I. Program Overview
The Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education (CITE) Ph.D. program is designed for persons
who are interested in and show promise of becoming scholars and leaders in the domains of
curriculum, instruction, teacher education, educational studies and educational policy at the K-12 or
college level, or in local, state, regional, national, or international institutions, agencies and contexts.
The CITE Ph.D. program draws strength from the distinctive orientation of the MSU College of
Education. First and foremost, we are a professional college. As a professional school, we are
committed to the preparation of teachers, counselors, curriculum leaders, school administrators,
policymakers, teacher educators, researchers, and others in the field of education. We strive to
promote high-quality, equitable education and to generate a sense of professional responsibility
for the improvement of education in its multiple dimensions. As all professional schools must,
we attend to theory and practice equally. We carry out research and develop theory, all the
while maintaining close relationships with practice.
Second, we seek both to understand and to reform education: We have an obligation to engage
in meaningful research about education. But we also recognize our obligation to move beyond
analysis and promote education reform, seeking to improve the conditions of teaching and
learning for students and educators alike. This means looking beyond the technical concerns of
teaching and learning to the broader social responsibility we bear for promoting social equity in
and through education.
Third, we are committed to creating a diverse community: We believe that diversity of
background, experience, expertise, and perspective enriches our scholarship. We seek to
attract and retain the best faculty and graduate students possible. Through courses, seminars,
colloquia, joint projects, and other formal and informal interactions with those inside and outside
the university, we draw on this diversity to inform our research, teaching, service, and outreach.
Finally, we practice what we teach: As a College, we aim to put our theories into practice within
our own classrooms and lives. This means carrying out our own teaching and service the way
we teach others to do it and applying our research skills to the enhancement of the college as a
scholarly community for students and faculty alike.
The Content and Purposes of a Doctoral Education
Doctoral education is distinct from “going to school.” While courses and mastery of
predetermined content are an essential element, so too is participation in larger professional
communities – through research projects, participation in professional organizations, work in
schools and other relevant settings and the like. Perhaps most importantly, it is essential that
students take ownership for their own learning during the course of a doctoral program, which
includes deciding what courses to take and what other experiences to create for one’s own
Students in the CITE Ph.D. program take a minimum of 15 courses (which include two required
pro-seminars, five required research courses, three selective courses, and five electives) as well
as complete a practicum, comprehensive exams, and defend a dissertation. Students
additionally take 24 dissertation credits during their program.
All full-time CITE doctoral students are currently guaranteed 5 years of assistantships (see
conditions in letter of acceptance) that provide a stipend for work done through those
assistantships. Assistantships also cover 9 credits of tuition for each of the fall and spring
semesters as well as healthcare.
Students have the opportunity to apply for multiple fellowships and scholarships each year as
well as for reimbursement for travel to scholarly conferences.
Please see more details on the above in the remainder of the Handbook.
II. Areas of Scholarly Engagement
Our faculty and students engage in inquiry and teaching in a variety of areas, often serving as both
scholarly communities that foster conversation and stimulate inquiry and as vehicles for program
and course planning. Faculty and students often affiliate themselves in more than one area and
those affiliations sometimes change over time. Such affiliations do not need to be declared by
faculty or students. They may be very informal or may take a more formal shape for faculty and
students whose teaching and assistantships center around a particular focal area.
Comparative and Global Studies
The focus of the Comparative and Global Studies area is the study and application of
educational ideas, systems, and practices, using the theories and methods of comparative
education. The approach is multidisciplinary intersecting with disciplines such as anthropology,
economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology among
others. Faculty and students in this group seek to contribute to comparative scholarship, and to
increase global understanding and social justice by using their research, teaching, and service
to inform domestic and international education and policy
This area, which explores ways in which education (both inside and outside schools) is
considered and enacted within broader societal discourses, uses critical lenses to examine how
(and whose) power and discourses circulate to form and inform particular curricular and
pedagogical practices, how discipline(s) help construct forms of knowing and not knowing, how
and whose knowledge gets privileged, and how forms of subjectivity, identity, and voice are
constructed/resisted within educational contexts. Such investigations, which explore education
in its broader sense—connecting societal discourses to school discourses and vice versa and
always exploring their implications—are informed, among others, by theoretical lenses from
neomarxism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, feminism, critical race theory,
queer theory, cultural studies, public pedagogy and psychoanalytic theories. Faculty and
students working in this area examine education in formal and informal settings, both in an out
of school, and consider education and its processes as always complex and embedded in
relations of power and privilege, which we try to both document and help challenge.
Faculty and students associated with this area are interested in the interactive relationships
among curriculum, the teaching and learning of school subjects, and ideological, social, and
disciplinary contexts of teaching and learning within and across subject areas. Among the areas
of central inquiry are curriculum theories, history, design, and development; relationships
between disciplines and school subjects; and debates about what knowledge is of most worth,
for whom, and for what purposes. The area allows for specialization in curriculum and a variety
of subject-oriented concentrations – history and social studies education, literacy education,
mathematics education, science education, and world languages. Curriculum questions are
approached from a cross-disciplinary, critical perspective rather than from a narrow, technical
interest. Study of the sociopolitical, historical, and theoretical contexts draw on diverse
disciplines across the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. Curriculum study is also
situated in its pragmatic context by examining the relationship of curriculum theory, policy, and
practice. The knowledge, decisions, roles, experiences, and actions of teachers and teacher
educators in addressing persistent curriculum issues, and their creation or mediation of
curriculum with students in social context, are of fundamental interest to contemporary scholars
in the field.
Education Policy and Social Analysis
Faculty and students in this area share interests in examining aspects of educational policy,
including policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. They focus on a wide range of issues
including the social-historical contexts within which particular educational policies arise, the political
process that shapes education policies, and consequences within and beyond the educational
system of particular education policies. Though faculty and students engage a range of issues,
many share an interest in understanding relationships between and among policy, teaching and
teachers' work. Students and faculty in this area examine the foundations of educational institutions
and practices from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including sociological, anthropological,
historical, economic, and political approaches. They also explore educational reform efforts of past
and present to better understand the ways in which policies shape teaching and learning. Students
and faculty in this area collaborate with colleagues across the College of Education, and faculty in
this area work with students in both the CITE and the Ed Policy doctoral programs.
English Language Learner Education (ELL)
Faculty and students in this area study the multiple complexities in educating English Language
Learners (ELL) including the influence of the socio-historical, local, and policy contexts and the
challenges of teaching learners with diverse levels of English proficiency and prior formal
schooling experiences in both English as a second language and content-area classrooms. In
this context, sociocultural, socio-historical, and sociopolitical factors that influence ELL
education as well as theories, methods, and program models in English as a second language
teaching, bilingual education, and content-area teaching are examined.
History and Social Studies Education
This area provides students with the opportunity to study education in its multiple relationships
to power, knowledge, disciplinary content knowledge, intellectual skills, and participatory
democracy, including issues of civic values, diversity, systems of social thought and belief,
justice, ethics, and politics. This can be done through both a disciplinary subject matter lens
(e.g., history, geography, economics, and other social science disciplines) and through a variety
of theoretical lenses (e.g., technical, positivist, constructivist, critical, feminist, post-colonial,
interpretive, postmodern, and post-structural—lines of inquiry reflective of our diverse faculty). In
their studies, students can explore questions relating to issues such as the sociocultural,
philosophical and historical aspects of education and schooling; comparative studies of history
and social studies education; curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the social studies; the
preparation of social studies teachers; the role of curriculum, schooling and the broader society
in positioning teachers and students as citizens in a culturally diverse world; social studies in
popular and high culture; museum studies; multicultural education; critical pedagogy; and
international, transnational, and global education. Students also have opportunities to teach
courses in social studies methods and multicultural and global education.
Language and Literacy
This area provides students from diverse backgrounds such as teacher education, special
education, and educational psychology opportunities to approach the study of language and literacy
from a multidisciplinary perspective. It is grounded in issues related to broader areas of inquiry that
characterize the doctoral program, including curriculum and instruction, reform movements, policy at
the state and national levels, and the history of education. Students explore aspects of pre-K to
adult language and literacy education in diverse settings, including the cognitive and social bases of
language and literacy development, the politics of literacy, and language and literacy development
for diverse learners. Students learn about language and literacy scholarship through their courses,
apprenticeships on faculty projects, and teaching language and literacy courses. Students develop
their own research agendas as lead authors on a research practicum and dissertation in language
and literacy education. Students participate in the Literacy Colloquy, an ongoing seminar series of
visiting and resident literacy scholars. For more information, please see the Doctoral
Specialization in Language & Literacy Education website:
http://education.msu.edu/literacy/doctoral/default.asp. Students participate in the Literacy Colloquy,
an ongoing seminar series of visiting and resident literacy scholars. Please see the Literacy
Colloquy wiki for current events: (http://llcolloquy.wiki.educ.msu.edu/).
The mathematics education faculty has diverse scholarly interests but share a commitment to
promoting meaningful learning experiences for all students. The core mathematics education
faculty in the CITE program has an explicit commitment to challenging oppressive forms of
mathematics education research and practices and is engaged in scholarly work that embraces
diversity and equity in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The mathematics education
emphasis crosses department boundaries by engaging with faculty with appointments in
multiple departments and by doing so brings together faculty strengths in teacher education,
educational psychology, special education, technology, statistics and mathematics. Collectively
the mathematics education faculty's scholarship engages a range of issues from elementary
through college mathematics education, including: educational equity, student knowledge and
learning, teacher knowledge and learning, teacher preparation, professional development,
curriculum, policy analysis, international mathematics education, and assessment of students
and teachers. A distinctive focus at MSU is the university's investment in maintaining a close
connection between university faculty and the K-12 classroom. Faculty and doctoral students
are engaged in a rich spectrum of research projects and work in urban, suburban, and rural
local schools. Students and faculty with these interests regularly interact with colleagues in the
PriME and EPET programs. This includes enrolling in common courses, as well as participating
in the mathematics education colloquium series and the mathematical learning research group
This area blends theory, research, and practical application to explore current issues in science
teaching and learning. Faculty bring a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives to
their work, including cognition, sociocultural, and feminist/critical perspectives using both
qualitative and quantitative methods. Core research areas include learning progressions,
curriculum development, teacher development, formative assessment, and teaching and
learning in urban contexts. Students have opportunities to contribute to a variety of research
projects, participate in policy formation, and refine their knowledge and pedagogical skills.
Students engage in sustained collaborative work with teachers, students, and administrators in
K-12 schools and school districts; college level science educators; informal science educators;
as well as university-based researchers and educators. The science educators on the faculty
help students build programs of study connected to their unique interests and support students
who desire to develop ties to related scholarship in the social sciences, humanities, and the
scientific fields themselves.
