General Degree Requirements
Both the general and specific program requirements make reference to various types of courses or credits, which are defined as follows.
Didactic credits are earned in courses in which a formal evaluation mechanism (examination, graded term paper, etc.) allows assignment of a letter grade. Lecture-based courses usually fall into this category, as do certain independent study courses such as directed readings or tutorial courses.
Pass/Fail courses are graded solely on the basis of the student's effort or participation and/or subjective evaluation by the faculty. Journal clubs, seminar courses, and research rotations are usually graded on a pass/fail basis.
Elective credit requirements in all programs may only be met by didactic (letter-graded) courses unless specified otherwise. Programs may further restrict fulfillment of the elective credit requirement to advanced courses or courses in only certain topical areas or disciplines.
Students with prior credit in graduate courses that are equivalent in topic coverage to specific program requirements may petition a waiver of those specific requirements. If the request is granted by the program director and approved by the dean, the waived credits must be replaced by an equal number of didactic credits by transfer or in residence.
An overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 or better is required before a degree can be awarded. In some programs, there are additional minimal GPA standards, such as requiring a GPA of 3.00 or better in specific core courses. Although C is a passing grade, programs may require a higher minimum acceptable grade in certain courses in order for those credits to be used to fulfill program requirements.
Certain courses may be required to provide the student with background information, perspective and skills necessary to pursue a graduate degree in a particular field, but which are not themselves worthy of graduate credit. Students will be advised individually as to which courses are appropriate. These courses require tuition payment if offered by the Graduate School (unless waived under a general tuition waiver for full-time Ph.D. students) or may be taken at accredited undergraduate institutions at the student's expense. Grades in non-graduate level courses do not factor into the student's graduate GPA. Examples of such courses include physical or organic chemistry, calculus, and general biology