Doctoral Degrees in Education
Requirements for Doctoral Programs
Doctoral students majoring in education may earn either a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree or a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. The Ph.D. is awarded by the University Graduate School. The Ed.D. is awarded by the School of Education. In most program areas the Ph.D. is considered a research-oriented degree, whereas the Ed.D. degree is oriented to the training of practitioners. It should be noted that Ph.D. students are subject both to requirements listed in this bulletin and those listed in the University Graduate School Bulletin.
Application for both degree programs is through the Office of Graduate Studies. Doctoral programs are offered only at the Bloomington campus. Some doctoral course work is offered at Indianapolis, and IUPUI faculty members may serve on doctoral committees.
Doctoral programs are long and complex. At the end of this section is a checklist of important milestones in the program, including required forms and committee meetings. Information about application procedures and admission criteria is found in the section entitled “Admission to Graduate Programs.” Policies and regulations governing all graduate programs in education are found in the section entitled “Policies Governing Graduate Progr ams.”
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Doctoral degree programs are offered in the following major areas of specialization:
The Ph.D. program in counseling psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Graduates of this program are prepared to work as psychologists and administrators in mental health centers, in college counseling centers, and in business and industry; as college faculty members; as private practitioners; and in other positions where counseling psychology competencies are needed.
The doctoral program in counseling psychology includes courses in the following areas: (1) psychological measurement, statistics, and research design, (2) biological, cognitive, affective, social, and individual bases of behavior, (3) course work leading to competence in an area of specialization, and (4) intervention strategies and service delivery systems. The application deadline is January 15 for matriculation in the fall semester.
Curriculum and Instruction
Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs are offered in curriculum and instruction. These programs prepare students for preschool through grade 12 positions, including posts as curriculum directors and supervisors, although most graduates take positions as college faculty members. Students majoring in curriculum and instruction must complete a number of specified courses. However, there is a great deal of flexibility in the program, depending on the student’s needs and interests. As with other doctoral degr ees, there is a heavy emphasis on research from both quantitative and non-quantitative perspectives. Students in curriculum and instruction must specialize in one of the following areas:
Doctoral students in this program do research in areas related to art education, such as discipline-based curriculum theory (new technologies and art education, multicultural and global art education), community-oriented programming, diversity and gender issues, and education of artistically talented students. Research settings include schools, colleges, museums, and community agencies.
Presently, faculty members and doctoral students in curriculum studies generate scholarship in several fields of study. These include curriculum theory and design, early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, social studies education, curriculum and cultural studies, curriculum and gender studies, multicultural education, teacher education, critical pedagogy, school reform, and evaluation of educational programs.
This program focuses primarily on the teaching and learning of mathematics in grades K-12, although some work in the teaching of college-level mathematics is also possible. Research in this program area can range from specific curriculum issues to more general topics such as assessment, teacher development, and uses of technology. Applicants to the program are expected to have pre-college teaching experience.
Science Education This program can include specialization within an area of science (chemistry, physics, biology, etc.) or general science education.
This program is individualized in that students define three areas of expertise that will determine the focus of their course work. These areas may include disability topics, early intervention, teacher education, nonaversive behavior management, transition from school to work, and school reform. Please visit web site at: www.indiana.edu/~spced/doctorate.html.
Educational Leadership (School Administration)
The Ed.D. program in educational leadership prepares students to be administrators and leaders in public and nonpublic schools, special-education service units, state departments of education, national and state professional organizations, and private corporations. Graduates of this program may also be employed as professors and researchers in colleges and universities. Candidates who specifically seek to prepare for university teaching and research positions should consider applying to the Ph.D. in Education Policy Studies with a concentration in educational leadership. (See sections on Doctoral Degrees in Education—History, Philosophy, and Policy Studies in Education—Education Policy Studies.)
Educational leadership faculty have links with state and federal educational agencies and professional associations, as well as with business firms. Because faculty are active in research, in education policy studies, and in field studies with school districts, they can offer students opportunities to apply theory and knowledge in solving practical problems in their field.
The Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology offers specializations in human development, learning and instructional psychology, inquiry methodology, educational and psychological measurement and assessment, and school psychology (see separate entry in this section). The goals for all specializations in educational psychology are: (1) to prepare scholars who will broaden the knowledge base in the areas of human development, learning, teaching, research methodology, and school adjustment, (2) to prepare researchers and evaluators in the use of rigorous methods for generating and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, and (3) to prepare inquiry-based practitioners who work toward the solution of both individual and social problems as th ese affect school performance and life functioning.
Educational psychology students learn to approach decision making and problem solving from a data-based orientation, to apply critical and reflective analysis to all knowledge production, and to work toward the overall intellectual and affective betterment of humankind. Graduates of this program secure positions as university faculty members, as psychological and educational researchers, and as program evaluators in research and consulting firms, foundations, public schools, industry, s tate and federal departments of education, and the military.
Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs are offered in higher education. The Ed.D. program emphasizes acquisition of the skills and knowledge that college and university administrators need to perform effectively in various administrative roles (e.g., student affairs, continuing education, and institutional advancement). The Ph.D. program prepares students for careers in the scholarly study of higher education, institutional research, and teaching.
Two years of professional experience in higher education and a master’s degree are prerequisites for admission. An interview with program faculty members is required. Ph.D. students majoring in higher education are encouraged to take a minor outside the School of Education, in such areas as organizational behavior, business administration, public administration, political science, or sociology.
History, Philosophy, and Policy Studies in Education
This Ph.D. program consists of three distinct majors—history of education, philosophy of education, and education policy studies. In their goal statements, applicants should indicate their interest in one of the three majors. All three majors are designed to prepare students for professional roles in university teaching and research, as well as in development and consulting governmental and non-governmental agencies.
The major in the history of education emphasizes the history of American education, including elementary, secondary, and higher education; it encourages students to complete supplementary work in programs and departments outside the School of Education, such as in American Studies and History.
The major in philosophy of education may focus on ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, social and political philosophy, foundations of inquiry, feminist philosophy, continental philosophy, and historically important educational thinkers; it requires philosophically relevant work in departments outside the School of Education, including the Departments of Philosophy, Religious Studies, and History and Philosophy of Science. Applicants to this major should submit with their application a writi ng sample that demonstrates their skill in philosophical arguments, preferably a paper prepared for a relevant course.
The major in education policy studies includes a common core of studies in the concepts and issues of policy study and permits students to select a concentration in international/comparative education, higher education, or educational leadership (U.S. elementary and secondary education); it requires a minor in a relevant field outside the School of Education, such as economics, public and environmental affairs, or sociology.
Through course work and independent research, students are expected to achieve a command of the literature in the major, to assess the soundness of arguments in that literature, to develop clarity of thinking and writing in the field, and to contribute to its scholarship. Students are given support and encouragement to become involved in the major scholarly organizations in their fields. The program may include relevant opportunities for international travel and study and for practicums in state, national, and international agencies.
Instructional Systems Technology
The Ph.D. program in instructional systems technology (IST) permits students to build a solid basis in theory and inquiry skills as well as to strengthen their professional competencies in the field of instructional technology. The program’s emphasis on research and scholarship is well suited to a student planning a career as a professor or researcher at the college level.
There is considerable flexibility in the doctoral curriculum, allowing students to take courses in several areas of specialization leading to professional positions in education, business and industry, government, health professions, and other settings. Areas of specialization include administration of learning resources, computer-based instruction, institutional and organizational change, instructional development, and message design and production.
The Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs in language education have the following objectives: (1) to prepare teachers of English, English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language, foreign language, and reading for positions of leadership in the field, particularly in the development of improved instructional procedures and improved curricula in language education, (2) to prepare program directors, instructional supervisors, and curriculum specialists in language areas, (3) to prepare college and university personnel to teach, design, and direct programs for the preparation of teachers of language education, (4) to prepare researchers in language education, and (5) to prepare specialists in the development of programs and instructional materials in language education at all levels.
The focus of the program is on research and theory in language education and the development of curricula in those areas.
Language Education applicants require a strong academic record pursuing a program broadly based in the language arts and children’s or adolescent literature and two years of teaching (or alternative experience).
Accredited by the American Psychological Association, this Ph.D. program is a specialization within the educational psychology program. Students take course work in cognitive, affective, and behavioral assessment, consultation, professional ethics, the role of the school psychologist, special education, counseling, intervention, and psychology. Practica and an internship are also required.
