GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SCHOOL OF NURSING DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PHD) PROGRAM HANDBOOK

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1 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SCHOOL OF NURSING DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PHD) PROGRAM HANDBOOK Revised: Fall

2 Disclaimer This Handbook is neither a contract nor an offer to make a contract. George Mason University School of Nursing (GMUSoN) reserves the right to make changes at any time with respect to admission requirements, course offerings, degree requirements, services, policies, or any other subject addressed in this handbook. The information enclosed is provided solely for the convenience of the reader, and GMU School of Nursing expressly disclaims any liabilities that may otherwise be incurred. This Handbook supersedes all previous versions of the Handbook. PhD students are accountable for familiarizing themselves with the handbook contents and for compliance with the policies and procedures contained herein. 2

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Content Page Contact Information 4 Mission Statement, Purpose and Outcomes 5 Admission Requirements 6 Degree Requirements 7 Program of Study 8 Plan of Study for Full-Time Students 9 Plan of Study for Part-Time Students Time Limit for Doctoral Degrees 11 Advisement PhD Student Responsibilities 14 Policies and Procedures Honor Code, Transfer Credits 16 Mailbox, , Blackboard, Student Organizations 17 Important Terminologies and Registration Doctoral Candidacy Comprehensive Examination Doctoral Dissertation Graduation Information 23 Links for Forms

4 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICEDS SCHOOL OF NURSING PhD PROGRAM IN NURSING Doctoral Program Administrative Team Members Contact Information Kathy Richards, PhD, RN Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division Office Telephone: (703) /1962 Robinson Hall, A393A Pearl Zhou, PhD, RN Coordinator, PhD Program in Nursing Robinson Hall, A364 Golnaz Shadmard Administrative Assistant Office Telephone: (703) Robinson Hall, A393A Website: FAX:

5 DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN NURSING PROGRAM Mission The mission of the program is to prepare nursing scholars who will pursue intellectual inquiry and conduct independent research for the purpose of extending knowledge (adapted from AACN Position Statement, 2001) to contribute to the health of all populations. Purpose: The purpose of the PhD in Nursing Program is to develop scholars who will pursue intellectual inquiry and creative scholarship through independent and collaborative research, advance nursing science, and provide leadership to the nursing profession. Outcome: Students will develop a depth of knowledge in their emphasis area through required course work, mentored research experience, selection of supporting electives, independent study, and dissertation research. Upon graduation from the PhD program the student will be prepared to: 1. Conceptualize and conduct independent research to advance knowledge in nursing and healthcare. 2. Initiate and participate in interprofessional research with nurses and scholars from other disciplines. 5

6 ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS In addition to fulfilling the admission requirements for degree status in the College of Health and Human Services, applicants for admission to the PhD program will be evaluated based on the following criteria: A master s degree in nursing from an accredited program equivalent to 30 semester hours of credit, or a master s degree in a related health field with a baccalaureate degree in nursing; A transcript from the master s program; Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores obtained within the previous 5 years. Proficiency in English via IELTS Academic Exam or TOEFL, for non-native English speakers regardless of current residence. An IELTS Academic exam score of at least 7.0, or a TOEFL of 250 (computer-based), 600 (paper-based), or 100 (internet-based) is required. TOEFL is not required for international students who obtained either the baccalaureate degree or the master s degree in the United States. Evidence of current licensure to practice professional nursing (Students on international student visas must present evidence of their country s nursing licensure or the equivalent); A resume of professional experience; Three letters of recommendation from professional or academic sources. At least two of the references must be from persons who have had contact with the applicant within the last two years; Based on qualification and program capacity, an interview with two or more persons on the School of Nursing Graduate Admissions Committee; A written statement describing 1) goals for pursuing a Ph.D in Nursing, 2) research interest(s), and 3) how the research interests coincide with School of Nursing or CHHS research programs; and Evidence of prerequisite graduate-level coursework in applied statistics (past two years). A grade of B or above is acceptable. Students are admitted for fall semester only. All materials for admission must be submitted on line to the Admissions Office of George Mason University, by March 1 of the year the student intends to enroll. See School of Nursing website for more information: 6

