M&C Policies and Procedures

7.7.5 Step-by-step procedures for preliminary examinations, dissertation proposal and dissertation
This section describes in detail the sequence of events students follow from the completion of coursework to the awarding of the doctoral degree. Relevant policies are highlighted.

Preliminary examinations

 7.7.5.1 Step 1: The student selects members of the preliminary examination and dissertation advisory committees.
The advisor and student select two or more other faculty to be members of the student’s preliminary examination and dissertation advisory committees, and the student seeks their agreement to serve.

The student’s advisor is the chair of both the preliminary examination and the dissertation advisory committees. Unless there is a compelling reason, the same people serve as members of both of these committees. The committees must consist of at least three Temple graduate faculty members: the chair and two additional committee members. The chair must be an M&C faculty member and at least one of the additional committee members must serve on the M&C faculty. All members of the committees may be, and often are, M&C faculty members. No more than one committee member may be from outside Temple University.

The selection of committee members should generally be guided by two interrelated criteria: Each member’s experience with and willingness to contribute to the student’s dissertation research, and a distribution of expertise among faculty members so that the committee members can provide questions and evaluate responses in appropriate areas for the preliminary examinations (see the list of areas in 7.7.2.3 above).

The student and advisor may wish to invite additional members to serve on the dissertation advisory committee because of their particular expertise related to the dissertation project. In such cases, the additional faculty members do not provide questions or evaluate responses for the student’s preliminary examinations.

Since later in the dissertation process the student will be required to add a non-M&C member to the dissertation advisory committee, the student should carefully consider the inclusion of non-M&C members at this proposal stage. That is, if there is a particular non-M&C faculty member with whom the student wants to work, she or he may want to ask that person to serve as the outside member of the dissertation examining committee that evaluates the final dissertation (see 7.7.5.14 below).

It is useful for the student to discuss the constitution of these committees and the topics and timetable for the preliminary examinations and dissertation, and to check with prospective faculty members concerning their willingness and ability to serve as members on these committees, as the student nears the completion of required coursework.

7.7.5.2 Step 2: The student obtains formal approval for the preliminary examination committee.
To officially form the student’s preliminary examination committee, the student completes the Preliminary Examination Committee Form (.pdf) and submits it to the SMC Graduate Office. This form is an official request to constitute the examination committee and take the examinations during a specified 14 day period. The M&C director considers the petition and either suggest changes in the committee or approves the committee.

When the form is approved the staff in the SMC Graduate Office posts an official announcement including the dates and committee members on the MC listserv. The announcement must be posted before the examinations begin.

The approval is granted for 120 days; if the student does not pass her or his preliminary examinations within this time period, approval of the committee must be renewed. Any subsequent changes in committee constituency must also be approved by the M&C faculty.

Note that the preliminary examination committee must be approved before the student takes her or his examinations.

All examination defenses, dissertation proposal defenses, and dissertation defenses must take place between the first day of classes and the last day of the university final examinations of the fall and spring semesters. Exceptions to this rule will be made only in extreme circumstances and must be approved by the student’s advisor and the M&C director. Because preliminary examinations may require an oral defense, that means that written examinations must be completed by November 15 (for fall) or April 15 (for spring).

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7.7.5.3 Step 3. The student and committee members prepare for the preliminary examinations.
The student meets with each of the three members of the preliminary examination committee to establish the topic and format of that member’s exam question, and the student prepares to take the examinations.

At least 10 days prior to the start of the first written examination, each committee member submits her or his question to the committee chair and indicates the format for the examination (including whether the response is to be written on campus or off campus, whether notes and/or books are allowed, and the amount of time permitted), either on the Preliminary Examination Question Form (.pdf) or in another format (such as e-mail). The examination questions may not be submitted directly to the student or to the SMC Graduate Office.

During the next 10 days, the committee chair examines the set of questions and resolves any problems or questions regarding the prospective examination’s content or administration. The committee chair then submits the set of questions to the SMC Graduate Office before the first exam is scheduled to begin.

