At the completion of the coursework, and no later than four years after the start of the doctoral program, students must complete a comprehensive examination (written and oral) to continue in the program. If the student fails this exam, the doctoral program is terminated.
The written exam is 16 hours – four hours a day, for four days. This exam covers the student’s factual knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge.
- Part 1 (4 hours) is over general knowledge (e.g., history and philosophy) in the field of agricultural and extension education.
- Part 2 (4 hours) concentrates on coursework and knowledge in the field of the student’s specialization (i.e., the practice of agricultural education, the practice of extension education, the practice of international development, etc.)
- Part 3 (4 hours) concentrates on research and statistics.
- Part 4 (4 hours) is over the minor field of study.
There is a two-hour oral exam over the written exam. This component allows students to clarify information from the written exam and gives the graduate committee a clear view of the depth and breadth of the student’s knowledge. The written exam must be passed unconditionally before scheduling the oral exam with the Graduate School.
The final requirement of the doctoral program is to make an original contribution to the field of agricultural and extension education through research. Requirements of the dissertation include:
- Identify a major problem or question in the field of agricultural and extension education
- Design a research study to address this problem
- Conduct the research
- Report the results – the topic of the dissertation must be in the area of AEE
- The dissertation must be of superior quality that can be published in professional journals
A complete dissertation is about 150-200 pages in length. The student’s graduate committee will provide guidance and support for the project. Upon completion, the student will defend the dissertation before his or her graduate committee.