7 PHD IN NURSING DEGREE REQUIREMENTS To earn the PhD in Nursing degree at GMU, the doctoral student must fulfill all the requirements within the timeline. 1. Have earned a minimum of 48 graduate credits beyond the master s degree. Of these, a. Thirty-nine (39) must have been earned at George Mason University. Credits earned through the Consortium of universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area are considered resident (not transfer) credits and are therefore not subject to transfer of credit conditions or limitations. a. Nine (9) graduate-level credits may be transferred with approval and applied to the 48 graduate credits required for the PhD in Nursing program. 2. Successfully complete the Program of Study outlined in the curriculum of the PhD in Nursing Program. 3. Successfully complete a written Doctoral Candidacy Comprehensive Examination after completing all credit requirements for the PhD in Nursing Program, except N998 and N999; 4. Successfully pass the final oral Doctoral Dissertation defense; 5. Submit a Doctoral Dissertation approved by the Doctoral Dissertation Committee, Assistant Dean of doctoral division, and the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. 6. Complete application materials for graduation in accordance with prevailing GMU policies. 7. Doctoral students must advance to candidacy in no more than six years from initial admission and must complete all other degree requirements for graduation in no more than five years from the time of advancement to candidacy. Total time to degree will not exceed eleven (11) calendar years from the time of first enrollment as a doctoral degreeseeking student. 7

8 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SCHOOL OF NURSING PHD IN NURSING PROGRAM OF STUDY During the PhD in Nursing program the student develops his/her program of research through required coursework, selection of supporting electives, independent studies and dissertation research. Scientific Base/Research Core (27 credits) NURS 804 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis (3) NURS 805 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis II (3) NURS 807 Measurement Theories and Applications in Health Care Research (3) NURS 809 Research Design and Methods in Nursing and Health Care (3) NURS 957 Ethics of Health Care Research (3) NURS 875 Research Internship (3) NURS 920 Qualitative Research (3) NURS 930 Quantitative Methods in Nursing and Health Care (3) NURS 955 Philosophical Bases of Inquiry (3) Cognate Courses (9 credits) Students must complete a cohesive set of existing doctoral-level university cognate courses designed with advisor and program director to contribute to student s program of research. Examples may include coursework in areas such as: women's health, sleep symptoms in aging populations, mental health issues post traumatic brain injury, depression in diverse populations, maternal and child health, preventive care, quality indicators, nursing administration, research methodologies, biostatistics, etc. These are just suggested areas, and not intended to be collectively exhaustive. Dissertation (12-20 credits) NURS 998 NURS 999 Dissertation Proposal Development (Students must enroll for 3 credits the first time the course is taken and must attend classes as scheduled; 1-6 credits could be registered each semester thereafter). Doctoral Dissertation Total Credits for Degree: 48 8

9 SAMPLE PLAN OF STUDY FOR FULL-TIME STUDENTS Course number Title Credits FALL -YEAR I NURS 804 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis 3 NURS 955 Philosophical Bases of Inquiry 3 NURS 809 Research Design and Methods in Nursing and Health Care 3 Total Credits 9 SPRING -YEAR I NURS 805 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis II 3 NURS 957 Ethics of Health Care Research 3 NURS 875 Research Internship 3 Total Credits 9 FALL -YEAR II NURS 930 Quantitative Methods 3 NURS 807 Measurement Theories and Applications in Health Care Research 3 Elective I Cognate I 3 Total Credits 9 SPRING -YEAR II NURS 920 Qualitative Research 3 Elective II Cognate II 3 Elective III Cognate III 3 Total Credits 9 TOTAL CREDITS COMPLETED 36 FALL - YEAR III and Following Comprehensive Admission to candidacy Exam NURS 998 Dissertation Proposal 3-12 NURS 999 Doctoral Dissertation 1-9 Total Credits Minimum of 12 credits required for dissertation 12 9

