Stages at a Glance

Academic preparation 

Satisfactory completion of the academic preparatory program (composed of four courses) is required before starting the PhD program. Additionally, up to two courses could be taken from the PhD program during the Academic Preparation year. 

Doctoral program

The PhD in Curriculum and Instruction program is composed of 4 required credit-bearing courses, 4 restricted elective courses and 2 required non-credit courses. All required courses are to be completed in 4 semesters. 

Qualifying examination

The qualifying examination consists of written and oral components, prepared by a committee.  After successful course completion, students are required to formally write to their department chair to inform the semester in which they would like to take the qualifying examination (which could be taken no later than semester five). 

Dissertation monitoring committee

After successful completion of the qualifying examination, a dissertation monitoring committee is formed for successful students within a month.

Proposal defence

Students defend their dissertation proposal before the committee after they pass the qualifying exam (no later than six months after the qualifying exam). The committee members are submitted a copy of the proposal two weeks before the defence.

Dissertation monitoring committee meetings

The Dissertation Monitoring Committee convenes once a semester between January-June and July-December. Students are required to send a progress report, which includes a summary of work completed, and a plan for next 6 months, to the committee members a month before the meeting. A post-meeting report prepared by the supervisor is sent to the GSE within two weeks after each meeting.


At least one manuscript (stemming from the dissertation), which has been published or accepted for publication in a journal, approved by the Office of Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, is required before the oral defence. 

Oral defence

When considered ready, students defend their dissertation publicly before a dissertation defence committee. Before the defence, the committee decides whether the publication requirement has been met or not.

PhD degree 

Successful students who follow the GSE guidelines to finalize the dissertation submission, and exit, procedures are awarded the PhD degree. 

 For exact procedures and details, please refer to the Graduate Studies Rules and Regulations 

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