Students presenting a research poster.

Designated Emphases

Designated Emphases

A Designated Emphasis (DE) is an area of specialization, such as a new method of inquiry, important field of application, or focus that maps near the edges or overlaps with the traditional disciplinary boundaries that define existing Ph.D. programs. The curriculum of a DE tends to focus on emerging fields or technologies that are interdisciplinary in nature, and are relevant to more than one doctoral program. DEs are organized much like a Graduate Group, with Bylaws, a Chair, Executive Committee, curriculum, admissions policy, and faculty from more than one graduate department. Completion of a Designated Emphases is reflected with a notation on the diploma: “Ph.D. in X with Emphasis in Y”.

Selecting one or more Designated Emphases

Each DE has a chair with authority to admit students to the DE. The DE chair is the sole signing authority for all forms related to DE admission and verification.   Students may admit to more than one DE and must consult with their Graduate Advisor prior to enrolling in a DE.  

Applying for and Completing the Designated Emphasis

  1. The Designated Emphasis Application must be completed and submitted to Graduate Studies, by the DE Chair, prior to or at the same time as the Qualifying Exam Application. The application must also be approved by the student's Graduate Advisor. 
  2. Qualifying Exam - A DE affiliate faculty member must serve on the Qualifying Exam (QE) committee on behalf of the DE.  The member must be indicated on the QE Application.  The DE chair will also sign the QE Application to confirm that the student has completed all DE coursework.
  3. Candidacy & Dissertation Committee - The student must identify a DE affiliate faculty member who will serve on the dissertation committee and read on behalf of the DE, and include the member on their Candidacy Application.
  4. DE Final Verification Form - When the student files their dissertation with Graduate Studies, they must also submit the DE Final Verification Form signed by the current DE Chair.  The student will be placed on the upcoming degree list for the doctoral degree with a designated emphasis.