Path to Ph.D.

The following is the normal sequence of major events, requirements, and responsibilities leading to the Ph.D.:

Admission stage

  • The prospective student is accepted by a graduate faculty member who will serve as the major professor.
  • The student is accepted for admission by the Kinesiology Ph.D. Executive Committee and ISU Graduate College.
  • The major professor provides initial advising until a Program of Study (POS) Committee is formed.

Requirements and responsibilities timeline

  • Take the English Placement test during the first semester if English is a second language.
  • Get involved in the major professor’s research during the first semester.
  • Conduct pilot work for dissertation line of research.
  • Form POS committee and conduct initial POS committee meeting to approve POS and discuss initial dissertation project during end of first year or beginning of second year. At this meeting, inform POS committee regarding proposed dissertation line of research and any pilot work conducted.
  • Hold additional POS committee meetings to keep committee members informed and receive their feedback as further studies are planned and conducted.
  • Send dissertation proposal to POS committee and conduct formal dissertation proposal meeting to discuss final project. At this meeting, present results from previous studies as applicable and propose methodology for culminating research study. This meeting may occur before or after preliminary exams.
  • Complete POS coursework. Topics that will be tested on preliminary exams should be completed prior to or during third year.
  • Complete written and oral preliminary examinations to qualify as a Ph.D. candidate. These exams are usually completed during the third year. The oral preliminary exam must be completed at least six months before final defense.
  • Secondary research experience can be completed at any point when appropriate, but must be done prior to final oral examination.
  • Optional primary and secondary teaching experiences can be completed at any point when appropriate.
  • Conduct final study (studies) and complete dissertation.

Final exam and graduation

  • Final oral examination is given. (A minimum of 6 months must elapse between preliminary examination and final oral examination.)
  • Doctoral students are responsible for asking their major professor or another faculty member to present them at the graduation ceremony.