Teachers and Teacher Learning
This area brings together faculty and students who are concerned with the relationship between
teacher education and teacher learning at the preservice, induction, and inservice levels. They
focus on the enterprise of teacher education, the practices of teacher educators, and the formal
and informal learning of prospective, beginning, and experienced teachers over time and in
different settings. Students gain first-hand experience in the preparation of teachers through
their close involvement in the College’s own teacher preparation program and its wellestablished
relationships with area schools. In addition, students work with faculty on a variety
of research projects that concern teacher induction and professional development, investigating
the effects of various aspects of teacher preparation (field experience and methods classes, for
example), and the variety of aspects impacting the growth and professional development of
teachers throughout their careers as educators
Faculty and students in this area are interested in issues of urban education including, but not
limited to, teacher preparation, educational policy reform, K-12 student learning, community-based
education, and urban community development and empowerment. There is a core commitment to
improving the conditions of urban schools through the study of teacher pedagogy and practice,
student learning, curriculum, and policy across all subject areas. Students and faculty in this area
examine the historical, sociocultural, and sociopolitical contexts of urban education using a variety
of disciplinary perspectives, including sociological, historical, social justice, economic, and political
approaches. Critical questions of urban education are explored using a range of theoretical and
methodological lenses and approaches. Faculty and students in this area collaborate with
colleagues across the College and University to explore interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary
inquiries of urban education and reform. A primary goal is to engage in challenging discourse and
transformative practices for understanding and contributing to equitable opportunities to teach and
learn in urban settings.
Other Areas of Interest
While most faculty and students focus their scholarly and professional interests in the areas
mentioned above, many (often the very faculty and students working in the above mentioned
areas) also, often simultaneously, have scholarly and professional interests in other areas as
well, including languages other than English, learning technologies; educational philosophy,
sociology of education, history of education, anthropology of education; media, discourse, and
culture, religion and education, etc.
Students may, of course, choose to focus their work in one or more of the above mentioned
focal areas or create their own unique area of interest, as long as it is approved by the student’s
advisor and guidance committee and is supported by a series of courses and experiences that
provide deep and substantive knowledge in this area.
III. Specializations and Certificates
The CITE Program and the College of Education currently offer CITE students a specialization in
Language and Literacy Education as well as a variety of graduate certificates: in English Language
Learners Education, in Qualitative Research Methods, in Science Education, and in Urban
Education. Students may obtain the specialization and certificates while (and through) completing
their CITE degree.
A specialization offers substantial knowledge in a particular area, providing the student with a strong
level of expertise on the subject. It is similar to what other institutions might call a concentration. A
specialization confers at the time the student completes their primary major, if they have meet all of
A Graduate Certificate is more skilled based and covers a certain topic from several angles but does
not provide as much depth as a specialization. A Graduate Certificate confers independently of a
student's primary major and can be conferred as soon as a student completes the requirements of
Students wishing to obtain the specialization or one of the certificates need to formally declare intent
to do so through early in the program by filling out an “intent to enroll” form and then, at a later stage
in the program, fill out a second, completion form once all specialization/certificate requirements
have been fulfilled.
Graduate Specialization in Language and Literacy Education
The Graduate Specialization in Language and Literacy Education, which is administered by the
Department of Teacher Education, is designed for students who aspire to be scholars, curriculum
developers, and policy leaders in literacy at school, district, state, national, and international levels.
The specialization focuses on literacy theory, research, and education. It is for students who wish to
address issues of language and literacy development, literacy use, literacy instruction, literacy
contexts of social, cultural, and linguistic differences, and the possibilities of transforming how
people read and take action in their worlds.
The graduate specialization is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in the Doctor of
Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology and the Doctor of
Philosophy degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education and the Doctor of Philosophy
degree in Special Education. Students must meet the requirements of the specialization specified
below, in addition to the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational
Psychology and Educational Technology or the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum,
Instruction and Teacher Education or the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Special Education. With
the approval of the department and college that administers the student’s degree program, the
courses that are used to satisfy the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for
the doctoral degree. For further information visit the Language and Literacy Web site at:
Requirements for the Graduate Specialization in Language and Literacy Education
1. All of the following courses (9 credits):
CEP 930 Educational Inquiry (3 credits)
TE 946 Current Perspectives in Literacy Research and Instruction (3 credits)
TE 931 Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Educational Research 3
2. One advanced inquiry/research course related to the student’s field of interest. (3 credits)
3. Four of the following courses (12 credits):
CEP 912 Reading Comprehension: Research and Theory (3 credits)
CEP 915 Literacy in Sociocultural Context (3 credits)
CEP 941 Academic Issues in Special Education for At-Risk Students (3 credits)
CEP 980 Writing, Research and Theory (3 credits)
CEP 981 Research on Literacy and Technology (3 credits)
TE 904 ELL/ESL Research and Practice: K-12 (3 credits)
TE 944 Seminar in English Education (3 credits)
TE 945 Current Issues in Children’s and Adolescent Literature (3 credits)
TE 958 History of Literacy Research and Instruction (3 credits)
TE 959 Acquisition and Development of Language and Literacy (3 credits)
TE 991B Special Topics in Language and Literacy Education (3 credits)
TE 994 Laboratory and Field Experience in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education (3 credits)
4. One of the following research practicums (1 to 3 credits):
CEP 995 Practicum in Research Design and Data Analysis (1 to 3 credits)
TE 995 Research Practicum in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education (1 to 3 credits)
The practicum should be focused on a problem in language and literacy education.
English Language Learner Education (ELL) - Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate in English Language Learner Education is designed for students in
doctoral programs who wish to gain a comprehensive understanding of the multiple complexities in
educating English Language Learners (ELL) including the influence of the socio-historical, local, and
policy contexts and the challenges of teaching learners with diverse levels of English proficiency
and prior formal schooling experiences in both English as a second language and content-area
classrooms. The graduate certificate provides an overview of the different sociocultural, sociohistorical,
and sociopolitical factors that influence ELL education; demonstrates different theories,
methods, and program models in English as a second language teaching, bilingual education, and
content-area teaching; stresses the importance of affirming the linguistic and cultural diversity of
ELL’s; and offers the knowledge-base and skills in ELL education that students can apply in their
own research and teaching in the field of education.
Admission to English Language Learner Education
To be considered for admission to the Graduate Certificate in English Language Learner Education
students must be pursuing a doctoral degree program within the College of Education. For the
“intent to enroll” and “completion” forms pertaining to this certificate, go to our forms site at
Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in English Language Learner Education
Students must complete 12 credits from the following:
1. Four of the following courses (12 credits):
EAD 907 Educational Policy for Immigrant and ELL Students (3 credits)
LLT 808 Assessment for Language Teaching and Research (3 credits)
LLT 860 Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
SOC 852 Migration and Social Change (3 credits)
TE 904 ELL/ESL Research and Practice: K-12 (3 credits)
TE 908 Sociohistorical Perspectives on English Language Learners and
Second Language Education in the U.S. (3 credits)
TE 909 English Language Learners in Content Areas: Constructing Research
Communities and Resources (3 credits)
Students who wish to take an alternative course (3 or 4 credits) on English Language Learners
in substitution of a course above must request formal permission from the graduate certificate
program faculty. Only one substitution request will be accepted.
2. An English Language Learners Education research project focusing on issues related to
teaching and learning, curriculum, policy, counseling, or leadership as they pertain to
understanding problems, issues, and potential solutions in ELL education. This requirement can
be met through a student’s doctoral research practicum requirement or through an independent
study project arrangement with a faculty member. The certificate program faculty must
preapprove the project’s topic. The project must result in a paper with a minimum length of 25
pages with references.
Qualitative Research Methods - Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods is designed for doctoral students enrolled
in College of Education doctoral programs. It focuses on enhancing doctoral students’ theoretical
and practical preparation and expertise in conceiving, designing, conducting, analyzing, and
reporting qualitative research studies as well as preparing them to teach both introductory and
advanced courses in qualitative research methods when assuming faculty positions elsewhere.
Admission to Qualitative Research Methods Certificate
To be considered for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods
students must be pursuing a doctoral degree program within the College of Education. For the
“intent to enroll” and “completion” forms pertaining to this certificate, go to our forms site at
Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods
Students must complete 15 credits from the following:
1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):
CEP 930 Educational Inquiry (3 credits)
TE 931 Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Educational Research (3 credits)
2. At least three of the following courses (9 credits):
HST 803 Seminar in Methodology of Historical Research (3 credits)
SOC 985 Qualitative Field Research (3 credits)
TE 938 Qualitative Data Analysis (3 credits)
TE 939A Special Topics in Advanced Qualitative Methods (3 credits)
TE 939B Advanced Qualitative Methods: Critical Ethnography (3 credits)
TE 939C Advanced Qualitative Methods: Discourse Analysis (3 credits)
TE 939D Advanced Qualitative Methods: Case Studies (3 credits)
TE 939E Advanced Qualitative Methods: Humanities Oriented Research (3 credits)
TE 939F Advanced Qualitative Methods: Phenomenology (3 credits)
TE 939G Advanced Qualitative Methods: Humanizing Research: Decolonizing
Qualitative Inquiry (3 credits)
WRA 870 Research Methodologies in Rhetoric and Composition (3 credits)
Science Education Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate in Science Education, which is administered by the Department of Teacher
Education in the College of Education, is designed for doctoral students who are interested in
developing expertise in science education across and within a range of theoretical and
methodological perspectives. Cognition, sociocultural, and feminist-critical perspectives along with
both qualitative and quantitative methodologies are studied. Persons who hold degrees in a wide
range of disciplines may apply for admission to the certificate program. Applicants without sufficient
science or science education background will be required to complete collateral course work or
demonstrate proficiency through other means. Collateral course work will not count towards the
certificate program. Review of applicants focuses on their study and experience in science and
education, on the compatibility between their professional goals and the certificate program, and the
potential for successful advanced degree work.
With approval of the College of Education, the certificate is available as an elective to any qualified
student who is enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in the College of Agriculture and
Natural Resources, College of Natural Science, or the College of Education. Students must meet
the requirements of the certificate specified below, in addition to the requirements for the student’s
Doctor of Philosophy degree program.
For the “intent to enroll” and “completion” forms pertaining to this certificate, go to our forms site at
Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Science Education
1. Both of the following courses (9 credits):
TE 936 Topics in Research on Teaching and Learning Science (6 credits)
TE 937 Topics in Social, Historical, Philosophical Foundations of Science
Education (3 credits)
Students will enroll in two 3-credit enrollments for Teacher Education 936.
2. Students must complete a project under the supervision of a Teacher Education science
education faculty member. College of Education students may fulfill the project
requirement through a science education-focused research practicum by enrolling in
Teacher Education 995 for 1 to 3 credits. Students outside the College of Education can
meet this requirement by enrolling in a 1-credit section of Teacher Education 990
Independent Study experience with a Teacher Education faculty member
Urban Education Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate in Urban Education, which is administered by the Department of
Educational Administration in the College of Education, is designed for students who aspire to
understand and focus on issues involving urban education including the racial academic
achievement gap; allocation of resources for urban schools; contexts of social, cultural, and
economic differences; and the possibilities of transforming the ways in which urban school children
learn to be active and engaged participants in their communities.
