February 9, 2017

As you may know, the OSU Faculty Senate in December 2016 approved a proposal to reduce the minimum number of didactic (non-blanket) course credits required on a PhD program of study from 36 to 27. This change in policy has provoked a few questions from programs that the Graduate Council would like to help address. In regards to confusion over terminology, didactic credits, or non-blanket credits, are credits received from coursework and thus do not include thesis credits.

  • First, no program is required to reduce their didactic credits requirement if they don’t want to. The OSU university-wide policy sets a minimum; programs have been and will continue to be able to set a higher number of required credits for their particular curriculum. Please make sure that your graduate program handbook or curriculum guidelines clearly states if your program requirements are higher than the OSU minimum. 
  • Programs who only wish to change their minimum required didactic credits from 36 to 27 will not have to submit a Category II change of program form. However, if any other program changes will occur, such as adding a new requirement for an internship or experiential training in place of the didactic credits, then programs should submit a Cat II proposal for approval and recording of changes. 
  • The change in requirements from 36 to 27 credits has already been entered into the OSU catalog. However, the term for implementation of the credit reduction will be summer 2017. Students are subject to the rules and regulations in place during the term in which they matriculate. Any student matriculating in summer 2017 or later will automatically fall under regulations that only require 27 didactic credits on a PhD program of study. 
  • PhD students who plan to graduate in winter or spring 2017 will need to complete 36 didactic credits. We expect that this will affect few, if any, students, since most graduating this term or next should have completed coursework a while ago. 
  • Students currently enrolled and graduating after spring 2017 can opt to switch to the new minimum requirement. For students who have not yet submitted a program of study, they may, with the permission of their program and committee, opt to design a program that takes advantage of the reduced credit requirement. Existing students who have already submitted a program of study listing 36 didactic credits but who have not yet completed all credits on their program of study and, with the consent of their thesis committee, wish to change from 36 to 27 didactic credits , will need to submit a change of program form.
  • Existing students who wish to opt into fewer didactic credits will need to be certain that they also complete any new requirements that may have been added by their graduate program or OSU since they matriculated. For example, if a student matriculated in Fall 2015 and their program added a requirement for formal ethics training in Fall 2016, then they would not be required to complete the ethics training in their program of study (because it became effective after their term of matriculation). If that same student now wishes to create a program of study with 27 didactic credits, they may do so but will then also have to complete the formal ethics requirement. 
  • One important change to remember is that, as of Fall 2016, PhD students have 9 years to complete their PhD. Any student matriculating before Fall 2016 who wishes to take advantage of the reduction in minimum didactic credits to 27 will now be subject to the 9 year timeline for completion.

I hope that this helps to answer the most frequent questions that we are hearing around the credit reduction.

Thank you
Theresa and Lisa,

Theresa Filtz
Lisa Ganio
Co-Chairs, OSU Graduate Council AY16-17