- Preliminary Exam
- Practicum (TE 995)
- Program Plan
- Comprehensive Exams
- The Dissertation
- General Liberal Education Requirements
CourseworkCandidates for the Ph.D. degree will complete at least 15 courses. The total number of credits for each student is determined by his or her guidance committee and distributed according to the following requirements:
A two-semester proseminar (TE 901 and 902) taken during the first year of the doctoral program. These two courses are designed to help build students’ academic skills within a professional learning community, introduce them to big issues in/questions about education, and provide them with a preliminary look at the program’s major areas of emphasis.
At least four doctoral courses about educational inquiry and research, including: an introduction to educational inquiry (CEP 930); a doctoral course in statistics (CEP 932); a doctoral course in either qualitative (TE 931) or quantitative research methods (CEP 933); and a research practicum (TE 995) to be undertaken after the other research courses have been completed. In addition to the above college requirements, we encourage all students to also enroll in the Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods course (TE 934) and the Introduction to qualitative methods (TE 931). In the event a student’s doctoral dissertation involves qualitative research, we also recommend taking at least one course in Advanced in Qualitative Research (e.g., TE 939).
At least three courses offered by the Department of Teacher Education that are selected to contribute to the breadth of one’s understanding of educational issues. These courses may not include TE 901, TE 902, TE 990, TE 931 (if this course is counted as one of the student’s four required research courses), TE 994 (other than section 01), and TE 995.
At least six additional courses that form an area of concentration. Depending on your area of concentration, these do not necessarily need to be in the College of Education.
The university’s residency requirement -- defined as enrolling in six credits of coursework in two consecutive semesters -- must also be met. (Residency does not necessarily mean that a student spends full time on campus, although the program strongly encourages them to do so)back to top
An important feature of doctoral study is scholarly writing. The purpose of the Preliminary Exam is to help students assess their strengths as writers and identify any aspects of scholarly writing that need further support and development. The Preliminary Exam is required after any student has completed 12 credits in the program.
For many students, this exam takes place near the end of their first year in the program, somewhere between the 12th and 14th week of the semester to allow time for faculty assessment and to avoid interference with various end of term work.
The Preliminary Exam asks you to write a critical review of an article. Each year, the Comprehensive Examinations committee selects three articles for critical review. You will choose one to review. The articles will represent the broad range of issues explored in the required proseminars. Articles are chosen with attention to the diversity of students’ backgrounds and experiences.
Students will receive explicit directions about how to complete their article reviews (previous examinations and directions are available on the TE website). Each response is assessed by two faculty reviewers, one of whom is the student’s temporary or permanent advisor. The Comprehensive Examinations committee examines the faculty feedback and makes a decision of strong pass, acceptable pass, revise, or fail.
Students have up to three opportunities to pass the preliminary examination. The preliminary examination must be passed before the student completes 30 credits.back to top
PracticumAs part of the college requirement in inquiry and research, every doctoral student must complete a research practicum. The practicum should occur after completing the first two requirements in the research experience (i.e. the inquiry course, the methodology course), and preferably prior to comprehensive examinations. The practicum is designed to provide students with an opportunity to propose and engage in independent research, closely collaborating with other students and faculty, before moving on to the dissertation. The practicum generally results in a journal length research paper that is presented orally and in written form to the Practicum Committee.
Essential Features of the PracticumThe practicum is designed as a pre-dissertation research experience that would involve identifying a question or issue of interest, designing and conducting the study, and analyzing and reporting the findings. It is assumed that participation in a practicum will provide students with a range of opportunities relevant to conducting educational research. The research practicum will support students in learning to:
- Propose a significant question or questions grounded in existing theory and building on or responding to other research in a field of interest;
- Select, justify, and implement methods appropriate to the question(s) and research context;
- Gather appropriate evidence/data;
- Subject the evidence/data to careful analysis;
- Reassess prior assumptions and conceptualizations in relation to evidence/data gathered and ongoing analysis;
- Organize and present oral and written reports, that are cogent, focused, and logical, for a community of scholars;
- Respond to input and critiques, and provide advice and comments for others' research; and
- Revise the written report in response to feedback.
Practicum CommitteeThe practicum requires a practicum committee. It is the student's responsibility to construct this committee. The student could form this practicum committee from an already existing group or by creating one that is specific to the practicum. It must include at least one student, who has already completed the practicum, and at least two tenure-stream faculty members to direct the work. One faculty member of the practicum committee must be designated as the Practicum Director.
Practicum Credits, Enrollment, and FormsStudents must enroll in the practicum (TE 995) for one to six credits. This is accomplished by completing a Practicum Agreement Form with the faculty member who is serving as Practicum Director and by submitting that form to Doctoral Program Secretary. Two forms are to be used in the process of the practicum. The first form (The Practicum Agreement Form) is only for enrolling in the practicum. This form needs to be used to create your particular section of TE 995 on the university course list, much like an independent study. The second form (The Practicum Committee and Defense Form) is to be used for the remainder of the practicum. That is, the steps comprising the practicum (constructing a committee, approval of one’s proposal, the oral defense, and approval of the final paper) should all be documented on this form. The same form is used throughout the practicum and should be submitted to the program secretary upon completion of the practicum.
