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Archive for December, 2008

Winter in VA

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Ugh, winter here in Virginia is dreary. I think it has rained most every day. The sky stays a permanent gray! I am already looking forward to beautiful sunshiney days in the spring and summer. I tend to stay indoors when the weather is so dismal. It seems to affect my mood as well! I am looking to knock out an assignment this weekend, the second of four in this class. This one is similar to the others, read the book, a paper to answer questions and analyze a case. 

A Reader Asks a Question:

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

I received a note from a Reader and thought it would be good to post my response. The Reader is finishing up a master’s and looking at PhD programs.

Q: My concern is would be in terms of dissertation topic selection. Is it possible that selected topic can be rejected by your mentors?

A: When you start on your path to a PhD, the school will assess your transcripts and determine which courses will transfer. A PhD is similar to a master’s degree in the way that an associate’s degree is related to a bachelor’s degree. You will take graduate level classes at first and then start the research and dissertation phase. Your mentors will guide you through this phase and help shape your dissertation topic. Most students begin the process with an idea and the dissertation topic flows from that. Since your mentors are with you every step of the way, you are not truly developing the topic all by yourself. To answer your question, yes, your topic can be rejected, but it is far more likely it will be modified rather than rejected.

I am just a course away from the research and dissertation phase. I have accumulated several ideas for my dissertation, but I am keeping my options open. I want to succeed in achieving a PhD! If my “favorite” topic is rejected, I will always be able to write journal articles or books on that topic later. My mentors know far better than I which topics will yield a successful dissertation.

It’s good to hear that your are “up” for the challenge; believe me, it will be a challenge! I love the learning and the rapport with fellow students and professors. My life has always been a search to know why and how, and my path to a PhD rounds out who I am. My blog helps me keep all this in perspective and gives me the opportunity to meet prospective students and colleagues.