Supporting Information and Materials
Graduate Student Handbooks
Information provided below is available in more detail from the Educational Psychology Graduate Student Handbook, which combines the OU Graduate College Student Handbook with Department of Educational Psychology information and procedures. All graduate students are responsible for being familiar with information and procedures contained in this handbook. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program should contact their advisor to acquire a copy and schedule a review of the information/procedures.
Doctoral students are assigned an initial advisor who facilitates scheduling of courses and entrance into the doctoral community. At the end of the second semester of study and/or as research interests become more defined, students’ may switch advisors by completing the Request for Change in Doctoral Advisory Conference Report form available from the OU Graduate College. All committee members, current and future, must be Graduate Faculty and sign this form.
Development of the Advisory Conference Committee and Report
By the end of the second semester, students must hold an Advisory Conference Committee meeting to complete an Advisory Conference Report form. This form details any prior graduate coursework that is applied to the degree, as well as required and elective courses that must be completed prior to obtaining their Ph.D. degree. Students are responsible for scheduling their initial Advisory Committee meeting, as well as any future meetings, to develop, revise, and approve their Advisory Conference Report. Changes may be made to the Advisory Conference Report form only with the written approval of the committee.
An Advisory Conference Report Committee consists of (a) the students’ Special Education doctoral advisor, (b) a Norman campus faculty member outside the Department of Educational Psychology, (c) at least two other Special Education faculty members from the OU Special Education program, and (4) other faculty to total at least five committee members. All committee members must hold Graduate Faculty status. To clarify, at least three of the committee members need to be from the OU Norman campus Special Education program. Under very exceptional cases, faculty shortages or other equally exceptional causes, the committee membership requirements may be modified, if a statement approved by the Special Education faculty is filed with and approved by the Department of Educational Psychology Graduate Programs Officer (the department chair). The requirement of having at least one member from outside the Department of Educational Psychology cannot be waived.
Development of the Residency Plan
At the Advisory Conference committee meeting, the committee reviews, gives feedback, and approves a student’s Doctoral Special Education Residency Plan. This plan details the research, service, and teaching requirements that the student will complete prior to her/his doctoral dissertation defense. This form must be completed with the student’s Advisor prior to the first Advisory Conference Committee meeting. Download a sample Special Education Program Residency Plan and blank form.
Completion of the Coursework
Special Educational doctoral students must obtain a “B” or better in all of their courses listed in the Advisory Conference Report. If students obtain a grade of C or lower, they do not receive graduate credit and must retake the course.
Annual Progress Review
Advisors file an annual report and note whether students are making satisfactory or non-satisfactory progress toward their doctoral degree. This report is submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology Graduate Programs Officer and forwarded to the Graduate College.
A satisfactory rating consists of obtaining a “B” or better in coursework, timely completion of coursework, completing and filing the Report of the Advisory Conference Committee, and progress toward completing the General Exam or dissertation research. Students who receive frequent “I” grades, often withdraw from courses, or engage in unprofessional behavior may be viewed as not making satisfactory progress. The progress report is mailed to the students or sent to their OU email addresses at the end of each academic year or during the summer semester.
Completion of the General Exam and Defense
During the final semester of coursework or upon completion of the coursework outlined in the Advisory Conference Report form, students complete their General Examinations. No less than one month before the scheduled General Exam, an Application for the General Examination must be completed and submitted by the student to the Department of Educational Psychology Graduate Program Officer and the Graduate College, for approval by the Graduate Dean. Consult the Educational Psychology Graduate Student Handbook for additional detailed information.
The written portion of the Special Education program General Exam consists of a set of comprehensive questions completed in the form of a written paper that is evaluated by their Advisory Committee. The chair and committee members develop a set of General Exam questions, which are delivered to the student. Students are allowed six weeks to write and complete their answers to their general exam questions. Since this is an exam, students are bound to discuss their exam with no one except their advisor. At the end of the six-week period, students deliver electronic and print copies of their General Exam answers to their committee members. This delivery must occur at least 2 weeks (14 calendar days) prior to the date of the General Exam defense. Students are responsible for scheduling their General Exam defense date and preparing all necessary materials and forms. Students must be enrolled at OU during the semester they take their general exam.
Completion of the Dissertation Prospectus
Upon successful completion of their General Exams, students develop their Dissertation Prospectus that will be submitted to the Dissertation Committee. The Special Education Prospectus consists of three chapters: (1) Introduction, rationale, and proposed research questions chapter; (2) Literature review chapter; and a (3) Methodology chapter. While writing the Prospectus, students are encouraged to consult with their advisor and committee members regarding sufficiency of the questions, literature covered, and methodology. Prior consultation with committee members always results in a more successful Prospectus meeting and fewer revisions to the Prospectus.
When the major advisor determines the Prospectus is of sufficient quality, a Prospectus Meeting is schedule. At least two weeks (14 days) before the Prospectus meeting, the student delivers digital and print copies of the Prospectus to committee members. During the Prospectus Meeting, the committee members will most likely suggest revisions that will need to be made to the Prospectus prior to beginning dissertation research. Students need to type and bring two copies of the Special Education Prospectus Approval Form to the Prospectus meeting. Once committee members sign the Prospectus Approval Form, the student files a signed print copy and digital version of the approved Prospectus with the Department of Educational Psychology Graduate Program Officer. The other signed copy of the Prospectus Approval Form goes to the student’s doctoral advisor. Once an approved Prospectus is on file, the student is free to being their dissertation study.
Completion and Defense of the Dissertation
Upon approval of their Dissertation Prospectus, students begin the research/data collection phase of their dissertation. A Dissertation typically consists of five chapters: (1) Introduction, rationale, and proposed research questions chapter; (2) Literature review chapter; (3) Methodology chapter; (4) Results chapter; and (5) Discussion chapter. During this phase of the Dissertation, students are encouraged to consult often with their advisors and other committee members. When a written draft of the Dissertation is near completion and the advisor has granted permission, a student can begin the process of scheduling the dissertation defense. Typically this process begins approximately 1 month prior to the Dissertation defense. Students must be enrolled at OU during the semester they schedule their Dissertation defense.
The formal process and procedures of scheduling a Dissertation defense begins with identifying a date for the defense, and submitting a Request for Degree Check form to the Graduate College at least 4 weeks prior to the defense date. At least two weeks prior to the defense date, another form, the Request for Authority of the Dissertation Defense, must be submitted to the Graduate College.
Once an advisor has given permission to schedule a defense, reading copies of the Dissertation are submitted to committee members and the OU Graduate College at least two weeks (14 calendar days) prior to the defense date. If the Committee judges the quality of the written product as satisfactory, the Dissertation defense will be held.
No later than 10 days prior to the final oral defense, students submit to the Graduate Programs Officer of the Department, an Announcement of their Dissertation Defense, one copy of their mini-vita (2-3 pages max) and a copy of their dissertation’s title and abstract. The Announcement of Final Exam is distributed to the students' committee (including outside members), all faculty members in the department, the Graduate College and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. It is also posted in the College of Education building.
More details regarding the doctoral defense can be found in the Graduate College’s Doctoral Degree Checklist.