During the semester or semesters the student prepares to take the preliminary examinations (more broadly, during which the student completes steps 1 through 4 just described), she or he should register for 1 credit of MMC 9994 (“Preliminary Examination Preparation”). If the student requests it, the University will designate her or him as a full-time student during this time (a status the University calls “code 23″; although it should not be needed, this status is available for up to six semesters; see the SMC Graduate Office for details about this).

7.7.5.4 Step 4. The student takes the preliminary examinations.
On the previously arranged date the student begins the examinations; the three exams can be taken in any order and with any intervals between them as long as all of them are completed within 14 days.

The student can arrange to pick up each question in person at the SMC Graduate Office or the exam questions may be e-mailed or faxed to the student by the preliminary examination committee chair or by the SMC Graduate Office staff. In either case if the student prefers, she or he can send the responses back to the SMC Graduate Office staff via e-mail (they can not be faxed).

Within 48 hours of the completion of the last (third) examination, the student submits to the SMC Graduate Office 4 printed copies of the original questions and the student’s answers to each question; three of the copies are for the members of the committee and one is for the SMC Graduate Office. The SMC Graduate Office staff distributes hard copies of the set of answers to all of the examination committee members.

7.7.5.5 Step 5. Each member of the preliminary examination committee reads and evaluates the student’s responses.
Each member of the committee reads the complete set of questions and answers, and each member reads and evaluates the entire examination. Each committee member communicates their assessment to the committee chair. If all of the evaluations are that the answers are acceptable, the student has passed the examinations. If not, an oral defense of the examinations is scheduled. Following the defense, the members of the committee determine and tell the student whether she or he has passed the examinations. If the student fails the examinations, she or he can petition to re-take them (but only once). When the committee determines that the examinations have been passed, the SMC Graduate Office staff processes and submits the Preliminary Examination Report form to the Graduate School within 30 days.

The dissertation abstract

7.7.5.6 Step 6: The student develops a short abstract of the dissertation project.
The student works with her or his advisor to develop a general plan for, and an extended abstract of, a viable dissertation study. This abstract is no more than 5 double-spaced pages long, and must be approved before the student writes the full proposal.

The extended abstract should fully explain the research the student plans to conduct, the contribution the project will make to the existing literature in the subject area, a plan and timetable for conducting the study, and what the student anticipates the study might reveal based on preliminary research and study. At least a paragraph or two should be devoted to a clear statement of the subject and the research question(s) regarding that subject. Another paragraph or two should explain the need for the project – a brief summary of the literature and what gap in the existing research the proposed project will fill. The abstract should also address the relevant theory and methodology; it should be as specific as possible about the scope of the evidence to be gathered, i.e., what particular media and/or individuals will be studied, why they have been selected, and how the necessary access will be achieved. The abstract should make it clear that the proposed project is feasible, including a summary of what the student has done so far that has led her/him to believe in the feasibility of the project.

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7.7.5.7 Step 7: The student obtains formal approval from the M&C faculty for the dissertation advisory committee and dissertation project.
To officially form the student’s dissertation advisory committee and obtain approval for the prospective dissertation project, the student completes the Dissertation Advisory Committee and Proposal Form (.pdf) and submits it to the SMC Graduate Office. This form is an official request to constitute the dissertation advisory committee; the 5 page extended abstract is transmitted with the form. The M&C faculty consider the petition and either suggest changes in the project and/or committees, or via a majority vote approve the project and committees.

When the form is approved the staff in the SMC Graduate Office posts an official notice of the approval of the project and committee, including the complete project abstract, to the MC listserv and web site so other students know of the project.

Note that the dissertation advisory committee and project abstract must be approved by the M&C faculty before the student begins writing her or his dissertation proposal (this protects the student from wasting time and effort on a project that is later not approved). Students should keep in mind that the faculty meets only during the academic year (from September to May), so if they wish to obtain approval for their dissertation project in order to begin work on the proposal during the summer, they should get permission from the members of their committees and submit the form by April 15.

