The Ph.D. Program

Getting Started

During the first semester of the doctoral program, the Ph. D. student should take advantage of the EMAT 8990 First Semester Doctoral Seminar where each faculty member in the department will have an opportunity to share current scholarly work with the seminar. The goal of this seminar is to acquaint the doctoral students with some of the range of research options and faculty interests.

The Graduate Coordinator will advise the Ph. D. students on registration in the first two semesters. It is highly recommended, however, that the student select a major professor, and perhaps an advisory committee, by the end of the second semester. The selection of a major professor should involve extended consultation and mutual agreement between the student and the faculty member.

Doctoral Advisory Committee

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is charged with planning and approving the student's program from entrance into the program through the written preliminary and oral examinations. The major professor, acting as the chairperson of the advisory committee, and at least two other members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The minimum committee has three graduate faculty as members. The graduate coordinator may recommend additional members of the advisory committee. A member of the committee may be from outside the faculty if the appropriate expertise is demonstrateed. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate Dean.

Program of Study

Doctor of Philosophy students develop a program of study with the advice of a major professor and an advisory committee. The program of study is a detailed account, by fields, of the coursework the student has or will complete as required for the Ph.D. degree in mathematics education. The program of study should be prepared as soon as possible to insure that coursework taken will satisfy the requirements necessary for graduation. A student's program of study must be approved and signed by all members of the student's advisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator.

Reading List

The reading list is a convenient tool for preparation for the Preliminary Examinations and for communicating to the Advisory Committee, via the reading list organization, the Ph. D. student's view of the discipline of mathematics education. This list is prepared and submitted to the Advisory Committee as an indication of the student's preparation for the written examinations. The reading list should demonstrate breadth as well as depth of reading in mathematics education and in related fields. Typically, students generate these lists based on a combination of independent reading and readings assigned through their coursework. The structure the student has provided in the reading list helps the Advisory Committee organize the written preliminatry examinations.

Preliminary Examinations for Ph.D.

A student must pass formal written and oral preliminary examinations before being admitted to candidacy for the degree. These examinations are administered by the student's advisory committee. The written examination will cover a range of research and development topics in mathematics education and in related fields, as negotiated by the reading list, the candidate, and the advisory committee. The written administration format can vary with the wishes of the candidate, the topic, and the advisory committee members, from short term closed book format to extended take-home examinations.

The oral preliminary examination will be an inclusive examination within the student's field of study. An examination of the student's dissertation prospectus may follow the oral comprehensive examination but may not take the place of the oral comprehensive examination. The oral comprehensive examination is open to all members of the university community and is announced by the Graduate School. The departmental Graduate Coordinator must notify the Graduate School, in writing, of the time and place of this examination at least two weeks before the date of the examination.

Following both the written and oral examinations, each member of the advisory committee will cast a written vote of pass or fail on each examination. To pass each examination, the agreement of the advisory committee must be achieved with no more than one dissenting vote. An abstention is not an appropriate vote for the comprehensive examination. The results of both examinations will be reported to the Graduate School through the Graduate Coordinator.

Admission to Candidacy

The student is responsible for initiating an application for admission to candidacy which is filed with the Dean of the Graduate School at least two semesters before the date of graduation. This application certifies that the student has demonstrated an ability to do acceptable graduate work in the chosen field of study and that:

After admission to candidacy, a student must register for a combined total of ten hours of dissertation or other appropriate graduate credit during the completion of the degree program.  Students planning to graduate the same semester they enter candidacy must be admitted to candidacy by the published deadline for candidacy during that semester and register for ten hours. The student must also meet all other deadlines for graduation in that semester.  A student must register for a minimum of three hours of credit in any semester when using University facilities and/or staff time.



Dissertation Planning

A student pursuing the Ph.D. must present a dissertation on some subject connected with his or her major field of study. The dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. The conclusions must be logical, the literary form must be acceptable, and the contribution to knowledge should merit publication.

The major professor has the primary responsibility for guiding the research, but the student should consult all members of the advisory committee to draw upon their expertise in relevant areas.

The major professor and advisory committee shall guide the student in the development of a dissertation prospectus and planning the dissertation. When the major professor certifies that the dissertation prospectus is satisfactory, it must be formally considered by the advisory committee in a meeting with the student. This formal consideration may not take the place of the comprehensive oral examination. Approval of the dissertation prospectus signifies that members of the advisory committee believe that it proposes a satisfactory research study. The approved prospectus is filed with the graduate coordinator.

Dissertation Approval and Defense

When the major professor is satisfied with the completed dissertation, he or she will certify that it has his or her approval and is ready to be read. The major professor will then distribute copies of the dissertation to the remaining members of the advisory committee, schedule a final oral defense, and notify the Graduate School. Subsequently, the Graduate School will announce the time and place of the defense of the dissertation to the University community. The committee members will have three weeks to read and evaluate the completed dissertation. The announcement of the defense of the dissertation must be sent to the Graduate School, in writing, by the graduate coordinator at least two weeks prior to the defense and the results of the defense must be reported to the Graduate School at least one week prior to graduation. The defense of the dissertation will be chaired by the student's major professor and attended by all members of the advisory committee. The defense is open to the university community.

The advisory committee must approve the student's dissertation and defense with no more than one dissenting vote and must certify their approval in writing. An abstention is not an appropriate vote for the final defense.

Once the dissertation has been approved by the advisory committee and the final oral examination has been passed, the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School for final approval no later than two weeks prior to graduation of the following semester.  Dissertations which are not submitted by this deadline must be defended again and approved by the Advisory Committee before they will be considered by the Graduate School for final approval.

Electronic filing of the dissertation

Students are required to submit the dissertation in electronic format using pdf files (Adobe Acrobat). One complete formatted copy of the dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School for a format check no later than four weeks prior to graduation.  Instructions are available on-line from the graduate school.

The Graduate School must receive the Final Defense Approval form and an electronic submission of the corrected dissertation no later than two weeks prior to graduation. This official copy of the dissertation will be electronically submitted by the Graduate School to the main library for archiving.  Binding of paper copies for personal interest and use is an option.  Students have an option to submit an abstract to Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) at their own cost.  It is not longer a requirement.

Other Requirements

An application for graduation must be filed with the Graduate School no later than Friday of the second full week (the first full week for summer) of classes in the semester of the anticipated graduation date. Application forms may be obtained online.

All requirements for the degree must be completed and reported to the Graduate School no later than one week prior to graduation. A student must enroll for a minimum of three hours of credit the semester in which graduation requirements are completed.


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