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The Temple University

Boyer College of Music and Dance


Department of Dance
http://www.temple.edu/boyer/resources/student/documents/
PhDHandbook.pdf
Comprehensive Examinations
The Qualifying Examinations and the Preliminary Projects are demonstrations of the
doctoral students independent ability to synthesize, interpret, and context knowledge and
methodology using research and writing skills that will be vital to success in the writing
of the dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself. As such, these examinations serve
as major benchmarks indicating whether or not a student is prepared to continue in the
doctoral program with a clear probability for successful completion of all the
requirements in the Ph.D. Program. A committee comprised of at least three doctoral
faculty members evaluates these examinations.
Qualifying Examination
The first part of the examination, called the qualifying examination, is administered in the
summer after the first year of full-time course work. Through this exam, the
studentdemonstrates that s/he has achieved thefirst year competencies.
The student will be given one week (eight days if English is a second language for the
student) to write essay responses to two questions selected from four. The questions are
released to the individual student during the week of her/his choice between June 1 and
August 15. The content of the qualifying examination is tied to doctoral course work
offered in the academic year preceding the date of the examination.
THE STUDENT MAY NOT TAKE THE QUALIFYING EXAMINATION WITH ANY
INCOMPLETES OR GRADES OF LESS THAN B- IN THE COURSE WORK WHICH
THE EXAMINATION REFLECTS MASTERY OF. In such cases, the examination must
be deferred until the following year (when the student has completed the course with a
grade of B or above).
Qualifying Examinations must be submitted by August 15 following the completion of
the first year of full time course work.
IF THE STUDENT DOES NOT COMPLETE ANY REQUIRED REVISIONS BEFORE
THE BEGINNING OF THE FOLLOWING SEMESTER IN WHICH THE REVIEW OF
THE EXAM HAS TAKEN PLACE, HIS OR HER EXAM RESULTS WILL
AUTOMATICALLY REVERT TO A FAILING GRADE.
A minimum of three doctoral faculty must approve the content of the qualifying
examination. The grading of the examination is such that no single faculty member
makes the decision on whether the student passes or fails it. The two sections of the exam
are considered separately.
Each examinee receives a formal review/feedback session with at least three doctoral
faculty members, in which each part of the examination is considered separately. At this
point the student is informed of her/his grades, which may be pass, pass upon the
satisfactory completion and approval of required revisions, or fail. IF THE STUDENT

DOES NOT SUBMIT REQUIRED REVISIONS BEFORE THE START OF THE NEXT
SEMESTER, THE GRADE AUTOMATICALLY REVERTS TO A FAIL. If a
student fails the examination, or a section thereof, s/he is allowed to retake either the
entire examination or the portion failed once. A second failure of the examination
constitutes grounds for academic dismissal.
Preliminary Projects
Through the preliminary projects the student demonstrates her/his achievement of the
scholarly and professional competencies listed below.
The student is able to carry through and complete a major, independent research project
culminating in a research article that meets current professional standards for publication.
The student is able to complete a major, independent dance curriculum development
project in the form of a course proposal, which articulates the curricular rationale for a
course of her/his own invention, the objectives of the course, how these will be
implemented in the teaching-learning processes, what the material content of the course
will be, how learning will be assessed, and bibliographic (including audio-visual)
resources for the course.
The demonstration of these competencies through successful completion of these projects
is required before the student can advance to the dissertation proposal writing phase of
her/his program.
The preliminary projects should proceed quite naturally out of the course work in the
students doctoral program. On the one hand, the doctoral student demonstrates her/his
readiness to undertake independent study and research through these projects. On the
other hand, it is to her/his benefit to receive as much faculty and peer group feedback and
interaction as possible. Dance 601 Problems in Dance Research, a research seminar
structured to respect and encourage individual research directions, while developing an
understanding of the processes of peer review and critique of research, is the ideal venue
through which to engage in this kind of scholarly interactive community. Usually, the
student produces an annotated bibliography and a critical review of the literature the first
time s/he registers for Dance 601; the second time, s/he begins work on her/his research
study and/or course proposal.
The Preliminary Projects must demonstrate original, independent research and critical
thinking on the part of the student. Both 540 Apprenticeship in Dance and 701 Research
Partnerships involve receiving extensive individually tailored feedback from a faculty
member on a particular project;3 hence neither of these courses is appropriate as a means
through which to prepare the research or the course proposal that the student intends to
submit for his or her Preliminary Projects. After beginning the independent research
project and the course proposal in the second semester of 601 Problems in Dance
Research, and through this venue receiving feedback from a group of peers as well as the
faculty member teaching the course, the doctoral student should extend and develop these
projects on his or her own. In a similar manner, a paper originally written in the context
of a particular course must demonstrate significant development and go far beyond its
original form to represent an independent effort.
The Preliminary Projects must be submitted by October 15 following the completion of
the second year of full time course work.
IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN GOOD ACADEMIC PROGRESS TOWARD THE
DEGREE, THE STUDENT SHOULD PLAN TO SUBMIT HER/HIS PRELIMINARY

