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SJTU Regulations on the Training of Doctoral Degree Students
Date:2018-10-12 Clicks:

 (This is a translation of the official version in Chinese 沪交研〔2017〕103号. In case of any discrepancy, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

Chapter One: General Provisions


Article 1 To enhance the education and management of PhD students and improve the quality of doctoral education, the regulations are hereby formulated in accordance with “Regulations on Academic Degrees of the People’s Republic of China”, “Provisional Measures for the Implementation of the Regulations on Academic Degrees of the People’s Republic of China” and other national laws and regulations, as well as the “Shanghai Jiao Tong University Constitution”, and with reference to the actual conditions on doctoral graduate training at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.


Article 2 Following the philosophy of elite education, the PhD programs of SJTU are designed to cultivate professionals with highest academic degrees who are law-abiding, courteous, honest, and physically and mentally healthy. They should have a firm and comprehensive grasp of the basic theories, a systematic and deep understanding of the relevant academic discipline, develop the ability to carry out scientific research, teaching or other practical work independently and creatively.


Article 3 The education and management of PhD education shall follow the principle of 2-level management, namely, the University and the School (Department). The university, the school (department), the academic discipline, the supervising group and the supervisor each has its own responsibilities and shall fulfill them within the scope of these regulations.


During the doctoral training process, the university and the respective discipline shall make reasonable arrangements on the courses, scientific research, academic exchanges and other activities. Special focus should be paid to cultivate a rigorous learning style, spirits of innovation and exploration, as well as ability to conduct scientific research independently.


Article 4 During the doctoral study, the PhD students should deepen their theoretical foundation, broaden their professional expertise, grasp the latest achievements of the scientific research and necessary knowledge in relevant disciplines, and improve their creativity as well as dissertation quality.

Chapter Two: Study Duration and Overall Arrangement


Article 5 The basic study duration for regular PhD programs (including doctoral students admitted from a combined master-doctor program) is 4 years (3 years for PhD students in School of Medicine); it is 5 years for direct PhD programs. For regular PhD students in a non-directional program, the maximum study duration (including the period of suspension) shall not exceed 6 years. The maximum study duration for direct PhD students and regular PhD students in a directional program shall not exceed 7 years (including the period of suspension).


Article 6 Disciplines conferring doctoral degrees should establish the doctoral degree program curriculum according to the general regulations on doctor training of the University and the standards for degree awarding of the disciplines concerned. The established program curriculum shall serve as the foundation for PhD education of the corresponding discipline.


The PhD program curriculum should include an introduction to the discipline, the training objectives, the standard study duration, the course requirements, the requirements on qualification examinations, dissertation proposal, annual progress assessment and dissertation defense, as well as requirements on scientific publications and dissertations. Efforts should be made to improve the implementation details of each part of the training process, and strengthen the process management of the doctor education.


The program curriculum should be discussed and approved by the Academic Degree Evaluation Subcommittee of the School in charge of the disciplines concerned, and then submitted to the Graduate School for approval and archive.


Article 7 The PhD students shall complete the coursework, teaching practice, scientific research, and dissertations as specified in the program curriculum.


The PhD students can apply for doctoral dissertation defense once they have completed the coursework specified in their respective training plans, obtained the minimum credits required, and met the requirements on scientific publication  as set in the “Regulations of Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Doctoral Degree Application”.


Chapter Three: Supervisor, Supervising Group and Training Plan for PhD Students


Article 8 The supervisor and the supervising group are jointly responsible for the training of PhD students. A supervising group led by the student’s supervisor should be setup based on the faculty of the discipline concerned and actual needs, which shall consist of two or three senior professors in relevant disciplines.


Article 9 If the supervisor cannot fulfill his/her duties for some reason, the student can apply to change his/her supervisor following the relevant regulations of the University.


Article 10 The supervisor and the supervising group shall be fully responsible for the daily training and education of the PhD students, which includes:

1)        guiding the PhD students in developing their training plans;

2)        making sure that the PhD students complete their curricula and tasks;

3)        supervising the PhD students’ progress in study and research;

4)        offering suggestions on the PhD students’ scientific research and dissertation work;

5)        training the PhD students’ scientific and academic integrity as well as moral conduct;

6)        providing advice on transferring to a master program or discontinuation of studies for PhD students who fail to meet the requirements.


Article 11 The supervisor and the supervising group shall help the PhD students to develop a feasible and tailored training plan in compliance with these regulations and the program curriculum of the discipline as well as the personal status of the student within one month after the enrollment. The training plans should be approved by the supervisors and the discipline chair, and then submitted to the Academic Affairs Office of the School (Department) for archive. Once the training plan is finalized, both the PhD student and his/her supervisor shall adhere to it.


Article 12 If the training plan cannot be implemented either fully or partly due to objective reasons, the student shall apply for a revision within the first 2 weeks of the relevant semester. The student shall fill out the application form, get approved by the supervisor, the supervising group and the discipline chair and then submitted to the Academic Affairs Office of the School (Department) for revision and archive.