Approval of the Practicum ProposalA written proposal must be approved by the student's Practicum Committee and (in the event that the chair of the student's guidance committee is not part of the Practicum Committee, also by) the Chair of the student's guidance committee. The written proposal should include: (1) a rationale for the study, including a brief literature review; (2) research question(s) or purpose(s); (3) methodology and method, including plans for data analysis; and (4) a brief discussion of educational significance. The student should obtain approval of the practicum proposal and, if applicable, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to beginning the practicum study.
Completion of the PracticumSatisfactory completion of the Practicum requires a written report and an oral presentation approved by the Practicum Committee. The written report should include the following: (1) the rationale for the study, including a review of the relevant literature; (2) research question(s) or purpose(s); (3) methodology and method, including data analysis procedures; (4) findings/presentation of analyses; and (5) a discussion, including implications and limitations. The oral presentation is to have a format similar to that of a dissertation defense, including: (1) a brief presentation of the study; and (2) substantial time to respond to questions and feedback from the Practicum Committee and, if applicable, a larger community of scholars.
All members of the Committee must approve the written and oral reports. The Practicum Director is responsible for approval of the final revisions. The Practicum Director also assigns a numerical grade or Pass/No Pass. [Please note: Currently, the Practicum is graded on a numerical scale; the TE PhD APPC has submitted a request to the College to change it to Pass/No Pass. We will notify faculty and students if this requested change is granted].back to top
Program PlanThe student, advisor/chair, and guidance committee share responsibility for planning a program of coursework that both provides the student with appropriate academic knowledge and scholarly perspectives and skills, and satisfies the program’s curricular requirements.
Typically, program plans are submitted before the end of the second year of study – or at a point before the student has completed more than half of the 15 courses in his or her program. The tentative plan, which the student and advisor/chair prepare, should be reviewed by the full committee, revised if appropriate, signed by all committee members, and then forwarded to the program secretary for department approval. After signing off on the program plan, the program secretary forwards it to the Student Affairs Office for college approval.
The plan should be organized to conform to the requirements of the program:
- TE 901
- TE 902
Research and Inquiry
- CEP 930
- CEP 932
- An additional doctoral course in methodology.
- Research practicum - TE 995
Program SelectivesTo meet the selectives requirement, students are required to take three TE courses (meaning TE is the sole or lead department for the course) numbered 903 – 991 excluding the following: TE 930, TE 931, TE 934, TE 939, TE 990, TE 994 (except for TE 994 section 001), and TE 995.
Program Electives(six elective courses from the concentration; may include non-TE courses).
Submission of Program PlanThe Program Plan students submit for committee approval and departmental signoff includes the following three components:
- The Report of the Guidance Committee Form
The list of courses should be organized under the headings: proseminars, research courses, selectives and electives. (See example here)
- A written explanation of how the student’s program and/or professional experiences in the program fulfill the College’s Liberal Education Requirements.
- A memo defining the overall rationale of the program plan and an explanation of the nature of the substantial expertise that it represents.
College General Liberal Education RequirementTo meet the college’s general liberal education requirement, students must demonstrate they have basic knowledge in at least four of the 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; and (9) issues of diversity in education. Please note: area (4) and area (5) are already addressed by the required department proseminars and by the required research methods sequence. Thus students need only demonstrate they have basic knowledge in two of the other areas listed. This basic knowledge can come from in or outside of the Department of Teacher Education. The student should write a memo to accompany his/her program plan that explains how his/her program provides basic knowledge in two of the other areas listed. The guidance committee will determine whether the program adequately addresses the two areas the student specifies. If the program does not, the committee will provide suggestions to the student regarding how the student can meet the requirement and the student will revise the program plan and accompanying memo until the guidance committee is satisfied that the college’s general liberal requirement is met.
While the college’s general liberal education requirement addresses breadth, it is also important to address depth. To this end, the department requires that each student develop substantial expertise in at least one area. To demonstrate this expertise, the student will write a memo to accompany his/her program plan that explains how his/her program, studies, and professional experiences provide the opportunity to develop substantial expertise in at least one area. The guidance committee will determine whether the program adequately addresses the area the student specifies. If the program does not, the committee will provide suggestions to the student regarding how the student can meet the requirement and the student will revise the program plan and accompanying memo until the guidance committee is satisfied that the department’s substantial expertise requirement is met.
