Approved as an interdisciplinary program by the Graduate Council and Committee on Courses of Instruction in 1992.


A designated emphasis is a specialization such as a new method of inquiry or an important field of application and which is applicable to two or more existing doctoral programs (three is preferred).


The requirements of the designated emphasis shall be established and maintained by a faculty organized in the manner of a graduate group and which functions under duly constituted by-laws. The by-laws of the designated emphasis shall specify the qualifications and selection process for determining membership to the faculty and to the Executive Committee and the administration of the graduate group, including admissions, curriculum, program standards and advising.

Executive Committee

An Executive Committee for a Designated Emphasis must consist of at least three faculty members elected by the membership. It shall have responsibility for establishment of the curriculum, requirements for admission, and nomination of committee members to serve on qualifying examination and dissertation committees. It may discharge these responsibilities itself or designate appropriate committees to do so (see By-Laws Template, Article 5 #5-3). The Executive Committee’s nomination for its Chair is subject to approval by the Dean of the Graduate Division, as is the graduate group’s faculty membership.

The Committee shall assign a tenured member of the faculty to serve as the D.E.’s head graduate adviser to assist students in the program concerning course selection and requirements. The head graduate adviser also signs student applications and petitions on behalf of the D.E.

The Chair of the Designated Emphasis must meet once annually with the Chairs of affiliated doctoral programs to discuss administrative, instructional and research resource needs.


Students must be admitted to the D.E. before the qualifying examination according to admissions criteria developed under Executive Committee auspices and approved by it. Their admission is processed by the Registrar’s Office by means of procedures established and implemented by the Graduate Division.


The curriculum of the designated emphasis will consist of specified courses which may be independent from, or an integral part of, the doctoral programs with which it is affiliated. The curriculum requirements of the doctoral program and of the designated emphasis must be met prior to the qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

Students must be admitted to the D.E. before the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination must include examination of knowledge within the designated emphasis. At least one faculty member of the designated emphasis must participate in the qualifying examination.


The dissertation topic must incorporate study within the designated emphasis. The dissertation committee must include at least one faculty member of the designated emphasis.

Conferral of the Designated Emphasis

The Designated Emphasis will be awarded solely in conjunction with the doctoral degree and will be signified on the student’s transcript. It will also appear on the student’s diploma by following the major designation (“…have conferred upon [student’s name] having demonstrated ability by original research in [major name] with a designated emphasis in [DE name] the degree of doctor of philosophy…”).


Evaluation of the academic quality of the program will be conducted through Graduate Council review.