PROJECTS OPTIMALLY BY THE END OF THE SUMMER AFTER THE SECOND


YEAR OF FULL-TIIME STUDY, BUT MINIMALLY BY OCTOBER 15.
A minimum of three doctoral faculty members must approve the content of the
preliminary projects. The grading of the examination is such that no single faculty
member makes the decision on whether the student passes or fails. The course proposal
and research article are considered separately.
Each examinee receives a formal review/feedback session with at least three doctoral
faculty members, in which each project is considered separately. At this point the student
is informed of her/his grades, which may be pass, pass upon the approval of required
revisions, or fail. IF THE STUDENT DOES NOT SUBMIT REQUIRED REVISIONS
BEFORE THE START OF THE NEXT SEMESTER, THE GRADE AUTOMATICALLY
REVERTS TO A FAIL. Bearing this deadline in mind, the student is encouraged to
submit the preliminary projects as early as possible in the semester. If a student either
fails the whole examination, or a part thereof, s/he is permitted to retake the entire
examination or the failed portion once. A second failure of either project constitutes
grounds for academic dismissal.
Research Article
The article must be aimed at a particular academic journal or scholarly publication and
follow the format required for submission of articles. There should be a cover letter with
your submission that will inform the committee of the publication targeted, its format and
the usual character of articles, and a brief rationale for your article.
It is important for you to realize your own level of authority in selecting and preparing
your focus and material. Your article should be clearly embedded in a current body of
literature and be relevant to current issues and needs of the field.
Your article will be accepted as submitted, accepted with required revisions and/or
recommendations, or rejected. The rejection constitutes a failure, and may mean a total
reworking of the article in relation to the journal or a complete change of topic and
journal. When revisions are necessary, one faculty member will be assigned to mentor the
student. The role of mentorship here will be limited to clarifying the feedback from the
review committee (i.e.-discussing what changes and revisions are necessary) and
evaluating the final revised manuscript.
Already published, end-stage work may not be used to fulfill the preliminary examination
requirements of the course proposal and the research article. In other words, doctoral
students should not submit a piece that is a completed scholarly project in and of itself
and allows no process engagement with the doctoral faculty members who function as a
review committee. (It should be remembered that the whole purpose of these
examinations is to push the student beyond her/his boundaries.) However, a student may
pursue a research direction begun during doctoral level course work which resulted in
material that was later presented at a professional conference (or even published in the
proceedings), as long as the manuscript is substantially reworked, revised, and/or
developed for submission as a preliminary examination project. A comparison might be
made here to scholarly ethics in publication, where material must be substantially
altered and reworked if it is to appear in a second scholarly venue.

Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation Proposal Review
The Dissertation Proposal Review process should result in the following benefits:

1. Explicit statement and clear communication to students of dissertation proposal


policies and procedures;
2. Increased objectivity and fairness of the evaluation process via an evaluation
instrument;
3. Independent assessments by doctoral faculty members;
4. Intensifying of the feedback process, both through one-on-one and group
communications, in written and oral form; and,
5. Clear, informing standards for the elements of a good research proposal for both
students and faculty to use as guidelines in the proposal preparation process.
Component Parts of the Dissertation Proposal

