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Doctoral Program Planning

Academic Advisor and Program Committee

Students will be assigned a temporary academic advisor immediately upon admission to the doctoral program; this person will be a faculty member with expertise in an area related to the student’s background and/or interests. Within the FIRST SEMESTER of study, the student will need to select a permanent academic advisor who is a member of the special education faculty and holds active regular graduate faculty status; this person may be the same as the temporary advisor or different.

In consultation with the advisor and/or department chair, the student will then choose the remaining four (4) members of the program committee, which must meet all requirements or WVU and CEHS and will include at least one (1) other member of the special education faculty, a representative from the minor or supporting area, a person with research expertise, and an individual outside the College. The academic advisor will serve as the chair of the program committee; in some instances, students may elect to invite a junior faculty member who does not yet hold regular graduate faculty status to serve as co-chair of the committee.

The CEHS Doctoral Committee Approval Form is available to download on the CEHS Student Resources: Student Forms web page

Students may request a change in committee composition when a member is no longer able to serve or s/he experiences irreconcilable conflicts; the request must be signed by the advisor or committee chair, the department chair, and the Dean.

The CEHS Request for Change in Doctoral Committee Form is available to download on the CEHS Student Resources: Student Forms web page

NOTE: Students whose committee CHAIR leaves WVU through retirement or other employment may ask to continue to work with that advisor ONLY IF their prospectus has been approved and they can complete the dissertation with a one (1) year period. Otherwise students must choose a new advisor from eligible faculty.

Enrollment in Courses

All courses in the doctoral program emphasis in special education have restricted access and are open ONLY to students who have been admitted to this program, are in good academic standing, and have maintained continuous enrollment.

Every student is required to contact his/her assigned academic advisor or committee chair at least one (1) month PRIOR to each semester to request departmental permission to enroll in required courses and to receive tuition waiver for all credit hours deemed eligible for waiver. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met any prerequisite requirements and made any necessary arrangements (especially for internships) AT LEAST TWO (2) WEEKS PRIOR to the first day of the semester.

Students MUST enroll in at least one (1) credit hour per semester while working on the comprehensive examination, prospectus or dissertation in order to compensate WVU for faculty time and effort, ensure access to support services such as the online library, and maintain active standing in the program.

Selection of Minor Area

College requirements for doctoral study require students to complete a minimum of 18 credits in a minor or supporting area. This area is chosen by the student, with guidance by the advisor, to assist in accomplishing career goals. Students may reduce totals credit hours by choosing a minor area that overlaps with research core and foundations area requirements.

Students in the personnel preparation option may use some credits from the research core and foundations area to also count toward a minor in Educational Psychology.

Students in the school leadership option may use some credits from the research core and foundations area to also count toward a minor in Educational Leadership.

Students who have a Masters degree in an area other than special education may be able to use some or all of the courses from that program toward the minor area.

Program of Study Plan and Meeting

Students who have composed a program committee will work with the academic advisor and other committee members to construct a program of study that will address ALL requirements of the program option, the Department, the College and the University to ensure timely and satisfactory completion of the doctoral degree program.

The CEHS Doctoral Program of Study Form is available to download at the CEHS Student Resources: Student Forms web page.

The student will schedule a program of study meeting with all committee members to discuss career goals, program of study components, comprehensive examination plans, and initial ideas for the dissertation study. The detailed plan must be signed by the committee, the department chair, and the Dean and will be placed in the student’s file as a contractual agreement of requirements for the degree.

Annual Review of Progress

Graduate faculty will conduct an annual review of ALL doctoral students to determine that they are making satisfactory progress in the program and continue to be eligible for financial support provided by the department.

Students who are deemed to have made adequate progress will be commended.

Students who are deemed to have made inadequate progress will be notified and asked to meet with their advisor or committee chair to plan how they will address the problems and maintain progress. Students who are unable to maintain satisfactory progress after such intervention will be asked to withdraw from the doctoral program emphasis in special education.