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Program Study: Coursework and Written Examinations

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An MQM student’s program of study includes coursework, a preliminary examination, an apprenticeship project, a comprehensive examination, and dissertation research.

A. Preliminary Examination

Following the first year of study in the Program, students register to take the program’s preliminary examination.  The preliminary exam is scheduled in mid- to late-August, before the second year of study begins.  During the examination period, students are asked to write a thorough critique of a published paper, which will include applied elementary statistical methods such as those covered in CEP 932 (e.g., t-test, chi-square test, simple regression, correlation). The preliminary exam primarily functions as a diagnostic tool to assess students’ understanding of the research process and their analytical reading and writing skills. The exam takes place typically from 9 AM to 4 PM (8 AM to 4 PM for non-native speakers). Students should use a computer (laptop) and type their responses clearly during the exam (using word for example). Access to the Internet or computer files other than the file containing the student’s response is not permitted. Students can take breaks for meal, snack, water, etc. 

B. Research Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship project (practicum) is completed after the preliminary exam, during the 2nd or 3rd year of study.  The apprenticeship project, which is carried out under the supervision of an advising MQM faculty member, is intended to result in a paper of publishable quality. The topic of the apprenticeship project is presented to a three person committee composed of two faculty members and a graduate student who has successfully completed the comprehensive examination.  The final report of the apprenticeship project is presented to that same committee for final approval. After the apprenticeship paper has been approved by the committee, a student may register to take the comprehensive examinations.

C.  Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examinations should be completed before the end of a student’s 4th year. The comprehensive exams are administered over three half days: the first two days of exams focusing on the student’s major (e.g., Quantitative Methods), and the final day on the student’s minor (e.g., Measurement). The duration of the exam is three hours each day (e.g., 9 AM to 12 PM). Students will answer four questions for their major (two in the first and two in the second day) and four questions for their minor (third day). The comprehensive exams include topics that students have covered during their coursework in MQM. Students should use a computer (laptop) and type their responses clearly during the exam (using word for example). Access to the Internet or computer files other than the file containing the student’s response is not permitted Students who do not pass a particular section of the exam are permitted to retake that part during the next testing period. Students must pass the comprehensive exams in three attempts total. Once comprehensive exams are successfully completed, students should prepare their doctoral dissertation proposal for hearing before their Dissertation Committee (detailed in Section VI).

D.  Coursework

A student’s program plan of coursework must fulfill the three sets of requirements that are described below: Core Courses (courses required of all students), Selective Courses (courses by which students choose an area of specialization within MQM), and Cognate Courses (courses constituting an area of specialization outside of MQM).  In addition to completing the designated coursework, students should participate in MQM seminars, and must satisfy the College of Education breadth requirements. Specifically, to fulfill the breadth requirements all doctoral candidates in the college are required to have basic knowledge in at least four of the nine following areas of general professional education:

  1. Administration
  2. Curriculum
  3. Psychological Foundations
  4. Research and Evaluation Methods
  5. Social, Philosophical, and Historical Foundations
  6. Motor Development and Motor Learning
  7. Biological Foundations
  8. Ethical Considerations
  9. Issues of Diversity in Education

The specific areas selected shall be determined by the student's guidance committee in consultation with the student. These requirements can be met either through courses or experience. Students can make the argument for what constitutes meeting a required area. For example, MQM class requirements can be used to meet requirement #4. Students could take ethics workshops to meet requirement #8. Students who work on research projects across the campus that may require them to learn about a substantive area, such as curriculum, can meet some of the requirements. CEP 930 could be used to meet requirements #3 or #5.

For more information about core courses, required courses, selective courses, and cognate courses, please see our coursework section.

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