Graduates of the program are eligible for a broad array of positions, including teaching and research as university faculty members and clinical and administrative practice as school psychologists or directors of school psychology in public school systems, mental health centers, and state departments of public instruction. Some graduates may become eligible for licensure as psychologists in independent practice. The application deadline for this program is January 15. Matriculation is in the fall semester only.
Having two majors in a doctoral program is also possible. A double major requires students to take all of the required course work in both majors. No minor is required, and some required courses outside of the major proper may be double-counted (i.e., research courses—including inquiry linkage courses, foundations courses, and foreign language courses). In some cases it is possible to count courses taken in one major area as part of the other major, but such courses may not be double-counted. Double majoring students must include two representatives from each major on both their advisory and research committees (except Ed.D. double majors), and they must take qualifying examinations in both major areas. Only one dissertation is required. Special forms are available at the Office of Graduate Studies for the appointment of double major advisory and research committees.
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The student will select at least one minor subject. The minor must have integrity in its own right and must complement the major. It must be taken outside the major department from among those areas of study listed in this bulletin. The minor field must demonstrate wholeness within itself and contribute to the students overall doctoral program. An inter-department minor not specifically listed in the bulletin is also possible.
The major fields of doctoral specialization in education listed above are also available as minor areas for other doctoral programs. Students may also minor in any area of study outside of the School of Education that is listed in the University Graduate School Bulletin. In addition, two approved minor area programs are available:
Inquiry/Research Methodology Minor
The development of competencies in methods of quantitative and qualitative inquiry constitutes the main thrust of this minor program. Graduates of a doctoral program with a minor in inquiry may qualify for positions as faculty members in colleges or universities or as researchers or evaluators in foundations, public school systems, industry, or consulting firms.
Students minoring in inquiry methodology may not use courses in their minor that have been counted elsewhere in their program of studies. Questions about this minor should be addressed to the chair of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology.
Social Foundations of Education Minor
This minor introduces students to the use of sociological and anthropological research in the study of education. It encompasses the intellectual foundations of these social sciences, the educational theories and findings of scholars in these disciplines, and the research methodologies of these disciplines that are relevant to educational research.
The 12 credit hours of course work required for this minor cannot duplicate those taken in the major field. A listing of the required courses is available in the office of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
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There are two configurations for doctoral programs in education at Indiana University: a 90 credit hour post-bachelor’s Ph.D. or Ed.D. program (the “90 hour program”), and a 60 credit hour post-master’s Ed.D. program (the “60 hour program”). At the present writing, the 60 hour program is available in curriculum and instruction, higher education, instructional systems technology, and educational leadership.
For the 90 hour program, credit hours earned in master’s or specialist degree programs may be included in the doctoral program, as long as they meet course currency requirements and are relevant to the student’s doctoral areas of focus. Sixty credit hours (including 12 dissertation hours) in the 90 hour program must be taken at the Bloomington or Indianapolis campuses of Indiana University.
For the 60 hour program, a master’s degree is a prerequisite for admission. Master’s course work may not be counted toward the 60 required credit hours, but graduate course work beyond the master’s degree may be, as long as it meets requirements for currency and relevance. In this program, 42 credit hours must be taken at IUB or IUPUI.
All course work, except dissertation and internship credits, must be completed within seven years of matriculation in the 90 hour program, and within five years in the 60 hour program. If there is a two-year lapse in enrollment the student’s program will be terminated, and the student must apply for readmission to the program. See the chapter entitled “Policies Governing Graduate Programs” for regulations governing all graduate programs in the School of Education, including course revalidation, residency, GPA requirements, transfer of credit, and semester load.
During the first semester in the program each doctoral student will be advised by the program head or department chair, or will be assigned a temporary faculty advisor. Before the end of the first year in the program each student must have an advisory committee formally appointed and must submit a program of studies outline to the Office of Graduate Studies.
The advisory committee consists of at least three faculty members. Two must be from the major area of study and one from the minor area. The committee chair, who becomes the student’s primary advisor, must be a regular faculty member in the major area of specialization. For interdisciplinary minors, the minor representative must be from outside the major. At least two of the faculty members on each doctoral advisory committee must be regular faculty members; one may be an adjunct or part-time faculty member. For Ph.D. advisory committees, two members, including the chair, must be members of the University Graduate School faculty.