10 SAMPLE PLAN OF STUDY FOR PART-TIME STUDENTS Course number Title Credits FALL -YEAR I NURS 804 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis 3 NURS 955 Philosophical Bases of Inquiry 3 Total Credits 6 SPRING -YEAR I NURS 805 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis II 3 NURS 957 Ethics of Health Care Research 3 Total Credits 6 FALL -YEAR II NURS 807 Measurement Theories and Applications in Health Care Research 3 NURS 809 Research Design and Methods In Nursing and Health Care 3 Total Credits 6 SPRING -YEAR II NURS 920 Qualitative Research 3 NURS 875 Research Internship 3 Total Credits 6 SUMMER -YEAR II Elective I Cognate I 3 Total Credits 3 FALL -YEAR III NURS 930 Quantitative Methods 3 Elective II Cognate II 3 Total Credits 6 SPRING -YEAR III Elective III Cognate III 3 Comprehensive Admission to candidacy Exam Total Credits 3 TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS 36 10

11 FALL - YEAR III and Following NURS 998 Dissertation Proposal 3-12 NURS 999 Doctoral Dissertation 1-9 Total Credits Minimum of 12 credits required for dissertation 12 TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS 48 TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS 48 TIME LIMIT FOR DOCTORAL DEGREES Total time to degree will not exceed eleven (11) calendar years from the time of first enrollment as a doctoral degree-seeking student. Doctoral students are expected to advance to candidacy in no more than six years and to complete all other degree requirements for graduation in no more than five years from the time of advancement to candidacy. For example, a student who advanced in the Fall of 2011 must graduate by the Summer of Since an academic year has 3 semesters (Fall, Spring and Summer), the student must graduate in the summer of that final year. Students who will not meet published time limits because of circumstances beyond their control may petition for an extension. Extensions to the time limit for advancement to candidacy may be granted for a maximum period of one calendar year. The one year extension granted to advance to candidacy will run concurrently with the five years provided to complete the dissertation. The total time limit to degree will not exceed eleven (11) years even for those students granted a time extension for advancement to candidacy. Students who are given permission to re-enroll following an absence from Mason may not count the time limits as beginning on the date of re-enrollment. Failure to meet the time limits or to secure approval of an extension request may result in termination from the program. International students attending in F-1 or J-1 status also have more restrictive limits; contact the Office of International Programs and Services for information. 11

12 ADVISEMENT Qualifications of Faculty Advisors Qualifications of faculty members who may serve as advisors are established by the PhD Subcommittee and School of Nursing policy. Advisors must be GMU faculty members who have a PhD in nursing or a terminal research degree in a related field. Academic Advisor and Roles Each entering student is assigned to a faculty advisor who functions in the capacity of an academic advisor until the student has selected a dissertation research topic and an appropriate research advisor to direct his/her study. Once selected, the research advisor assumes all advisement responsibilities, including academic advisement and direction of the dissertation research project. It is recommended that students select a research advisor after completing the first year of study. The specific responsibilities of the academic advisor are to: Interpret PhD program requirements and policies for the student. Assist the student in setting objectives for doctoral study and clarifying career goals. Guide the student in planning a Program of Study in accordance with program requirements, individual research interests, and career goals. Monitor the student's academic progress through meeting with the student, communication and discussion with faculty teaching doctoral courses, and checking grades. Meet with student every semester. Communicate the student's academic progress to the student and the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division at the end of each semester. Maintain student records to include the: o Annual statement of student progress (PhD program file) o Notation of special advisement consultations or phone calls. Assist the student in selecting a dissertation research topic (general area for the research) and research advisor. 12

13 Research Advisor and Roles The research advisor must have sufficient expertise to guide the student s proposed area of research. Upon selection, the research advisor assumes all advisement responsibilities, including academic advisement and direction of the dissertation research project. The specific responsibilities of the research advisor are to: Assist the student with the selection of cognate courses (electives) to support the student s program of research. In conjunction with the student, determine his or her readiness to take the comprehensive examination. Assist the student to identify a doctoral examination committee to write, administer and grade the comprehensive exam. The committee is subject to approval by the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. Serve as the Chairperson of the student's Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Committee. Serve as the chairperson for dissertation research upon student s request and faculty agreement. Assume primary responsibility for guiding the student throughout the dissertation research process and completion of the dissertation. Assist with: o selecting and defining a research topic o developing a research proposal o proposal defense o Human Subject Review Board (HSRB) approval o carrying out the research as planned o developing the dissertation o dissertation defense Assist the students with the selection of a dissertation advisory committee. A dissertation committee must consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty, at least two of whom must be from SON or program of study. The dissertation committee chair is typically a graduate faculty member from SON. One reader must be a SON faculty member and the remaining reader(s) can be a faculty member from CHHS or from another school/department at GMU. Recommend to the Dean of School of Nursing, via the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division, the membership for the student's Dissertation Advisory Committee. Notify the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division in writing when the student has successfully defended the dissertation research proposal. Submit the dissertation defense form to the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. Approve and sign the final version of the dissertation 13

