Can I take courses outside of the Department of Teacher Education?Yes, while some of your required courses and your three selectives need to be in TE, you may, with consultation with your advisor/committee, take courses in other departments in the College as well as take courses outside of the college. MSU also has an agreement that allows MSU students to register for courses in any of the other Big Ten universities.
Can I include some master’s level courses in my doctoral program?Yes, up to two master’s level courses are allowed as long as your guidance committee approves them (their approval will be based on whether these courses strengthen your particular area of study).
What is the difference between a Guidance Committee and a Dissertation Committee?A Guidance Committee, which is formed either late in your first year in the program and no later than by the end of your second year in the program, is designed to help guide your doctoral program, approve your program plan, and guide you to the completion of your comprehensive exams. A Dissertation committee is formed after you pass your comprehensive exams, with the purpose of guiding you through your dissertation research, writing and defending the dissertation. Both committee need to include at least four MSU regular faculty. The chair of each must be a TE faculty member.
For students entering the doctoral program with a well-defined area of research and scholarship, the composition of the Guidance Committee and the Dissertation Committee might be similar (in other words, the Guidance Committee, either fully or with some minor changes, turns into your Dissertation Committee). For students who enter the program with a less defined focus, or those who change direction after entering the program, the Dissertation Committee might end up being quite different from the Guidance Committee. Whether a substantial difference in the two committees has taken place or not, it is important to ensure that, while the composition of the Guidance Committee might include faculty outside your area of scholarly focus (e.g., faculty with whom you’ve taken courses outside of your specific areas of scholarly interest), your Dissertation Committee, to the degree possible, should, by and large, comprise of faculty in your area of scholarly interest. This will not only allow them, as experts in the field, to better support your doctoral research and writing of your dissertation, their letters of recommendation on your behalf will be considered more significant by search committees when you apply for faculty positions in your field.
Can I select an advisor who is a faculty member in another department?No. Your advisor must be a faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education. You can select a faculty member from another department to serve as the Director of your Dissertation but your advisor of record must be from TE.
Can my Guidance/Dissertation Committee include members from departments outside of Teacher Education?Yes. Depending on your scholarly area of interest, you might, in consultation with your advisor, want to select one or more committee members from other departments in the college or even outside of the college. You may also include a fifth committee member from another university.
What happens when changes occur to the program requirements while I am in the program?You are required to comply with the program requirements applicable to your particular cohort. However, if program requirements change while you are already in the program, you may select to either follow the new requirements or follow the requirements in the books pertaining to your particular cohort.
How do I apply for, and receive funding for travel to conferences?Each year, depending on the budget for the doctoral program for that year, a certain sum is allocated toward student travel for conferences in which a paper they authored (or co-authored) is to be presented. If one of your papers has been accepted at a conference, and you wish to travel to present that paper, you should fill out a travel pre-authorization form. Once that form has been approved, and you have completed your travels, you’ll need to submit all receipts for which you seek reimbursement to the program secretary. Make sure to include the air ticket receipt as well as the boarding passes for each leg, a receipt from your hotel and any other travel related (e.g., taxi, shuttle) expenses. No receipts are necessary for food (you receive a pre-determined per-diem). Please ensure that if you share a hotel room with another student, the hotel bill is split (it is easy to do if you notify the hotel when you make your reservation or when you check in. They will not be able to split the bill at checkout). In the event that a conference takes place nearby (e.g., in Chicago), and you’d rather drive than fly, make sure you check with the program secretary which option is cheaper before going to the conference (the university will not reimburse the gas and mileage if flying is cheaper).
When should I take dissertation credits?In addition to your 45 credits of courses, you also are required to register for 24 dissertation credits (TE 999). While the intent is that you register for those credits after you’ve completed your course work, you may register for those at any time during your program.
How many credits is the Practicum (TE 995) and when should I register for it?The Practicum can be anywhere from 1-6 credits. A practicum normally taken more than a semester to complete. You may register for the course in the semester in which you begin your practicum or in the semester in which you defend your practicum paper (or, if your practicum spans more than two semesters, anywhere in between).
When should I be doing what in my program (Or, how do I know that I am progressing in a timely fashion)?Students are expected to complete their degrees within five years. How they do so varies widely since each student’s program will look quite differently. What I propose here is a general guideline, not something carved in stone that you must abide by. Still, this guideline might be helpful to plan your program
By the end of your first year and no later than the end of your second year, you should have constructed your guidance committee. Your program plan should be approved by your guidance committee in your second year. Your practicum should be conducted during your second or third year (if you intend for your practicum paper to serve as one of your comp artifacts for option 2, your practicum should be conducted sooner than later, sine comps should be taken sometime during your third year in the program. The end of your third year or the end of the fall semester of your fourth year should mark the completion of your course-taking. Your fourth year should, by and large, be devoted to getting approval for your dissertation research and conducting that research. Your fifth year should be devoted primarily to writing and defending your dissertation.