The certificate is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in master's or doctoral degree
programs with approval from the urban education faculty. Students must meet the requirements of
the certificate specified below, in addition to the requirements for the student’s primary degree
For the “intent to enroll” and “completion” forms pertaining to this certificate, go to our forms site at
Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Education
Students must complete the following (12 credits):
1. The following course (3 credits):
EAD 901 Urban Education: An Historical Overview (3 credits)
2. Three of the following courses (9 credits):
CEP 943 Multicultural Issues in Special Education (3 credits)
EAD 822 Engaging Diverse Students and Families (3 credits)
EAD 830 Issues in Urban Education: Racial Achievement Gap (3 credits)
EAD 926 School Finance and Operations (3 credits)
EAD 940 Organizational Analysis of Education (3 credits)
TE 961 Urban Politics, Education, and School Reform (3 credits)
TE 962 Teachers and Teaching in Urban Contexts (3 credits)
TE 963 Critical Race Theory in Education (3 credits)
3. Students must complete a research paper on a topic in urban education, which may
focus on issues related to policy, curriculum, leadership or counseling as they pertain to
understanding problems and strengths in urban schools. The research paper topic must
be pre-approved by the urban education faculty and completed while enrolled in one of
the courses listed above.
IV. Admission to the Program: Application Review Criteria, and Process
Application and Review Process
A committee of faculty members from the Department of Teacher Education reviews each
application. The review committee considers the following factors in assessing applicants:
- Strength of academic and professional education record
- Potential for intellectual, educational, professional, or civic leadership
- Fluency in oral and written expression
- Compatibility of applicant’s stated goals with those of the program
- Conformity with university and college admission requirements
There are no fixed deadlines for applications; however, only in rare situations will an applicant begin
this program in any semester other than Fall semester. The committee reviews applications on a
regular basis throughout the year. The committee may recommend acceptance or denial of
admission to the program, or it may recommend holding an application and requesting more
information. If the recommendation is to admit the applicant, a temporary advisor will be assigned to
the applicant. Applicants are notified of the department’s decision by mail and e-mail as soon as
possible after the review.
Although applications for admission can be reviewed almost at any time during the year, it is in the
best interest of students to complete their applications as early as possible in the academic year.
Anyone wishing to qualify for one of the competitive multi-year university fellowships must have a
complete application on file by December 1. Moreover, assistantships are determined in early
spring. It is easier to match students’ interests with available opportunities if the Department knows
earlier rather than later who is in the new entering cohort.
The Department reserves the right to make a provisional recommendation to the program when the
review committee identifies a particular area of weakness in the student's application that could be
resolved within a year of the provisional admission to the program. How the student can meet the
required provisions will be spelled out in detail in the letter of provisional acceptance, including
specification of date when failure to meet those requirements will mean that the student cannot
continue in the program.
Required Application Materials
All forms needed for application are linked in this document and are available on the program
web page (http://www.educ.msu.edu/te/phd/current-students/forms.asp). Completed materials
should be uploaded to the Graduate Education Application Portal. Once the application to
graduate school is submitted and paid, the application portal will contact the applicant with
directions for uploading and submitting recommender names. If an applicants or recommenders
have difficulty uploading to the portal, they should contact the Doctoral Program Secretary.
University Application and Fee
Those seeking admission to an MSU graduate program must complete a university application
to graduate school. The Graduate application is completed online. The application fee (payable
in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank or with credit card) is $65 domestic applicants and
$75 international applicants. The MSU Office of Admissions website also includes considerable
information about related issues at the university. As part of the university application,
international students are required to submit a statement of financial proof. Completed forms
should be uploaded to the graduate application portal.
Materials to be sent by (or on behalf of) the applicant
Most of the following materials should be uploaded to the graduate education application portal.
Please contact the Doctoral Program Secretary if you encounter any difficulties with uploading.
Current Curriculum Vitae
Applicants may choose their own format for the curriculum vitae or use the format of the sample
vitae provided. A copy of the CV should be uploaded to the application portal.
Statement of Professional Goals
Applicants should upload a statement of their professional and person goals to the application
portal. This statement should be a separate document that discusses the reasons for pursuing a
doctoral degree. In the statement, applicants should respond to the following questions: How have
your experiences and intellectual growth shaped questions that an advanced graduate program
might help you to explore? What sorts of academic and professional leadership roles would the
program and degree help you to assume? This statement is a very important part of the file for the
review committee. Candidates should present a thoughtful and extended verbal portrait (2-3 pages
long single-spaced) of their reasons for pursuing advanced graduate study, the match between their
goals and the program’s characteristics, and the major issues of scholarly and professional interest
that they wish to explore during their graduate career. Statements should also include a discussion
of any leadership roles the applicant has held as well as any professional/personal obstacles the
applicant has overcome. This statement should be uploaded as a separate document to the
graduate education application portal.
Applicants upload to the application portal one or more examples of their academic writing (e.g.,
something that they have published, a master’s thesis, or a paper submitted to fulfill graduate
course requirements). The applicant should be the sole author of the writing sample. The purpose is
to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to write academic English in order to give the review
committee a clear idea of how well the candidate will be able to carry out the kind of analytical
writing that is such a central component of advanced graduate study. The writing sample should be
at least 10 pages long (double spaced). International students in particular need to see this sample
as a way to demonstrate their command of English. Toward this end, a translated abstract of a
master’s thesis is of no help. (If a student does not have an appropriate extended piece of academic
work in English that can be submitted along with the application, please contact the PhD Program
Coordinator). The writing sample should be uploaded to the application portal.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants will be invited by the application portal to submit contact information for their
recommenders. Once that information is submitted, the portal will contact the recommenders
requesting the letters of recommendation. Recommenders should be individuals who can attest to
the applicants’ academic ability or their professional qualifications (e.g., professors with whom
courses were taken, a master’s degree advisor, or a professional supervisor). In the application
portal, click-the "Letters of Recommendation" tab to add your recommender information. You will be
asked to waive or not waive your right of access to these letters of recommendation. The purpose of
these letters is to elaborate the qualities the applicant brings to the program that are likely to make
him or her successful in advanced graduate study. As a result, it is most helpful to solicit letters from
individuals who know the applicant’s academic and professional skills. Letters from instructors who
taught the applicants at the master’s or undergraduate level are particularly effective for this
Applicants must send one copy of their official degree granting transcripts directly to the Doctoral
Program Secretary. These transcripts should be sent from the degree institution in sealed
University envelopes. There is no need to send MSU transcripts to the Program Secretary.
Graduate Record Examination
Applicants must take the GRE General Test as part of their application. If you have taken the test in
the past, test results are valid for 5 years and must be valid on the first day of the first course the
applicant intends to enroll in. The GRE is administered on computer at a number of centers across
the United States (including on campus at MSU). When registering to take the GRE test, please
make sure you provide them with the MSU institution code, which is 1465. The department code is
not needed. GRE scores should be sent electronically from the testing institution to MSU. It
generally will take 6 to 8 weeks from the date of your test for your test scores to be received, so
please allow for that time in considering the timeline for your application. To expedite the review
process, applicants may wish to upload a copy of their unofficial scores to the application portal.
Provisional Acceptance to the Program
The Department reserves the right to make a provisional acceptance to the program in the case
of any student whose file they perceive to have deficiencies that preclude an outright
acceptance decision, yet those deficiencies are not so great that rejection would be the
appropriate admissions decision. In general, the Department will not admit students who cannot
eliminate deficiencies within one year of admissions to the program. At the time of provisional
acceptance, how the student can meet the provisions will be spelled out in detail in the letter of
provisional acceptance, including specification of a “drop dead” date, when failure to eliminate
deficiencies will mean that the student cannot continue in the program.
To apply to the Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education PhD program, you must upload the following
materials in PDF format to the graduate education application portal. Once you have submitted your paid
application to the Graduate School, you will receive an email invitation to upload your application materials to
the Graduate Education Application Portal. You will need your applicant ID number and the password you
created when you completed your application to graduate school. The Graduate Education Application Portal
URL is https://www.admissions.msu.edu/gradportal/default.aspx.
The Application files will not be reviewed until the application fee is paid and all required application
materials are received.
- MSU Application for Graduate Study and fee ($65.00 US) Submit Online
- Current Curriculum Vitae Upload to Portal
- Statement of Professional Goals
(different and separate from item #22 in the online Application for Graduate
Study) (Upload to Portal)
- Writing Sample Upload to Portal
- Letters of Reference: Three (3) completed reference letters with department
cover form attached. CITE Cover Form (Recommender Uploads to Portal
- Official (sealed in a university envelope) transcripts: One official transcript
from each degree granting institution. We will obtain all MSU transcripts if you
have previously attended MSU.
International students must also include certified copies of degree certificates
with notarized English translation of all transcript materials. International
students must follow additional directions described below and posted on the "For
International Students" webpage.
(Mail to CITE Program Secretary)
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The MSU institution code is 1465. A department code is not needed. (Testing Institution should send scores electronically directly to MSU Office of Admissions)
Where To Send Transcripts (CITE Office Address)
CITE Doctoral Program Secretary
Department of Teacher Education
Michigan State University
620 Farm Lane, 347 Erickson Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
Students wishing to be considered for university and college multiyear fellowships must have the
application and all application materials uploaded to their portal by December 1. All other applicants
should have their applications complete as soon as possible after that date. While applications can
be submitted throughout the year, almost all application decisions are made for the Fall semester
and it is rare for decisions to be made for any other semester.
Additional Application Information for International Students
In addition to the procedures outlined in CITE application process for U.S. citizens/residents,
international students also need to submit the following materials as part of their application:
Application Fee. Your application fee ($65) should be paid by credit card. If you pay by check or
money order it should be payable to Michigan State University and attached to the application form.
Checks drawn outside the U.S. must be payable in U.S. funds through a U.S. bank. Checks drawn
on foreign banks that do not have a correspondent U.S. bank may be returned. Applicants should
not send cash or international coupons. Shortly after you have submitted your paid application to the
graduate school, you will be sent an email inviting you to complete and upload the supplemental
application materials through the Graduate Education Application Portal. You will need the ID
number of your application and the password you created for your graduate application to enter the
portal. The Graduate Education Application portal URL
TOEFL / TEFI / IELTS / MELT Scores. Applicants for whom English is not their primary
language are required to submit TOEFL scores (or IELTS, TEFI or MELT). The test must be
taken within two years of the start date of your program. The university’s minimum acceptable
score is 550 (paper version) or 80 (Internet-based version), with all sub-scores above 52 (paper
version) or 19 (Internet-based version). The Writing section minimum score is 22 (Internetbased
version). The official test results must be electronically submitted from the testing facility
to the MSU office of Admissions to be considered official scores. In order to be considered for
admission, all international students must have official TOEFL scores reported to the university.
The Office of Admissions is located at 250 Administration Building, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, MI 48824. To expedite an application review, applicants may upload copies of the
results to the application portal.
If the student has completed a degree program in an English speaking country, he or she may
request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement. The waiver request should be a written request to
waiver the TOEFL requirement and a detailed explanation of why the supplicant believes the
waiver should be granted. This waiver request should then be uploaded to the application
portal. Once the program admissions committee is convinced of the student’s English language
skills based on past program completion and other evidence, it will forward the request for final
review and decision by the Office of Admissions. This waiver is usually granted upon
departmental request, However, if it is not granted, then the TOEFL scores will be required
before a decision can be processed.
International students who are accepted to the program, are enrolled, and wish to teach courses
as part of their assistantships (see section on Funding) must take the MSU SPEAK test and
gain a score of at least 50. For more information on the SPEAK test and the possibility of taking
it in your home country, please visit http://elc.msu.edu/testing/abroad/.
