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American Public University System
Doctoral Programs Student Handbook

This handbook is designed for doctoral students at American Public University System to understand the policies related to doctoral study. Please review this handbook carefully to familiarize yourself with program expectations, milestones, and policies. University policies described in the Student Handbook apply to doctoral students, unless otherwise stated. This Doctoral Student Handbook explains unique features of the doctoral programs and policies pertaining to those features.

For your convenience, you may download the entire handbook in PDF format

Message from the Provost


On behalf of our faculty, staff, and administration, welcome to American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU) - recognized universities within the American Public University System (APUS). I wish to offer you congratulations on your acceptance to join the ranks of scholars as you pursue your doctoral degree.

Through hard work as you acquire and expand your skills and abilities, you will achieve the status to profess and defend the truths and knowledge in your chosen field. This decision is an important one for your life and your career. It is a decision that will demand a deep commitment and dedication on your part as well as the support of family and friends that surround you. This process and scholarly journey will set you apart. Pursue this profession with vigor, and you will grow in many ways personally, emotionally, intellectually, and professionally.

You are not alone in this process. In addition to the support you will need from your family and friends, you will be joined by a select cohort of your peers. These individuals, like you, had to meet the standards of preparedness to pursue doctoral studies. They will travel through this journey together with you to support, challenge, and encourage you to rise to the highest level of achievement possible. You will have an obligation of reciprocity to these peers to offer your support as well. Because of the rigor of this scholarly journey, you will build connections, both personal and professional, with your peers that will serve you throughout your professional career. Your peers will become an asset for the future.

Faculty members selected to teach and develop doctoral scholars are specially selected for your success and for their deep expertise. These Doctoral Faculty members have made this journey in their lives, and now contribute to the development of high quality doctoral scholars as part of your program. They will help you rise to these high expectations and standards and guide you individually on this scholarly journey. Get to know your faculty members and strive to develop the mentoring relationships that you can turn to during the difficult courses and processes that you will encounter as you work toward completing your degree. Be proactive in seeking feedback on your progress and seek suggestions for your improvement. You will find that your faculty members, especially those with whom you develop strong relationships, will become a source of strength and support during your studies as well as when you continue your practice in your field.

The dedicated Directors, advisors and staff of your doctoral program will support your success and achievement as you take responsibility for your learning on this journey. Do not hesitate to ask questions. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research as well as the Dean of the School of Security and Global Studies are also resources and will have open ears to listen, encourage, and work with you along the way.

Again, congratulations on the steps and decisions you have made to bring you to this point in your doctoral journey. We wish you all the best. I hope to see you in the future contributing and expanding your field as a shining example of the quality of your well-earned American Public University System doctoral degree!


Dr. Vernon C. Smith
American Public University System

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