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Requirements for the Ph.D. Program in Technology, Policy, and Innovation

A. Residence

The student must complete two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study. Full-time study is 12 credits per semester until 24 graduate credits have been earned. Students who have earned 24 graduate credits at another school may be assigned advanced status and are required to take only 9 credits per semester for full-time status.

B. Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination must be taken by all students, regardless of whether they enter the program holding a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree only.  Students are expected to take the qualifying examination in the fourth semester, preferably after having completed 34 credits in the program.  The qualifying exam has two parts to it.  

Part A : The student conducts an original research project, starting in the first semester in the program, and presents the results to the department during the fourth semester. The purpose of this is to ascertain the student’s preparation to conduct independent original research in a TPI area.

The student is expected to conduct an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty advisor, and present the results.  We expect that the quality of the methodology and results should be sufficient for a poster presentation at a leading academic conference.  

The Part A exam may be presented at any time that is convenient for the student and the student’s Part A committee. For full-time students, this should occur sometime during the 4th semester; part-time students may take the exam up to one year later. The student’s advisor and the student consult to make a recommendation to the Chair of the Department regarding the composition of the Part A Committee.  Typically, the student’s Part A Committee will be comprised of four faculty members, and include at least one faculty member from outside of the Department of Technology and Society. The student’s advisor does not serve on the student’s Part A committee.

The Part A committee will evaluate the exam in terms of its 3 components:

  1. Written report – typically, 15-30 pages, and, typically, 50-100 citations. The report must a) identify a research question of interest to some research community; b) provide an overview of related background research; c) describe a reasonable approach to addressing the research question; and d) present the results of the research project.
  2. Presentation - approximately 45 minutes. The presentation must a) provide a motivation for conducting this line of research; b) summarize the background material, emphasizing only the most important related work; c) give an overview of the methodology, emphasizing why this approach was taken; and d) give results.
  3. Questions - posed by members of the committee following the presentation. Questions may be related to any aspect of the presentation or the written report.

Part B : The student achieves an average GPA of 3.7 or higher on three social sciences-related courses::

Research Methods I – from a social sciences department
Research Methods II – from a social sciences department
EST 610 (Advanced Statistics)—within Department of Technology and Society

C. Course Requirements

  1. For students who entered the Ph.D. Program prior to Fall, 2014, course requirements are as follows:
    • EST 600 (Technology and Policy)
    • EST 610 (Data Analysis, or equivalent approved course)
    • EST 620 (Decision Making)
    • 3 courses from Social Sciences Departments (Research Method I, Research Methods II, and Advanced Statistics)
    • 15 credits of technical electives (foundation for technical/technology dimension of planned research)
  2. For students who entered the Ph.D. program in Fall, 2014 or later, course requirements are as follows:
    • EST 600 (Technology and Policy)
    • EST 610 Revised (Advanced Statistics)
    • EST 625 (Advanced Technology and Policy)
    • 2 courses from social sciences departments (Research Methods I, and Research Methods II)
    • 15 credits of technical electives (foundation for technical/technology dimension of planned research)

The following courses have been designated as “highly recommended”, and advisors ensure that nearly all students take the courses:

  • EST 692 (Research Seminar)
  • EST 601 (Grand Challenges in Energy—for students in energy area only

In addition to regular course requirements, University policy requires that   all  doctoral students participate in an appropriately structured teaching practicum. This can be accomplished with a Practicum in Teaching course, in conjunction with T.A. responsibilities.

D. Thesis Proposal and Preliminary Examination

Students who pass all three parts of the qualifying examination are expected to develop a thesis proposal within one semester for full-time students, and two semesters for part-time students.  This thesis proposal must then be presented and defended in an oral preliminary examination. Failure to fulfill this requirement within 18 months of passing the qualifying examination, and without a formal extension, may be considered evidence of unsatisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree.

The major requirements of the thesis proposal are as follows: (1) the student must be thoroughly familiar with the background and current status of the intended research area; (2) the student must have clear and well-defined plans for pursuing the research objectives; and (3) the student must offer evidence of progress in achieving these objectives.  

The student will present the thesis proposal to the thesis committee in a seminar presentation. It is limited to members of the committee. The committee for the student’s preliminary examination, dissertation and defense will include at least one faculty member who does not have a primary or joint appointment in Department of Technology and Society.  Students will be strongly encouraged to have at least one faculty member from another university on their committee. As part of the preliminary examination, faculty members are free to question the student on any topics they feel are in any way relevant to the student’s objectives and career preparation. Most questions, however, will be directed toward verifying the student’s grasp of the intended specialty in depth. The student will be expected to show complete familiarity with the current and past literature of this area.

The findings of the committee will be communicated to the student as soon as possible and to the Graduate School within one week of the presentation of the proposal. A student who does not pass the preliminary examination on the first attempt will be given a second chance.  If the preliminary is failed on the second attempt, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Having passed the preliminary examination, the student is advanced to candidacy. This status, called G5, is conferred by the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Department. Note that unlike the change from G3 to G4, the change from G4 to G5 is not automatic—the student must request to be advanced to candidacy by notifying the Technology and Society Graduate Program Coordinator. Students must advance to candidacy at least one year before defending their dissertations. The Graduate School requires G5 students to register for nine credits, which can be research or other graduate courses relevant to their dissertation. Courses outside of the major require the approval of the dissertation advisor and Graduate Program Director. Failure to complete the preliminary examination within the specified timeframe and obtain the G5 status is considered evidence of unsatisfactory progress.

E. Dissertation

An important requirement of the Ph.D. program is the completion of a dissertation which must be an original scholarly investigation. The dissertation shall represent a significant contribution to the scientific literature, and its quality shall be compatible with the publication standards of appropriate reputable scholarly journals.

F. Approval and Defense of Dissertation

The dissertation must be orally defended before a dissertation examination committee, and the candidate must obtain approval of the dissertation from this committee. The oral defense of the dissertation is open to all interested faculty members and graduate students. The final draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the committee no later than three weeks prior to the date of the defense.

G. Satisfactory Progress and Time Limit

Students are expected to finish all the requirements, including thesis research and defense, in four to five full-time-equivalent years. A student who does not meet the target dates for the Qualifying Examination, Thesis Proposal, and Preliminary Examination, or who does not make satisfactory progress toward completing thesis research, may lose financial support. The candidate must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within seven years after completing 24 credit hours of graduate courses in the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook. In rare instances, the Dean of the Graduate School will entertain a petition to extend this time limit, provided it bears the endorsement of the Department’s Graduate Program Director. A petition for extension must be submitted before the time limit has been exceeded. The Dean or the Department may require evidence that the student is still properly prepared for the completion of work.

H. Part-Time Students

Students admitted into the Ph.D. program for part-time study are bound by all the rules set out henceforth. In particular, part-time students should adhere to the schedule for the Qualifying Examination, Thesis Proposal, and Preliminary Examination unless a different schedule has been approved in writing by the Graduate Program Director.

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