered at UM through the reciprocal registration agreement. However, while the credits count toward the graduate degree, the classes shall not be included in calculation of the GPA. Ph.D. students may elect any number of credits through this program except as required for dissertation credit or satisfaction of the residency requirement. However, students may only elect courses for which there is not an equivalent course at Wayne State. In order to utilize this option, students should complete the Graduate Petition to Elect Courses at the University of Michigan form.

If a student plans to include credit earned from institutions other than Wayne State in their curriculum, the form Transfer of Credit - Doctor of Philosophy must be completed and submitted along the Plan of Work. A separate form must be completed for each institution from which a student wishes to transfer credit. Original transcripts must accompany the form.

Program Load

A full-time graduate student is enrolled for eight or more credits during a semester. A student with a strong academic record who is devoting full-time effort to graduate study and carrying no outside employment may register for a program not to exceed 16 credits per semester. A student engaged in part-time work should limit registration in proportion to the amount of outside work. A student employed full-time will normally not register for more than eight credits. A student working full-time who desires to carry more than eight credits should consult the Graduate Committee Chair.

Graduate assistants are required to register for at least six credits of graduate level courses per semester (one credit during the Spring/Summer semester). If students supported by graduate assistantships are also required to take undergraduate courses as part of their programs, these must be in addition to the six graduate credits. As assistantships do not cover tuition for undergraduate courses, students should discuss options for payment of this portion of their tuition with their advisors. The ISE Department will only pay for a maximum of 12 credits of coursework outside the department for graduate assistants. Graduate assistants have to pay their own tuition if pursuing any degrees in parallel.

Minimum Grade Point Average

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in order to continue in the program. Students receiving a grade below a B- in a course may not count that course towards their graduation requirements. The Graduate School policy limiting to two the number of courses that graduate students may repeat during their graduate career at Wayne State has been rescinded. Instead, programs may set their own limits on the number of times their students are permitted to repeat courses. Students may repeat only courses in which they received a grade of B- or below. The original grade for the course will remain on the student's transcript, but only the second iteration of the grade will be used in calculating the student's GPA. Students will not receive university financial aid for repetition of courses.

Residency Requirement

The Ph.D. requirement of one year of residence is met through the completion of at least six graduate credits in course work, exclusive of dissertation research, in each of two successive semesters. The Spring/Summer semester may be excluded from the definition of successive semesters. If it can be demonstrated that a student's research must be completed on campus, the residence requirement for the Ph.D. may be met by the dissertation director's written certification that the student has been in full-time residence for at least two successive semesters and one summer session. In this case, a count of course credits is not required for the fulfillment of the requirement, but specific dates of residence must be furnished. In addition, the Ph.D. residency requirement stipulates that the student must elect at least 30 credits in graduate work, exclusive of dissertation direction, at Wayne State University.

Time Limitation

Students have a seven-year time limit to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree. The clock starts on the first day of the semester for which the student is admitted to the Ph.D. program and ends on the last day of that semester seven years later. (For example, admitted September 1, 1998, time expires Dec. 31, 2005). Up to 32 semester hours of B or better graduate credit earned prior to the student's admission as a doctoral applicant may be applied toward the degree without regard to lapse of time. This credit may be from Wayne State or other institutions, if approved for transfer credit. Credit earned beyond these 32 semester hours shall not be over 10 years old at the time of admission as a Ph.D. applicant. Credit earned after acceptance, as a Ph.D. applicant may not be over seven years old at the time the degree is conferred, except when, on the recommendation of the advisor, up to 10 semester hours of credit previously earned at Wayne State may be specified for revalidation by examination. Courses completed at other institutions cannot be revalidated. In the event that any courses have been previously revalidated in connection with the earning of the master's degree, these shall be counted as part of the total 10 credits. A special examination fee is charged for course revalidations. Time extensions beyond these limitations are authorized only for conditions that are clearly beyond the student's control.