Public presentation of dissertation project

7.7.5.8 Step 8: The student presents her or his dissertation project in a public forum.
Every Ph.D. student must present their proposal in a public forum, usually the SMC Theory and Research Seminar Series (STARSS). Not only does this provide a valuable opportunity for other members of the M&C community to learn about the student’s work, it provides the student valuable feedback as she or he develops the proposed study. The student should contact the STARSS coordinator or M&C program director to schedule a presentation.

The dissertation proposal and defense

7.7.5.9 Step 9: The student writes and distributes a complete, defendable draft of the dissertation proposal.
The student writes a series of drafts of the complete proposal for the dissertation project, with the advisor reviewing and providing feedback on each one. During this process, the student consults with the other dissertation advisory committee members regarding their areas of expertise as they relate to the project. If needed, these other committee members can be called upon to review specific parts of the proposal, but they are not obligated to do more than this.

The final proposal draft is a polished and compelling document that will require minimal revision other than the addition of the results, analysis, and interpretation when the project is complete. When the advisor and student believe the proposal is complete and defendable, the student distributes copies to all of the dissertation advisory committee members and to the SMC Graduate Office.

During the semester or semesters the student creates and refines the dissertation proposal, she or he should register for 1 credit of MMC 9998 (“Predissertation Research”). If the student requests it, the University will designate her or him as a full-time student during this time (a status the University calls “code 23″; although it should not be needed, this status is available for up to six semesters; see the SMC Graduate Office for details about this).

7.7.5.10 Step 10. The dissertation advisory committee determines that the dissertation proposal is defendable.
When the chair of the dissertation advisory committee determines that the dissertation proposal is complete and of adequate quality, the student distributes copies of the draft document to all committee members. Each member reads the document (which normally takes two weeks) and then reports the need for any required changes to the student and other committee members. This process may need to be repeated, with full or partial revised drafts reviewed by some or all committee members. When the chair and the other committee members are satisfied, the oral defense of the proposal is scheduled. The chair is responsible for overseeing this process (note that the Dissertation Advisory Committee Declaration of Proposal Defendability is no longer required).

7.7.5.11 Step 11: The student and dissertation advisory committee members establish and announce a schedule for the student to participate in an oral defense of the dissertation proposal.
The student, in consultation with the committee members, schedules an oral defense of the proposal. The date of the oral defense must be announced at least 14 days prior to the event. The defense typically lasts approximately 2 hours.

All examination defenses, dissertation proposal defenses, and dissertation defenses must take place between the first day of classes and the last day of the university final examinations of the fall and spring semesters. Exceptions to this rule will be made only in extreme circumstances and must be approved by the student’s advisor and the M&C director.

If a student plans to defend a dissertation proposal or dissertation by the end of a semester, their advisor must have approved its distribution and the full manuscript must be distributed to all committee members by November 1 (for fall) or April 1 (for spring). This does not guarantee that the committee will agree that the student is ready to move forward to defense, but it makes the defense possible within the semester.

The date, time and place for the defense should be chosen so that all committee members can attend. No more than a single member of the committee can be physically absent from the defense (this person can participate via conference call).

When the defense date/time/place is determined, the SMC Graduate Office reserves a meeting room and posts an announcement of the defense date/time/place on the MC listserv. The announcement notes that students and others interested in attending the defense are to request permission to do so from the student. (This electronic announcement replaces the old form called Notification of Preliminary Examinations & Dissertation Proposal Hearing.) The announcement must be posted at least 14 days prior to the date of the defense.

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7.7.5.12 Step 12. The oral defense of the dissertation proposal is held.
The defense of the dissertation proposal is held on the previously scheduled date. Although many variations are possible, the event usually proceeds this way:

First the student and any guests who are students are asked to leave the room briefly while the committee members discuss any relevant issues. When the student is called to return, she or he makes a very brief presentation about the proposed project, and then each committee member asks the student questions and makes suggestions regarding the proposal. Through the questioning and discussion, precise expectations for what will and will not be covered in the dissertation, how the project will be conducted, and so on, are established. At the conclusion of this part of the defense, the student and any guests who are students are asked again to leave the room and when the student is called to return, the group is informed of the outcome of the proposal defense.