International applicants should send an official (sealed) transcript from each degree granting
institution. These transcripts should include the English translation and a notation of the degree
earned, area of study in which the degree was earned and the date conferred. If your
transcripts do not include the above information, please also submit an official original or
certified copy of the diploma with degree earned and date. All Chinese applicants must provide
University sealed transcripts with English translation, original or certified copies of degree
certificates and CDGDC verification of both transcripts and degree certificates.
Statement of Financial Proof
As part of the application, you may need to fill out a statement of financial proof. This statement
must originate from your source of support and must be a certified, original statement with
stamp and original signature. You do not need to provide this statement unless the Doctoral
Program Secretary requests.
Sources of Information for International Students
If you have questions about how to fill out the international application, please get in touch with
the MSU Office of Admissions, 250 Administration Building or go to their web page
For questions about visa types and requirements, travel to the U.S., finances for international
students, and support services, please see the web page for the Office of International Students
and Scholars (OISS) (http://www.isp.msu.edu/OISS/)
For questions about housing, please see the web page for the University Housing and Food
Services Division (http://www.hfs.msu.edu/).
V. Program Components
Candidates for the CITE 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 TE 902) sequence taken during the first year
of advanced graduate study. These two courses are designed to help build students’
academic skills and professional learning community, introduce them to big questions
about education, and provide them with a preliminary look at the program’s major areas
- At least five doctoral courses about educational inquiry and research, including:
- CEP 930 (introduction to educational inquiry);
- CEP 932 or TE 934 (a doctoral course in quantitative methodology);
- TE 931 or TE 939A, TE 939B, TE 939C, TE 939D, TE 939E, TE 939F, TE 939G
(a doctoral course in qualitative methodology);
- One course in advanced methodology (e.g., CEP 933, TE 939A, TE 939B, TE
939C, TE 939D, TE 939E, TE 939F, TE 939G) that must be approved by the
guidance committee in advance;
- TE995 (a research practicum to be undertaken after research courses 1, 2, and 3
have been completed).
- At least three selective core courses offered by the Department of Teacher Education
that are selected to contribute to the breadth of one’s understanding of educational
issues. Selective courses include all doctoral level courses offered by the department
other than TE 901, TE 902, TE 994 (except for section 01), and courses taken to fulfill
one’s research requirements.
- At least five additional elective courses that form an area of concentration. These may
include courses offered by the Department of Teacher Education, by other departments
in the College of Education, or by units across campus. The student’s guidance
committee must approve both the area and the related courses.
- Successful completion and defense of the dissertation. Students must earn at least 24,
but no more than 30, dissertation credits (TE 999).
Required Credit Enrollment
Students with assistantships must be registered for at least 3 credits for each semester in which
they hold an assistantship. After completing comps, students with assistantships must be
registered for at least one credit for each semester in which they hold an assistantship. All
students must be registered for at least one credit the semester they defend their dissertation
(whether they have an assistantship or not).
One year of residence on campus (that is, completing at least six credits of graduate work in each of
two consecutive academic semesters: fall, spring, or summer) after first enrollment for doctoral
degree credit is required to permit the student to work with and under the direction of the faculty,
and to engage in independent and collaborative research utilizing university facilities.
For international students: please refer to OISS rules to ensure your credit registration complies with
your visa requirements. Please visit: http://oiss.isp.msu.edu/students/status/FT.htm
By the end of their program, students should have at least 45 credits of courses and 24 (but no
more than 30) dissertation (TE 999) credits.
As part of the college requirement in inquiry and research, every doctoral student must
complete a research practicum (TE 995). The practicum should occur after completing at least
the first three requirements in the research experience (i.e. the inquiry course, the quantitative
course and the first qualitative course), and preferably prior to comprehensive examinations (the
practicum paper cannot serve as a comps artifact). 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 Practicum
The practicum is designed as a pre-dissertation research experience that involves 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
- 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'
- Revise the written report in response to feedback.
The 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
Practicum Credits, Enrollment, and Forms
Students must enroll in the practicum (TE995) 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, discussed above) is only for enrolling in the practicum. This form needs to be
used to create your particular section of TE995 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 Proposal
A 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 Practicum
Satisfactory 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
Pass/No Pass grade. The student submits the signed Practicum Committee and Defense form
to the Program Secretary to document completion and submit the passing grade of the
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 no later than the end of the fifth year in the program.
The CITE comprehensive exam options changed in 2012. The general rule is that students are obliged to fulfill the program requirement that were in effect for their own cohort. However, students who entered the program when different procedures were in effect can select either the old or new requirements. In the case of comps, students who entered the program before Fall Semester 2012 are eligible to take three forms of the exam, described below. Students who entered the program in Fall Semester 2012 or after, have only one exam format, the Revised Format, described below. To find out more, visit the comps wiki (http://comprehensiveexamste.wiki.educ.msu.edu/).
Option 1 (Available only to students who entered the program before the fall of 2012)
Option 1 consists of three parts:
Two sit-down exams that are evaluated by the Department Comps Committee.
One 10-day paper that is written in response to a question designed by the student and the guidance committee and evaluated by the guidance committee.
** Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities, with documentation from the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, may be requested by contacting the faculty member in charge of comprehensive examinations at the beginning of the term one intends to take the examination.
Option 2 (Available only to students who entered the program before the fall of 2012)
Revised Format (Applies to students who entered the program in the fall of 2012 and thereafter and eligible to students who entered the program before fall of 2012)
Revised Format consists of two artifacts: a sit-down exam taken over three days, administered and evaluated by the department Comps Committee (Part 1); and a piece of original research inquiry, the scope & genre of which is negotiated between the student and his/her guidance committee and which is evaluated by the guidance committee (Part 2). The piece selected for Part 2 must be separate or distinct from the student’s practicum paper.
** Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities, with documentation from the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, may be requested by contacting the faculty member in charge of comprehensive examinations at the beginning of the term one intends to take the examination.
Please note: In all three options, a practicum paper (unless substantially revised and approved by the student’s committee) may not serve as a paper submitted for comps.
In order to pass the comprehensive examination either in Option 1, Option 2, or the Revised Format students must pass both parts (departmental and committee level) of the examination. If a student passes one part of the examination but fails the other part, the examination has not been passed. Students will be eligible to retake the part of the examination that they failed during the next administration of the examination.
In the rare case of failure, a plan of study and preparation must be developed in collaboration with the student, advisor, the student’s program committee members, and the chair of the Comprehensive Examinations Committee. The plan specifically addresses the identified weaknesses in the responses submitted for the examination.
A student can take comprehensive examinations up to three times. In the unlikely event that a student fails the examination on the third attempt, she/he will be dismissed from the program.
Comprehensive examinations are administered at set times during the fall and spring terms of the academic year. Dates are posted on the Comps Wiki. http://comprehensiveexamste.wiki.educ.msu.edu/).
Dissertation and Oral Examination
The doctoral program culminates in the completion of the doctoral dissertation. The
dissertation is the signature feature of a Ph.D., a research degree. Thus, critical to one’s
program is the completion of a scholarly project from beginning to end. This is done with the
support of an advisor/chair and dissertation committee. The dissertation offers an opportunity for
students to immerse themselves in previous research in a field, identify timely and important
problems in their specialty area, craft an appropriate and original inquiry that meets high
professional standards, and present that inquiry to faculty. The dissertation also demands
integrative writing skills that convey how the investigation was conceived and carried out. The
dissertation should be completed three years from the date of passing the comprehensive
examinations and no longer than eight years from entry into the program.
After 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 should be submitted to GradPlan for most
students. If the student has not used GradPlan to create their original committee, the committee
change form is still available at http://education.msu.edu/academics/graduateforms.asp#guidance-committee.
All students must also submit the Dissertation Director &
Proposal Approval form located at http://education.msu.edu/academics/graduateforms.asp#guidance-committee.
For those students using GradPlan, they will need to submit
the form and then designate their dissertation director in GradPlan at
https://login.msu.edu/?App=D6509-Dashboard-AIS. All paper forms should be submitted to the
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 IRB 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 will sign the Dissertation Director & Proposal
Approval form that the student has prepared and the student will submit the signed form to the
Program Secretary. This form is available at http://education.msu.edu/academics/graduateforms.asp#guidance-committee.
Students who have created their committee on GradPlan will
also enter this information into GradPlan.
Before completing the dissertation, students must have registered for at least 24 semester
credits of TE999 (Dissertation Research) and no more than 30. [Students should monitor their
dissertation credits throughout the program to ensure they reach the required level of 24 credits
but do not exceed 30 credits]. 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 at
http://www.reg.msu.edu/ROInfo/Calendar/Academic.asp 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 (see below). Not every member of the committee
has to attend a defense. Sometimes a member on sabbatical, for example, will participate
through Skype, Zoom, or 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 three weeks prior to the final oral examination
date. Note that, as with all other benchmarks in the program, students must be enrolled for
at least one credit in the term in which they defend their dissertations and submit the
final version of the dissertation to the graduate school.
Dissertation defenses are normally not scheduled during the summer (May 15-August 15), as
faculty appointments do not include those summer months (faculty are not on payroll during
those months). Summer defenses could, however, take place if all committee members agree to
Students preparing to defend their dissertations should consider publicizing the schedule of their
Oral Examination in Defense of the Dissertation. By MSU policy, dissertation defenses are open
to the public and are an opportunity for faculty and doctoral students to engage in the
intellectual community of the College by learning about new research conducted by doctoral
students. Dissertation defenses are also an opportunity for doctoral students who have not yet
defended to better understand the process of a dissertation defense. Additionally, often there is
an opportunity for the audience to learn more about the study by asking questions of the
doctoral student who is defending. However, the purpose of the defense is for the doctoral
student to present and defend his or her dissertation to committee members, and the audience
may only ask questions if time permits at the discretion of the dissertation chair(s). To publicize
the defense date, students can use the TE Department Calendar at http://education.msu.edu/te/
or the College calendar link Notice of Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination Located at
After the dissertation has been successfully defended, and all required revisions made to the
satisfaction of the dissertation chair and committee members, the student must secure the
signatures of all committee members on the Record of Dissertation and Oral Examination
Requirements for Doctoral Degree Candidate form located at this site:
In the event a committee member was not present at the defense but participated virtually
and/or sent the chair comments in advance, an email from this faculty member to the chair that
states that the student has passed the defense can be attached to the form in lieu of a
signature. A committee member who wishes to dissent from the majority decision on the
dissertation oral defense must submit a statement explaining his or her reasons to the dean of
the college. The completed and signed oral defense form should be submitted to the Program
Secretary to be processed with the final degree paperwork.
Electronic Submission of Dissertation
After the final revisions are complete to the satisfaction of the chair and committee members,
the student should follow university guidelines regarding the production of the dissertation. In
particular, MSU only accepts electronic theses and dissertations submitted via ProQuest. The
instructions for electronic submissions are available from http://grad.msu.edu/etd/.
The target date for the FINAL APPROVAL of an electronic Thesis or Dissertation to the
Graduate School for graduating the semester of that submission is FIVE working days prior to
the first day of classes for the next semester (see future target dates below). Be aware that a
submission via Proquest does not mean that the document has been accepted. The
review process is interactive and final approval can take anywhere from a few hours to weeks,
depending upon the extent of the necessary revisions and how diligent the author is when
making the necessary revisions.
