Ph.D. Milestones & Timeline

Five milestones (and their associated meetings with the POSC) mark the pathway to completing a Ph.D. in Education. At each of these, students will meet with their committee. Milestones 3 and 5 (preliminary oral examination and final oral examination) represent formal requirements of Iowa State University’s Graduate College. As such, they require advance scheduling and are governed by specific policies and associated documentation. One of these requirements includes face-to-face meetings between students and their POSCs (see the Graduate College handbook for guidance regarding participation of students or committee members from a distance).

In the School of Education, the other three meetings should be synchronous but may involve the use of conferencing technology. The milestone meetings allow students to engage in ongoing conversations with the POSC as they progress in the program and shape and refine an area of inquiry. Students are responsible for scheduling the milestone meetings. Once a date and time has been agreed upon, students can initiate the room scheduling process with the graduate support specialist.

Learn more about the milestones here.

  • Milestone 1: Program of Study and Committee approved by the end of the third semester
  • Milestone 2: Preliminary examination proposal completed no later than the semester prior to the preliminary examination
  • Milestone 3: Preliminary oral examination completed by the end of the third year, no later than the fourth year
  • Milestone 4: Dissertation proposal completed no later than the semester prior to the final oral examination/dissertation defense
  • Milestone 5: Final oral examination/dissertation defense completed by the end of the fifth year