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Doctoral Student Information

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Doctoral First Comprehensive Examination
Doctoral Second Comprehensive Examination
Doctoral Progress Policy
Proposal and Dissertation Defense 

Doctoral Student Handbook
The Doctoral Student Handbook (pdf) provides information about the policies and procedures that apply to your program. In addition, all doctoral students should refer to the Graduate Catalog and to the Office of the Registrar for important information  related to their program.

Doctoral Student First Comprehensive Examination Schedule
Students must submit their intentions, with advisor approval, to take an examination at least 10 working days in advance of the test date (Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics and Science) or the comprehensive portfolio defense (Leadership in Schooling). Forms on which to submit the request for Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics and Science are available in the Graduate School of Education Office. Students in Leadership in Schooling will electronically notify the four faculty of their intention to defend their comprehensive portfolios.

Students in Language Arts and Literacy have one week to complete their examination, which they will receive and submit electronically on the specified dates. Students in the Mathematics and Science Education program should arrange the date and time of their examination during the examination weeks in consultation with their faculty advisor. The comprehensive examination for Math and Science Education requires candidates to answer three questions in a six hour period and is completed under examination conditions at the Graduate School of Education. A laptop or desktop computer will be provided. If the candidates wishes to use a MAC, arrangements must be discussed with the advisor well in advance of the examination.

The comprehensive portfolio replaces the first comprehensive exam for Leadership in Schooling Students. Students must have completed at least two seminar credits at the end of semester in which they defend their portfolios and be registered for seminar credit during this semester.  The defense itself will take place during examination weeks.

Future Dates of Comprehensive Examinations (pdf) 

Doctoral Student Second Comprehensive Examination – The Qualifying Examination
Doctoral students may not register for dissertation credit until the qualifying examination has been passed. Information about the format of the examination for each program area can be found in the doctoral handbook.

For Mathematics and Science Education doctoral programs, this examination is a substantial review of the literature related to the students’ research interests. The examination may be taken as part of a course in certain semesters. Students should consult with their advisors.

Students in the Language Arts and Literacy doctoral program will complete a second comprehensive exam of subject matter in an area of language arts and literacy chosen by the student in consultation with her or his advisor.  The format for this second comprehensive exam is the same as the format for the first exam.  With the approval of their advisors, students must submit their intentions to take the second comprehensive exam at least 10 working days prior to the exam date. Students will have one week to complete their examination, which they will receive and submit electronically on the specified dates.

Students in Leadership in Schooling will complete a qualifying paper that consists of their research question, the significance of this question, a theoretical framework, a brief review of the literature, and an overview of the methodology the student proposes to use in her or his dissertation.

In all three programs, passing the qualifying examination allows the candidate to advance to the dissertation phase of his/her work.

Policy Regarding Doctoral Progress.  Effective September 2011
Doctoral candidates are expected to work closely with their dissertation chair and committee to develop a dissertation proposal.  Students are expected to make progress during each semester in which they are registered for dissertation credit, and faculty are required to assign a grade to indicate progress or unsatisfactory progress during a semester.  Students who do not make progress on a regular basis are at jeopardy of not completing the dissertation within the eight year time limit.  Any student who has not yet defended her or his proposal and who receives a grade of U for three consecutive semesters or receives 15 credits or more graded U shall be dismissed from the doctoral program.

Doctoral candidates are required to pass a proposal defense prior to proceeding to data collection and analysis.  A candidate who does not successfully defend his or her proposal after two attempts is subject to dismissal from the program.  the eight year limit for completion of a dissertation does not mean that proposal defenses may continue indefinitely.  The normal appeals process for adademic matters applies.

Proposal and Dissertation Defense
In order to defend the proposal, students must be registered for three dissertation credits.  Proposal hearings are generally scheduled within the semester.  However, with the permission of the entire Committee, proposals may be scheduled during intercession or after the end of the summer session (Revised September, 2011). 

If the student has completed the required 12 credits of dissertation research, s/he may, with permission of the chair, register for 1 dissertation credit (course # 05.760) in order to defend the dissertation within the first two weeks of the semester.  This 1 credit option is for candidates who will not continue to work with their dissertation chair or committee after the dissertation defense. Students may not defend a proposal or dissertation while registered for Continued Matriculation.

Continuing Matriculation
All graduate students must maintain matriculation when not enrolled in a course by registering for continuing matriculation and pay the required fee. Continued Matriculation does not entitle a student to any use of university facilities or resources, but only maintains an active record and provides for appropriate mailings.

Ed.D., Leadership in Schooling
Ed.D., Language Arts and Literacy
Ed.D., Mathematics and Science Education


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