14 Changing Advisors Requests for a change of advisor must be addressed to the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. A change of advisor may be initiated by the advisor or the student without prejudice to either party. A change in research advisor is recommended if the student's research area changes substantially. The PhD Student: PHD STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES Initiates any changes to the Program of Study, in writing, to the faculty adviser (courses, leave of absence, re-enrollment, resignation). Communicates with faculty adviser at least once during each semester to discuss progress and program planning. This may be done either by , telephone, or in person. Obtains advisor signatures on required forms. Initiates contact with faculty members being considered as a research advisor. Selects a research advisor, in consultation with the academic advisor Selects, in collaboration with the research advisor and subject to approval by the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division, members of the doctoral examination committee and dissertation research committee. Communicates personal information changes, especially phone, address and in a timely manner with GMU Registrar, the advisor, and the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. Doctoral students must maintain an active GMU account. All communications will be distributed to doctoral students via their GMU accounts. Submits course transfer request documents. Reads written communiqués and adheres to University policies and procedures, which are subject to change during a student s enrollment. Initiates written requests in advance for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Meets all deadlines for requests, forms applications including documents related to internships, progression in the program, and Comprehensive Examination. Reports problems that delay progress in completing degree requirements to the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. Requests appropriate approval by the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division, and ultimately the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for CHHS, when unusual problems have been encountered in meeting specific deadlines. 14

15 PhD PROGRAM POLICIES AND PROCEDURES 1. Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 12 credits during any semester unless special permission is given by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Health and Human Services. 2. Doctoral students have six years from the time of first enrollment as a degree-seeking student to complete all course work (except N998 and 999) and advance to candidacy. Student and faculty adviser must initiate this process by completing the Advancement to Candidacy Form. 3. Only 9 graduate credits (earned within a 6-year period prior to the date of admission) may be transferred and applied toward the 48 credits in the PhD program. This includes those courses taken through Academic Outreach as a non-degree student. Credits which have been applied toward a master s degree are ineligible for application to the PhD degree. Prerequisites in applied statistics courses cannot be applied toward the 48 credits required for the PhD program. 4. A written qualifying/comprehensive candidacy examination must be successfully completed in addition to the program of study outlined in the curriculum for the PhD in Nursing Program. 5. After successful completion of all coursework (except N998 and N999) and successful completion of a qualifying/comprehensive candidacy examination, the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division may approve advancement to candidacy. 6. After the required 12 dissertation credits (a combination of NURS 998 and NURS 999 credits) are completed, students must maintain continuous registration of one credit in NURS 999 for each semester until graduation and must be enrolled in at least one credit of 999 in the semester in which they intend to graduate, including the summer. 7. Students must successfully complete the doctoral dissertation (minimum 12 credits are required combination of NURS 998 & NURS 999) and a final oral dissertation defense within 5 years following the semester of advancement to candidacy. 8. Graduate students who are enrolled in dissertation credits (either NURS 998 or NURS 999) are considered full-time if they are enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester. Graduate students who have completed the required number of credits of 999 are considered full-time if they are registered for at least one credit of 999, and their Dissertation Chair certifies each semester that they are working full-time on their dissertation. 15