Program of Studies
Program requirements fall into several component categories, which are explained below. The student and the advisory committee chair play the major role in planning the program of studies. An advisory committee meeting is required, at which time all committee members review the program of studies for approval. The program of studies must then be approved by the department chair and the associate dean for graduate studies. If a completed program of studies form is not submitted wi thin one year of matriculation, enrollment will be discontinued. See the chapter entitled “Policies Governing Graduate Programs” for information about the transfer of credit hours from other colleges and universities.
Inquiry Emphasis in Doctoral Training
Doctoral students are expected to generate questions about educational phenomena. They must be curious about how things are and how they became as they are. They must learn to identify assumptions made in posing questions and in drawing conclusions, as well as to judge the consistency and logic of arguments. They are required to question their own assumptions about what is right and what is wrong in educational practice. They must learn to evaluate educational programs and to inquire int o the effects and effectiveness of educational practices. They must come to view the world from multiple perspectives in understanding the nature of reality. They must learn to generate hypotheses about educational phenomena and about relationships among educational variables, and to speculate about causal relationships. In addition, they must learn to test these hypotheses in a trustworthy manner. As such, inquiry training is to be included in all components of doctoral training.
Program of Studies Components
90 Credit Hour Program.
Nine credit hours is the minimum requirement in this component. Many doctoral programs in the school require 12 or 15 credit hours of inquiry core course work. The inquiry core includes a survey course in research methodologies (e.g., Y520) and beginning courses in statistics, measurement, program evaluation, or in ethnographic, qualitative, quantitative, and historical research methods. Inquiry core courses are to lay a rudimentary methodological foundation for applied inquiry courses in the major, and f or dissertation research. A list of approved inquiry core courses is available in the Office of Graduate Studies.
60 Credit Hour Program.
Nine credit hours of inquiry core course work are required.
90 Credit Hour Program.
A major consisting of a minimum of 36 credit hours of course work in the selected field of specialization is required. There is substantial flexibility in the major. Courses from related areas of study may be included in the major component if their relevance to the major can be demonstrated and if committee approval can be secured.
Six credit hours of inquiry course work are required in the major (in addition to the inquiry core course work). One of these inquiry courses is to be an early inquiry experience wherein a student carries out an actual research project, including the collection and analysis of data to answer a research question, and the writing of a research manuscript. This research is to be prior to the dissertation and not a direct part of the dissertation research. The early inquiry experience may be implemented through an independent study course (e.g., 590), through a master’s thesis (599), or through a departmental research seminar. Each student must carry out an independent research project. The research manuscript that results from this study must be read and approved by the student’s advisory committee. A form for this purpose is available in the Office of Graduate Studies.
The second of the two major area inquiry courses is an inquiry linkage course. This is a course in which research relevant to the major field of specialization is studied. Such study, however, is to focus more on the research design and methodology of research in the major area than on the findings of the research. Analyzing and critiquing the research methodology are of primary importance in this experience. Each department has a research seminar or a specialized research methodology course for this purpose. The inquiry core courses normally should be completed prior to taking inquiry courses in the major.
60 Credit Hour Program.
The major must consist of a minimum of 27 credit hours, of which three credit hours is to be in an inquiry linkage course. (No early inquiry experience course is required in the 60 credit hour program.)
90 Credit Hour Program.
The minor requires a minimum of 12 credit hours of course work taken in an area of studies outside of the major. The minor must complement the major. The committee member representing the minor field must approve the selection of courses in the minor area. An interdepartmental (interdisciplinary) minor is also possible. In this case the student must submit a written description of the theme of the minor, an explanation of the contribution of each course to that theme, and a rationale for the selection of the minor representative.
60 Credit Hour Program.
The minor requirement is 9 credit hours.
90 Credit Hour Program.
The electives category is designated to allow students freedom in course selection. This is also the place to put foundations courses. Each program area has specified courses in foundations, substantive core perspective, or other areas outside the major and minor, which are required for breadth. Courses that may fall into this category are those needed to meet the doctoral program requirement for 27 credit hours outside of the major program area. (This ordinarily includes the 12 credit hours of minor course work, and the 9 or more credit hours of inquiry core courses.)
