Ph.D. Policies and Procedures

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Application and Admission

Admission to a doctoral program in the Graduate School typically requires that the student hold a master’s degree or its equivalent, have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 across all graduate work, and that the candidate be accepted by the academic unit (concentration) to which he or she applies. The faculty of each concentration may establish, at their discretion, a higher grade point average requirement (above the Graduate School minimum) for admission to their program.

Students seeking a doctoral degree in the School of Education must submit applications to the SIU Graduate School and individual programs concurrently.

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Graduate Assistantship

A limited number of graduate assistantships (GAs) are available in a variety of locations across campus, including academic units, research centers, administrative units, and service units. This type of appointment represents the most common type of financial award offered by the University.

A GA must be an admitted student in a degree program. Non-declared students are typically not eligible for graduate assistantships.

For available GA appointments and selection criteria, students should inquire directly with the Graduate Director or Chair of the department to which they have been admitted or to the appointing officer of a research center, administrative unit, or service unit.

The typical GA appointment is a 50% appointment (20 hours per week) and lasts for one academic year (9 months). Some 25% appointments, requiring 10 hours per week, are available. A student may hold two simultaneous quarter-time (25%) appointments on campus without special approval.

GA appointments may be either on a semester-pay basis or a fiscal-pay basis. If available, doctoral students can receive up to four years (48 months) of graduate assistantship support. In terms of tuition scholarships, see the SIU Graduate School Guidelines.

Salary schedules for GA appointments vary between units. Information about the specific conditions of the appointment should be directed to the department or unit making the appointment.

Awards and Scholarships

A limited number of awards, scholarships, and fellowships are available to doctoral students in the School of Education. 

Preliminary Examination

Candidacy status can only be awarded after students successfully complete the preliminary examination. This examination will include those areas established as appropriate by the department or concentration. Faculty from the respective concentration areas will determine who will be responsible for preparing, evaluating, and certifying successful completion of the examination.


The preliminary examination is an assessment of the breadth and depth of a student’s knowledge in educational foundations and his/her concentration area, and his/her ability to access, analyze, and synthesize research through writing.


The examination will be offered at least two times a year and will be administered on the fifth week of each semester. The appropriate departmental representative will be responsible for selecting the examination location and monitoring the examination.

Students completing preliminary examinations will be notified about their results no later than 30 calendar days after examinations are completed. Notification may vary for the departments (or concentrations) where preliminary examinations are offered during the summer semester.


A student may take the preliminary examination after having successfully completed all (or most) coursework listed on the student’s Program of Study. Exceptions to this policy can only be granted by both the committee chairperson and the director of graduate studies. The student must seek and receive approval from the dissertation committee chair to take the preliminary examination.

If a student fails the examination on the initial attempt, then he/she may take the exam up to two additional times (contingent on the student’s concentration) before being removed from the doctoral program.

Advancement to Candidacy

Upon passing the preliminary examination, the student is advanced to candidacy.

This advancement signifies that the doctoral student is capable of conducting independent research with the guidance of his/her dissertation committee. The chairperson of the student’s doctoral committee should initiate the advancement to candidacy forms and submit four copies to the Dean of the School.

A student must be admitted to candidacy at least six months prior to graduation. Once admitted to candidacy, students may register for additional dissertation hours (up to a total of 24 credit hours). As doctoral candidates, students have five (5) years to complete their dissertation.

Degree Requirements

Program of Study Requirement

The required coursework is as follows:

Transfer credit hours are subject to approval by each student's doctoral committee. All graduate credit hours earned at an accredited university that have not been applied toward fulfillment of requirements for another degree are eligible for consideration but cannot apply to the residency requirement set by the Graduate School (see Graduate Catalog). No credit will be given for transfer courses in which a student has earned less than a B grade. Prerequisite courses required as a condition of admission may not be included in the minimum credit hour requirement.

Research Methods Requirement

The Ph.D. in Education is a research-oriented degree. The research methods requirement is an integral part of the student’s program and is intended to allow the student to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct systematic intellectual inquiry.

Specific technical and methodological competencies are developed through research methods coursework. Some classes are required of all students, while others are chosen for their relevancy to the area of concentration and individual student’s research interests. They must be successfully completed before preliminary examinations. These classes should prepare a student with the skills and competencies necessary to:

All students must complete at least nine (9) credit hours in approved courses to fulfill the Research Methods Requirement. All students are required to take EAHE 587 (Introduction to Qualitative Research), EDUC 505 (Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Education), and one additional cross-departmental graduate-level course in research methodology. Students with previous coursework in introductory research methods can petition to replace these introductory courses with higher-level research methodology coursework. Some academic concentrations may require additional research methods courses. Some student’s doctoral committees may encourage or require them to take additional methodology coursework, beyond their program’s minimum research requirements.

Residency Requirement

The residency requirement for the doctoral degree must be fulfilled after admission to the program and prior to advancement to candidacy (i.e., by the time students have successfully passed the preliminary examination). Residency is met by completing 24 graduate credit hours on campus as a doctoral student within a period not to exceed four calendar years. Transfer credits do not apply to residency.

No more than six semester-hours of deferred dissertation credit may be applied toward the fulfillment of the 24 semester hour residency requirement.

Credit hours earned in concentrated courses and workshops may apply toward fulfillment of the residency requirements if the student is concurrently registered for a course spanning the full term.

No more than six semester hours of short course or workshop credit may be applied to the 24 semester hour residency requirement.

Continuing Registration Requirement

Students who have registered for the maximum number of dissertation credit hours (24) required for the doctoral degree, but have not finished their degree program, and are in the process of completing their dissertations, must register for continuing enrollment credit (one credit hour per semester). In addition, students in a graduate program but not enrolled in 601 by the first week of the fall or the spring semester will automatically be registered in and charged tuition for 1 hour of 601. This hour will be dropped if the student subsequently enrolls in a class that semester or is granted a leave of absence by his/her graduate program by the 8th week of the semester. See the Graduate School 601 Enrollment Policy.

This course is offered by each concentration (i.e., COUN 601, CI 601, EAHE 601, HED 601, QUAN 601, SPED 601, WED 601). Concurrent registration in any other course is not permitted.

Students registering for continuing enrollment credit are assessed only tuition and the Student Center Fee for credit hours associated with registration. Since no other student fees are assessed, students taking continuing enrollment credits are not eligible for the benefits of any other programs, such as the Recreation Center, Health Service and Student Medical Benefits, and the Students' Attorney Program. Students who need the benefits requiring fees must register for additional dissertation hours, instead of continuing enrollment credits.