16 9. Students are dismissed from the PhD program upon failing to enroll for two consecutive academic semesters. However, a dismissed student may reapply and be reviewed for readmission. The School of Nursing can approve leave of absence (limited to two years) under special circumstances. 10. Prior to enrolling in any of the PhD courses, all PhD students are required to have a criminal background check and must obtain a health examination and immunizations before registering for their first clinical/practicum/internship course. Hepatitis B immunizations must be completed in accordance with the current U.S. Public Health Service recommendations. Students also must have annual tuberculosis screenings by PPD. (Please refer to the CHHS health form for additional requirements.) HONOR CODE The Honor Code is an integral part of George Mason University and upholds a tradition that has existed in Virginia since Each doctoral student has the responsibility to conform to and uphold the Honor Code as published in the GMU catalog. Attempted or actual cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing of academic work constitute Honor Code violations. Each student is responsible for reviewing the Honor Code as published in the GMU catalog. The Honor Code website is: TRANSFER CREDITS The maximum number of credits transferable is 9 credits. Transfer credits must be approved by the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. All courses taken as a non-degree student at GMU prior to admission to the doctoral program are counted as transfer credits even though they were awarded at GMU. Only two courses taken through the Consortium may be applied to the doctoral program of study. However, consortium courses are not considered transfer coursework since the student registers at GMU and pays GMU tuition. To be accepted for transfer, previous credits must have been earned with a grade of B or above within six years prior to admission to the PhD program. Credits previously applied toward a degree at another institution or at GMU are not allowed as transfer credits. The student is responsible for furnishing course descriptions from the catalog of the school at which the transfer courses were taken, along with course syllabus and official transcript of courses/grades. 16

17 PhD STUDENT MAIL BOXES AND Mailboxes for doctoral students are in Robinson A397. These should be checked regularly for notices and other distributions. Students must provide a GMU address that will be used for official correspondence during the program, and that should be checked frequently. BLACKBOARD Blackboard is the content management system used to deliver online and hybrid classes as well as doctoral comprehensive exams. The username and password for Blackboard are same as the student s GMU username. Since important announcements concerning courses may be posted on Blackboard, students should check their Blackboard daily. Blackboard can be accessed from a link on the GMU website at mymason.gmu.edu. NURSING STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS Sigma Theta Tau, Epsilon Zeta Chapter The goal of the honor society is to foster excellence, scholarship and leadership in nursing. With George Mason s strengths in diversity and more than 300 active members, Epsilon Zeta has the potential to be a strong chapter within the international organization. Students are strongly recommended to become a member of this chapter and get involved in the activities. Doctoral Student Organization (DSO) All doctoral students are automatically a member of the DSO and must pay the dues. DSO meets monthly to support and enhance the learning, knowledge, and professional development of doctoral students in both the PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. IMPORTANT TERMINOLOGIES Incomplete: A grade of "IN" is a temporary grade received by a student who, under exceptional circumstances, requests and is granted before the end of the term additional time beyond the end of a course to complete outstanding coursework. Appears as In on transcript. A grade change will be made after the student completes all the required work. In Progress: A grade of "IP" is granted each semester for NURS 998 and NURS999 until the successful proposal defense or dissertation defense; then all the grades will be changed to "S" (satisfactory). 17

18 Prerequisites and Corequisites: Students who want to take courses that have prerequisites must complete the prerequisites before the term in which they take the course. A student who wants to take a course with a corequisite must take the corequisite during the same term as the course that requires it. Students should consult the plan of study for their program or specialty to determine whether a course has prerequisites or corequisites. REGISTRATION Students must register for coursework each semester to maintain eligibility for a degree. GMU uses an online registration process. After classes begin, students who wish to terminate registration at must follow withdrawal procedures and are liable for any charges that may be applicable at the time of withdrawal. To be considered full-time, students must register for 9 or more credits for fall/spring semester. For NURS 998 and NURS 999, six credits are considered as full-time study. Registration in summer term is not required to maintain full-time status. General Information Procedures DOCTORAL COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION Students are required to successfully pass the comprehensive written exam in order to advance to candidacy and progress to the dissertation. A student is eligible to take the comprehensive exam upon completion of all required courses (minimum of 36 credits of course work). The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to evaluate the student s 1) mastery of knowledge essential for undertaking scientific research, and 2) knowledge of the state of science of his/her selected research specialty area. The examination uses a "take-home" format. Each student is required to independently complete the exam within two weeks. The comprehensive examination is graded as a pass or fail. A student who fails the exam can retake it one more time. If the student fails the exam a second time, she/he will be terminated from the PhD program. Upon completion of all the required core and cognate courses with a minimum grade of a "B" a student is eligible to take the comprehensive exam. A student is responsible for implementing the candidacy examination application process. The "Doctoral Candidacy Comprehensive Examination Application" form is available in the Doctoral Program Office, Robinson A-393A. Prior to filing the application, a student 18

