ADDITIONAL GRADUATE ADMISSIONS RESOURCES
Graduate Admissions Office
For information on all of Kent State’s degrees and majors, go online to www.kent.edu/gps
The Doctoral program in geography exposes students to advanced theories and techniques in contemporary geographic research. 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 to four academic year program.
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:
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 Master's level:
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.
A student’s doctoral work is expected to reflect the current status of the discipline of Geography; moreover, it is expected that he/she will integrate knowledge and techniques from a related field outside of geography. This field serves as the student’s cognate.
As noted above, students will take at least 6 hours of classes in a cognate field; a committee member from a cognate discipline is also on the student’s dissertation committee. Ideally, the committee member will be from the same discipline as the student’s cognate classes, but this is not always the case.
Ph.D. students must complete a Dissertation as part of their requirements for graduation. A student’s work on his/her dissertation is supported and evaluated by an advisory committee chaired by the student’s advisor. The student must consult with the committee to design his/her course program, examinations, and dissertation research. The graduate faculty will meet at least once a year to review the progress of each student.
The advisory committee is chaired by the advisor and at least three additional members selected by the student in consultation with the advisor. Two of these members should be from Geography, and at least one member must be a member of a cognate discipline. No more than one member of the committee may have A-3 or F-3 graduate faculty status; all others must be F-4.
There are three main sequences of events related to the dissertation. First, the student completes all of the relevant coursework (30 credits including 24 credits of graded coursework). Second, the student must reach candidacy (aka, become “ABD”); this includes the development and approval of a dissertation proposal and passing of oral exams. Third, the student will write and defend the dissertation. The second and third steps are shown below. It is strongly advised that the students and all committee members, especially the advisor, maintain regular contact during these processes.
The foundation for a successful dissertation is developing a research proposal that clearly and succinctly lays out the student’s intentions for his/her doctoral research. Students will likely conduct some preliminary work on their dissertation before reaching candidacy, but are advised to seek to defend their proposal before starting considerable work on the dissertation itself.
The student and advisor will work closely during the process of the student’s dissertation research. Regular meetings should be scheduled, and the research should be reviewed at a frequency that is acceptable to both student and advisor. Students are encouraged to set up occasional dissertation committee meetings to discuss progress with the full committee. The student must register for graduation (in Flashline) by the start of the semester in which he/she hopes to graduate.
The examining committeewill consist of the dissertation committee plus a Graduate Faculty Representative and a moderator, both of which are appointed as the defense nears. 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. A Graduate Faculty Representative must be requested by the advisor from the college; due to difficulties in locating Graduate Faculty Representatives on short notice, the advisor should put in a request for a Graduate Faculty Representative around 2-3 months before an anticipated defense date.
When the student and advisor believe the dissertation is ready for preliminary approval, it will be circulated among the members of the committee.
The committee will have a period of 10 working 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.
The committee must unanimously agree that the dissertation is ready for defense. Recommended revisions will be noted by the advisor and communicated to the candidate; the committee may:
If this happens, the student, advisor, and Graduate Coordinator will meet to discuss a route forward.
When the dissertation committee has met and has agreed to proceed to the final examination, the student and committee will identify an acceptable time and place. The defense should be scheduled at least 10 working days in advance, unless the committee unanimously agrees otherwise. The Chair, graduate coordinator, and secretary should be notified of the time and date at this point.
The defense will be open to the University community. Notification of the time and place of the defense should be made public at least one week in advance of the defense. In the absence of the advisor, the oral defense may not be held. If it is a matter of long-term absence or illness, the Chair and graduate coordinator, in consultation with the 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 student will open the defense with a 15-20-minute presentation of his/her findings.
The members of the thesis committee will then question the candidate. 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. The questioning will continue until it has run its course. If it is deemed necessary to discontinue the defense, the advisor may recess the defense until a time mutually agreeable to the advisor, the candidate, and the Dean.
Once questioning is completed, the moderator will adjourn the defense and the room will be cleared of everyone except for the committee. The committee will then discuss 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. If the candidate does not pass the defense, a rescheduling of the defense will occur when, in the opinion of the committee and the student, the thesis has been modified appropriately. If a candidate does not pass the defense after a second attempt, the Dean will be notified, and all further action is then the responsibility of the Dean.
Following the successful defense of the dissertation, any requested changes to the dissertation document must be made by the student, and a final version of the dissertation must be approved by the student’s committee. Once the committee has approved the dissertation document, the document must then be submitted to the Chair for approval. The dissertation document must be submitted as a PDF. Formatting regulations and instructions may be found at: http://www.library.kent.edu/about. The student must give the chairperson at least three days to examine the dissertation. The student must also fill out the dissertation preparation form.
Take three Ph.D. level Geography courses; GEOG 60800 (Development of Geographic Thought) is recommended.
Consider cognate courses each semester as you will need two total.
Schedule regular meetings with temporary advisor and meet with other faculty that have similar research interests.
Take three Ph.D. level Geography courses; GEOG 69701 (Research and Presentation of Geographic Data) is recommended.
Work towards identifying a permanent advisor (must be declared by Week 6) and potential committee members.
Set up an action plan with your advisor for how your Research and Presentation proposal may become your Thesis Proposal.
Take two additional courses as part of your full-time load. The remainder of a full-time load can be either additional courses or research hours.
Continue to work with your advisor to develop your dissertation proposal, and assemble your committee.
Aim to defend your proposal either in late spring or early summer of year 2.
Prepare for Comprehensive Examinations
Register for Dissertation I (two semesters in a row). Following this, register for Dissertation II.
You should be taking no additional coursework, unless it helps your dissertation.
Continue to register for Dissertation II each semester until the dissertation is defended and submitted. This includes summer sessions.