If guests (faculty and/or students) attend the defense, they may or may not be allowed to ask questions or contribute to the discussion, at the discretion of the chair of the student’s dissertation advisory committee.

If the proposal is not approved, the student has 90 days to submit a new version of the proposal for a second oral defense. Until the proposal is approved, no work on the dissertation project itself can begin.

If the student’s dissertation proposal is approved, she or he advances to candidacy (also known as “being ABD” or having “All But Dissertation” status). The committee members then sign the Dissertation Advisory Committee and Proposal form (see 7.7.5.7 above) and the Dissertation Proposal Transmittal form (available on the Forms page of the web site of the Graduate School) and the chair of the committee or the student returns the forms to the SMC Graduate Office. The SMC Graduate Office staff then processes and submits the Dissertation Proposal Transmittal form to the Graduate School within 30 days of the successful defense.

Human Subjects approval for dissertation project

7.7.5.13 Step 13. The student submits and receives approval for the study from the Temple University Institutional Review Board.
All students (and faculty) at Temple University who conduct research projects that involve gathering information from human participants must apply and be granted approval for the project from the Temple University Institutional Review Board (IRB). Detailed information about the review process, required forms, and a schedule of IRB Committee meetings are available at the IRB web site. The student should plan carefully to receive timely IRB approval; materials generally have to be submitted two weeks prior to the IRB Committee meeting date and review takes at least three weeks.

Selection of the outside member of the dissertation examination committee

7.7.5.14 Step 14. The advisor and student select the university-mandated outside member of the dissertation examining committee.
At this point, University regulations require that a new person be added to the dissertation advisory committee, which then becomes the dissertation examining committee. This new outside member must not have been involved in the dissertation research or writing to this point. She or he must not be a member of the M&C faculty, but may be a SMC faculty member, another Temple University faculty member, or a faculty member from another university. The Graduate School must approve this outside member. If the person selected is not a member of Temple’s Graduate Faculty, a formal request for approval must be submitted four weeks prior to the date of the oral defense of the dissertation; in all other cases the request can be made two weeks before the defense (see 7.7.5.17 below).

The student and advisor together identify an appropriate person to serve as this outside member of the committee, and the student invites the person to serve. These arrangements can be made prior to this point and it is a good idea for the student and advisor to consider the identity of the outside member when planning the membership of the dissertation advisory committee.

Completion and defense of the dissertation

7.7.5.15 Step 15. The student conducts the proposed study and writes a complete, defendable draft of the dissertation.
The student conducts the research as outlined in the approved dissertation proposal and modifies the proposal to create a draft of the dissertation. The advisor reviews and provides feedback on this and subsequent drafts of the document. During this process, the student consults with the other committee members regarding their area of expertise as it relates to the project. If needed, these other committee members can be called upon to review specific parts of the proposal, but they are not obligated to do more than this.

During the semester(s) the student conducts the dissertation study and completes the dissertation document, she or he must register for 1 credit of MMC 9999 Dissertation Research. The University requires that all doctoral students register for a minimum of 6 of these credits. The student may not register for them until she or he is officially advanced to candidacy. To be designated as a full-time student during this time, the student has to be classified by the University as “code 23″; see the SMC Graduate Office for details).

7.7.5.16 Step 16. The dissertation advisory committee determines that the dissertation is defendable.
When the chair of the dissertation advisory committee determines that the dissertation is complete and of adequate quality, the student distributes copies of the draft document to all of the dissertation examining committee members except the outside member (see7.7.5.14 above). Each member reads the document (which normally takes two weeks) and then reports the need for any required changes to the student and other committee members. This process may need to be repeated, with full or partial revised drafts reviewed by some or all committee members. When the chair and the other committee members are satisfied that the draft document is defendable – i.e., that any further changes committee members may require at the oral defense could reasonably be made within 30 days – the student sends copies of the revised document to the outside member of the examining committee (see 7.7.5.14 above) and to the SMC Graduate Office, and the oral defense is scheduled. The chair is responsible for overseeing this process (note that the Dissertation Advisory Committee Declaration of Proposal Defendability is no longer required).