19 is required to meet with his/her faculty advisor to review the academic record to establish eligibility and to obtain the advisor's signature. A student must inform the Doctoral Program Office of the date he/she plans to take the exam. The Doctoral Program Office will confirm the date with the student and the Doctoral Examination Committee. The exam will be released to the student through the Blackboard at the confirmed date, at 12:01am. The students must submit his/her answers through the Blackboard within 2 weeks (14 days exactly, regardless of weekends/holidays). The time for final submission is 11:59PM. The two member doctoral examination committee will read and grade the exam only during the academic year (mid-august to end of May). Students who take the exam from mid-august to early May will receive written notice of the examination outcome (pass/fail) within 3 weeks after the examination. Students who take the exam from mid- May to early-august will receive the examination outcome by the beginning of September. If the two committee members do not agree on the grade, a third faculty member will be appointed by the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division to grade the exam. The final decision will be based on the majority rule. Preparation for the Comprehensive Examination Generally, students are encouraged to prepare for the examination by: Critically reviewing, analyzing and synthesizing the prevalent theory and research (stateof-science) in the student's research specialty area (with appropriate documentation of sources/references of information). Generate researchable questions based on the review of the state-of-science of the selected specialty area. Review and synthesize research methodologies as related to the research process. Conducting individual and small group study activities as learning style preferences indicate. Allocating sufficient time to prepare prior to examination. In the past, we have found that students need a minimum of 80 hours of concentrated work to successfully complete the exam. 19

20 DOCTORAL DISSERTATION A dissertation is required for the PhD in Nursing degree. The dissertation is a written piece of original research that demonstrates a candidate s mastery of the subject matter, methodologies, and conceptual foundations, with relevance to the discipline of nursing. The Dissertation Committee 1. Works with the student to guide the development of the dissertation proposal. 2. Conducts a formal proposal defense to judge the student s readiness to proceed to the dissertation. 3. Guides and directs the research, data analysis, and writing of the dissertation. 4. Evaluates the student s performance during the oral defense of the dissertation. 5. Makes recommendations for revision/changes in the dissertation based on the oral defense; and 6. Accepts the final dissertation as meeting criteria for graduation. The dissertation committee must be in place prior to final proposal approval and before a student registers for NURS 999. Students must enroll in NURS 998 until the dissertation proposal is signed by all members of the committee. Process After consultation with the research advisor, other faculty in the SON, CHHS and GMU, and the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division, each student will nominate at least 3 faculty members to serve on his/her committee, and designating one as the chair to serve as dissertation advisor. Dissertation committees are approved by the Director of the School of Nursing. Eligibility Criteria for Committee Membership A dissertation committee must consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty. All committee members hold the PhD degree or a terminal research degree in nursing or a related field. All committee members are active in research and scholarship. The dissertation committee chair is typically a graduate faculty member from SON; and only a graduate faculty member with a full-time appointment at GMU may serve as dissertation chair. One reader must be a member of the SON faculty. The other reader(s) may be from other schools/departments at GMU, includes CHHS. Registration in NURS 998 (Dissertation Proposal Course), and NURS 999 (Doctoral Dissertation) 20

