Designing a Doctoral Program
Role of the Academic Advisor
Following acceptance into the Lynch School, students should meet with their academic advisor (identified in the acceptance letter or shortly thereafter by the Program Coordinator or Department Chair) at their earliest convenience.
The advisor will assist in the initial design and, if necessary, later modification of your Program of Study. The academic advisor must approve any transfers of credits from other universities and must approve, if necessary, a Petition for an Extension of Time to complete studies. Agreement to act as an academic advisor on the part of a faculty member does not imply responsibility for directing a dissertation.
Students may request a change of advisor after consulting with their current advisor and clarifying the availability of a new advisor. Requests should be forwarded to the Program Coordinator and/or Department Chair, who should then notify the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services of the decision.
Program of Study
By the fall semester of the 2nd year in the program, all Ph.D. and Ed.D. students, except for those in the Ph.D. program in Curriculum and Instruction, should complete a Program of Study form following extensive consultation with their advisor. Ph.D. students in Curriculum and Instruction should complete their Programs of Study no later than the beginning of spring semester in the first academic year of their program. Once the Program of Study receives appropriate approval signatures, the office of the department in which the student is completing his/her degree (the “Department Office”) acknowledges this in a letter sent to the student. Please consult individual program descriptions for specific requirements. The programs of study are available in PDF format on the web pages for the specific Lynch School program. Students should be sure to keep copies of all official documents in their records.
Students who fail to submit an approved Program of Study to the office of the department in which they are completing their degree prior to these deadlines will not be allowed to register for courses for their following semester of study. The registrar will place a block on the student’s account until he or she files a complete Program of Study. (Effective 4/06).
Changes to Programs of Study
Any time it is necessary to change a student's approved Program of Study, a Course Substitution Form must be completed. The student is responsible for getting appropriate approval signatures.
Since the approved Program of Study form is the document used to clear the student for graduation, any changes to it should be properly approved in a timely manner. Approval for any course substitution must be obtained prior to registering for the course in question.
Transfer of Credit
Students who wish to have credits transferred from another university to their doctoral program at the Lynch School must comply with the following regulations:
completion of at least six credits at Boston College in a doctoral program
maximum of six graduate credits transferred from other accredited colleges or universities
courses used to satisfy the requirements for another degree cannot be transferred into a doctoral program
a grade of "B" or better at the graduate level
course(s) being transferred must have been completed within the past 10 years
official transcript must be sent directly to the office of the department in which they are completing their degree program
A Transfer of Credit form should be completed and signed by the student's academic advisor and then sent to the Department Office.
Graduate students in the Lynch School may cross register for one elective course each semester at Boston University, Brandeis University, and Tufts University if a similar course is not available at Boston College. Students should contact their Program Directors to review the department’s special rules and regulations. Cross registration materials are available in Lyons Hall.
Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
The Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies (GCWS) at MIT (formerly housed at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University) is an inter-institutional enterprise established to advance the field of women's studies and enlarge the scope of graduate education through new models of team teaching and interdisciplinary study. Faculty and students are drawn from six member schools: Boston College, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, MIT, and Tufts University. The Consortium offers graduate courses for credit that are open to all students at participating institutions. Graduate students enrolled in degree programs at Boston College may with the permission of their department apply to MIT to participate in this program. Course registration forms will be mailed to accepted students. Please consult the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies website for courses and procedures for registering and credit. Students should also complete the cross registration form available in Lyons Hall in order to receive course credit from Boston College.
Independent Study/Readings and Research
Students may take an Independent Study/ Readings and Research course as part of their Doctoral coursework. Permission must be secured from the supervising faculty member and the proposed course must be an approved part of the student’s program of study. Students must complete the Doctoral Readings and Research form , have it approved by the faculty supervisor, and then return it to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services who will sign them up for the appropriate Readings and Research course through Agora. The maximum number of Readings and Research courses that are permitted within any given degree is limited by University policy to the number of electives within a student’s degree program. The Department Chairs and/or Program Coordinator may choose to further limit the number of Readings and Research courses permitted in a particular program.
Year of Residence
Most doctoral students in the Lynch School must spend one academic year "in residence." Doctoral students in Counseling Psychology are required to complete three years of full-time residency. Students in the Ed.D. PSAP program fulfill their requirements by participating in all available academic and professional activities associated with the program during their three years of coursework. Residency is designed to provide each student with a combination of coursework (full-time for two consecutive semesters) and apprenticeship experience within their area of graduate studies.
It is assumed that students in residence will have more time to interact with peers and faculty in formal and informal educational experiences. This combination of experiences allows students to be immersed in the intellectual community of the University with the least possible distraction. Students should consult their individual program handbooks for more specific program guidelines for fulfilling the residency requirement.
While the purpose of residency is uniform across the school, the nature of the experience is shaped by the requirements of each program and the specific interests and needs of the student.