90 Credit Hour Program.
Twelve credit hours of dissertation credit (799) are required. In addition, 3 credit hours of dissertation proposal preparation are required. Each doctoral program area has a 795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation course which is generally used for this purpose, either on an individual basis or as a departmental seminar.
60 Credit Hour Program.
Six credit hours of 799 and 3 credit hours of 795 are required. The focus of the dissertation in the 60 hour program is on data collection and analysis for the purpose of answering practical questions in the field. Descriptive research, program evaluation, needs assessment, case study, campus audit, and survey research are examples of the kinds of research studies expected.
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Prior to beginning a doctoral dissertation and at or near the time of completion of all course work, all doctoral students in the School of Education must pass a qualifying examination in their major areas of study. In effect, this examination process is intended to determine if a student is qualified to begin work on a doctoral dissertation.
A minor area qualifying examination is also required for all education majors who are minoring in another education program area. Students whose minor is outside of education may or may not have to take a minor examination, depending on the policy of the minor department. Students with interdepartmental (interdisciplinary) minors must take a minor qualifying examination if their minor member is an education faculty member or if the majority of their minor course work is in education. Doctoral students whose major is outside of education, and who are minoring in education, may or may not be required to take qualifying examinations, depending on the judgment of the minor representative.
Departments and programs determine the specific form of qualifying examination their students will take and establish the times at which examinations will be administered. Students need to file an application with their major and minor departments in the School of Education to take their qualifying examinations. Such application forms are available in departmental offices.
All qualifying examinations contain written and oral components. The written component will take one of three forms: a proctored examination, a take-home examination, or a portfolio.
(1) A proctored examination in the major area is administered in the School of Education in two four-hour sessions on consecutive days. The minor area examination is administered in a four-hour session on a third day. The major and minor examinations may be taken in the same semester or in different semesters.
(2) Students completing a take-home examination in either their major or minor area should contact the appropriate program or department for examination requirements.
(3) For portfolios, students work with their doctoral advisory committee to determine the contents of the portfolio and a timeline for its completion. Students choosing this option should see their advisors regarding specific requirements for preparation of their portfolios.
||Minor in Education
||Minor outside Education
||Minor qualifying examination required
||Depends on policy of minor department
||Depends on judgment of minor representative
|Students are not required to register for the semester they are taking qualifying exams (see section on maintaining active student status).
After all portions of the written component of the qualifying examinations are taken, an oral examination must be held. The primary purpose of this examination is for the advisory committee to review the answers to the written qualifying examination questions, to request elaboration or clarification to questions that were poorly or incompletely answered, and to quiz the student in-depth over any or all of the examination material. The date of passing the oral qualifying examination is a critical date. The seven years for course currency are counted backward from this date, and the seven years for completion of the dissertation are counted forward from this date. (See “Seven-Year Rule” in the section entitled “The Dissertation” below.)
Students who fail some or all portions of the qualifying examinations may be allowed to retake these portions. This decision is made by the student’s advisory committee and the department chair, and is based on the student’s overall program performance and the extent of the deficits on the qualifying examinations. Only one retake of the qualifying examinations is allowed.
In order to be eligible to take the qualifying examinations a student must have
Nomination to Candidacy
- been admitted unconditionally to the doctoral program
- a doctoral advisory committee appointed and a doctoral program of studies approved by the Office of Graduate Studies and
- completed all or nearly all doctoral course work, with no more than 6 credit hours graded as incomplete.
It is the responsibility of the advisory committee, either before or during the oral examination, to review all aspects of the student’s doctoral program work, to assess the student’s development as a scholar and a professional educator, and, if appropriate, to discuss topics for dissertation research and career goals. Thus, the committee is expected to take stock of the student’s progress in the doctoral program, to inventory the work remaining, to plan program requirements to ensure a good fit to career goals, and to offer critique, advice, and encouragement.