The program plan is always subject to future additions, deletions, or substitutions, as long as the revisions satisfy program requirements. Students circulate proposed changes among all committee members for their consideration, using the Changes in Program Plan form. Any change must be approved by the student’s guidance committee before the form is forwarded to the program secretary. Please note that the earliest course on the plan can be no more than eight years older than the oldest course on the plan; all courses, therefore, must be taken within an eight-year period of timeback to top
After filing the Program Plan and completing the majority of coursework (approximately 80 percent) the next milestone in a student’s progress toward the degree is the comprehensive examination. Students typically take the examination toward the end of their third year of doctoral study. Because the university requires that all requirements for the degree be completed within eight years from the date of initial program enrollment, the examination should be taken by the end of the fifth year in the program.
The DissertationAfter the student has passed the comprehensive examinations, he or she draws upon prior and ongoing work to formulate a dissertation proposal. Students customarily work with their advisors and appropriate other faculty in drafting and revising their proposals before submitting a formal version to their dissertation committee for review and recommendations.
The guidance committee chair may also serve as the director of the dissertation, but this is not mandatory. Students often use the transition from coursework to dissertation to identify a dissertation director and to change members of the guidance committee. Students should secure dissertation directors who will make the most beneficial contribution to the conceptualization and writing of the dissertation. Depending on the strengths and interests of their existing program guidance committee members, students may wish to ask additional faculty to serve on their dissertation committees, or to delete some members, or to change chairs, or retain the committee chair but have another regular faculty member direct the dissertation. Changes in committee membership and appointment of dissertation directors require that forms be filled out and filed with the Ph.D. coordinator.
Depending on the substance and methodology, some dissertation projects will require human subjects clearance from the university. A student’s advisor usually helps with the preparation of the SIRB application. Students may not serve as Primary Investigators (PIs) of their dissertation research, and typically the dissertation director serves as the PI and the student is designated as a Secondary Investigator.
The guidance committee will meet formally to discuss the proposal, ask questions, and evaluate the proposed project in terms of its quality, originality, scope, and appropriateness. The guidance committee may accept the proposal, ask for revisions, or, in rare cases, turn the proposal back to the student for considerable rethinking and rewriting (and another proposal meeting). Three committee members must be present for the proposal meeting to be valid. When they approve of the proposal, the committee members sign the appropriate form and forward it to the Ph.D. coordinator, who will file it with the Department Chair and Student Affairs Office.
Before completing the dissertation, students must have registered for at least 24 semester credits of TE 999 (Dissertation Research). Once the dissertation is complete, the student and committee schedule a final oral examination (often called the dissertation defense) at a mutually acceptable time. The University Calendar specifies a series of dates each semester that should be consulted when scheduling the examination, completing revisions, and submitting the final copies of the dissertation. Not every member of the committee has to attend a defense. Sometimes a member on sabbatical, for example, will participate by speakerphone. Even if one member is unable to participate in person or by phone, the defense can still take place, as long as that committee member has given comments and a vote to the chair in advance. Students should submit final versions of their dissertations to their committee members at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination date. Note that, as with all other benchmarks in the program, students must be enrolled in the term in which they expect to defend their dissertations and submit the final version of their dissertation to the graduate school.
After the dissertation has been successfully defended, the student must secure the signatures of all committee members on the Record of Completion of Requirements for Advanced Graduate Studies. In this case, the chair can sign for that committee member in absentia. A committee member who wishes to dissent from the majority decision on the dissertation’s oral defense must submit a statement explaining his or her reasons to the dean of the college.
After the final revisions are complete, the student should follow university guidelines regarding the production of the dissertation. The Graduate School provides forms and guidelines pertinent to producing the dissertation, copywriting the thesis, submitting the product to University Microfilm, and other technical matters. See the MSU Graduate School Guide to Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.
Publication of DissertationIt is a University requirement that all dissertations are the required deposit with University Microfilms (UMI). It is the hope of the Department that all dissertations lead to published articles, monographs, or books. Although dissertation research is unambiguously the intellectual property of the student, the expectation is that authorship of subsequent publications will reflect who contributed to the paper (consistent with professional expectations and ethics in the field of educational research. Thus, in cases in which faculty and students worked very closely on the work, publications might include their names as co-authors.
Final CertificationAfter the oral examination (defense) of the dissertation has been passed, the committee chair completes final certification forms, which are sent to the Student Affairs Office. These forms certify that the student has completed all courses listed on the program plan; has enrolled for at least 24 dissertation credits; has fulfilled the residency requirement; has completed a dissertation and has passed an oral examination based primarily on the dissertation; has completed all requirements within eight (8) years of admission to the doctoral program (or has appropriate extensions on file); and has a grade point average of no less than 3.0 in graduate courses taken at MSU.
General Liberal Education RequirementsTo meet the college’s general liberal education requirement, students must demonstrate they have basic knowledge in at least four of the following areas of general professional education:
- psychological foundations
- research and evaluation methods
- social, philosophical, and historical foundations
- motor development and motor learning
- biological foundations
- ethical considerations
- issues of diversity in education.
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