A doctoral program consists of a combination of courses and research that fulfills the requirements of the Graduate School, and is approved by the student’s doctoral committee. A master's degree is not a prerequisite for the doctorate. However, the first year of graduate study leading to the Ph.D. may be the same as that for the M.S. degree. Acceptance into the Ph.D. program is based on the student's performance on the Ph.D. qualifying exam, which is administered by a graduate qualifying exam committee.