Chapter Four: Coursework and Assessment


Article 13 The PhD courses  are classified into four categories, namely, the general courses, the specialized core courses, the specialized frontier courses and the elective courses.


Article 14 The total credits, the GPA credits, as well as the credit requirements of each category shall be determined by the Academic Degree Evaluation Committee of the academic discipline related. For different disciplines, the detailed coursework required may vary according to the basic requirements of the PhD curriculum and the characteristics of the discipline.


Article 15 The basic requirements for PhD coursework are as follows, and the PhD program curricula of all disciplines shall include but are not limited to the following courses:

(a)      General courses

Ÿ  Theory of Marxism: Marxism in China (2 credits; compulsory); Study of Classical Works of Marxism (1 credit; elective).

Ÿ  First foreign language (2 credits): PhD students whose first foreign language is English must take English for Academic Purposes. PhD students who fail to meet the criteria to exempt the Comprehensive English shall take the course (2 credits), whose credits will be counted as elective course credits.

Ÿ  Courses on academic norms and scientific literacy (1 credit).

(b)  Specialized core courses

(c)  Specialized frontier courses and elective courses.

Ÿ  Symposium (1 credit).


Article 16 PhD students from Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, and Taiwan Province can apply to waive the course of Marxism in China, but shall take other social science courses approved by the University instead.


Article 17 International graduate students pursuing PhD degrees at SJTU do not need  to take the course of Marxism in China. International graduate students in English-taught programs shall take the courses of Introduction to Chinese Culture (2 credits) and Chinese Language (2 credits), which will be counted in the general courses. And international graduate students in Chinese-taught programs shall take Introduction to Chinese Culture (2 credits) and other social science courses (2 credits) approved by the University. These will also be counted in the general courses.


Article 18 Students in the combined master-doctor programs shall, after entering the stage of doctoral study, complement the necessary doctoral courses based on their training plans for the master program. The minimum credit requirements for combined master-doctor program students shall be specified in the program curriculum of the discipline.


Article 19 The program curriculum for direct PhD programs should be made by incorporating the regular doctoral curriculum on top of the corresponding mater program curriculum. The minimum credit requirements for direct PhD program students shall be specified in each discipline’s training programs.


Article 20 Aside from the courses specified in the program curriculum, the PhD student can take the postgraduate courses in related disciplines as electives. Upon approved by the supervisor and the school (department), the credits obtained from these courses can be used to satisfy the graduation requirement.


Article 21 The PhD students can also take courses beyond those listed in their training plans based on their interests. With the consent of supervisors, these courses will be recorded as optional elective courses.


Article 22 For graduate courses taken at SJTU within two years prior to their enrollment as a graduate student, the student can apply to be exempted from taking them again, in conditions of a passing grade and that the relevant course satisfies the requirement of the program curriculum. Upon approval, the credits of such courses shall be counted toward the total credits. The application of exemption shall be submitted within the first 2 weeks of the related semester (The original transcript is also required). The application should be approved by the supervisor and the corresponding course instructor, and then submitted to the Graduate School for approval and archive.


Chapter Five: Qualifying Examination


Article 23 The qualifying examination is a comprehensive assessment of the doctoral students after their completion of the PhD courses while before their dissertation work. It is an important part of the doctoral education.

The examination mainly evaluates the students from the following aspects:

(a) the main content of the courses as stipulated in the training plan;

(b) research progress and professional skills;

(c) academic integrity.


Article 24 The qualifying examination should be organized by the discipline group. A Qualifying Examination Committee shall be set up to take care of the details of the assessment. The Qualifying Examination Committee shall be comprised of 3 to 5 professors or associate professors from the discipline concerned and related disciplines. A chair of the committee shall be appointed to preside over the work related to the examination. Supervisors can be part of the examination committee, but cannot be appointed as the Committee Chair.


To ensure a fair examination, members of the Qualifying Examination Committee in the same discipline and the same graduating class shall be the same.


Article 25 The qualifying examination for regular PhD students shall be completed within the first semester of the second academic year after the enrollment. Direct PhD students shall generally complete the qualifying examination within the second semester of the second academic year after the enrollment. The GPA for Direct PhD students during the first two years should be ≥ 2.7 (applicable to students following the new GPA grading system with a maximum GPA of of 4.0, and the minimum requirements for students following the previous GPA system with a maximum of 3.3 should be ≥ 2.0). The Qualifying Examination Committee shall inform the PhD students of the exact time for the examination one month prior to the examination.


Article 26 The Qualifying Examination Committee shall mark the result of each PhD student with “pass” or “fail”, and give comprehensive comments based on the moral conduct, academic performance and scientific research of the students.


Article 27 The discipline group shall, within one week after the completion of the qualifying examination, submit the examination papers, answer sheets, records, scores and comprehensive comments to the graduate student affairs coordinator of the school to record into the student’s personal files.


