Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctoral programs include a major field or area of concentration and, frequently, one or more cognate fields. Cognate fields are defined as a minimum of 6 semester hours of graduate coursework in a given area outside the student’s major field. The department of Theory and Practice in Teacher education offers the following majors, concentrations, and specializations. Three years prior teaching experience is required for admission to any PhD program of study.
Concentrations and Specializations:
- Elementary Education
- English Education
- Mathematics Education
- Science Education
- Social Science Education
The student’s program of study is subject to Graduate Council policies and individual program requirements. The program of study as listed by the student on the Admission to Candidacy form must be approved by the doctoral committee. A candidate for a doctoral degree must complete a minimum of 44 hours of graduate coursework beyond the master’s degree, which is a prerequisite for entry into most doctoral programs. If the doctoral program does not require a master’s degree, the candidate must complete a minimum of 48 hours of graduate coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree. A minimum of 12 of the 24 hours, or 30 of the 48 hours, must be graded A-F. A minimum of 6 semester hours of the student’s coursework must be taken in University of Tennessee courses at the 600 level, exclusive of the dissertation.
In addition, 24 hours of course 600 Doctoral Research and Dissertation are required (see Registration for Course 600 and Continuous Registration).
The major professor directs the student’s dissertation research and chairs the dissertation committee. The student and the major professor identify a doctoral committee composed of at least four faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor or above, three of whom, including the chair, must be approved by the Graduate Council to direct doctoral research. At least one member must be from an academic unit other than that of the student’s major field. This committee is nominated by the department head or college dean and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
The committee should be formed during the student’s first year of doctoral study. Subject to Graduate Council policies and individual program requirements, the committee must approve all coursework applied toward the degree, certify the student’s mastery of the major field and any cognate field, assist the student in conducting research, and recommend the dissertation for approval and acceptance by Graduate Student Services.
Departments may, at their option, administer diagnostic and/or qualifying examinations in the early stages of the student’s doctoral program. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination and a defense of dissertation is required for all doctoral degrees. Registration is required the term in which the examinations are taken.Language requirements Candidates for the Ph.D. may be required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language in which there exists a significant body of literature relevant to the major field of study. The doctoral committee will determine the specific language (or languages) required. When the student is prepared to take a language examination, he/she should complete an Application for Doctoral Language Examination at the Office of the University Registrar in accordance with the dates and times for the examinations published online.
Satisfactory completion (grade B or better) of German 332 or French 302 may be substituted for a language examination.
Residence is defined as full-time registration for a given semester on the campus where the program is located. The summer term is included in this period. During residence, it is expected that the student will be engaged in full-time on-campus study toward a graduate degree.
For the doctoral degree, a minimum of two consecutive semesters of residence is required. Individual doctoral programs may have additional residence requirements. A statement as to how and during what period of time the residence requirement has been met will be presented with the Application for Admission to Candidacy along with signatures of approval from the major professor and the Department Head/Program Director. More information about the rationale for the residence requirement may be obtained from the Graduate Council report available on the Graduate Studies Web page.
Admission to candidacy indicates agreement that the student has demonstrated the ability to do acceptable graduate work and that satisfactory progress has been made toward a degree. This action usually connotes that all prerequisites to admission have been completed and a program of study has been approved. A student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree passing the comprehensive examination, fulfilling any language requirements (for Ph.D.), and maintaining at least a B average in all graduate coursework. Each student is responsible for filing the admission to candidacy form, which lists all courses to be used for the degree, including courses taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, or at another institution prior to admission to the doctoral program, and is signed by the doctoral committee. Admission to candidacy must be applied for and approved by the Office of the University Registrar at least one full semester prior to the date the degree is to be conferred.
Course 600 is reserved for doctoral research and dissertation hours. Initial registration for 600 should be determined by each department and generally corresponds to the time at which a student begins work actively on dissertation research. From this time on, students are required to register continuously for at least 3 hours of 600 each semester, including summer term. A minimum total of 24 hours of course 600 is required. A student who will not be using faculty services and/or university facilities for a period of time may request leaves of absence from dissertation research up to a maximum of six terms (including summer terms). The request, approved by the major professor, will be submitted by the student and filed in the Office of the University Registrar. Dissertation prospectus form.
The dissertation represents the culmination of an original major research project completed by the student. The organization, method of presentation, and subject matter of the dissertation are important in conveying to others the results of such research. A student should be registered for the number of dissertation hours representing the fraction of effort devoted to this phase of the candidate’s program. Paper or electronic submission will be approved by the students committee prior to final preparation of the dissertation. Two paper copies or an electronic copy of the dissertation (prepared according to the regulations in the most recent Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations) must be submitted to and accepted by the Office of Graduate Student Services on behalf of the Graduate Council. Find the dissertation prospectus approval form here.
Comprehensive examinations must be taken within five years, and all requirements must be completed within eight years, from the time of a student’s first enrollment in a doctoral degree program.