PhD Timeline and Milestones

Refer to Graduate School Deadlines and the information here as a guide to planning and accomplishing program milestones. Please note that the guidelines below assume full-time registration; if you work part-time, adjust the schedule to suit your needs.


Prior to first registration


  • Visit with 2-3 faculty members for advice on courses to take in the first semester, in particular, non-ENE courses.
  • Come to the Graduate Office (1300 Armstrong Hall) to register, or email the Graduate Coordinator.

 Self-reflect: 

  • Do you have the potential and the motivation to undertake a PhD and contribute to the engineering education community?
  • What do you need to get started?

During first semester


  • Satisfy all admission conditions (such sending your final transcripts to the Graduate School).
  • Satisfy any conditional admit requirements (they are in your letter recommending admission). Fulfilling some conditions may take the first two semesters.
  • Get to know your advisor and get involved in their research.
  • Explore options for an advisory committee.
  • Draft a preliminary plan of study. This is an assignment for ENE 501.
  • Initiate your portfolio. This is also an assignment for ENE 501.
  • Check out Purdue’s writing program if you need help with your writing.

 Self-reflect: 

  • Are your expectations being met?
  • How might you demonstrate the ENE competencies?

During second semester


  • Discuss your progress and expectations with your advisor or other mentors (faculty, staff, peers). Seek formative and constructive feedback. 
  • Complete a preliminary plan of study (save in draft form) and present it to your major professor; discuss options for committee members.
  • Begin forming your advisory committee.
  • Have an open mind regarding your research interests. The first year of the program often broadens students’ perspectives on research and career goals.
  • Take time to reflect on your transition into what many students feel is a “new area.” 
  • Clarify your summer goals and plans before the term ends. Many faculty may not be available over the summer session.

 Self-reflect: 

  • What courses should you take? What research areas interest you? What expertise or networks might you need for your committee?
  • How might you demonstrate the ENE competencies?

Third semester


  • Begin research (this may start earlier).
  • Review Plan of Study and Portfolio to help prepare for taking the Readiness Assessment exam.
  • Complete an electronic plan of study (save in draft form) by the end of the third semester.
  • Discuss taking the Readiness Assessment Exam with your major professor and advisory committee.
  • Note: You must initiate a portfolio and submit a preliminary plan of study to be eligible for the Readiness Assessment. You must have at least three members on your advisory committee (your chair and two others) to prepare the Readiness Exam.

 Self-reflect: 

  • Will your plan of study provide solid grounding in the field or prepare you for planning and completing your thesis?
  • Can you articulate your abilities based on evidence?
  • Are you developing: (1) solid grounding in the field? (2) appropriate breadth and depth? (3) appropriate specialization?

Before fourth semester


 Self-reflect: 

  • Can you demonstrate your ability to apply the breadth and depth of your knowledge to a potential area of research in the field?

Before fifth semester or seventh semester (if a direct PhD)


  • Discuss your progress toward taking the Preliminary Exam with your major professor and advisory committee. Successful completion of the Preliminary Exam must occur two semesters before you expect to take your Final Exam.
  • Review the teaching competency in your portfolio.
  • Note: You must file an approved plan of study for the PhD with the Graduate School before requesting the appointment of a preliminary examination committee.

 Self-reflect: 

  • Are you able to design a research study to answer a significant question in your chosen area?
  • Can you plan and teach in an informed and effective way and reflect critically upon your teaching?
  • Can you articulate your abilities based on evidence? Establish coverage of the competencies as well as depth of understanding?