Graduation on the semester of the electronic submission is only guaranteed if the document
is APPROVED on or before the target date for that semester
A short online exit survey for all students graduating with a Doctoral degree was introduced in
May 2011. Only students who have applied for graduation will have access to the survey. The
survey asks questions about educational experiences in MSU graduate programs, as well as
about immediate professional plans. The MSU Graduate School uses data from this survey
when reviewing graduate programs and to guide decisions about services and initiatives for
The identity of all respondents will be kept confidential and only aggregate (group) information
will be made available to faculty and administrators. Students will receive an e-mail message
from the Dean of the Graduate School with a link to the survey. However, students do not need
to wait for that e-mail message to complete the online survey. Below are the instructions for
completing the survey which are also available from http://grad.msu.edu/etd/.
Instructions for students:
- Access the following website:
- Doctoral Students: https://www.egr.msu.edu/doctoral/survey/
- Enter your MSU NetID (Login Name) and Password
- Complete all the items on the survey. When finished, click Submit.
In the event you are unable to open this survey, please contact the Graduate School.
Publication of Dissertation
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 or contributors.
Application to Graduate
At the beginning of the semester the student intends to graduate, the student must apply to
graduate at https://reg.msu.edu/StuForms/GradApp/gradapp.aspx. This application initiates the
paperwork needed for the final certification.
After the oral examination (defense) of the dissertation has been passed, the Program
Secretary 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.
VI. Forms and Links
Annual Review –student initiated
The link and instructions will be sent to all active CITE students in early Spring.
Assistantships--Application for Graduate Assistantships – student initiated
This form is only needed by students within the program. This link will be sent out to active CITE studnets when the application is active.
Advisor Change--Prior to Formation of the Guidance Committee – student initiated
Use this form to change your advisor if you will not be creating your committee any time soon.
Contact the Program Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to get this form.
Certificate--English Language Learner Graduate Certificate – student initiated
Intent form and completion form linked to this site.
Certificate--Qualitative Research Methods Certificate – student initiated
Intent form and completion form linked to this site.
Certificate--Science Graduate Certificate – student initiated
Application enrollment form and completion form linked to this site.
Certificate—Urban Education Graduate Certificate – student initiated
Intent to enroll and completion forms available at http://education.msu.edu/ead/k12/urban/
Committee Changes (Chair and Member) –student initiated
Most students now use the GradPlan program to create the guidance committee and will also use
GradPlan to make any changes to the Guidance or Dissertation committees. The link to GradPlan
For students who have not used GradPlan and need a paper form to change committee members,
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, GradPlan: Guidance Committee…, and click “Forms prior to FS10
Comprehensive Exams--Application Form – student initiated
All information and application forms for comprehensive exams are available at the comps wiki.
Comprehensive Exam Passed Form – student monitored
This form is processed by the Program Secretary after the comps committees notify the secretary of
the pass. CITE students should confirm with the Program Secretary at email@example.com to be sure the
comps pass information has been received and the pass form is processing.
Conviction Disclosure--College of Ed. Graduate Application Conviction Disclosure Form –
This form is required with the application to graduate school if “yes” to a conviction or disclosure is
(go to: Forms for all Graduate Levels, Student Initiated)
Dissertation Credit Waiver Request Form – student initiated
Submit this form to the Program Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to enroll in dissertation
credits but you already have 30 or more dissertation credits. If you have 45 or more dissertation
credits, please also contact the Program Secretary for specific instructions.
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, Dissertation Credit Limit Waiver)
Dissertation Director & Proposal Approval Form – student initiated
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, Dissertation Director & Proposal Approval)
For those people using GradPlan, you will also need to designate your dissertation chair in
GradPlan and make any adjustments to your committee in GradPlan.
GradPlan – student initiated
Program used to document doctoral level committees course requirements.
Graduate Education Application Portal Link
Link to the application portal is https://admissions.msu.edu/gradportal/.
Apply shortly after the semester you want to graduate in begins.
Guidance Committee and Program Plan – student initiated
All students now use the GradPlan program to create the program plan and form the guidance
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, GradPlan: Guidance Committee…, and follow the instructions)
Oral Defense--Dissertation Oral Examination Form – student initiated
Student should type this form prior to the oral defense and take it with them. The committee may
opt to keep the form until minor edits are complete. The student is responsible for submitting this
form to the Program Secretary so that it can be attached to the final degree paperwork.
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, Record of Dissertation Oral Examination)
Practicum Agreement/Project Agreement Form – student initiated
This form is used to create the practicum section and get the student enrolled into that section. Type
the form, get all signatures but the Department Chairperson, and submit to the Program Secretary.
This form is also used for a project agreement independent study course.
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students and Research Practicum: 995)
Practicum Committee and Defense Form – student initiated
This form is used to track and document your practicum progress. Complete this form, get all
signatures, and submit to the Program Secretary.
Program Plan and Guidance Committee – student initiated
All students now use the GradPlan program to create the program plan and form the guidance
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, GradPlan: Guidance Committee…, and follow the instructions)
email@example.com or 517-432-7705
RCR & RTTS Link for Responsible Conduct of Research Training – student initiated
RCR & RTTS Link for Responsible Conduct of Research Training – student initiated
To document RCR training each year, each student must create their account on the RTTS system
and enter their training. Once that is complete, the student should notify their advisor so it can be
reviewed and approved prior to your annual review. The link to the RTTS system is below.
Readmission--Application for Readmission – student initiated
This form is required if a student has not enrolled in any courses or 999 credits for over 1 year.
Specialization—Language & Literacy Graduate Specialization – student initiated
Intent form is available at this site. No completion form is required.
Time Extension Form – student initiated
This form is required if student will exceed the 8 year time limit for earning the degree. See the
University Academic Programs for other requirements that may be impacted by a time extension.
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, Request for Extension of Time to Complete Degree)
Travel--Pre-Travel Authorization Form – student initiated
This form changes often so please request the form from the Program Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCRIHS - University Committee for Research Involving Human Subjects Application –
(go to: Forms for Ph.D. Students, University Committee for Research Involving Human Subjects)
Waiver of CEP930, CEP932 or an Advanced Research Methods Course – student initiated
Available on the College forms site.
VII. Advisors and Guidance Committees
In the letter of admission, each new student is given the name, university address, and
telephone number of his/her temporary advisor and is asked to contact the advisor as soon as
possible. Shortly after admission, advisors receive their new advisees’ application files and are
also encouraged to contact their new advisees
The temporary advisor serves as the primary (albeit temporary) academic advisor to a student—
exploring the student’s academic interests and trajectory. The temporary advisor also discusses
with the student the nature of the program and attempts to answer questions about registration
for courses, opportunities for assistantships, relocation to the East Lansing area (if necessary),
institutional expectations about selecting a permanent advisor/chairperson and program
committee members, and other details about the doctoral experience. New students receive
some information about faculty associated with the program and their interests but many
advisees benefit from gaining further information about faculty in the department and in other
programs whose interests and commitments might connect with their own.
Temporary advisors may become the permanent advisors/chairpersons of their advisees’
guidance committees. Whether they assume that eventual role or not, the temporary advisor
assumes the advisor’s responsibilities until a guidance committee is formally selected, in most
cases for a year or more from the student’s entering the program.
Temporary advising assignments should be treated (both by students and faculty) as just what
the name suggests – temporary. Once students start taking courses, meeting faculty, and
exploring their interests, it is normal that they begin developing relationships with a variety of
faculty members. In the event a student finds someone else with whom she or he would like to
work in developing their program plan, they should initiate a formal change of advisor. To make
the change official, the student needs to have both old and new advisors sign a Change in PhD
Advisor Form (available from program secretary). Although students sometimes find it awkward
to shift from one advisor to another, faculty understand that this is part of our department culture
and expect and support these shifts. In fact, temporary advisors often help facilitate this process
by suggesting to their advisees that they should think about making a change and
recommending which faculty member might be an appropriate match.
We also note that there is nothing permanent about an advisor. It is quite normal, for example,
for a student to choose a different advisor and/or dissertation director at the point when
launching into a dissertation. Temporary advisor, advisor (or chair), and dissertation director
are three different roles sometimes occupied by the same faculty member throughout a
student’s program. They may, however, be occupied by different faculty members during the
course of a student's career in the doctoral program. Students must officially register any
changes in advisors and committee members by completing a Change in Guidance Committee
Membership form (do not use this form prior to constructing a guidance committee; instead,
please fill out the Change in PhD Advisor Form).
Any tenured or tenure-track faculty member of the Department of Teacher Education can serve
as chair of the dissertation committee. While only faculty in the Department of Teacher
Education can serve as chair of a dissertation committee for CITE students, sometimes, faculty
in other departments or colleges serve as a dissertation director. The dissertation director is
normally someone whose research interests and competencies match the student’s needs.
Students should seek out the director who can best meet their needs. In the event a
dissertation director is chosen who is not the student’s advisor/chair, the dissertation director
and student need to submit the Dissertation Director form once these decisions are made.
Chair of Guidance Committee
No later than the student’s third semester in the program, the temporary advisor and advisee
work together to identify a chair of the guidance committee and additional guidance committee
members. Although the temporary advisor will have been assigned to the student, the
permanent chair of the committee is selected by the student and agreed to by both parties,
based upon mutual interests and commitments. In many cases, and upon agreement between
the student and advisor, the temporary advisor is the one who becomes the chair of the
Advisor and chair are terms often used interchangeably. After the formation of a guidance
committee, the advisor usually serves as chair of that committee. The guidance committee is
responsible for working with the student on his or her program of study up through successful
completion of comprehensive examinations, an event that typically occurs in the third year in the
program. If appropriate, a student may wish to change chairs and add or delete committee
members after completing the comprehensive examinations in order to reshape the committee
that will be responsible for guiding the dissertation.
To help maximize a student’s academic and professional growth, the advisor/chair is
responsible for the following:
- Assisting the student in selecting appropriate faculty members for the guidance
- Aiding the student in scheduling and preparing for the three required official
meetings of the student’s committee: 1) approval of the program; 2) approval of the
dissertation proposal; and 3) the final oral defense of the dissertation. At least three
committee members must be present to constitute an official meeting;
- Coordinating the activities of the student and guidance committee as they plan the
program, help prepare the student for the comprehensive examination, provide
feedback on the dissertation proposal and dissertation, and prepare the student for
the final oral defense;
- Resolving conflicting issues or problems that may arise between committee
members and the student;
- Helping to identify and recruit new or additional guidance committee members, if
necessary or appropriate;
- Helping the student to understand and fulfill all of the requirements and policies of
the department, the college, and the university.
- Helping the student to prepare and file/submit all of the forms and reports required to
attain the degree;
- Preparing and filing the annual review required by the graduate school and the
department for all students in the program;
- Helping the student to identify, pursue, and secure all of the academic, professional,
research, and teaching opportunities that would appropriately contribute to his or
her career aspirations.