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7.7.5.17 Step 17. The student and committee members schedule the oral defense of the dissertation.
The student identifies a date and time at least 14 days after the outside member of the committee receives his or her copy of the dissertation draft when all committee members can meet for the defense.

All examination defenses, dissertation proposal defenses, or dissertation defenses must take place between the first day of classes and the last day of the university final examinations of the fall and spring semesters. Exceptions to this rule will be made only in extreme circumstances and must be approved by the student’s advisor and the M&C director.

If a student plans to defend a dissertation proposal or dissertation by the end of a semester, their advisor must have approved its distribution and the full manuscript must be distributed to all committee members by November 1 (for fall) or April 1 (for spring). This does not guarantee that the committee will agree that the student is ready to move forward to defense, but it makes the defense possible within the semester.

When a suitable defense date is identified, the student completes and submits the Announcement of the Oral Defense form, available from the Forms page of the web site of the Graduate School, to the SMC Graduate Office, which processes it and forwards it to the Graduate School. Graduate School policies state that the defense cannot be held until the Announcement of the Oral Defense form is received and approved in the Graduate School.

The Announcement of the Oral Defense form identifies the new outside member of the dissertation examining committee, the chair of the examining committee (who will chair the defense meeting), and the date/time/place of the defense.

The Graduate School must approve the outside member of the committee; if that person is not a member of Temple’s Graduate Faculty, a formal request for approval should have been submitted earlier (see 7.7.5.14 above); otherwise the request can be made via the Announcement of the Oral Defense form.

Graduate School regulations require that the faculty member who has served as chair of the student’s dissertation advisory committee not chair the student’s dissertation defense meeting. Another member of the committee must be selected to chair the defense and this must be indicated in the Announcement of the Oral Defense form.

The staff of the SMC Graduate Office will reserve an appropriate meeting room for the date and time selected for the defense and add this information to the form. The defense typically lasts approximately 2 hours.

7.7.5.18 Step 18. The details of the dissertation defense are announced to the M&C community.
When the Announcement of the Oral Defense form is complete and on file, the SMC Graduate Office staff posts an announcement of the defense date/time/place on the MC listserv. The announcement notes that students and others interested in attending the defense are to request permission to do so from the student. The announcement must be posted at least 10 working days prior to the date of the defense.

7.7.5.19 Step 19. The defense is held; the committee agrees on which member(s) will read and approve any required revisions.
The defense of the dissertation is held on the previously scheduled date.The Graduate School requires that all members of the Dissertation Examining Committee be physically present at the defense except in case of an emergency. The Dean of the Graduate School may give prior written approval for one member to be absent but that person must still participate in the defense in some way (e.g., via telephone, video conference, or written comments and/or questions asked by another member of the committee).

Although many variations are possible, the event usually proceeds this way: First the student and any guests who are students are asked to leave the room briefly while the committee members discuss any relevant issues. When the student rejoins the meeting she or he makes a very brief presentation about the project, and then each committee member asks the student questions about the dissertation. If guests (faculty and/or students) attend the defense, they may or may not be allowed to ask questions or contribute to the discussion, at the discretion of the chair of the defense meeting. When the questioning is complete, the student and any guests who are students are again asked to leave the room. During this time the committee members determine whether the dissertation is to be approved and, assuming it is, what revisions in the document are to be required before the final version is submitted to the Graduate School, along with the procedures for supervising the student’s completion of these revisions. When the student is called to rejoin the group she or he is informed of the outcome of the defense and the committee’s decisions regarding the revisions.

If the student’s dissertation is approved, all members of the dissertation examining committee sign the Dissertation Examining Committee Form (sent by the Graduate School to the chair of the student’s dissertation advisory committee prior to the defense). They also sign two copies of the signature page to be included in the final copies of the dissertation the student submits to the Graduate School after making any final revisions (note that the title of the dissertation should not appear on these signature pages until the final dissertation copies are to be submitted).