21 A TOTAL OF 12 CREDITS, MINIMUM, are required for the dissertation. These 12 credits are comprised of a combination of credits from NURS 998 and NURS 999. NURS 998 is a variable credit course (1-6 credits). The first time the student takes NURS 998 they MUST enroll in the course for 3 credits. Thereafter, if they do not successfully defend their dissertation proposal they must continue to enroll in NURS 998 for 1 credit until they successfully defend their dissertation proposal and then they will be permitted to enroll in NURS 999. Students may receive a grade of IP (in Progress) for each semester of NURS 998 enrollment. When the student successfully defends the dissertation proposal, all IP grades will be changed to a grade of S (satisfactory). The student s dissertation chair should initiate this grade change. After accumulating 12 credits of NURS 998 and NURS 999, if the student has not successfully completed an oral defense of the dissertation, the candidate must continue to be registered for 1 credit of NURS 999 each semester (except the summer session) until graduation. Candidates must be registered for NURS 999 during the semester in which the degree requirements are completed, including the summer sessions. After successful completion of the dissertation, grades for all sections of NURS 999 will be converted from IP to S (Satisfactory). The chair of the dissertation committee should initiate this grade change. Human Subjects Review After the doctoral dissertation committee approves the proposal, all proposed research must be reviewed by the appropriate Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB) at GMU and all other healthcare agencies (or other organizations) in which the research is to be conducted. The chair of the dissertation committee guides the student through the procedure required to obtain a review by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Human Subjects review guidelines must be met and approval received in writing from the GMU Office of Sponsored Programs before data collection begins, including data for a pilot study. Questions about the review form, deadlines for receipt of review forms or HSRB meeting dates can be answered by calling (703) , Office of Sponsored Programs at GMU. Research may not begin until all written consents are obtained from the participating University and organizations. 21

22 Preparation of the Dissertation Form and Style The form and style of the dissertation must follow the Current Thesis, Dissertation or project Guide, published by George Mason University. Students should check the website and follow all requirements and procedures. The College of Health and Human Services and the School of Nursing follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), current edition, for dissertation writing. Also, consult the PhD in Nursing Dissertation Guidelines on the PhD in Nursing website at: If you identify specific contradictions between the APA guidelines and the PhD in Nursing Dissertation Guidelines, follow the PhD in Nursing Dissertation Guidelines. The dissertation chair will guide proposal style and development. Oral Defense of Dissertation The oral dissertation defense is set by the dissertation chair after the final dissertation draft is approved by the committee. After a successful oral defense, a signed Defense Approval Form is forwarded to the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division. Form and related instructions are available in the Doctoral Program Office. NOTE: The oral defense is open to the University academic community, only. Family and friends are not permitted to attend the defense. Candidate s Responsibility for Oral Defense Submit the approved draft copy of the dissertation at least 15 days prior to oral dissertation defense to all committee members. Place a copy of approved dissertation draft in the Doctoral Program Office at least 15 days prior to oral defense. Secure a room for the oral defense. Produce and distribute the Defense program (abstract, student demographics). Closing Activities of the Candidate 22

23 Changes required as a result of the oral defense should be completed and approved by the dissertation chair and appropriate signatures secured on the Final Dissertation Approval Form which is obtained from Doctoral Program office. The Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division will sign the Final Dissertation Approval Form after the Dissertation Chair has confirmed that all required changes have been successfully completed. Distribute copies of the Dissertation by due date for graduation to: 1. Library 1 Unbound Originals (100% cotton w/original signature sheet) 2. Assistant Dean for Doctoral Division The final electronic PDF version of the dissertation by and on a CD. 3. Dissertation Chair and committee members The final electronic PDF version of the dissertation; bound copies may be required by chair or committee members. Note: These closing activities of the candidate must be completed and all fees paid before doctoral degree is awarded. Activities for Doctoral Candidate: GRADUATION INFORMATION Consult academic calendar (found in GMU Catalog) for deadline dates. Submit a Graduation Intent Form with appropriate signature(s) to CHHS Student Affairs Office. Application forms may be obtained online from Graduate Office. For degree conferral, two copies of dissertation with cover sheets signed by committee members, Assistant Dean, Doctoral Division, and the Dean, College of Health and Human Services must be submitted to the library dissertation and thesis coordinator by 5 P.M. on the last Friday of classes. This is also the deadline for participation in the May commencement. Pay required fees as a condition of graduation. Order graduation attire. Complete survey of earned doctorates. VARIOUS FORMS USED IN THE PHD PROGRAM IN NURSING 1. Advancement to Candidacy Form Link: 2. Intent to graduate form 23

24 Link to instructions: 3. Reduction in Credit Form Link: 4. Transfer of Credit Form Link: 5. Dissertation defense forms Link: 24

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