The purpose of the Ph.D. Research Requirement is to ensure that all Ph.D. candidates in the College of Education have had sufficient coursework to attain proficiency in at least one research methodology and are able to conduct independent dissertation research.

The Research Requirements are intended to provide students with both a broad view of research methodologies and the ability to specialize in one area. It is intended that the choice of a focus area will be consistent with a student’s dissertation research. All students will take a Foundational Methods Course, one or more basic courses in one or more methodological areas, and advanced courses in a particular area. All students will use a two-stage approval process in consultation with their academic advisors. Candidates must maintain a B average for all methodology courses. Full descriptions of the requirements and focus areas are provided below. 

Credit Hours

All students will take a minimum of 16-20 credit hours,depending on area of methodology focus,in approved research methods courses including the Foundational Methods Course.

Foundational Methods Course (4 hours)

All students entering fall 2015 or later, will take a Foundational Methods course.  It is recommended that students take this introductory foundations course in their first year of the doctoral program.

Basic Course: Qualitative and/or Quantitative (4-8 hours)

All students will take one to two basic courses in qualitative or quantitative methodology. It is highly recommended that all students take at least one basic course in each methodology.

Advanced Courses (8 hours)

All students will take at least two advanced courses in a focus area (quantitative, qualitative, and interpretive).

Methodology Focus Areas

There are three focus areas with basic and advanced courses outlined in each.

The Two-Stage Approval Process

Stage I-Preliminary Plan

Before completion of the second semester of doctoral coursework, the student must submit a preliminary Research Plan using the Research Area Approval Form.

The plan must include a brief written statement (limit to 500 words) that includes the following:

  1. student’s objective in developing a focus area;
  2. coursework that will support the fulfillment of the requirement; and
  3. tentative timeline for completion of all Research Requirements. 

The student must develop this plan in collaboration with his/her advisor. The plan states why the student has chosen the focus area and the ways in which it is expected to contribute to the student’s doctoral research and/or future career plans (limit to 500 words). The advisor must sign indicating approval of the plan. 

The student submits the advisor-approved plan to the Graduate Student Services Office.  A copy will be made for the student's electronic file and the original returned to the student.

Stage II-Final Approval

When the preliminary plan has been approved, the student proceeds to complete coursework. Upon completion of the courses specified in the plan and prior to taking the preliminary oral examination, the student must submit to the advisor a completed plan. The completed plan should include a revised form, which includes a list of the courses completed with their catalog description and the instructors of these courses, the grades for each course, and a brief expository description (limit to 500 words) of how the objectives stated in the preliminary plan have been fulfilled.

The advisor should read through the student’s completed plan and sign indicating approval of the student’s completion of the research requirements. The student submits the advisor-approved, completed plan to the Graduate Student Services Office. The advisor will submit a copy of the approved, completed plan to the student’s Preliminary Exam Committee

Oversight of the Research Requirement

The Associate Dean for Academic Programs, the Associate Dean for Research and Research Education, and the Academic Programs Committee will have oversight of the process. They may consult with faculty members with expertise in specific methodologies for questions related to courses.

Course Approval Process

There is a list of approved courses associated with particular focus areas. These listings will be updated annually. All approved courses will be reviewed every three years (on a staggered cycle) to make sure that they are still offered and are relevant to the Research Requirements.

New courses must receive prior approval before they can count to fulfill the requirements of a methodology course. To become an approved course, faculty must submit syllabi and a statement of how the course fulfills the intent of a research methodology course to the Academic Programs Committee. Only courses with permanent course numbers will be considered for the listing of approved courses. Students must petition to have independent studies and omnibus courses included in their preliminary plan. To be considered, independent studies and omnibus courses must clearly meet research methodology requirements and must not duplicate pre-approved courses.

Appeals Process

If there is a problem with the advisor related to the research requirement process, the student can choose to appeal to the Director of Graduate Programs at the department level.

Students who are dissatisfied with the actions of the Director of Graduate Programs should discuss their concerns with the Chair of the Academic Programs Committee or the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.