Revisions and final submission of dissertation

7.7.5.20 Step 20. The student makes the required revisions and submits the complete dissertation to the Graduate School.
The student must complete the revisions required by her or his dissertation examining committee and submit the final version of the dissertation to the Graduate School within 30 days after the defense. Before the dissertation can be submitted to the Gradate School the chair of the dissertation advisory committee and/or other members of the dissertation examining committee have to approve the revisions (arrangements for this are determined at the end of the defense). The dissertation must also be made to follow all format guidelines in the Graduate School’s Dissertation Handbook. The student submits copies of the final version to the Graduate School. The student then provides finished, bound copies of the dissertation to all of the members of her or his examining committee.

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7.7.5.21 Step 21: Graduation!
To graduate, the student must file an Application for Graduation for Doctoral Degrees (available from the Forms page of the web site of the Graduate School) early in the semester in which she intends to graduate. Application filing deadlines are listed in the academic calendar available on the University’s web site. The staff of the SMC Graduate Office submits the Doctoral Candidate Graduation Recommendation form (available from the Forms page of the web site of the Graduate School) to the Graduate School.

Graduates can attend the University’s, and/or SMC’s commencement exercises, but the latter is likely to be of greater importance. At that ceremony the student is ‘hooded’ by her or his advisor in a traditional academic ritual. Click here for a guide to academic costumes and ceremonies; click here for pictures of the proper way to wear a doctoral hood; click here for a short video (in .wmv format) of a hooding ceremony (from Michigan State University).

8. A Typical M&C Student’s Schedule of Activities from Admission to Graduation

To provide as complete a picture of the process of earning a doctoral degree from M&C as possible, the schedule of activities for a fictitious student is provided below (note that once coursework is completed, the timing of the activities listed is likely to be different for each student).