The guidance committee serves the student, the program, the college, and the university in
setting standards and promoting excellence in scholarship. Each member of the committee will
participate actively and fully throughout a student’s program, from course planning through the
defense of the dissertation. This committee should be formed early in the student’s second year
The guidance committee shall be formed no later than the third semester of doctoral study or within
two semesters beyond the master's degree or its equivalent. Following the construction of the
guidance committee, the student meets with the committee to guide and approve the student’s
academic plan as it relates to the student’s academic interests, to particular focal areas, and areas
of expertise the student hopes to acquire during the program. At the end of this meeting, and
assuming the student’s proposed program plan has been approved by the guidance committee, the
student enters his/her program plan onto GradPlan and committee membership for committee,
department, and college level signatures. The program plan and committee members must be
entered at the same time. GradPlan is a web-interactive system for Ph.D. students to create and
store their Ph.D. degree plans and subsequent graduate program activities. To access GradPlan,
please visit https://gradplan.msu.edu. (For details on constructing a Program Plan, please see
While the program plan provides a plan for the student’s academic trajectory in the program, it is not
set in stone. As students’ interests shift due to their learning and experiences in the program, so
might the appropriate course work to enhance those new areas of interest. In that case, a student,
with permission from the guidance committee, may substitute courses in the initial program plan
with other courses now more relevant to the student’s specific area of interest. When this happens,
the student needs to go to GradPlan and amend his/her program plan.
The guidance committee members should possess interests compatible with the student’s, and
should have strengths to contribute to the student’s academic, professional, and scholarly
growth. Students may initiate changes in advisor or committee membership, with the
concurrence of the committee members. Similarly, faculty members may be added to, or may
resign from guidance committees with the acknowledgment of other committee members. The
guidance committee members will be entered into GradPlan at the same time as the program
plan is entered (usually by the second year of study). Changes in committee membership or
advisor are also entered into GradPlan as they occur.
A student's committee must consist of at least four Michigan State University regular faculty.
When a faculty member leaves the university (retires or takes a position at another institution)
s/he can no longer serve in that capacity, unless a special arrangement is made ahead of time
and approved by the department chair, College, and Graduate School (For more information
about this process, contact the CITE coordinator). A faculty member who has taken a position at
another institution may, however, serve as an additional--fifth--committee member. Emeriti
faculty are always eligible to serve. Should a student's advisor leave MSU, then, important
decisions need to be made. If there are extenuating circumstances or the timeline is such that
the dissertation is almost complete, special permission can be granted to keep that faculty
member on the committee. In all other cases, departing faculty should be replaced with regular
tenure stream faculty at MSU. In the event a student wishes to include a faculty member from
another institution on the committee, this person could be included as an external (rather than
fifth) committee member, in addition to the four MSU members
Often the makeup of the student’s committee will change at the point of transition into
dissertation work. Dissertations ordinarily benefit from specific faculty strengths (in certain
methodological or substantive areas, for example), and changes in the committee are logical
after the program of study and comprehensive examinations are completed. Changes to
committee membership at this time are entered into GradPlan.
The 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 and revised if appropriate. Following the meeting, the student should enter the
approved program plan into GradPlan along with the committee names. Once submitted by the
student, this electronic form with route to acquire all of the required signatures
Students must complete the following courses.
LINK TO COURSE LIST HERE??
The plan should be organized to conform to the requirements of the program:
- TE 901.
- TE 902.
Research and Inquiry.
- CEP 930.
- A doctoral course in quantitative methodology (CEP 932 or TE 934).
- A doctoral course in qualitative methodology (TE 931, TE 939A, TE 939B, TE 939C, TE 939D, TE 939E, TE 939F, or TE 939G).
- One advanced research course (e.g., CEP 933, TE 939A, TE 939B, TE 939C, TE 939D,
TE 939E, TE 939F, TE 939$, or equivalent. If you have taken a TE 939 as your qualitative
methods course (item #3), you will need to take a different TE 939 or another advanced
- Research practicum TE995
Program Selectives or TE Core
To meet the selectives requirement, students are required to take three TE courses (meaning
TE is the sole or lead department for the course) excluding the following: TE901, TE 902,
TE930, TE931, TE934, TE939 (in its various iterations), TE990, TE994 (except for TE994
section 001), and TE995.
Program Electives (five elective courses from the concentration; may include non-TE courses)
It is also important for each student to demonstrate that his/her program plan addresses depth.
To this end, the department requires that each student 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 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 enter and submit all changes through GradPlan
among all committee members for their consideration and approval. All changes must be
approved by the student’s guidance committee. 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 time
VIII. Departmental Polcies and Academic Performance
Students are expected to be aware of and conform to University and Department expectations,
the professional standards adopted by the American Educational Research Association (AERA),
and the standards of other professional organizations that the student might participate in. This
includes meeting Department, AERA, and other professional organization expectations
regarding professionalism and scholarly integrity.
Violation of University and Department expectations, AERA ethics, or the standards of other
professional organizations is a serious matter that would be dealt with by referral to the CITE
Ph.D. Program Coordinator, who investigates such violations and reports them to the Chair. If
action is necessary, a report is made to the Associate Dean. In particular, plagiarism and
falsification of data are grounds for punishment including possible dismissal from the CITE
For information about MSU Code of Teaching, please visit:
For Research and Scholarly Integrity, please visit: http://grad.msu.edu/researchintegrity/
For AERA’s Professional Ethics Standards, please visit:
Human Research Protection Program
All faculty members advising students in research are expected to communicate with their
students about the importance of being in complete compliance with IRB regulations. All
faculty teaching graduate students in courses also are to emphasize complete compliance with
IRB principles and policies. Faculty teaching courses are also urged to determine when and
how IRB principles can be covered in graduate courses.
No research data can be collected until a project is in complete compliance with IRB. If you are
interested in conducting a research project that involves human subjects – this includes
interviewing or observing teachers and students, conducting research on your own teaching,
and the like – you must first apply for IRB clearance. Until you have been approved, you cannot
conduct research. Any research that is conducted by a graduate student in Teacher Education
that is not in compliance with these regulations cannot be used to fulfill course or degree
requirements. Should a student conduct research that is out of compliance, at a minimum, the
work will have to be repeated with no adjustment for time lost in carrying out the research. Very
serious violations of IRB, or repeated minor violations, will results in a referral to the appropriate
Associate Dean of Education. This person will refer the case to a College-level hearing board, as
specified in University policy. Serious and/or repeated violations of IRB policies can result in
sanctions, including dismissal from the graduate program.
The IRB staff are very supportive, and any time you have a question about a particular
application or a general issue related to human subjects research, please do not hesitate to
speak with your advisor, another faculty member, or a staff person in the IRB office.
Please also see Ethical Standards of AERA
University Policy on Academic Standards
The university policy on academic standards and evaluation states:
A 3.00 cumulative grade-point average in the degree program is the minimum University
standard, but colleges, departments, or schools may establish a higher minimum standard.
However, attainment of the minimum grade-point average is in itself an insufficient indicator of
potential for success in other aspects of the program and in the field. The guidance committee
and academic unit are jointly responsible for evaluating the student’s competency (as indicated
by, e.g., grades in core and other courses, research performance, and development of
professional skills) and rate of progress (as indicated by, e.g., the number of courses for which
grades have been assigned or deferred). Written evaluations shall be communicated to the
graduate student at least once a year, and a copy of such evaluations shall be placed in the
graduate student’s file. A student whose performance does not meet the standards of quality
will not be permitted to continue to enroll in the degree program, and appropriate action will be
taken by the college, department, or school.
In accordance with this policy, the TE Doctoral Education Committee (DEC) developed the
policy and procedures indicated below in concert with representatives of the CITE student
body. The annual review (see below) should be viewed as an opportunity to foster
student/advisor dialogue and to help students think through where they’ve been during the year,
where they’re going next, and what they need to do to get there. The minimum academic
standards and resulting consequences are provided for the rare cases in which program
expectations are not being met. In such cases, the policy is designed to assure equitable
consequences for all students.
Academic Progress in Coursework
The following departmental standard defines what constitutes acceptable academic progress in
coursework for CITE Ph.D. students and identifies consequences for students who fail to meet
the standard. Students are held accountable for meeting the standard each semester and may
be subject to action at the end of any semester in which the standard is not met.
All students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and to
complete all deferred and incomplete grades in a timely manner. Only students failing to
meet this standard will be designated as the focus of one of three levels of concern and
may be subject to remedial actions noted in the following sections.
Level 1 Concern: Any student receiving less than a 3.0 in any course or accumulating a total of
two or more incomplete/deferred grades at any point will be required to discuss his/her situation
with his/her advisor. It is expected that the faculty member in whose class the student received
the unacceptable grade will have some involvement in this part of the evaluation process. In
order to remove the designation of Level 1 Concern, the student must satisfactorily address the
conditions that occasioned the designation. In some cases, the student may be required to
develop a formal plan to address the problems.
Level 2 Concern: Any student accumulating a total of two or more grades below 3.0 or three or
more incomplete/deferred grades will be required to discuss the situation with his/her advisor
and to have his/her case reviewed by the DEC and representatives of the CITE Ph.D. Program.
The student will be required to develop a formal plan to address the problems. In addition, in
the semester following the next semester of study, the student will not be permitted to have a
combined assistantship and course load exceeding 100 percent (e.g., 6 credits and 1/2 time
assistantship, 9 credits and 1/4 time assistantship) until all incomplete grades have been
Level 3 Concern – Academic Probation: If a student accumulates a total of three or more
grades below 3.0, or if the student fails to clear incomplete grades in a timely manner, the
student may be subject to probation and eventual dismissal. Such circumstances will require a
formal review by the DEC. During this review, the student will have the opportunity to meet
with the committee, both with and without his/her advisor present.
According to university regulations, if a student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0,
the student will be designated as being on academic probation. Any student so designated will
be required to discuss his/her circumstances with his/her advisor and to develop a plan to
address his/her academic problems. The university will remove the student from probation
when his/her cumulative average rises to 3.0 or above. If the student’s cumulative average
does not rise to 3.0 or above within one year, he/she may be subject to dismissal. In such a
case, a formal review will be required.
Academic Progress in Research and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
Progress in research may be demonstrated through different types of activity (e.g., assistantships,
dissertation, individual efforts) in which not all students have similar experiences. Therefore, for the
purposes of annual review, attention to this area is restricted to progress in dissertation
research. Even so, and when possible/appropriate, all doctoral students are expected to participate
in research throughout their program of study. All students must complete annual RCR training.
Advisors must certify completion of such training during the annual review. For more information
about RCR, please see below.
For students in the post-comprehensive exam phase of their programs, students and advisors
should discuss academic progress in research during the annual review conference and, if
necessary, generate appropriate means to further the student’s progress. In rare cases when a
student has not had a dissertation proposal approved within three years of passing the
comprehensive examination, the department chairperson will issue a formal warning. Further action
may be warranted if the student does not subsequently complete an acceptable dissertation
proposal within an appropriate period of time.
Annual Review of Academic Progress
Advisors are responsible for reviewing the progress of their advisees every spring. Each year, the
program coordinator or the DEC will notify all students and advisors as to the timeline of the review.
This review, which the Graduate School requires, provides an opportunity for students to
communicate their accomplishments, express concerns about their growth and development, and
discuss potential opportunities for teaching, research, and other professional activities that the
advisor and student believe are important to pursue. As part of the annual review, the student
would have needed to complete the university’s Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
requirements (see below).