Article 28 The student who fails the qualifying examination for the first time may apply for a re-examination in the next semester. If she/he fails the re-examination again, she/he will not be suitable for further training as a doctoral student. However, those who meet the requirements for a master program can, after filing an application, approved by the supervisor and the school (department) and the Graduate School, transfer to a corresponding master program. After transferring to the master program, the student must complete the master curriculum and thesis defense within one year. If he or she successfully meets the requirements as set out in the “SJTU Regulations on the Training of Master Degree Students” and passes the thesis defence, the student will be awarded a master's degree and diploma. Otherwise, the students shall be counselled out based on the academic assessment.


Chapter Six: Doctoral Dissertation


Article 29 The doctoral dissertation process comprises of a dissertation proposal, annual progress assessment, and oral defences.


Article 30 The doctoral students should choose topics related to the frontier field of the discipline or that of great significance to the progress of science and technology or economic and social development as their dissertation theme. The doctoral dissertation should demonstrate that the author is capable of undertaking scientific research independently and has a good grasp of the basic theories as well as a systematic and in-depth knowledge of the field of study.


The PhD students shall choose scientific, academic, innovative, advanced and feasible topics as their doctoral dissertation works. They are encouraged to combine their dissertation work with the National Natural Science Foundation of China and/or provincial- and ministerial-level key research projects.


Article 31 The dissertation proposal should be held after the PhD students have passed the qualifying examination. For regular PhD students, the dissertation proposal shall usually be completed before the end of the second academic year, while for direct PhD students, it should be completed before the end of the third academic year. Those who fail the dissertation proposal may have a second chance, in which case it should be completed before the third academic year for regular PhD students and before the end of the fourth academic year for direct PhD students. If the PhD student cannot complete the dissertation proposal within the time limit due to other acceptable reasons, she/he can apply for an extension of no more than one year upon the consent of supervisor, approval of the school (department), and endorsed by the Graduate School. For regular PhD students who do not pass the dissertation proposal within the first four academic years, and for direct PhD students who do not pass the dissertation proposal within the first five academic years, he/she should withdraw from the PhD study; for those who are unsuitable for further PhD study while are qualified for a master study, the student can apply to transfer to a corresponding master program, which should be approved by the supervisor, the school (department) and the graduate school. Once transferred to the mater program, the student must complete the master curriculum and thesis defense within 1 year. If he/she successfully meets the requirements as set out in the “SJTU Regulations on the Training of Master Degree Students”, the student will be awarded a master degree.


Article 32 Forms needed for the dissertation proposal are designed by the Graduate School. The dissertation proposal shall include:

(1) proposed dissertation title;

(2) the significance and analysis of the current status both in China and abroad of the chosen research topic;

(3) the objectives, main contents, and key issues to solve of the research topic;

(4) the research method, technical route, and approach to be adopted, and the feasibility analysis;

(5) the originality/innovativeness of the research topic;

(6) the planned scheduling and the expected outcomes;

(7) the literature review and preliminary results of the research topic.


Article 33 In order to enhance the scientificity and social appraisal of the research topic, guarantee the novelty and perspectiveness of the dissertation, and to avoid reinventing the wheel, the supervisor may decide whether to perform a novelty retrieval for the chosen topics or not. The methods of novelty retrieval and the databases used should be determined based on the research direction within the corresponding academic discipline.


Article 34 The dissertation proposal report shall be held in public within the discipline concerned or related disciplines. The doctoral students shall report in details on the chosen topics. The discipline chair or the supervisor shall invite at least three experts from related disciplines to form an expert committee, which will provide a comprehensive assessment on the dissertation proposal, and provide detailed comments and advice on the research.


Article 35 The discipline group shall designate a person to minute the proposal report. Members of the expert committee, the note taker, and the PhD student shall all sign on the minutes.


The dissertation proposal and the opinions from the experts shall be archived by the school (department), which shall be used as parts of the documents for the dissertation annual progress report and pre-defense.


Article 36 After completion of the dissertation proposal, annual progress report shall be organized for the PhD students according to the calendar year. The annual progress report must be submitted to the relevant discipline in written form. In the report, the student should elaborate the progress of the dissertation research and results achieved. An annual report assessment committee of at least three members, including the supervisor or coordinator of the supervising group, should be organized to evaluate the annual reports of all PhD students of the discipline. This can be done in the form of academic discussion or symposium on selected topics. Supervisors should make a comprehensive evaluation of the annual report, urging the PhD students to carry out the research and dissertation writing as scheduled. If the supervisor believes that the student does not meet the requirements for doctoral training, upon the confirmation from the supervisor, review by the school (department), and re-assessment by the Graduate School, the student should drop out from the PhD program. Those who have completed all courses listed in the training plan will be granted a Certificate of Completion, while those who do not complete their course yet will be granted a Certificate of Incompletion.


Article 37 Dissertation defense and degree application shall be implemented according to the “SJTU Regulations on Doctoral Degree Application”.

Chapter Seven: Miscellaneous


Article 38 These regulations are subject to interpretation by the Graduate School and come into effect from September 1, 2017. In case of any discrepancy between this and previous version of the regulations, this version shall prevail.

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