 

Before sixth semester or eighth semester (if a direct PhD)


  • Ask the Graduate Coordinator to obtain a Form 8 for taking the Preliminary Exam. Provide time, date, and title.
  • Obtain approval prior to scheduling the Preliminary Exam.
  • Review your plan of study with your advisor and committee to ensure all degree and residency requirements are, or will be, met. The Plan of Study must be approved prior to taking the Preliminary Exam - submit as final prior to requesting the form 8 be completed.
  • Schedule the Preliminary Exam with your major professor and advisory committee, and the Graduate Office, four weeks prior to the proposed date of the exam. The final exam must be completed before the last day of classes. We strongly recommend you do not wait until this late date. 
  • Distribute copies of your proposal to your advisory committee at least two weeks before the oral preliminary exam. 
  • Review the teaching competency in your portfolio.

 Self-reflect: 

  • Are you able to design a research study to answer a significant question in your chosen area?
  • Can you plan and teach in an informed and effective way and reflect critically upon your teaching?
  • Can you articulate your abilities based on evidence? Establish coverage of the competencies as well as depth of understanding?
  • Are you developing: (1) solid grounding in the field? (2) appropriate breadth and depth? (3) appropriate specialization?

During final semester


  • Notify the Graduate Coordinator that this is your final semester.
  • Declare candidacy on the registration form when you register for your final semester.
  • Complete your portfolio and discuss it with your major professor and advisory committee.
  • Submit a final copy of your portfolio to the Graduate Chair. 
  • Finalize your plan of study with your advisor and committee to ensure all degree and residency requirements are met.
  • You must have a plan of study on file to be considered a candidate for graduation. Make any changes in enought time to meet the deadline.
  • Determine if you can register as “Exam Only.” Those who register for “Exam Only” must complete their final exam by the eighth week of classes (fourth week of a summer session).
  • Obtain thesis format approval before scheduling the Final Exam.
  • Schedule your final oral exam with your major professor and advisory committee, and the Graduate Office, four weeks prior to the proposed date of the exam. Check Graduate School Deadlines. The final exam must be completed before the semester deadline (approximately one week before the last day of classes). We strongly recommend you do not wait until this late date. 
  • Distribute copies of your thesis to your advisory committee at least two weeks before the oral exam. As a courtesy, try to provide copies three weeks before the oral exam to account for faculty schedules and commitments.
  • Take the Final Exam and complete thesis processing as described here.
  • Use the oral part of the Final Exam to summarize your preparedness for being an engineering education research professional.

 Self-reflect: 

  • Have you been able to answer a significant research question and draw conclusions based on defendable evidence?
  • Can you demonstrate that you have developed all ten competencies?

Post PhD


  • Complete the exit survey and debrief interview.
  • Stay in touch via Facebook, conferences, alumni events, etc.
  • Use elements from your portfolio in your job interviews.

 Self-reflect

  • Where can you contribute to society building on what you have learned here?

 

Allowable Time Limit for Completion of the PhD Degree

From the Graduate School Manual

The time-limit policy of the School of Engineering Education exists to ensure timely academic progress. This policy applies to all students in the PhD program, including those on research in absentia.

The total elapsed time of a completed PhD degree program at Purdue University, from admission to the completion of the final examination, shall be no more than eight calendar years. Students entering the Engineering Education PhD program with a Master’s degree should complete all degree requirements within six equivalent full-time years from the beginning of their first semester registration. Those entering as direct PhD students should complete all degree requirements within seven years.  

Extensions of this limitation may be granted by the dean of the Graduate School and/or the Graduate Council, upon recommendation and justification by the academic department (the Doctoral Advisory Committee, the Graduate Chair), but may require reapproval of plans of study and/or retaking of preliminary examinations.

Note: Only full semesters are counted toward the time limit. Summer sessions are not counted even if a student registers for one or more summer sessions. Most students will complete taking the Preliminary and Final Examinations before a Formal Review is implemented. A student who is not in good standing with regard to the cited time limit will not be allowed to register for the following semester without the approval of the Graduate Chair.

 

Absences from Purdue

The following deadlines (most require submitting a formal request) are explained in the Graduate School Manual:

  • Research in Absentia Registration
  • Change of Duty Station
  • Leave of Absence
  • Note: Each requires a formal request with specifc forms and deadlines.