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Doctoral Program Overview
The purpose of the doctoral program in geography is to expose students to advanced theories and techniques in contemporary geographic research. Following this exposure, students are expected to conduct original research that withstands the scrutiny of a community of scholars. The Ph.D. in geography is designed to be a three academic year program. However, there may be variations between individual students.
The K.S.U. Graduate College requires a minimum of 60 credit hours for the Ph.D., of which at least 30 must be for work on the dissertation. Of the remaining 30 hours, the department requires the completion of a minimum of 24 credit hours in letter-graded (A-F) coursework numbered 6/7/80000. In particular:
- Students who are granted assistantships are required, prior to their first semester, to complete the Teaching Assistant Orientation Program (ONTAP). Upon successful completion, he/she receives 1 credit hour for GCOL 71093-College Teaching.
- At least 18 credit hours must consist of graded geography coursework (which may include graded independent study) of level 6/7/80000.
- All graduate students are required to attend all colloquia during their residence, and must enroll in colloquium for one of their semesters in residence. Repeated registration is possible, but credit towards the degree is limited to 2 hours.
- A minimum of 6 credits of course work or equivalence in research at a graduate level must be taken in a cognate discipline. Generally, such work will be taken with the cognate member of the student's advisory committee.
- Once a student reaches candidacy, it is expected that he/she will register for Dissertation I for two academic terms at 15 hours each, and Dissertation II thereafter, each semester, including summers, until all requirements for the degree have been met.
- New students are strongly encouraged to take the following courses within the first year of their enrollment, if they have not already taken similar courses at the Masters level:
GEOG 69701- Research & Presentation of Geographic Data (3)
GEOG 70800- Seminar in the Development of Geographic Thought (3)
- Students are allowed to take a maximum of 4 credit hours of workshop courses for graduate credit. However, students must first receive approval for receiving graduate credit for appropriate graduate level workshops from their advisor and the graduate coordinator. Approval will be determined based on the applicability of the workshop toward the student's academic progress and the graduate faculty status of the workshop instructor.
Program of Study
The doctoral program operates through an advisory committee chaired by the student's advisor. The student must consult with the advisory committee to design the student's course program, examinations, and dissertation research. The graduate faculty will meet at least once a year to review the progress of each student.
- Selecting An Advisor. Since a strong advising system is essential to the planning of a specialized degree program, which meets the goals of both the student and the department, the following procedures will be implemented.
- Upon notification of admission to the doctoral program, the student will be assigned a temporary advisor based upon the interests expressed by the student on the application for admission. Any course deficiencies noted at the time of admission will be expressed in writing at that time.
- The temporary advisor will help the student design a program of courses for the first semester.
- By the end of the sixth week of the student's second semester, a permanent advisor must be selected. This is recorded on an Advisory Assignment Agreement form, which will be filed in the student's academic file.
- If the student decides to change his/her advisor prior to the candidacy, a Change of Permanent Advisor form must be filed.
- Selecting a Committee. In consultation with the permanent advisor, the student will select an advisory committee consisting of at least two other members of the Geography Department faculty and at least one member from a discipline outside of Geography. No more than one member of the committee may be an Associate Member of the graduate faculty. The outside discipline will then become the student's cognate field.
- Course Program. The student.s advisory committee must be in place by the end of the third semester. A Plan of Doctoral Study must be filed in the student.s academic file. Any change in the course program must be agreed upon by the advisory committee, and a revised Plan of Doctoral Study must be submitted and filed in the student's file.
- Dissertation Proposal. The dissertation proposal must be tentatively approved by the student.s advisory committee prior to taking candidacy examinations. Excluding references, the dissertation proposal may not exceed 25 pages.
- Candidacy Examinations. There are two requirements which must be completed by students in order to advance to candidacy.
- Written Comprehensive Examination
There are three examinations, one administered by each member of the advisory committee within the Department. Each exam lasts no longer than four hours. All written exams must be completed within five working days. Within one week of completion, the advisory committee will evaluate the written examinations, and, for successful candidates, the oral examination will be scheduled.
If a portion of the written examination is failed, the student must retake that component within one month of notification. The student must successfully pass all written examinations before proceeding to the oral examination. No component can be taken more than twice. If any component is failed twice, the student is terminated from the doctoral program.
- Oral Examination
Within two weeks of notification of the successful completion of all aspects of the written examination, the student must take an oral examination. The oral examination will consist of questions related to both the dissertation proposal and the written examinations. The examination begins with an oral presentation of the dissertation proposal. At the end of the oral examination, the committee may suggest supplemental course work to improve the student's ability to complete the dissertation.
The Report of Candidacy Examination and the Notification of Approved Dissertation Topic and Prospectus forms must be completed and filed following the successful candidacy examination. Once the dissertation topic has been approved, the candidate is cleared to register for Dissertation I.
After approval of the dissertation topic, no changes may be made to the composition of the student's committee without approval by two-thirds of the Graduate Faculty.
