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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 Research Proficiency Exam (Part A) consists of the preparation of an original research paper, roughly 30-50 pages in length, which the student prepares and presents to a review committee. The four-member review committee is selected by the Department Chair and will not include the student’s advisor on the Part A paper. This paper is meant to demonstrate the student’s readiness for independent research; it should be completed and defended in the student’s fifth or sixth semester. As noted previously, we recommend that students become engaged with research from the beginning. Thus, work on Part A should start as early as the first year of the student’s tenure in the program.

In selecting a topic for Part A, the guiding goal should be the submission of an academic article to a peer-reviewed journal. Several courses – EST 600, EST 625, and the grand challenge course, for example – are good sources for topics. The research seminar EST 692 is a central place to discuss one’s Part A and learn doing research.

The Part A review consists of four steps. First step, a written report of typically 30-50 pages and ca. 50-100 citations. This 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 evaluate the research question; and d) present the results of the research project.

Second step, an oral presentation of approximately 45 minutes. The presentation must a) provide a motivation for conducting this line of research; b) summarize the background material, emphasizing the most important related work; c) give an overview of the methodology, emphasizing why this approach was taken; and d) deliver and discuss the relevance of the results.

Third step, questions posed by members of the committee related to any aspect of the presentation or the written report follow the presentation.

Fourth step, the committee concludes the research proficiency exam with its findings. There are three possible results of the examination: pass, fail, and contingent pass. The third of these is the most likely outcome, which leads to an extended review and reconciliation process. The committee asks the student to provide answers to written questions or make modifications to the Part A manuscript. The response to these requests is filed with the graduate program coordinator. Upon acceptable completion, the answers and/or the modified manuscript are also filed with the program coordinator. At the end of the process the Part A form is completed and filed.

At the latest, DTS expects the Part A exam to be concluded at the end of a student’s third year. Financial support during the fourth year is contingent on that achievement.

  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

For students who entered the Ph.D. Program prior to fall 2017 course requirements are as follows:

EST 600 (Technology and Policy)

EST 610 (Data Analysis, or equivalent approved course)

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)

For students who entered the Ph.D. program in fall 2018 or later course requirements are as follows:

EST 600 (Technology and Policy)

EST 610 Revised (Advanced Statistics)

EST 625 (Advanced Technology and Policy)

EST 601 (Grand Challenges)

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)

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.  The Dissertation Proposal comes next, after the successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and fulfillment of all course and teaching practicum requirements. Now, the student moves toward identifying a dissertation topic. The university requires that the time between completion of requirements and the approval of a dissertation topic does not exceed 18 months. There are three things to bear in mind when developing a thesis proposal.

First, the nature of the topic: Students are strongly encouraged to develop their own research topics. At present, 75-80 per cent of the thesis topics are in the domains of “Energy and Environmental Policy” and “Engineering Education, Management, and Policy.”

Second, the dissertation advisor: The student must have an advisor from within the department. When someone from another part of the University might better advise on a topic, that individual can be a co-advisor, but the student still is required to have a DTS faculty as advisor.

Third, the dissertation committee: This committee consists of at least four individuals. The advisor is a member but cannot chair the committee. The chair and one other member of the committee must come from within the department. A fourth member of the committee must come from outside DTS and we strongly recommend that there be a fifth member from outside the University. The student and his or her advisor should work together well prior to the presentation of the proposal to identify an appropriate committee. The student generally asks the prospective members of the committee to serve. It is in the student’s best interest to assemble the strongest possible committee. The Department Chair approves the committee and may add additional faculty to serve on a proposal committee.

The dissertation proposal is the roadmap of the dissertation. It specifies the intended contribution and context of the work as well as methods, approach, and schedule for completion. A typical proposal (or prospectus) is approximately 30-50 pages long. It should be written at the technical level of a funding proposal for the NSF or a similar foundation. The committee needs to be convinced of the uniqueness and novelty of the work, the student’s knowledge of the literature, the clarity of the research questions and associated hypotheses, and the efficacy of the proposed research methods.

The process associated with the presentation and defense of the dissertation topic is as follows. First, the written proposal is sent to the committee at least 2 weeks ahead of the presentation. Second, the student provides copies of both the written proposal and presentation material to the PhD Program Director prior to the presentation. Third, the student presents the proposal for 45-60 minutes, after which the committee poses questions and discusses the proposal. Fourth, the committee judges the presented proposal with either pass, fail, or contingent pass. In case of the third result, the committee asks the student to answer written questions and/or make modifications to the proposal. The additional requirements are filed with the PhD Program Director. Fifth, upon their acceptable completion, these documents are also filed with the program coordinator.

After acceptance of the proposal, the department notifies the Graduate School of the approval of the topic and make-up of the dissertation committee. The committee must be approved by the Graduate School before the defense of the dissertation (see below). The Graduate School approves the student’s advancement to candidacy upon receipt of this request and review of the student’s file. The Graduate School checks that you are advancing to candidacy within 18 months of your Part A exam and have completed your teaching practicum

E.  Dissertation Preparation and Defense. A dissertation is intended to advance the state of knowledge in an area of study. It is a significant and substantial piece of scholarship. Students should read a number of dissertations, monographs, and scholarly books in their area to gain insight into the required scope of work. The department expects a dissertation to be at least 200 pages long. Further, the level of detailed discussion must be significantly broader than that of an article in a refereed journal.

You want to have the strongest possible committee you can assemble. As you and your advisor identify the committee, it is important to establish a relationship with its members and keep them apprised of your progress. They can be a great asset for early review and comment on your work. Note that it is not unusual for a student’s committee to change membership while the dissertation is in preparation. However, the committee that approved your dissertation proposal can also continue to be your final committee. In any case, the Department Chair may or may not add additional members to it.

Ultimately, you and your dissertation advisor determine when the manuscript is ready to be defended. Once that point has been reached, the student submits the dissertation to the PhD Program Director at least four weeks prior to the planned defense to allow the Graduate School to approve the composition of the final committee and authorize proceeding with the dissertation defense.

The review and approval of the dissertation is in the hands of the dissertation committee. The final step in the process involves the oral defense of the dissertation in an open meeting, after which the dissertation committee renders its judgment. All members of the committee are required to approve the dissertation in writing in order for the degree to be awarded.

Again, there are three possible outcomes: pass, fail, and contingent pass. For the third of these, the committee asks that student to provide answers to written questions or make modifications to the dissertation. These additional requirements are filed with the PhD Program Director. Upon their acceptable completion, the responses and/or the modified dissertation are also filed with the program coordinator. The final step for the student is the submission of the approved dissertation to ProQuest per the rules of the Graduate School.

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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