Doctoral Program Checklist

(Students should see "Checklist and Recommended Time Frame" in the current Doctoral Student Handbook for complete details)

The information below outlines major steps in completing the doctoral program in counseling at Texas A&M University-Commerce. It is the student's responsibility to know and follow university procedures regarding the completion of doctoral studies. Copies of forms and other documents mentioned here are available from the Doctoral Student Handbook provided to current students and/or from the department office.

  • MEET WITH INITIAL ADVISOR - (as soon as possible after admission) Shortly after admission to the program, meet with assigned initial advisor for degree planning.
  • READ STUDENT RETENTION PROCEDURE - (as soon as possible after admission) This information is in this handbook and is available separately in the department office.
  • FILE DEGREE PLAN - (immediately after degree plan is completed with advisor--often within 2-3 weeks of admission) File completed degree plan with the Graduate School.
  • BEGIN RESIDENCY ACTIVITIES - (as soon as possible, complete before admission to candidacy) At some time after admission to the program and prior to admission to candidacy, complete residency. Secure Doctoral Residency Activity Record form from department.
  • MEET WITH DOCTORAL FIELD EXPERIENCE COORDINATOR - (during first semester) Meet with the doctoral field experience coordinator to discuss schedule for doctoral internship.
  • MEET RESEARCH TOOLS REQUIREMENT - (as early as possible– must demonstrate research tools proficiency prior to admission to candidacy--generally completed in first 2-4 semesters)
  • REGISTER FOR COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION - (check the departmental web site for specific deadlines for fall, spring, and summer semesters) Plan for comps after research tools and a majority of course work are completed. You need to choose a Doctoral chair before you register for comprehensive exam. Register for the doctoral comprehensive examination (Qualifying Examinations) at least 8 months before degree is conferred. To do this, submit the "Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Registration Form" located on the Doctoral Comps web page on the departmental web site ("Doctoral Programs").
  • TAKE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS - (varies--after research tools and majority of course work) Pass written comprehensive examinations. For your oral exam, you and your chair can advise you about your other dissertation committee members. They should work with you for your oral exam. You will not receive Admission to Candidacy until you complete all the items on your residency requirements.
  • SELECT DOCTORAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE (DISSERTATION COMMITTEE) - This committee must be approved by The Office of Thesis & Dissertation. The form is completed and turned in to them when you pass your oral exam. The form will be with the Qualifying Examination Form/Comprehensive Exam on the Graduate School's Forms and Guidelines page. Also, your degree plan needs to be updated and turned in with the earlier forms.    
  • COMPLETE IRB TRAINING - As soon as possible, complete IRB training 
  • OBTAIN ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY STATUS - (at least 8 months before degree is conferred) After successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination, obtain notification of Admission to Candidacy status from the Graduate School no later than eight months prior to graduation. All residency requirements should be met all course work completed. 
  • ENROLL IN COUN 718 (Dissertation) - (semester immediately after admission to candidacy, except possibly summer) The Graduate School requires continuous enrollment in COUN 718 beginning no later than the semester after one gains Admission to Candidacy status and continuing until the dissertation is finished and accepted (summers possibly excluded). On rare exceptions where the student's doctoral research time line requires early work on the dissertation proposal, the student may be allowed to enroll in COUN 718 prior to admission to candidacy.
  • DEVELOP DISSERTATION PROPOSAL - (soon after COMPS) Select research topic and develop dissertation proposal in collaboration with doctoral advisory committee (dissertation committee). The research topic may be developed in COUN 625. Students should consult the "Suggested Procedures for the Processing of College of Education and Human Services Thesis and Dissertation" available online on the Graduate School Forms Page
  • RESERVE TIME IN DEPARTMENT FOR PROPOSAL DEFENSE - (no later than the 20th of the month prior to the month of proposal) After completing a "Department Approval to Schedule Proposal Defense" form, reserve a Friday time slot for the proposal defense by signing the Reservations for Proposal sign-up sheet in the departmental office.
  • SCHEDULE PROPOSAL DEFENSE WITH GRADUATE SCHOOL - (no later than 20th of month preceding proposal presentation) Schedule the dissertation proposal defense with the Graduate School by completing the “Schedule for the Presentation of the Dissertation Proposal”. Detailed instructions and form are available online on the Graduate School Forms Page. This must be done before the 20th of the month preceding the month during which the proposal will be presented.
  • DEFEND PROPOSAL - Present and defend the proposal during the scheduled proposal defense meeting. 
  • REPORT OUTCOME OF PROPOSAL DEFENSE - (immediately after proposal defense) After obtaining signatures of the dissertation committee, department head(s) and college dean, present to the Graduate School the outcome of the proposal defense on the Graduate School’s form, “The Dissertation Proposal”, available online on the Graduate School Forms Page
  • COMPLETE THE DISSERTATION - (usually takes 1-3 years--remember 10-year total post-master's time limit)
  • DISTRIBUTE COPY OF FINAL DISSERTATION TO COMMITTEE - (at least two weeks prior to defense) Present a final copy of your dissertation to all members of your doctoral advisory committee (dissertation committee) at least 2 weeks prior to your dissertation defense date.
  • SCHEDULE DISSERTATION DEFENSE - (before 20th of month preceding month of dissertation defense) Secure from the Graduate School a “Schedule for the Presentation of the Final Examination/Dissertation Defense” form available online at: Return the completed form to the Graduate School no later than the 20th of the month prior to the month the dissertation defense is to be held.
  • DEFEND THE DISSERTATION - (check current catalog or class schedule for time to submit completed dissertation--be sure to allow time for the following step (dean's interview) plus around 5 weeks for the Graduate School review before commencement) Defend the dissertation at the scheduled defense session. At the end of the defense, obtain signatures of the doctoral advisory committee (dissertation committee) members and the head of the Department of Counseling on the “Final Examination/Dissertation Defense Report” form, which the Graduate School will have forwarded to your doctoral advisory committee (dissertation committee) chair prior to the dissertation defense.
  • SCHEDULE INTERVIEW WITH THE DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES AND SUBMIT DISSERTATION -(immediately following dissertation defense) With the signed “Final Examination/Dissertation Defense Report”, a dissertation abstract, and any suggested changes/modifications made during the defense. Obtain the signature of the Dean of Education and Human Services at this time and follow his/her directions regarding submission of the signed form and a copy of the dissertation in final form to the Graduate School (OTDS). Follow university guidelines and schedule very carefully in the preparation of the final dissertation and related forms.
  • FILE FOR GRADUATION - (deadline in current Schedule of Classes and Graduate Catalog) File for graduation in the Registrar's Office by deadline listed in the Graduate Catalog for that semester.
  • ATTEND COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES - (date posted on Academic Calendar)
  • STAY IN TOUCH - Please keep us informed of your activities and whereabouts. One way is to maintain an active role in our professional associations. Also, please respond to our requests for program evaluations after you graduate. Your anonymous responses are used to help us plan a better program and to address CACREP accreditation standards. A summary of graduates' evaluations is made available on request.