- Written Comprehensive Examination
Defense of Dissertation
When the Advisor believes the dissertation is ready for preliminary approval, it will be circulated among the members of the committee. The Advisor will allow a minimum of 10 days to read the dissertation and will then convene the dissertation committee (without the candidate) for the purpose of evaluating it. The Graduate Faculty Representative must be notified of this meeting and invited to attend (and vote) on the readiness of the dissertation for final defense. Recommended revisions will be noted by the Advisor and communicated to the candidate, and when in the opinion of the Advisor and the candidate, the appropriate revisions have been made, the Advisor will inform the Graduate Coordinator and the Chair.
Please note that due to recent difficulties in locating Graduate Faculty Representatives on short notice, a request must be made to the College to provide a Graduate Faculty Representative well before this first meeting is scheduled.
The examining committee will consist of the Dissertation Committee plus the Graduate Faculty Representative. The Graduate Faculty Representative may also serve as moderator, or if a separate moderator is desired, he/she will be selected by the Dissertation Committee from the members of the Graduate Faculty outside of Geography who have been approved to direct dissertations.
When the dissertation committee has met and has agreed to proceed to the final examination, the advisor will designate the time and place of the final oral defense and notify all members of the examining committee. The oral defense is open to any member of the University wishing to attend. The defense should be scheduled to allow a minimum of ten days for all of the examination committee to look over the dissertation; this is in addition to the ten-day period preceding the dissertation committee meeting. In the absence of the advisor, the oral defense may not be held. If it is a matter of long term absence or enduring illness of the advisor, the Chairperson/Director of the department/school, in consultation with the appropriate Dean, should make appropriate arrangements for a substitute.
The dissertation must be in final form prior to the final oral defense. If, in the opinion of more than one member of the examining committee, the dissertation is not in acceptable final form the oral defense will not be held. This is to be determined by vote prior to the final oral examination and without the candidate or others being present. If a negative vote occurs, the candidate may be called in to provide clarification. A rescheduling of the oral defense, if necessary, will occur when, in the opinion of the Advisor and the student, the dissertation has been modified to incorporate the suggested changes. The dissertation must be acceptable, with no more than one dissenting vote, before the rescheduled final oral can be held. If the dissertation is not in suitable form at this second scheduled oral, the Dean will be notified, and all further action is then the responsibility of the Dean.
The final oral defense will be open to the University community. Notification of the time and place of the defense should be made public, with an abstract available to familiarize other members of the Graduate Faculty with the methodology and findings.
The candidate will open the defense with a 15-minute presentation of his/her findings, after which the members of the examining committee will question the candidate in order to be determined by the Moderator. Typically, there are two rounds of questioning, with the length determined in consultation with the committee. Following questions by the examining committee, the Moderator may open the examination to appropriate questions from others present. Questions dealing with the substance, meaning, and usefulness of the research in the dissertation are of greatest propriety. Comments dealing with grammatical minutiae should be written out and privately submitted to the advisor.
If it is deemed necessary to discontinue the defense, the Moderator may recess the defense until a time mutually agreeable to the Moderator, the Advisor, the Candidate, and the Dean.
When the questioning has run its course, the Moderator will adjourn the defense and the room will be cleared of everyone except the members of the examining committee. Parliamentary procedure will be observed to determine the success or failure of the candidate, with the Moderator acting as Chair without a vote. The candidate should be evaluated both (a) upon the overall quality and significance of his/her dissertation, and (b) upon the oral defense of his/her findings. A candidate passes the final oral defense if he/she passes with no more than one dissenting vote.
Doctoral candidates will submit their dissertation in electronic format. A .checklist. and a .how-to. create Electronic Theses and Dissertations is found online at: http://www.library.kent.edu/page/10239. The department requests two paper copies of the dissertation for its library.
Recommended timeline for full-time Ph.D. Students
|Semester||Coursework / Action
|Fall, Year 1
||Three courses, one of which may be cognate
|Spring, Year 1
||Three courses, one of which may be cognate
|Permanent advisor selected by Week 6
|Fall, Year 2
||Two courses or research hours
|Spring, Year 2
||Two courses or research hours
|Colloquium or research hours
|Comprehensive exams completed by Week 10
|Fall, Year 3
|Spring, Year 3
|Dissertation must be defended by Week 10 for May graduation
If you have not completed your dissertation after your 6th semester, you must continually be enrolled in Dissertation II - including summer- until you have successfully defended your dissertation.
Students on funding are required to be enrolled in at least 8 credits each semester. All graduate students are required to attend all colloquia during their residence, and must enroll in colloquium for one of their semesters in residence. You may enroll in colloquium more than once, although it will count towards your credit hours required for graduation only once.
All Ph.D. students must complete their comprehensive exams within four years of the start of the program. Failure to do so can result in dismissal from the program. Students can not register for Dissertation I until comprehensives are completed.Although the office routinely registers students for dissertation, it is your responsibly to make sure you are registered continuously and have your bursar.s account paid on time. Sometimes a student is registered but due to non-payment of tuition, is dropped from enrollment. The College of Arts and Sciences requires continuous enrollment or you may be dropped from the graduate program or charged late fees to re-enroll.