Education, Ph.D.
(Educational Psychology, Measurement and Evaluation)

Frequently Asked Questions

About the EPME Ph.D. Program

About specific EPME Ph.D. Program Requirements

About the EPME Ph.D. Program:

Is there an option to complete this program online?

No. The program must be completed on campus. Although some Ph.D. students may be able to work on their dissertations from a distance, after completing all course work requirements they must be able to return to campus for required meetings.

Can the program be completed on a part-time basis?

Please see the appropriate Handbook for your program regarding the policies that indicate hours required for continued enrollment, as various restrictions apply:

Who may I contact with questions about the program?

For general information regarding the EPME program, please contact:

Sharon Powell, Human Development and Psychological Studies Assistant
(919) 962-2511

How do I find information regarding application requirements?

Please refer to the Graduate School website at:


About specific EPME Ph.D. Program Requirements:


Quick reference links:

General Ph.D. Graduate School handbook:

School of Education Ph.D. handbook:

How are advisors assigned?

Ph.D.: Advisors are initially assigned based on your specific research interests. However, students may change to an advisor who is more closely aligned with a student's specific interests upon consent of both the current and new advisor, and completion of the appropriate form.

How do you go about changing advisors, if needed?

First, talk to your current advisor about your desire to make a change.  Then interview potential advisors to determine areas of shared interest (for more information, see Q. # 4).

How do I select an advisor?

  • What criteria are important to consider?
    • When choosing an advisor, consider the following:
      • Do the potential advisor’s research interests overlap with your own?
      • Would you like to work on projects initiated by the potential advisor?
    • Once an advisor is in place:
      • Discuss specific supports you are seeking from an advisor in order of priority.
      • Discuss the types of advising you need (academic advising, career advising, dissertation/thesis advising, etc…).

What criteria are important for a successful student-advisor relationship?

  • Students need to be proactive about thinking about their program and initiating communication with their advisor.
  • Ongoing communication that is straightforward, open, and clear.
  • Mutual respect and shared professional interests.
  • Clarity of expectations (on the part of both parties).

Do I need to have the same advisor for my POS and course progress as I have for my Dissertation work?

No, it is not necessary for these advisory roles to be played by the same person. However, it may be beneficial to have the primary advisor step into the role of thesis or dissertation advisor if appropriate; for instance, if the dissertation topic and advisor's area of expertise overlap. The thesis or dissertation advisor should have an in-depth understanding of the subject area of interest in order to advise effectively.


Quick reference links:

What should I be doing in my first and second year towards preparing for successful completion of my comprehensive exams?

Ph.D.: Develop specific knowledge claims and focus on building background knowledge in the area of your knowledge claims, in addition to developing effective writing skills. The more you have read in the literature relevant to your knowledge claims, the better prepared you will be.

Can you take Comps before you finish all course work?  

Ph.D.: Students may take Comps in the last semester of course work; though in this case careful consideration of maintaining a balanced work load is important.

Can you take Comps over the summer? 

Ph.D.: This is dependent upon whether or not your advisor is prepared to give questions, and receive answers during the summer sessions. In the event that this is allowed, the committee would not begin reviewing your work until the first day of the fall semester.

What are the regulations and or policies governing Comps:

Ph.D.: *See SOE Handbooks as well as Graduate School link:

Do you have to be enrolled in courses while taking your Comps? 

Yes, you must be registered while taking Comps; if you are not enrolled in any other courses you may enroll in EDUC 994 (Ph.D.).

Course Credit:

Quick reference links:

As a continuing student, will credits from my EPME master’s degree carry over?

Transfer credits are limited. However, specific course credit options should be discussed on an individual basis with the student’s advisor.

How many credits from my existing master’s degree may possibly count toward my Ph.D.?

Transfer credits are limited. However, specific course credit options should be discussed on an individual basis with the student’s advisor.

What are the rules for determining transfer of credits?

Transfer of credit is possible pending approval by the student's advisor and POS committee; most committees will want to see a syllabus, know that a passing grade was received, and that the courses in question are graduate level courses.

*Please note: These specific questions are best answered in consultation with each individual student’s advisor, as program requirements vary.


Quick reference links:

How do I go about finding funding?  Per year, and continuing?

Contact your advisor and/or committee members to determine if assistantships within your area of interest may be available. The Office of Student Services also maintains a list of available assistantships, which may be posted on-line.

Funding sources may also be found through the Graduate School website:

And  the GrantSource Library:
Public Service Desk /  919-962-3463 /
Susan Gramling, GrantSource Librarian /  919-962-7766 /
Elizabeth Allen, GrantSource Librarian / l 919-962-6022 /

Is it counter-productive to seek assistantships outside of SOE that are not related to my research interests?

This is relative to each individual student’s situation. In general, it can be beneficial to work in the School of Education with faculty doing research, as this can be an important supplement to your coursework.  If financial support is necessary, and no options are available in the School of Education, working in other offices on campus may provide beneficial work experiences.


Quick reference links:

Ph.D. level:

Please refer to both the graduate school handbook, and the specific handbook for the program within your department in the School of Education for specific information regarding requirements for graduation.

Program of Studies Committee:

Quick reference links:

How to, and when to set up POS committee and course work?

  • It is important to set up a POS committee by the second or third semesters at the latest.
  • Usually both comps and the oral defense of comps are set up within the fifth or sixth semesters of coursework.
  • The dissertation proposal and then the stage of writing the dissertation follow the successful oral defense of comprehensive exams.

How many people in the department, and how many people out of the department, do you need on your Program of Studies Committee?

The Program of Studies Committee must be composed of at least 4 members, with the majority being SOE faculty.  If a student has a minor, then one member must represent the minor field of study.

What should my relationship be with my various committee members?

This varies depending on different students’ different needs, and may be determined in discussion with the advisor and individual committee members.

What do I do if my committee members disagree?

You, your advisor, and the committee will work to develop consensus.

Research Interests:

Quick reference links:

Should I know exactly what I want to research in my first semester?

It is unusual for students to know exactly what they want to study until they have taken some coursework. It is good to have a general direction, in order to make appropriate choices of advisor and committee members early in your program. However, decisions do not have to be made until the POS meeting is convened.

Is it OK for my research interests to change as I move through the program? 

This does happen frequently, and situations vary considerably among students. However, be aware that extreme changes in direction may create delays in graduation, so careful planning is important.

Who or what will help me shape my research interests?

Your advisor and POS committee members may help guide you toward potentially productive research interests. Additionally, your own research work (literature reviews, exposure to research projects etc…) should provide important feedback as you move through your course work.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae:

Quick reference links:

What are the best ways to develop your resume/C.V.?

Important experiences that will enhance the development of your resume and/or Curriculum Vitae include the following:

    • Research / Publications
    • TA and/or RA positions, including research and teaching
    • Presenting at conferences
    • Reviewing articles for journals
    • Writing book reviews


Quick reference links:

SOE Thesis/Dissertation Guide (PDF)

*Please refer to the links above for specific questions regarding the requirements for the dissertation.  It is also important to discuss specific questions with your advisor.