Annual reviews must be completed by May 15 each year to enable students to receive
fellowships. Students who do not have an annual review on file will not be eligible for fellowship
funding (including travel) the following academic year.
The annual review meeting, initiated by the student, is centered on a form filled out by the
student, which s/he submits to the advisor for comments. The annual review form must be: 1)
completed by the student and advisor; 2) discussed and, if needed, amended during the annual
evaluation meeting between the student and advisor, and 3) signed by both student and
advisor. When applicable, the annual review should address the student’s progress in
coursework, on the practicum, comprehensive exams, and dissertation. In addition, the
annual review should address progress in research, the relationship between academics
and assistantship work, and any concerns regarding professionalism and scholarly
integrity. Advisors should also discus with the student the larger picture of his/her
academic/professional trajectory and its relation to the student’s particular scholarly fields and
areas of interest.
In the rare cases when there is concern about a student’s progress, or when the student has not
submitted his/her review, the advisor will notify the doctoral program coordinator.
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
Each year, every student needs to complete a number of hours and/or activities devoted to learning about responsible conduct of research. Those need to be complete prior to one’s annual review.
Students are responsible to obtain their annual training and document it each year prior to one’s annual evaluation. To document RCR training each year, each student must create their account on the RTTS system and enter their training. Once that is complete, the student should notify their advisor so it can be reviewed and approved prior to your annual review. The link to the RTTS system is below. https://www.egr.msu.edu/secureresearchcourses/.
Due to recent changes in MSU RCR requirements, we currently have two sets of requirements: one for students entering the program in the fall of 2016 and for students entering the program thereafter; the second for students who entered the program prior to fall 2016.
RCR Requirement for Students entering the program in fall of 2016 and thereafter
1) Four CITI Modules to be completed by the end of year 1
All new students will complete the following 4 CITI online modules within the first year of enrollment in their program:
· Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
· Research Misconduct
2) Three additional CITI Modules to be completed by the end of year 2
Within the first 2 years of enrollment in their program, doctoral students will complete 3 additional MSU online training modules. Select from the following list:
· CITI Collaborative Research
· CITI Conflicts of Interest
· CITI Data Management
· CITI Financial Responsibility
· CITI Mentoring
· CITI Peer Review
· Human Research Protection/ IRB Certification (in http://Train.ORA.msu.edu)
· Rigor and Reproducibility Course (in production)
3) Annual Refresher Training, starting in year 3 of the program
Starting in year 3 and thereafter, students must complete 3 hours of annual refresher training.
Complying with this requirement could include: additional CITI modules; any of the RCR discussion-based sessions offered by the grad school; specific RCR training provided through a grant or project; a discussion with an advisor about an assigned reading regarding RCR, or; any other way the advisor deems appropriate, as long as that “way” advances or deepens the student’s understandings about RCR.
4) Discussion-Based Training
Students will complete 6 hours of discussion-based training prior to receiving their degrees.
Students don’t have to take any additional action to complete this requirement; this requirement will be covered through discussions and assignments in the required sequences of research courses you are already required to take as part of your program.
RCR Requirement for Students entering the program prior to the fall of 2016
Each student is required to complete three hours of RCR training each year until completion of one’s program. The RCR requirement needs to be fulfilled prior to one’s annual evaluation each year.
Complying with this requirement could include discussions and/or readings in one or more of your research methods courses or any other course that addresses RCR issues (please check with course instructors what portion of the courses—that is, how many hours—could be counted toward your RCRC requirements). It could also include additional CITI modules; any of the RCR discussion-based sessions offered by the grad school; specific RCR training provided through a grant or project; a discussion with an advisor about an assigned reading regarding RCR, or; any other way the advisor deems appropriate, as long as that “way” advances or deepens the student’s understandings about RCR.
Temporary Withdrawal, Readmission, and Time Extensions
For various reasons, students may need to interrupt enrollment in the program. Interruptions are
often understandable, and as long as they do not seriously inhibit the completion of all degree
requirements. The college’s general position is that if a student has interrupted enrollment for
one year or less, readmission to the program is automatic. An “Application for Readmission”
form must still be filled out and signed if enrollment is interrupted for even a single academic
year semester, but the Student Affairs Office will automatically accept the form without faculty
review. If enrollment is interrupted for more than one year, however, the CITE Ph.D. Program
Coordinator will review the application and decide whether or not readmission will be granted.
For interruptions longer than one year, therefore, it is critical for students to answer the form’s
questions about the reasons for not enrolling.
In any case, students are still responsible for meeting the university’s timelines for completing
degree requirements. Comprehensive examinations must be passed within five years of one’s
first doctoral class, and all remaining requirements for the degree must be completed within
eight years from the first day of the first course included in the student’s program. Should the
degree requirements not be completed within this eight-year period, doctoral comprehensive
examinations must be passed again, and if program requirements have changed and/or new
developments have occurred in the field, it may also be that the student is required to take
Students needing extensions should work closely with their advisors in completing the “Request
for Extension of Time to Complete Degree Requirements” form available at
http://education.msu.edu/academics/graduate-forms.asp#guidance-committee. In order to gain
an extension, the student and advisor must make a strong case that the student is making
progress toward completion of the degree and enclose a detailed schedule that demonstrates
the steps to be taken to reach completion. The completed and signed time extension form
should be submitted to the Program Secretary.
Students should also keep in mind that graduate student assistantships are provided for five consecutive years, and that the clock for assistantships and graduate study doesn't stop unless there is an approved medical leave and the student then petitions to have an extension.
Research on MSU Teacher Preparation Programs
All persons contemplating research on teacher preparation programs in the Department of
Teacher Education should make early proposals to the Department for approval. In order to
apply for approval:
- Download the application form
- Fill out the application
- Send the application to the chair of the Teacher Preparation Committee (TPC)
- The application review process will take less than two months
- Applicants are accepted between August 15t and May 15th
Dual Major Ph.D.
The Dean of the Graduate School must approve all dual major doctoral degrees. A request for the
dual major degree must be submitted within one semester following its development and within the
first two years of the student's enrollment at Michigan State University. The Application for Change
of Program and Status form should be used to apply for a dual degree. This form is located at
http://education.msu.edu/academics/graduate-forms.asp#guidance-committee. A copy of the
guidance committee report must be attached. The following conditions must prevail:
- The intent to receive the degree in two areas must be outlined in the guidance committee
- The content of the guidance committee report must reflect the required standards for both
- The integrated course work must be satisfactory to both departments.
- The single comprehensive examination must be passed to the satisfaction of both
- A guidance committee including members from both departments must be satisfied that the
dissertation represents a contribution meeting the usual standards in both areas.
- There must be a single dissertation that represents an integration of the disciplinary areas.
- RCR requirements as defined and approved by the guidance committee will apply.
IX. Funding (Assistanship, Fellowships, Sscholarships, and Financial Aid)
Each year the College of Education provides millions of dollars in support of doctoral students.
This support takes the form of scholarships and fellowships (which require no work
responsibilities) and assistantships in teaching and research.
For most students in the doctoral program, international and domestic, the primary source of oncampus
support is graduate assistantships. These pay students for teaching in our teacher
education program, for field instruction, for doing research on faculty research projects, or for
working on departmental projects. Included in an assistantship is a stipend, health care, and
tuition credit (covering a maximum of 9 credits of course work for each of the fall and spring
semesters that the student is employed. Five credits are covered when a student is provided an
assistantship during the summer).
The level and duration of support for students with regard to assistantships is specified in the
program’s letter of admission. Students are guaranteed those assistantships as long as they
adequately fulfill their assistantship responsibilities (as evaluated by their supervisors) and
maintain their standing in the program.
This guarantee is dependent on one being a full-time student, demonstrating satisfactory
performance in one’s assistantship duties, and residing in a geographic area that would allow
the student to perform his/her assistantship responsibilities (we cannot guarantee assistantships
to students who move out of state or those unwilling to travel within the state to fulfill
assistantship duties). After being admitted to the program, and following instructions in the
admittance letter, students should fill out the Application for Assistantship Form at
https://msucoe.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5bYn5FrQOYgaj1b. Current doctoral students
should fill out this form in early February of each year if they wish to be considered for
assistantships during the following academic year. Multiple external agencies also provide
fellowship/scholarship opportunities for students.
The particular assistantships assigned each student depend on (in ranking order): departmental
needs, the student’s area of expertise and, student’s requests, as noted in students’ Application
for Assistantship Form
Teaching assistantship opportunities may be more limited for international students, especially
at the start of their program, because these positions generally require someone who is an
experienced schoolteacher fluent in English and knowledgeable about U.S. education. In such
cases, efforts are sometimes made to allow international students to apprentice in a class
during their first year so they are able to teach it independently in their second year of their
program. Research assistantships are generally more flexible about these things.
Each year, qualified students may apply for a variety of competitive fellowships offered by the
College and Department. Those fellowships include Summer Fellowships, Research
Enhancement Fellowships, and Dissertation Completion Fellowships. The Department also
provides assistance (as reimbursement) toward travel to professional conferences. Students
may apply for a variety of scholarships offered annually by the College. Other competitive
fellowships are offered based on need by the Graduate School.
Further information on financial support can be view on the college website at
on the Graduate School’s website at http://grad.msu.edu/funding/,
and on the Financial Aid website at http://www.finaid.msu.edu/default.asp.
Graduate assistants are appointed on a half-time (two quarter times) basis for 18 -19 weeks each
(depending on number of University holidays) for Fall and Spring Semesters
The approximate expectation of normal workload, averaged over the entire period of the
appointment, is: a 10 hours per week for a quarter-time stipend or 20 hours per week for a half-time
Graduate assistants are responsible for understanding the weekly workload expectations during the
entire period of their appointments. This includes work assigned and the time frame within which the
work must be completed, essential duties and responsibilities, work conditions and vacation
opportunities, if any.
Graduate assistants are appointed at one of three levels:
Level I: Students with less than one year of experience as a graduate assistant.
Level II: Students with a master’s degree or equivalent and/or one year of experience as a graduate
Advancement from Level I to Level II is usually routine. The advancement is accompanied by an
increase in stipend at least to the minimum of the Level II range established by the University.
Level III: Successful completion of doctoral comprehensive exams, as defined by the department in
which the student is enrolled,
and six semesters of experience as a graduate RA/TE at Michigan State University, or equivalent.
The definition of equivalent experience as an RA/TE is left to the discretion of the chairperson of the
appointing unit, but it is expected that only experience in research-oriented assignments will count
toward the six semesters of experience as an RA. (Consistent with current practice, ¼ time
and ¾ time appointments count the same as ½ time appointments, and Summer Semesters count
the same as Fall and Spring Semesters.
For more about assistantships, please see: http://grad.msu.edu/assistantships/docs/2013-
Please note: International students who wish to serve as teaching assistants or teach in the
Department’s online master’s program, must achieve at least a minimum proficiency score of 50
on the English-language campus SPEAK test, Individuals who need to take this test should
go in person to A714 Wells Hall for information. Just as important as English language
proficiency for all TAs, however, is familiarity with American K-12 education. For some entering
international students, as well as other students who have not taught in K-12 settings, this will
mean that they should include in their first year of studies some opportunities in K-12 schools in
order to become more familiar with the American institution of schooling from the perspective of
a professional serving such settings. For more information about the SPEAK test see
http://elc.msu.edu/testing/speak/. For information about the locations outside of MSU in which
the test is offered, visit http://elc.msu.edu/testing/abroad/
New Courses for International Teaching Assistants (AAE 451, 452, and 453)
- Enrollment in any of these courses requires approval of the English Language Center (ELC). Approval is granted by the Director of the ELC.