YEAR 0
Semester Time Period Activities
Spring semester By February 1 Submit application for admission
Submit Application for Graduate Assistantship (.pdf) to SMC Graduate Office
By April 1 Receive notification of admission to M&C
Receive notification regarding application for graduate assistantship
Summer semester Contact SMC Graduate Office to arrange registration for following semester
Late August Attend SMC and M&C orientation
YEAR 1
Semester Time Period Activities
Fall semester Take required courses:
3 cr. MMC 9001 Communication Theory I
3 cr. MMC 9002 Researching Communication I
3 cr. MMC 8985 Teaching Communication
1 cr. MMC 9003 Ph.D. Colloquium (Intro. to M&C)
(Total credits toward degree: 10)
Attend SMC Theory and Research Seminar Series (STARSS)
December Participate in M&C Poster Session
Spring semester Take required courses:
3 cr. MMC 9101 Communication Theory II3 cr. MMC 9102 Researching Communication II
3 cr. MC Elective
1 cr. MMC 9003 Ph.D. Colloquium (Writing Workshop)
1 cr. MMC 9003 Ph.D. Colloquium (Writing Workshop)
(Total credits toward degree: 20)
Attend SMC Theory and Research Seminar Series (STARSS)
By February 1 Submit Application for GraduateAssistantship (.pdf) to SMC Graduate Office
End of Third Week Submit Program Proposal, including Petition for Transfer Credit (.pdf) to advisor and then SMC Graduate Office; 24 credits approved for transfer(Total credits toward degree: 44)
Early February Attend/participate in SMC Graduate Student Competitive Research Forum
By April 1 Receive notification regarding application for graduate assistantship
YEAR 2
Semester Time Period Activities
Fall semester Take courses:3 cr. MC Elective
3 cr. MC Elective (MMC 9882 Directed Project with advisor)
3 cr. Non-MC Elective
(Total credits toward degree: 53)
December Participate in M&C Poster Session Spring semester
Spring semester Take courses:
3 cr. MC Elective
3 cr. MC Elective3 cr. MC Elective (MMC 9882 Directed Project with advisor)
3 cr. Non-MC Elective
(Total credits toward degree: 62)
By February 1 Submit Application for GraduateAssistantship (.pdf) to SMC Graduate Office
End of Third Week Submit updated Program Proposal to advisor and then SMC Graduate Office
Early February Attend/participate in SMC Graduate Student Competitive Research Forum
By April 1 Receive notification regarding application for graduate assistantship
YEAR 3
Semester Time Period Activities
Fall semester Take courses:
3 cr. MC Elective
3 cr. MC Elective or non-MC Elective
4 cr. Non-MC Elective
(Total credits toward degree: 72)
Discuss potential topic areas for the preliminary examinations, potential dissertation projects, and the constitution of the preliminary examination and dissertation advisory committees with advisor.
December Participate in M&C Poster Session Spring semester
Spring semester Register for 1 credit of MMC 9994 A Preliminary Examination Preparation
Attend SCT Theory and Research Seminar Series (STARSS)
By February 1 Submit Application for GraduateAssistantship (.pdf) to SMC Graduate Office
End of Third Week Submit updated Program Proposal to advisor and then SMC Graduate Office
February Attend/participate in SMC Graduate Student Competitive Research Forum
With advisor select members of the preliminary examination and dissertation advisory committees (Step 1)
Complete the Preliminary Examination Form (.pdf) and submit it to the SMC Graduate Office; approval granted by M&C director (Step 2)
Prepare for the preliminary examinations; distribute Preliminary Examination Question Forms (.pdf) to committee members, who add their questions and submit them to the committee chair, who submits the set of questions to the SMC Graduate Office; finalize arrangements for the administration of the examinations (Step 3)
March Take preliminary examinations over 14 day period (Step 4)
Members of the examination committee read and evaluate examination answers (Step 5)
April Develop 5 page abstract of dissertation project (Step 6)
Complete the Dissertation Advisory Committee and Proposal Form (.pdf) and submit it to the SMC Graduate Office; approval granted by M&C faculty (Step 7)Begin writing dissertation proposal
YEAR 4
Semester Time Period Activities
Fall semester Register for 1 credit of MMC 9998 Predissertation Research
Present dissertation proposal project at STARSS (Step 8)
Attend SMC Theory and Research Seminar Series (STARSS)
September Finish writing dissertation proposal draft (Step 9) and when committee judges it defendable, distribute draft to committee members (Step 10) With committee members, schedule the oral defense of the proposal; the staff of the SMC Graduate Office announces the defense via the MC listserv (Step 11)
October Defend and discuss dissertation proposal at oral defense (Step 12)
Submit and receive approval for the study from the Temple University Institutional Review Board (Step 13)
November With advisor select the university-mandated outside member of the dissertation examining committee (Step 14)
Begin conducting the proposed study (Step 15)
December Attend M&C Poster Session
Spring semester Register for 6 credits of MMC 9999 Dissertation Research
Attend SMC Theory and Research Seminar Series (STARSS)
January Check academic calendar on Temple University’s web site for graduation deadlines and file an Application for Graduation for Doctoral Degrees (available from the Forms page of the web site of
the Graduate School)
End of third week Submit updated Program Proposal to advisor and then SMC Graduate Office
February Attend/participate in SMC Graduate Student Competitive Research Forum
Finish writing dissertation and when committee agrees it is defendable, distribute a complete draft to outside reader (Step 16)
March With committee members, schedule the oral defense of the dissertation. Complete and submit the Announcement of the Oral Defense form, available from the Forms page of the web site of the Graduate School, to the SMC Graduate Office, which processes it and forwards it to the Graduate School. (Step 17)The staff of the SMC Graduate Office announces the defense via the MC listserv (Step 18)The defense is held; the committee agrees on which member(s) will read and approve any required revisions (Step 19)
April Dissertation Handbook. Submit complete dissertation to the Graduate School (Step 20)
May Participate in hooding ritual with advisor at SMC commencement exercises and celebrate with friends and family (Step 21)
Distribute bound copies of the final dissertation to members of the dissertation examining committee

 

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9 Appeals

All appeals, except those involving dismissal for academic reasons, should begin at the most immediate level. For instance, to question a class grade, the student should first consult the course instructor. If the problem can’t be resolved it should then be brought to the attention of the student’s advisor, who can bring it to the M&C director and if necessary, the full M&C faculty. If further resolution is required, appeals can be brought to the attention of the SMC Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and the Dean. SMC decisions can be appealed to the Provost.