Some students, for example, may have an apprenticeship experience through supervised teaching and/or research with faculty. Others may participate in a one-year colloquium. Still others may complete an off-campus research project supervised by a faculty member. Some of these options may lead to a pre-candidacy paper or other products.
Students and their advisors make all arrangements relative to the year(s) of residence. This is typically noted on the student’s Program of Study. Once the residency requirement has been completed, the Program Coordinator and/or Department Chair should so certify, via email, to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services, with a copy to the student.
Students cannot be cleared for graduation unless this requirement has been met. Students who are unable to meet this requirement may want to consider a Certificate of Advanced Education Specialization (CAES).
Continuation and Extension
Doctoral candidates who have completed all coursework and comprehensive exams must register and pay the fee for Doctoral Continuation (EDUC/ELHE/ERME/APSY9911) each academic term of their candidacy.
This registration entitles the candidate to use of University facilities (e.g., library and computers) and the privilege of informally (without record) auditing courses that may be helpful with research.
Students will not usually be allowed to take leaves of absence once they have become candidates.
Extensions beyond the eight-year time limit for the doctoral degree may be obtained only with advisor and departmental recommendation and the approval of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
Extensions are not granted routinely. They must be formally requested and the Doctoral Petition for Extension of Time form completed, after discussion with the student’s advisor and/or the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. If granted, the extension would be for a maximum of one year.
Timely completion is essential to the academic integrity of a degree program
Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy
Registration for the Comprehensive Examination
Students not taking another Boston College course for credit in the semester in which they will be taking the comprehensive exam must also register for EDUC9902 or /APSY/ERME/ELHE 9901 Doctoral Comprehensives for that semester. Students who are registered for a Boston College course for credit in the semester in which they are taking the exam still must complete this form but need not register for the 1 credit Doctoral Comprehensive course.
Specific requirements for the exam are set by the program faculty, and students should make inquiries regarding format, length, and scheduling of the exam to the appropriate program faculty.
Grades assigned to Comprehensive examinations are:
A student who fails the PhD Comprehensive examination may take it once again, no sooner than the following semester, and at a time designated by the Department. Ed.D. students should confirm with their Department Chair about the timing of a second administration of the Comprehensive Examination. In the case of a second failure, no further attempt is allowed.
Following oral and written components of the exam, the Chair of the comprehensive committee submits an official ballot, graded and signed by each member, to the Department Chair. Students are then officially notified of the results by the Department Office.
Once the student has passed the comprehensive exams, the Department Office will send a letter officially recognizing his or her admission to candidacy.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
Leave of Absence
Doctoral students who wish to interrupt their programs for one or more semesters must file a Graduate Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form for that semester. The request will be reviewed by the Director/Coordinator (if applicable) and the Department Chair. Once the form has been signed, it should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services for approval by the Lynch School Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. An approved leave frees the student from registering for courses and paying fees. A leave of absence is granted for no more than two consecutive semesters.
All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within eight consecutive years from the commencement of doctoral studies. Doctoral studies commence with the first term in which the student is officially registered for a course at Boston College following admission to the doctoral program. Leave time is considered a portion of the total time limit for the degree unless an exception has been approved by the Program Director/Coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the time the form is submitted.
Graduate students (master's and doctoral) requesting readmission from a Leave of Absence must contact their Department Chair and the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Services at least six weeks prior to the semester in which they expect to enroll to ensure appropriate class and field placement. The Readmission Request Form for Doctoral Students should be submitted to the student’s Program Director/Coordinator and Department Chair for approval. Once department approval has been obtained, the form should be sent to the Lynch School Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.
Doctoral students who were discontinued due to time-to-degree limits, or otherwise fail to maintain continuous matriculation and allow their matriculation to lapse, may apply for reinstatement if they wish to re-enroll. Readmission to the Lynch School, and to candidacy, requires the submission of the Lynch School Doctoral Readmission Request Form. The Request Form is approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the appropriate Department Chair. If absence from the program is beyond the eight-year time limit allowed by the University for completing the doctoral degree, the student will be required to demonstrate currency in the field by taking a qualifying examination and/or additional course work, at the discretion of the doctoral program. Approval of Requests for Readmission is extremely rare, and by exception.
Deferral of Admission
Graduate students (master's and doctoral) who have not begun coursework are not required to file a Leave of Absence form. However, they are required to obtain a deferral of admission by contacting the Lynch School Director of Admission and Financial Aid at least six weeks prior to the planned start date for their program. [Please note: Not all doctoral programs allow deferral of admission.] Doctoral students should contact the Program Director/Coordinator and Department Chair of their intended program prior to requesting a deferral. Deferrals are granted for no more than one year. If a student does not take courses after one year following admission to the program, he/she is required to apply for readmission and pay a readmission fee.
Withdrawal From the University
Graduate students may choose to withdraw from the program if they are unable to complete their program of studies in a consistent and timely manner. Students who wish to withdraw must complete the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form and submit it to the Department Chair where the student is completing the degree. Once the form has been signed by the academic department, it should be sent to the Lynch School Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.