- Only students who have failed to achieve a passing score of 50 on the MSU Speaking Test or the ITAOI may enroll in 451 or 452. Students who score a 45 are eligible to enroll. A student with a 40 may be eligible with permission of the ITA Program Coordinator.
- Students need referrals from their departments to enroll in any of these courses.
- A student who has received a partial waiver on appeal may request enrollment in 451 or 452. A student with an unconditional waiver may not request enrollment in 451 or 452.
- AAE 453 is an in-service course. Any ITA with an appointment involving oral communication with undergraduates may request enrollment in 453.
- A student may take each course only once (unless he or she has received a grade of “N” in the course).
- There is no required sequence of courses for 451 and 452, but any ITA eligible for 453 is no longer eligible to take either 451 or 452.
- Receiving a grade of “P” in 451 or 452 (based on assignments, tests, and other measures) does not qualify a student to serve as a TA. A student must pass the ITAOI (administered separately by the ELC Testing Office) or receive a score of 50 on the MSU Speaking Test to be cleared for TA duties involving oral communication with undergraduate students.
- The decision about whether to place a student in 451 or 452 will be made by the ITA Program Coordinator in consultation with:
- the ELC’s Head of Testing, as necessary;
- the student.
For further information about ITA courses, contact one of the ITA Program Coordinators--either Alissa Cohen or Laura Ramm (ITAprogram@elc.msu.edu ).
For further information about the MSU Speaking Test or the ITAOI, contact the ELC’s Head of Testing, Dr. Daniel Reed (email@example.com).
Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities
For a full description of graduate students rights and responsibilities please visit
http://grad.msu.edu/gsrr/docs/GSRR.pdf or http://splife.studentlife.msu.edu/graduate-studentrights-and-responsibilities
In general, graduate students have the right to work in an environment of professional and
intellectual respect. The rules and regulations that govern any employment relationship also
govern the teaching and research assistant-employer relationship. Graduate students also
have the right to a full explanation of their duties and responsibilities. Graduate students have
the right to just compensation for hours worked. Graduate teaching and research assistants are
employed in designations of 1/4-time (10 hour) increments and they should be compensated for
work beyond their appointment obligations.
Even though graduate students have obligations as employees on research projects, they have
the right to attend all classes in which they are enrolled. No university employer or staff
member can prohibit students from attending their classes nor advise them that their work
duties preclude fulfilling their duties and obligations as students. Many assistantships, however,
carry specific scheduling obligations and expectations that should be clear to any graduate
student considering whether or not to accept such an assistantship offer.
Students also have the right to an evaluation. Graduate teaching and research assistants must
be evaluated prior to the end of the term of their assistantship. Each student must be aware of
this evaluation and provided with a copy. Students also have the right to dispute the
evaluation’s accuracy. In the event of a dispute, if there is no resolution, the graduate student
has the right to attach a written memorandum to the evaluation detailing points of disagreement.
Furthermore, graduate assistants have the right to present their case before the appropriate
departmental committee, and the right to notice in writing if the assistantship is being terminated
or not renewed. Graduate assistants are employed “at will” and are therefore subject to the
rules and regulations of the State of Michigan regarding their employment status. However, a
notice in writing will be required for termination or renewal. This notice should be provided at
least thirty days prior to the end of the employment period.
End of Semester Evaluation of Students’ Performance in
At the end of each semester, faculty supervising students’ assistantships are asked to fill out an
evaluation of each student working under their supervision. Students should receive a copy of
the evaluation (or an articulation of it) from their supervisor. Students who have not performed
their assistantship duties to the standard expected by the department will meet with the
department’s associate chair or program coordinator to devise a plan to remediate the concerns
during the following semester (or, in some cases, the following year). The implementation of the
plan by the student, and its degree of success, will be evaluated by the department and
considered when assigning the student future assistantships. In the event the student has not
satisfactorily addressed the concerns, the student may not be provided assistantships the
Leave and Vacation
Time Off Due to Illness, Injury, Pregnancy, Adoption, and Bereavement
The full policies for leave for illness, injury, pregnancy, adoption, and bereavement are spelled
out at http://www.hr.msu.edu/documents/contracts/GEU2015-2019.pdf (Article 18)
Grief Absence Policy The faculty and staff should be sensitive to and accommodate the bereavement process of a
student who has lost a family member or who is experiencing emotional distress from a similar
tragedy so that the student is not academically disadvantaged in their classes or other academic
work (e.g. research). . . . it is the responsibility of the student to: a) notify their advisor/major
professor and faculty of the courses in which they are enrolled of the need for a grief absence in a
timely manner, but no later than one week from the student's initial knowledge of the situation, b)
provide appropriate verification of the grief absence as specified by the advisor/major professor and
faculty, and c) complete all missed work as determined in consultation with the advisor/major
professor and faculty. It is the responsibility of the advisor/major professor to: a) determine with the
student the expected period of absence - it is expected that some bereavement processes may be
more extensive than others depending on individual circumstances, b) receive verification of the
authenticity of a grief absence request upon the student's return, and c) make reasonable
accommodations so that the student is not penalized due to a verified grief absence. If employed as
a RA or TE, the graduate student must also notify their employer. Both employer and student will
swiftly communicate to determine how the student's responsibilities will be covered during their
absence. Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) should refer to the bereavement policy in the MSU
GEU CBU Article 18 (http://www.hr.msu.edu/documents/contracts.htm)
The above Grief Absence Policy was adopted by University Councily in Spring 2015. For updates
on this policy, please visit https://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/classroompolicies/index.htmlhttps://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/classroom-policies/index.html
Students who believe their rights under this policy have been violated should contact the University
Leave and Eventual Return to the Program
The Department and College of Education are committed to smooth leaves and the eventual
return to studies and assistantships of all students who must take leaves. Students who wish to
take such leave should notify the doctoral program coordinator as far in advance as possible
about the proposed leave. If the student is in good standing, a leave would be granted for up to
one year (two semesters and one summer session). After that, the student must apply for
readmission to the program as specified in the graduate bulletin. That is, if, for any reason, a
student does not enroll for one year (i.e., two semesters and one summer), the student must
apply for readmission to the program. Students should keep in mind the university expectation
that a doctorate will be completed within 8 years of beginning the first class of doctoral study.
There are no provisions for vacations for graduate students. Should students be away from
campus during a term when they are enrolled and/or supported by an assistantship, they should
make arrangements with professors and/or supervisors to make up work and cover
responsibilities. Students are always responsible to assure there is coverage of responsibilities
when they must be away from the campus for professional or personal reasons. Please be
aware that the MSU Code of Teaching Responsibilities stipulates that, in the event of an
uncovered absence, students and faculty alike are required to inform their units.
Excessive absence or failure to cover responsibilities can carry sanctions, for example, lowered
grades in courses, negative consideration for future assistantship appointments, or termination
of an assistantship for extreme dereliction of duty (e.g., missing classes the TA is to teach
without prior notice or arrangements).
Outside Work for Pay
Many graduate students in education will work for outside agencies as they attend MSU. The
Department makes no attempt to regulate such outside work but encourages students (who do
intend to work during graduate school) to seek employment that is a natural complement to
their degree work (e.g., perhaps as a policy intern in a government unit, as a curriculum
developer in a school district, as a principal, or as a research assistant to a national test
development company). As students contemplate outside work, they should keep in mind the
university expectation that a doctorate will be completed within 8 years of beginning the first
class on the student’s doctoral program of study.
Use of Department Resources
The Department has limited computer, office, copy machine, and communication resources;
and limited supplies. When such resources are allocated for graduate student use, the
allocation must be made by the department or a specific member of the faculty or staff, with the
allocation specifying clear limits (e.g., photo-copying is to be in direct support of teaching and
not to exceed a specified number of copies). The department expects all students to honor
Office space and Mailboxes
Students who are teaching or project assistants typically are assigned a desk or shared office
space. All graduate students are assigned a mailbox in the department. Most correspondence
will also be sent to students via e-mail. Students are expected to monitor their electronic and
building mail regularly.
XI. Academic Grievance Hearing Procedures
Students may request a hearing to resolve a dispute with an instructor, but only after trying to settle
the matter in conversations with the instructor, the department chair or school director or program
director and, in some cases, the associate dean of the college. The student also may consult with
the University Ombudsperson at any stage of the dispute. In the event that a student’s dispute
remains unresolved a grievance hearing may be necessary.
For the full and most updated grievance procedures, please visit:
XII. Office of The University Ombudsperson
Conflicts, disagreements, and issues sometimes arise during the course of a graduate program. If
you find yourself in this situation and have exhausted the internal resources for resolving the issue,
you may contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson.
The Office of the University Ombudsperson provides assistance to students, faculty, and staff in
resolving University-related concerns. Such concerns include: student-faculty conflicts;
communication problems; concerns about the university climate; and questions about what options
are available for handling a problem according to Michigan State University policy. The University
Ombudsperson also provides information about available resources and student/faculty rights and
responsibilities. The office operates as a confidential, independent, and neutral resource. It does
not provide notice to the University - that is, it does not speak or hear for the University.
Contact the Ombudsperson at any point when a confidential conversation or source of information
may be needed. The Ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, give you information about
university policies, help you evaluate the situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the
Office of the University Ombudsperson
129 N. Kedzie Hall
XIII. University Resources
What makes a great university is first and foremost great people, and there are great people
interested in education across this campus. A great university is also a great archive, with the
library resources dedicated to education as well developed at MSU as anywhere in the world.
The campus library has an impressive traditional collection of books and journals and a
constantly expanding selection of electronic resources. Students can access these electronic
resources anywhere at any time.
THE COE has knowledgeable and helpful computer and technology support staff. In addition to
the computer support personnel in the College, the campus computer center offers a range of
additional services, from sales of computers and software to hardware repair facilities.
MSU is a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which is the academic
side of the Big Ten (plus the University of Chicago). This permits students to take advantage of
resources at other member institutions. Students may pursue opportunities to become visiting
scholars for up to two semesters at another member institution, working on research projects or
enrolling in classes. Following approval, and while still at MSU, students may take a course at
any of the other CIC institutions that will be included on the MSU transcript (for more
information, see CITE coordinator).
MSU also regularly interacts with federal and state agencies. The long history of constructive
interactions between MSU faculty and public and private schools in Michigan and across the
country also creates unique opportunities. COE students have opportunities for research and
practice in a variety of institutional and geographic settings, from the National Science
Foundation to the Michigan Department of Education, from the Educational Testing Service to
local schools and universities. Especially important is the large network of alumni from both the
Department of Teacher Education and the COE more generally.
Please visit the following links to a variety of university resources:
The Graduate School
Learning Resources Center
The Writing Center
Office of the Registrar
Recourse Center for Persons with Disabilities
Olin Health Center
Graduate Employee Union
Graduate Life and Wellness