Review of all scholarly work produced by the student is an integral component of this program review. It is the responsibility of the advisory committee, and especially of the committee chair, to examine all major scholarly works produced by the student during the program of studies. These works include the research manuscript that resulted from the early inquiry experience study, papers presented at conferences or published, and scholarly works produced in courses taught throughout the program of studies. (These may include literature reviews, position papers, curriculum development projects, program evaluation studies, measurement instrument construction studies, needs assessments, library research studies, and data-base d research.) Some doctoral programs have lists and descriptions of the types of scholarly products expected of their students prior to nomination to candidacy.
When the advisory committee is satisfied with the student’s performance in the written and oral qualifying examinations and with the student’s overall progress in the doctoral program, the student is nominated to candidacy.
Admission to Candidacy
Admission to candidacy is awarded after the student has been nominated to candidacy and after all required course work has been completed. Considerable time may sometimes elapse between nomination to candidacy and admission to candidacy, due to incomplete course work or old course work requiring revalidation.
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Maintaining Active Student Status
After passing qualifying examinations, doctoral students must register for at least 1 credit hour each semester (not summer session) in order to maintain active student status. This is ordinarily done by enrolling in 1 or more credit hours of dissertation credit (799). After 90 credit hours of program course work have been taken and students have been admitted to candidacy (i.e., all but the dissertation hours have been completed and qualifying examinations have been passed), students may enroll in G901 Advanced Research in order to maintain active status. G901 is a 6 credit hour course, with a fee of $150 (subject to change). This is an inexpensive way for students with graduate assistantships to maintain a “full load.” However, enrollment in G901 is limited to six semesters, and it is not offered in summer sessions.
Registration in absentia for 799 and G901 is available for doctoral students who reside more than 25 miles from the Bloomington campus. Registration should be requested from the Office of Graduate Studies, Education 1000, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-1006 (812-856-8540). Students who fail to register each semester after passing qualifying examinations must back-enroll for all semesters missed, in order to graduate. There is a charge of $250 per semester for back-enrollment.
The dissertation must be completed within seven years of passing the oral qualifying examination. At this time, doctoral candidacy is terminated for students who have not completed the dissertation. Such students may apply for readmission. This process is initiated with a letter to the associate dean for graduate studies requesting readmission. Students applying for readmission are subject to current admission criteria. If readmitted, such students must retake the current qualifying examinations and fulfill other conditions imposed by the department in order to establish currency (such as taking or auditing selected courses). If the qualifying examinations are passed and the other conditions are met, these students are readmitted to candidacy. They have three years from this date to complete a dissertation.
Research Committee Constitution
After admission to candidacy, the student must assemble a research committee. The doctoral research committee has the responsibility to guide the student through the dissertation process and to conduct the final oral defense.
Each research committee must have at least four members. Two must be from the student’s major area of study and one from the minor. For an interdisciplinary minor, the minor member must be from outside the major area. If the minor is not pertinent to the topic of the dissertation, the student may petition to substitute another member from outside the major area. One member of the committee chair must be a faculty member in the student’s major area. Usually, the committee chair is also the dissertation director. However, it is acceptable for another committee member with particular expertise in the area of study to direct the dissertation. A form for the appointment of the doctoral research committee is available in the Office of Graduate S tudies. All members of Ph.D. research committees must be members of the University Graduate School faculty. The committee chair and the dissertation director must be full members of the University Graduate School faculty. If an associate or affiliate member of the University Graduate School faculty has special expertise in the area of the student’s research, the research committee chair and the associate dean for graduate studies may petition the University Graduate School to allow the associate or affiliate faculty member to direct the student’s dissertation.
For 90 credit hour and 60 credit hour Ed.D. programs, research committees must have at least three members. Two of these must be from the major field of study, of whom one must be a tenure-line faculty from the core campus. The third member cannot be from the major field of study. One member may be from the faculty of a campus of Indiana University outside the core campus. At least two of the committee members must be tenure-line faculty members. The committee chair must be an associate or full professor in the student’s major area of study. The dissertation director must be a full or associate member of the University Graduate School faculty.
In some instances it is possible to include a committee member who is not an Indiana University faculty member, such as a faculty member at another university, on a doctoral committee. To receive approval for such a substitution two conditions must be met: (1) the substitute member must have special expertise,not available among University Graduate School faculty, either in the substantive area of the study or in the research methodology, and (2) the substitute member must supply evidence of published research.
