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PhD Program of Study

Each quarter, doctoral students register for self-selected courses in addition to courses that are core PhD program requirements and other courses recommended by the advisor or supervisory committee based on the student's research interests. The program of study is a written description, by each doctoral student in communication with the faculty advisor initially, and then with the Supervisory Committee, of:

  1. the substantive emphasis of the courses taken or planned, including the emphasis in nursing theory and the related field selected;
  2. the outcomes of each course; and
  3. the inquiry focus for the doctoral dissertation.


Recommended Milestones for PhD Students

Year 1

  • WINTER:  Students conduct interviews of possible committee members
  • SPRING: Conduct more informational interviews

Year 2

  • FALL:  Students finalize an understanding with their requested faculty member who will chair their supervisory committee;  the chair and student move on to establish other committee members
  • WINTER:  Finalize understandings with other members that they will serve on the committee; complete Synthesis course; establish committee with the Graduate School; Program of Study approval

Year 3

  • FALL:  Successful completion of General Exam by end of quarter
  • WINTER:  Review and approval of dissertation proposal by end of quarter; human subjects submission by end of quarter
  • SPRING:  Initiate dissertation research by end of quarter

Year 4

  • WINTER/SPRING:  Defend dissertation

Developing Your Program of Study

  1. Beginning the first year of the doctoral program, an ongoing program of study is to be completed each quarter by the student. Students must consider far in advance if they would like to petition for previous course work equivalency.
  2. Once the student's Supervisory Committee has been appointed, the program of study functions as an initial draft to the committee, to be used for planning future course needs and learning.
  3. The program of study is then submitted by the student for formal review to the entire supervisory committee, including the Graduate School Representative, along with a statement of research interest.
  4. Using a set of prescribed guidelines, the supervisory committee conducts a formal review of the program of study, making any suggestions for modifications prior to approval.
  5. Following the supervisory committee's approval, the program of study is submitted to Student and Academic Services for placement in the student's file, accompanied by a formal letter of approval by the chair of the committee.

Guidelines for Approval of the Program of Study

The Supervisory Committee evaluates the proposed program of study using the following guidelines:

  1. Does the coursework support the student's substantive emphasis in theory and knowledge development?
  2. What is the content and scope of plans for guided scholarship/independent study? Is adequate "guidance" available?
  3. Are the related courses logically consistent for the described program of study?
  4. Are the statistics and methods courses adequate to prepare the student for the conduct of the dissertation?
  5. How has the Program of Study enabled the student to strengthen reasoning, writing and communication skills?
  6. What is the degree of exposure of the student to various faculty expertise across the School and University?
  7. To what extent does the program provide a) depth of study as well as preparation beyond the single dissertation planned, and b) role development as a researcher and teacher?
  8. Are all program requirements met? Does the program of study comply with all University rules and regulations?
  9. Is the program of study feasible to implement and complete in a timely manner?
  10. If courses are proposed that were taken at another University or for another program of study (e.g. master's), do they represent adequate content? Is the content appropriately current? Do the courses fall within the 10-year limit?
  11. With what other scholarly work has the student been involved? Has the student been involved in Research or Teaching Assistant activities? Has the student submitted a National Research Service Award application for an Independent Fellowship? Has the student published any articles while in the doctoral program?

What to Include in the Program of Study

  1. Number, name and number of credits of each course taken or to be taken;
  2. Faculty member teaching each course;
  3. Date course taken, or proposed schedule;
  4. Course description and outcomes, such as course product, reasoning skills, communication skills;
  5. Rationale of each course's placement within the areas of Theory and Domain of Knowledge or Scholarly Inquiry;
  6. Rationale for how the contents of a course taken prior to admission supports the program of study;
  7. Space for signature and date of supervisory committee chair and each supervisory committee member attesting to their approval of the program of study.