Advisors and Advisory Committees


Procedures for Selecting an Advisor
The doctoral student should bear in mind three considerations when selecting the Primary
Advisor for the dissertation: 1) the faculty members area of expertise should lend itself
well to the research direction that the student wishes to pursue; 2) the student should have
taken some doctoral level course work (either didactic or open ended) with the faculty
member; 3) the number of dissertations any one dance faculty member advises, in the
role of the Primary Advisor, is subject to Boyer College mandated limitations.
With the Primary Advisors guidance, the doctoral student prepares the abstract of the
dissertation proposal for review by the entire doctoral faculty of the Dance Department.
When the abstract is approved by a majority of the faculty, the student is ready to form
the Doctoral Advisory Committee.
Procedures for Constituting the Doctoral Advisory Committee
In consultation with the Primary Advisor, the student selects a second member from the
doctoral faculty in the Dance Department and a third member from any Temple
University doctoral program and requests their participation on the Advisory Committee.
The student prepares the full dissertation proposal, initially, with the guidance of the
Primary Advisor, later, seeking feedback from each member of the Advisory Committee.
When a Dissertation Advisory Committee agrees that the proposal is ready to go forward,
the Primary Advisor and the student schedule a time and place for the students formal
presentation of the dissertation proposal before the graduate students and faculty of the
Dance Department.
Procedures for Constituting the Dissertation Examining Committee
The original Doctoral Advisory Committee may be expanded with additional doctoral
faculty from Temple University or other universities, or even doctorally prepared experts
who work outside university settings. For the purposes of the dissertation defense, the
committee must include at least one additional doctoral faculty member from Temple or
another university, but not from the Dance Department; so constituted, it becomes the
Dissertation Examining Committee. At least one faculty member of the Dissertation
Examining Committee must be an Outside Examiner defined as one who has not read
the dissertation in progress. The composition of committees must be approved by the
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies of the Boyer College, who ensures adherence to
Graduate School policies, exceptions to these rules must be requested by petition
addressed to the Dean of the Graduate School.
Procedures for Reconstituting the Doctoral Advisory Committee

In the eventuality that circumstances prevent a committee from functioning effectively,


the committee may be reconstituted, but only through the following procedure: 1) the
student writes a letter to the Doctoral Faculty Committee, c/o the Doctoral Coordinator,
stating the reasons for the requested change; 2) the Doctoral Faculty Committee makes a
decision on the petition; if necessary, the Doctoral Coordinator asks the student to supply
further information to the Committee on paper or in person; 3) all appropriate parties
are notified of a possible change. In addition, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies of
the Boyer College and the Dean of the Graduate School must be notified of any changes
in the composition of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.
Procedures for Changing the Primary Advisor
In the eventuality that either the student desires to change the Primary Advisor or faculty
availability dictates such a change, procedures similar to the ones stated above under
Procedures for Reconstituting the Doctoral Advisory Committee are followed.
Dissertation Proposal as a Contract
The dissertation proposal is expected to demonstrate the student's knowledge of and
ability to conduct the proposed research. An approved proposal, signed by the Doctoral
Advisory Committee, is a contract between the student and the Doctoral Advisory
Committee, provided the proposed research is completed in a timely manner, insuring the
continuing relevance of the research topic. After acceptance of the proposal, any
significant theoretical or methodological changes in the substantive direction of the
project must be approved by the Doctoral Advisory Committee. Changes in the
membership of the Doctoral Advisory Committee after the acceptance of the proposal do
not require re-approval of the proposal.
Dissertation Progress
Each Doctoral Advisory Committee will meet at least once a year to review the advisee's
progress and to make suggestions concerning future research. A written record of this
meeting, including the findings of the committee and the suggestions made, must be
placed in the student's file. A copy must also be given to the student. (This report is called
for by the Graduate Board Student Appeals Committee if a doctoral student requests an
extension of time.)
Philosophy of the Doctoral Dissertation
The doctoral dissertation is expected to demonstrate that the candidate can conduct and
report on scholarly research with a high level of professional competence. The
dissertation should constitute a distinctive contribution to the discipline in which the
candidate is engaged. All completed dissertations must be approved by the Dean of the
Graduate School and the Graduate Board.
Philosophy and Evaluation of the Oral Defense
Before an oral defense may be held, a majority of the members of the Dissertation
Advisory Committee must stipulate in writing that the written dissertation or research
project is of sufficient quality to be defended. At the oral defense, only the members of
the Examining Committee have the authority to decide whether or not the candidate
passes or fails. Both the dissertation itself and the candidate's performance in the oral
examination are grounds for the committee's decision to pass or fail.
Department Dissertation Defense
The dissertation defense meeting includes the three-member Advisory Committee and an
Outside Examiner, who has never seen the dissertation before. The composite profile of

the four-member committee includes a minimum of two doctoral faculty from the Dance
Department and a minimum of two doctoral faculty members from other departments
within the Boyer College or the larger Temple University community.
The candidate is asked to leave the room while the committee discusses any issues
associated with the conduct of the defense. The candidate introduces the research in
whatever way best suits his/herprofessional agenda associated with the dissertation, as
well as the topic and the research itself.
The committee members question the candidate in whatever way they see fit, including
considerations of the larger ramifications of the topic, method, and interpretation of the
data and formal elements of the written document.
The candidate is again asked to leave the room while the committee members clarify their
judgments of the work and the revisions which need to be made, if any.
The candidate is invited to return to hear the results and participate in any further
discussions. The results of the dissertation defense are recorded on a form which is
submitted to the Graduate School, and if the dissertation has been approved, the
committee members sign two copies of a formal title page made available by the
Graduate School.