Selecting a Committee
The procedure for selecting a research committee chair and research committee members varies considerably from student to student. Ideally the research question that becomes the focus of the dissertation study stems naturally from research experiences, course work, or graduate assistantship assignments that the student has had during the program of studies. Ideally, each student has, by thi s time in the program, formed a mentoring relationship with one or more program faculty members. Often the advisory c ommittee chair is the student’s mentor and becomes the research committee chair. In such a case, the studen t and chair typically have had discussions about tentative dissertation topics prior to admission to candidacy and prior to the selection of other r esearch committee members. Sometimes the student selects a research topic that is an extension of research being ca rried out by the mentor.
It is not required that the advisory committee chair be asked to chair the research committee, nor that the advisory committee chair agree to chair the research committee, if asked. Ultimately, the choice of a research chair involves a combination of personal compatibility and compatibility of the research interests of the student and the chair. The student and the committee chair typically confer regarding the selection of other research committee members.
A one- to two-page dissertation prospectus must be submitted with the nomination of research committee form. This prospectus should include a clear statement of the questions to be addressed in the study, an outline of the design of the study, the research methods to be used, and a discussion of the contribution of the study to theory and/or to practice. The prospectus should play an important role in the selection of a research committee. This document allows prospective members to decide whether to participate in the study, based on the area of focus and the integrity of the prospectus. It is generally unwise for faculty members to make a commitment to serve on a student’s research committee before a written prospectus is presented for examination.
After submitting the prospectus students are next required to submit a dissertation proposal, a document that is considerably more detailed than the prospectus. The proposal should contain the following elements: a statement of purpose, rationale, literature review, research questions, proposed procedures, the source of data, methods of data collection, methods of data analysis or data reduction, and the contribution of the study to theory and/or to practice. Frequently, students are advised by their research committee to write a draft of the first three chapters of the dissertation (purpose and rationale, literature review, and method) as their research proposal.
A meeting of the research committee must be held to discuss and approve the dissertation proposal. A dissertation proposal approval form is available in the Office of Graduate Studies. When committee approval has been secured, the form, together with a two page summary of the proposal, must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies.
Use of Human Subjects
If the proposed research involves the use of human subjects, a research review form for the use of human subjects must be completed. This form must be approved by the Campus Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects before the data collection begins. Questions about this procedure may be addressed to the contract and research risk compliance officer, Bloomington (812-855-3061), or the Office of Research Risk Administration, Indianapolis (317-274-8289). Human subjects form can be viewed and downloaded from the Web at www.indiana.edu/~resrisk/index.html.
A Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations is available in the Office of Graduate Studies and in the Office of the University Graduate School. This document contains detailed instructions for the preparation and submission of the dissertation manuscript. The guide can be viewed at: http://www.indiana.edu/~grdschl/thesisGuide.php.
Final Oral Defense
An oral public examination is scheduled at the completion of the dissertation research, after the dissertation manuscript is complete, allowing the student to defend the dissertation research. This examination may not be scheduled less than six months subsequent to the date of research committee approval. Committee members must receive a copy of the dissertation manuscript two weeks prior to the final oral.
For both Ph.D. and Ed.D. students, an announcement of the final defense examination must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies one month prior to the examination. Also, Ph.D. students must also deliver a copy of the announcement to the University Graduate School. The announcement should be on one page and must contain the following: the date, the time and place of the examination, the title of the dissertation, the name of the author, the department or program area, the summary of t he study, an invitation for all faculty to attend, and the signature of the research committee chair. The summary should be from 150 to 300 words in length and must include a statement of the problem, research procedures, findings, and conclusions. A sample of the desired format is available in the office of the University Graduate School and in the Office of Graduate Studies in Bloomington.
Checklist of Doctoral Program Milestones
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- Admission to Program
- Advisory Committee and Program of Studies Approval (Meeting and Form)
- Written Qualifying Examinations
- Oral Qualifying Examination and Nomination to Candidacy (Meeting and Form)
- Admission to Candidacy
- Appointment of Dissertation Research Committee (Form)
- Dissertation Proposal Approval (Meeting and Form)
- Announcement of Dissertation Defense
- Oral Defense of Dissertation (Meeting and Form)
- Submit Dissertation Manuscript
- Degree Conferral