UMSL Graduate School
Your doctoral education is guided by policies of the UMSL Graduate School. Graduate School policies must be followed because the UMSL Graduate School awards your doctoral degree. Many of these policies and procedures are tailored to meet the need of doctoral students in College of Nursing. This Doctoral Student Handbook provides links to these policies and includes additional college-related guidelines. All doctoral students in nursing first complete their program-specific coursework. This is followed by a comprehensive examination that is designed to assess your readiness to complete your doctoral research project. You will prepare a written proposal and present it to your peers and faculty. Your proposal, after IRB approval, is implemented and your findings are also presented to your peers and faculty. Your doctoral studies are completed after the dissertation is approved and published. For PhD students, this culminating project is referred to as the student's dissertation and for DNP students it is referred to as the clinical scholarship project. The focus of these degree-specific documents is specified under the headings for each of our doctoral programs.
From Admission to Candidacy
As a new student, you will be assigned an 'initial' faculty advisor. This advisor is assigned based upon and information that you included in your essay about your plans that was part of your admission process. At the time you enter the program, we realize that you are not familiar with the graduate nursing faculty. As you get to know these faculty members, you may identify someone who you would like to work with to complete your doctoral education. At that point, you should make an appointment with that faculty member to discuss whether that individual is also willing to work with you. Please understand that faculty can only advise 3-4 students at a time. If the faculty member is agrees to become your advisor, you should complete doctoral form D-2 and send it to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Following that, this form is routed to the Dean of the Graduate School for signature. Sometime students research interests change as the program progresses. Should this occur and should you want a different faculty member to serve as your advisor, please discuss this transition with your current advisor and with the person you want to be your advisor and then complete a new D-2 form (Appointment of Advisor). Generally, your faculty advisor will chair both your comprehensive examination and dissertation committees. You will appoint these committees after consultation with your advisor. Advisors and committee chairs must be members of the UMSL Graduate Faculty.
Listing of Graduate Faculty Members
Listing of Professional Special Appointment Faculty
During the period of time between your admission and completion of your comprehensive examination, you will work with your advisor to prepare for the comprehensive examination and to begin the preparation of your dissertation (PhD dissertation or Clinical Scholarship Project). After you have successfully completed your comprehensive exam and the Graduate Dean has signed doctoral form D-3, you become an official candidate for your degree. Congratulations!! This is a significant milestone in completion of your doctorate!
From Candidacy to Doctoral 'Hood'
Now that you are a candidate, your remaining education and the time to degree completion is largely in your hands. Working with your advisor you need to finalize your dissertation committee by submitting doctoral form D-4. And, working with your dissertation committee, it is time to finalize your proposal using the degree specific guidelines found in this handbook. When all of your committee members have agreed to the plans in your proposal, you need to seek IRB approval using the guidelines in this handbook. You are required to be continuously enrolled in the Graduate School between candidacy and graduation. When you have received IRB approval(s), it is time for the Graduate Dean to approve your proposal. To do this, you submit doctoral form D-5 along with the proposal that your committee approved and the IRB approval memo. When this approval is completed, you may begin your work. At this point, you will be working closely with your dissertation committee to complete the work and write the final dissertation.
At this phase of doctoral study, students often feel somewhat lonely because they are no longer routinely seeing their faculty and student colleagues. But, it is important to continue to progress toward completion of your degree. Some students arrange to have regular contact with their advisor during this period as they find it helps them to sustain the energy to complete their doctorate. And, other students arrange for regular contact with their student colleagues. You should do whatever keeps you energized!
When your committee is satisfied with the completed document, doctoral form D-6 is signed and sent to the Graduate Dean along with your nearly done written dissertation. You will also plan a date and place for your dissertation presentation, including your project abstract and submit these to the Graduate Dean. The Graduate School will invite the entire campus community to your dissertation presentation but it is unusual for there to be more than a dozen or so nursing faculty and students in attendance. Following your presentation, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions. The audience is then excused and you continue to meet with your committee who will also vote their approval that your doctorate is now complete. It is important to abide by the graduation schedule for the term in which you plan to graduate as these deadlines are strictly enforced. At this point, you may need to make some changes to your dissertation and when those are completed, you will present your dissertation to the Graduate School and it will be published either electronically or as a document.
Generally, graduates who are being awarded doctoral degrees are introduced individually at the graduation ceremony and are hooded by their dissertation advisor. The hood is an academic tradition that indicates the colors of your school and discipline and signifies completion of the highest academic degree.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ACHIEVEMENT, DOCTOR!
Student Services Advisor and D-Forms
The Senior Academic Advisor for doctoral students is Ronni Hayes, who can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com, or via phone at 314-516-7028. Her office is in the Student Services part of the College of Nursing, on the first floor. Ms. Hayes will assist you in registering for your courses after you and your PhD advisor develop a plan of study, including cognates. The plan of study is filed in your student record in Student Services and may be changed by mutual agreement with your faculty advisor.
It is essential that you communicate with Ms. Hayes in a timely manner about enrollment in courses. You are responsible for processing the important doctoral progression forms, also known in the university as the D-Forms Doctoral Level Forms (D1 - D10). Copies of these forms are filed in your student file in the Student Services office.