Candidacy and Dissertation

Counseling (PhD)

Curriculum and Instruction (PhD) Candidacy and Dissertation

Earning a PhD is a process involving several steps beyond completion of the required coursework and the written comprehensive examination taken during a two-day period.

Admission to Candidacy

Upon passing the comprehensive examination (written with an oral follow-up) and verification that all coursework and other requirements have been satisfied, admission to candidacy status allows the candidate to formally begin the dissertation.

Research Prospectus, Research Proposal and Oral Defense of Said Proposal

These are the first steps in the dissertation process and must be completed prior to proceeding with the dissertation. The Research Prospectus is prepared during Dissertation Seminar (EDU 798). When students have completed their Research Prospectus, they invite their Dissertation Committee members for a presentation of the Research Prospectus. At this time, the committee approves the research topic and the student continues with preparation of the first three chapters of the Dissertation (Research Proposal). The Research Proposal outlines the questions for investigation, presents a review of the research literature, and presents the methodology for data collection and analysis. The oral defense is a formal presentation to the candidate's dissertation committee and it is open to the University community. At that time, the members of the dissertation committee must approve the proposal in order for the student to take the proposal to IRB for final approval before the actual study can begin.


This is a written thesis that adds substantively to the theory and/or practice in Curriculum and Instruction.

Students are required to complete a dissertation that demonstrates originality, creativity, and scholarship in the field of curriculum and instruction. Students who complete all the requirements for the PhD degree will be properly equipped to lead and promote educational change in policy, organizations, and teacher education. After completion of the six dissertation credits, students must continually register for one to three (1-3) credits per semester until they have finished the dissertation and met all the requirements for the degree.

Oral Defense of the Dissertation

The defense consists of a public presentation of the dissertation results that members of the Dissertation Committee and others are given the opportunity to ask questions before approving or disapproving the dissertation.

Time Limitations

Requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed by the end of eight (8) calendar years beginning with the date the student first registers as a student for the PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.

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