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All doctoral students are required to pass a qualifying examination prior to formal admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.


Process:


1.  The student must have completed all required coursework in the semester previous to the one in which they begin the exam.


2.  Under advisement of their faculty mentor/chair, the student decides on one of 3 formats for their QE: a)  Small-scale empirical study (using data the student collects or data to which they have access from a prior project, faculty mentor, national data, etc.); b) Critical literature review related to students’ dissertation interest, or C)  Conceptual/theoretical paper


3.  The student (with approval from the chair and the other 2 committee members) decides on the semester to start the exam and the committee and student must agree on this no later than the end of the second week of the semester (Note: the committee is comprised of a total of 3 STEM Ed GSC members, but at least one STEM Ed program area faculty must be on the committee).



 Timeline:

1.     The student has 2 consecutive semesters to complete the exam (either Fall/Spring, Spring/Summer, or Summer/Fall)

A.    Although it is possible for the student to complete in one semester, 2 is the maximum (i.e., if student started in Fall, they must have passed the QE by the last day of the semester in the subsequent Spring semester). Therefore steps 2-4 below must all occur within 2 semesters.


2.     The due date for the submission of the first full draft (submission 1) is determined by the committee in consultation with the student. After submission, the committee will read the draft, provide comments for revision to the chair, who then synthesizes comments (with approval and sign-off of all members) and shares this in written form with the student within 2 weeks of initial submission.

A.    It is possible but unlikely that the committee may decide that no revisions are needed and to accept submission 1; if so, the QE exam is done and the student has passed.


3.     Assuming a revision is required, the deadline for revision 1/submission 2 is determined by the committee in consultation with the student;

A.    After receiving revision 1/submission 2 (which should include a letter to the committee detailing the revisions that were made in response to the comments provided), the committee has 2 weeks to read the document; they will then confer as a group and vote to: accept, or request another round of revisions

B.    To pass the exam, at least 2 members must vote to accept, one of which must be the Chair


     4.    If the committee votes to request another round of revisions, the deadline for revision 2/submission 3 is determined by the committee in consultation with the student (noting that the                     deadline  (including the 2-week committee review period) must meet the requirement of occurring before the end of the second semester of the total allowed exam period)  

A.     After receiving revision 2/submission 3, the committee has 2 weeks to read the document; they will confer as a group and vote to: accept, or reject

B.     To pass the exam, at least 2 members must vote to accept, one of which must be the Chair

C.    If the committee votes to reject, the student's program will be terminated.


Other Logistics


The student may have done preliminary work on their empirical study/literature review/theoretical or conceptual paper prior to the semester they begin their exam as part of prior coursework or work supervised by their mentor/chair; however, it is understood that the majority of the writing of the paper should occur during the semester(s) of the exam.


The final document (not including the letter of response) should be in APA format and between 20-40 pages in length (excluding references and tables).


It is recommended that the student identify one or more journals that would be a good ‘fit’ for their study/lit review/conceptual paper and that would provide models of articles in terms of formatting and other conventions of the journals.


View the STEM Doctoral Plan of Study form

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