Student Milestones

CDSE student progress is tracked through milestones that are to be completed during certain semesters of the program.

These milestones require appropriate forms to be completed and signed by the advisor, dissertation committee, and Director of Graduate Studies.

Paperwork should be completed and filed with the Graduate Coordinator, located in 118 Bell Hall. Once forms have been signed by the student's PhD Committee, the forms should be delivered to the Graduate Coordinator who will review and obtain the final signature from the Director of Graduate Studies.

Committee Approval

No later than the end of the first semester in the program should the student identify their PhD Committee. The PhD committee consists of the advisor and two “core” members. The PhD committee may have “additional” members. Core committee members are considered ‘core” CDSE Faculty, as identified on the program website. They must also be on the Graduate Faculty Roster. Only one core member may have the same primary academic affiliation as the primary advisor.

The Committee approval Form must be signed by every faculty member that has agreed to serve on the committee. Once the faculty have signed the form it should be given to the Graduate Coordinator who will have it reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Project Plan Approval

The Project Plan Approval outlines what courses in each content area the student plans on taking, and in what semester they intend to enroll in that course. By signing the form, the student’s Ph.D. committee indicates:

  1. Their approval of the courses indicated for satisfying the CDSE PhD Focus Area course requirements
  2. They have reviewed the dissertation prospectus and discussed it with the student and its alignment with the courses listed herein the CDSE PhD Program.

This form, along with the dissertation prospectus and the student’s current unofficial transcript, must be completed and submitted by the first day of the second semester in the PhD program. The form should be given to the Graduate Coordinator who will have it reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Note: students can use coureswork they are transferring in from that masters towards the core course requirements as applicable. Students can also take courses not on the approved list as long as their mjaor advisor and committee members all approve of those courses.

PhD Oral Examination

No later than the end of the third semester in the CDSE PhD program, the student must complete an oral examination, administered by the student’s PhD committee. The advisor may attend, but may not participate in the examination process. The exam should cover topics from the CDSE Focus Area courses and background material relevant to the student’s research plan.

The student’s PhD committee must sign the form at the end of the exam to certify that they have administered the exam and note whether or not the student has passed or failed.

If the student failed, they make retake the oral exam within none year. Failure to pass the second exam may result in dismissal of the student from the CDSE PhD program.

Application to Candidacy

Once the student has succesfully passed their oral examination, the student should submit their application to candidacy to the graduate school. Students should complete the paperwork then submit to the graduate coordinator for review before getting signatures from their advisor and committee members. Once approved and all program-related signatures are on the form, the student must forward to the graduate coordinator along with a copy of their unofficial transcript and proof of RCR training certificate. The graduate coordinator will then submit for final review and approval to the graduate school.

The ATC should ideally be submitted within 2 weeks of passing the oral examination. 

PhD Proposal Form

No later than the end of the FIFTH SEMESTER in the CDSE Ph.D. program, the student must complete a formal proposal to his/her Ph.D. committee. The proposal should include a substantial written document and a presentation. It is expected that a large portion of the Ph.D. research has been completed and that a detailed completion plan has been made.

The students PhD committee must sign the firm, indicating that they approve the students’ proposal. If the committee feels any adjustments need to be made, they may record their feedback on the back of the form under Committee Comments/Requirements.

Dissertation Approval Form(s)

Once the student has completed their oral dissertation defense, the advisor and PhD committee must meet to decide whether or not the student has successfully defended their thesis.  The advisor and committee must complete the CDSE Dissertation Approval form with their feedback. This form needs to be approved by all members before the Director of Graduate Studies will sign off on both this form, as well as the M-Form that the Graduate School requires for degree conferral.

The Graduate Coordinator will prepare these forms before the defense.