The Graduate Board of the Graduate School hears appeals for reinstatement after dismissal for poor academic performance or failure of preliminary examinations.

The Graduate Bulletin and the policies page of the web site of the Graduate School contain further information concerning appeals and grievance procedures.

10 Financial support

The Financial aid page of this web site contains information about a variety of sources of support for prospective and current M&C students. Some types of support are available directly from M&C, and policies and procedures regarding these are detailed below.

M&C has limited funds which are competitively awarded based on academic merit. To apply for these funds, the student must complete the appropriate forms available on the Forms and templates page of this web site and in the SMC Graduate Office.

10.1 Research/teaching assistantships
M&C assistantships provide valuable learning opportunities to outstanding students. Students receiving this award work 10 hours each week during the academic year as a research assistant and 10 hours each week as either a teaching assistant or instructor. Specific assignments are designed wherever possible to meet the training needs of the specific student. The student receives a stipend (in 2003-2004 the amount is $12, 900) and a waiver of tuition expenses for 9 credits each semester. Students who are funded by an assistantship and who do not have any unresolved incompletes from prior courses can request tuition remission for more than 9 credits; the request must be made through the student’s advisor, who must indicate in writing to the M&C director that the extra credit(s) are necessary for the degree and that the extra coursework will not represent an undue burden on the student.

Assistantships are awarded during the spring semester for the following year. Students who wish to be considered for the awards must submit a completed Application for Graduate Assistantship (.pdf) to the SMC Graduate Office by February 1.

To be eligible for an assistantship award, the Graduate School requires M&C applicants to have a graduate level grade point average of 3.25; current students must have a GPA of at least 3.5 to be eligible for the award.

An assistantship offer is for one year. Assistantships will be considered for renewal, for up to a maximum of six semesters, for students who maintain a 3.5 GPA, successfully perform their research and teaching (RA and TA) assignments, and participate in the activities of the M&C community (the SMC Graduate Student Competitive Research Forum, presentations of student proposals and dissertations, M&C Poster Sessions, and other M&C events [see7.5 and 7.6 above]).

10.2 Research mini-grants
When funding is available, M&C students may be invited to apply for small grants ($250 – $500) to assist them in conducting research projects leading to conference presentation and journal publication. Details about the application process are announced on the MC listserv.

10.3 Conference travel grants
Each year M&C, in conjunction with the School of Media and Communication, awards grants to reimburse students for registration, travel and lodging expenses related to their attendance at and participation in one or more academic conferences. Students can submit an Application for Conference Travel Award (.pdf format) to the program director at any time during the academic year; evidence of formal acceptance of a scholarly paper to be presented at an academic conference and original receipts or cost estimates for allowable expenditures must be included. In accordance with SMC policies on travel reimbursement, you also need to include a letter from your advisor. and, like faculty, students applying for travel reimbursement must use a Temple-approved travel agency to purchase tickets (if you find a better price online, include a price quote from such an agency dated the same day you purchase your ticket online). Click here for a list of Temple-approved travel agencies.

10.4 Tuition assistance
Very limited funds are sometimes available to help pay for M&C students to complete coursework. There is no formal application for these funds; students who wish to be considered if the funds are available should contact the M&C director.

10.5 Dissertation assistance
Very limited funds are sometimes available to help pay for M&C students to complete their dissertation project. To be eligible for these funds the student must have successfully defended her or his dissertation proposal and applied for but not been awarded a Doctoral Project Completion Grant from the Temple University Graduate School (the application for this award is available on the Forms page of the web site of the Graduate School).

There is no formal application for these funds; students who wish to be considered if the funds are available should contact the M&C director.

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