The doctor of philosophy degree may be pursued directly from the bachelor’s level, or following a master's degree program. Doctoral study culminates in a dissertation (or its equivalent as refereed publications) based on original research. In many cases this work serves as a foundation for future studies and publications throughout the student's career. Research activity is often funded through extramural grants to the student’s major professor. Abundant opportunities exist to gain teaching experience during the doctoral program. A written and oral examination is required to proceed to doctoral candidacy, at least one year prior to the capstone seminar and defense of the dissertation. Of the 60 credits required, 30-48 are awarded for coursework (including special research topics and at least five seminars) and 12-30 credits for the dissertation.